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Within and Without: Liberation Theology at Work in Social Movements

October 11-14, 2018

An interfaith conference examining spiritual practices for the liberation of today’s world.

Liberation Theology conference logo

“Here to Stay” (c) Ricardo Levins Morales

We live in a world in which poverty, violence, injustice, and inequality are different manifestations of long and historical oppressions. Many religious faiths share the conviction that love incarnates in concrete actions toward liberating the oppressed from structures and systems that bind them and restoring the human community to dignity and peace with justice. How are we bringing our faith and spiritual practices to exercise the praxis of liberation to which we are called in this historical moment?

We invite you to join an interfaith community in exploring how liberation is at work in our religious and social movements today. Together, we will:

  • Learn about the work of faith communities in dismantling structural injustice.
  • Identify creative non-violence practices for social action.
  • Expand our community interfaith network.
  • Explore spiritual practices that nurture our work for personal and societal transformation.

Click here for registration information.

Click here to view the preliminary schedule.

Click here to see in-depth facilitator bios.

Financial aid may be available. If you are seeking funds to participate in this program, click to review and complete our Financial Assistance Application and a Pendle Hill staff member will follow-up with you shortly (please do NOT register online). Thank you for your interest.


Confirmed Speakers (more to come)

Anton Flores-MainsonetAnton Flores-Maisonet is the co-founder of Casa Alterna, a hospitality house located in a Georgia community comprised entirely of first-wave immigrants, primarily from Guatemala. Casa Alterna is committed to faithful acts of justice, mercy, and solidarity. Flores-Maisonet is also co-founder of El Refugio Ministry and Georgia Detention Watch. Casa Alterna has been named Organization of the Year by Mundo Hispánico, Atlanta’s largest Spanish newspaper. You can follow Anton on Instagram and Twitter at @antonofalterna and Casa Alterna on Facebook at facebook.com/alternacommunity.

Mark HathawayMark Hathaway is a Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Waterloo, ON, Canada. He is the principal author – together with Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff – of The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Orbis Books, 2009, www.taoofliberation.com) which explores the political, economic, and psychological dimensions of the current ecological crisis as well as cosmological insights related to processes of transformation. Mark teaches courses on transformative learning for the Earth Charter Initiative in San José, Costa Rica as well as courses at the University of Toronto and a variety of Latin American universities. His academic papers explore themes related to ecological wisdom, Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects, environmental ethics, and permaculture. In addition to research and teaching, Mark has extensive experience working on social and ecological justice issues in church and ecumenical organizations in both Canada and Latin America. He currently lives in Toronto with his spouse, Maritza, and his daughter, Jamila.

Nadine HooverNadine Hoover is Coordinator of Friends Peace Teams’ Asia West Pacific Initiative and the Power of Goodness Global Story Pool, and Director of Conscience Studio. She has been an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitator since 1978 and a conscientious objector to war tax counselor with the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Nadine has identified universal practices to preserve cultures of peace in the most unlikely places: refugee, militant, or professional communities. Nadine has faith in the power and promise of peace, trains citizen leaders in the operating dynamics of peace and nonviolence, and works to make public-sanctioned violence illegal. She leads an annual International Peace Training in Central Java and disseminates the message of peace globally through the Power of Goodness Global Story Pool. Nadine is a graduate of George School, Friends World College, and Florida State University, and former Secretary of Southeastern Yearly Meeting.

Dr. Amanda KempDr. Amanda Kemp is a racial justice and mindfulness mentor. Author of Say the Wrong Thing: Stories and Strategies for Racial Justice and Authentic Community, she has been called a master teacher, having helped over 25,000 people build their capacity to practice self-compassion and self-critique.  Her H.E.A.R.T. Method for Racial Justice and Mindful Living has been adopted by teachers from grade 6-college levels. Dr. Kemp is a Visiting Scholar in Africana Studies at Franklin & Marshall College and a graduate of Stanford and Northwestern Universities.  Her TEDxtalk, “How to Have a Voice and Lean in to Conversations about Race,” was recently released. She regularly mentors educators and leaders via her Compassionate Change Makers Program and online classes. Visit www.dramandakemp.com.

Raj LewisRaj Lewis currently serves as the shelter and recovery manager at City Team in Chester, PA working with men in early recovery from addiction, homelessness, and in need of emergency shelter. He is also the housing director for The Negev Life-Sharing Community, a housing community of families living in solidarity with men transitioning out of incarceration and addiction. Raj is also the co-founder of Seven Harvests, a seasonal fine-dining experience that connects local and sustainable agriculture, natural gourmet cooking, theology, and the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals. Raj has directed workforce development programs for adjudicated youth and ex-offenders in Chester County and North Philadelphia as well as led leadership development programs with inmates in the Chester Prison. Raj studied comparative religion at Miami University, urban ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary, spiritually-integrated counseling at Biblical Theological Seminary, and is a current pastoral counseling doctoral student at Neumann University. Raj has been a serious student of liberation theology for the past 15 years and is committed to living out the praxis of liberation in his ministry.

Rabbi Mordechair LieblingRabbi Mordechai Liebling is founder and director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Prior to this he was the Executive Vice-President of Jewish Funds for Justice, the Torah of Money Director of the Shefa Fund, and the Executive Director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute and the Shalom Center. He and his life-partner Lynne Iser facilitate “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” and “The Work That Reconnects” symposia. He responded to clergy calls to come to Ferguson, Standing Rock and Charlottesville.

Ralph McCloudRalph McCloud is the Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in Washington DC. CCHD is an anti-poverty program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Prior to working the USCCB, Ralph worked as the Director of Pastoral and Community Services for the Diocese of Fort Worth TX. Ralph served 4 terms on the Fort Worth City Council from 1997-2005 and 3 terms as Mayor Pro Tempore for a city with a population of 750,000. He worked tirelessly to improve the plight of low income communities that he represented and was seen as a respected advocate for low income communities and improving the plight of the poor. After retiring from the council, he was selected to Chair the County’s first Homeless Commission and was awarded the first Racial Reconciliation Award from the Tarrant Area Community of Churches. He has received several awards including the State of Texas Courage Award in 2007 from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty for his work with death row inmates and advocacy, and the Harry A. Fagan Award in 2018 for his work in social justice, among others. Ralph serves on the boards of the Center for Migrations Studies of New York and the Catholic Mobilizing Network, a Catholic effort to end the death penalty and promote restorative justice.

Rev. Renee McKenzieRev. Renee McKenzie-Hayward was born and raised in Chester, PA where she attended Chester public schools. Renee was further educated at the University of Pennsylvania (BS), Temple University (MA, PhD), Palmer Theological Seminary (MDiv), and The General Theological Seminary (Diploma in Anglican Studies). Ordained as an Episcopal priest in 2001, she has previously served Grace Church Haddonfield, Haddonfield, NJ (Associate Rector), and Calvary St. Augustine Episcopal Church, Philadelphia PA (Rector). In 2011 she began her ministry at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia, PA where in addition to being the Vicar of the congregation she is also a Chaplain to Temple University. As an adjunct professor Renee has taught classes at Rutgers University, Temple University, Palmer Theological Seminary, and The Lutheran Theological Seminary. Her teaching included classes on Black Church History and Theology, Racial Justice, Womanist Theology and Systematic Theology. She is frequently invited to guest preach and serve as a retreat leader. Renee’s most recent paper, ‘Being the Advocate,’ was published in the June 2014 in the Anglican and Episcopal History Journal of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and shares the unique and profound history of the Church of the Advocate. Renee is married to Isaac Hayward with whom she has two children.

Will O'BrienWill O’Brien is part of the Vine & Fig Tree intentional Christian community in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. He coordinates the Alternative Seminary (www.alternativeseminary.net), a grassroots network of people of faith engaging in a liberation reading of the Bible in dialogue with our world. He has been involved in issues of poverty and homelessness for over thirty-five years.

Jerusha Tanner RhodesJerusha Tanner Rhodes is a Muslima theologian, scholar, and public educator. She is Assistant Professor of Islam and Interreligious Engagement and Director of the Islam, Social Justice and Interreligious Engagement Program (ISJIE) at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Her work and writing focus on Islamic feminism, interreligious engagement, religious pluralism, and social justice. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism from Georgetown University; an M.A. in Islamic Sciences at the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences; and a B.A. in Anthropology and Religion from American University. She is author of Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2014) which re-interprets the Qur’anic discourse on religious ‘otherness’ and diversity, and Divine Words, Female Voices: Muslima Explorations in Comparative Feminist Theology, Oxford University, 2018) which explores the possibilities of comparative feminist theology. As Director of ISJIE, she plans and facilitates academic and public education programs that cultivate Islamic perspectives on pressing social justice issues. Some of these programs include the MDiv degree in Islam and Interreligious Engagement for leaders working in and with Muslim communities, the annual Muslim Women Leaders Program, the Islam in the Public Square Scholars Cohort, and a series of public lectures and events. Dr. Rhodes is also a frequent public speaker on Islam, religious diversity, Islamophobia, and gender, working with community organizations, religious organizations, media, and educational institutions in New York City and around the world.

Travel directions to Pendle Hill. Click to view the flyer. For more information, contact fallconference@pendlehill.org.