Summer Session 2012 - Instructors

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Donna Allen

Donna Allen

Donna E. Allen is founder and pastor of New Revelation Community Church in Oakland, CA. Dr. Allen earned her Ph.D. in Religion with a concentration in Homiletics and African American Religion from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Dr. Allen has taught courses on preaching, and sexuality and gender at Pacific School of Religion, and has also taught preaching and worship at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, Saint Paul School of Theology in Missouri, and Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Hear Donna Allen preach at the 2010 Earl Lectures.

Teaching: Preaching Liberation


Jon Berquist

Jon L. Berquist, Ph.D., is president of Disciples Seminary Foundation.  He has taught Hebrew Bible at a number of seminaries, including Pacific School of Religion, Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and New Brunswick Theological Seminary.  He is the author of ten books in biblical studies and religion, including Reclaiming Her Story: The Witness of Women in the Old Testament and Judaism in Persia’s Shadow: A Social and Historical Approach.  

Teaching:Old Testament Theology


Dorsey Blake

Dorsey Blake is Presiding Minister of The Church for The Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, the nation's first interracial, interfaith congregation. Dr. Blake is also Dean of Faculty and Visiting Professor of Spirituality and Prophetic Justice at Starr King School for the Ministry. He has served as Vice President for Community Learning at the University of Creation Spirituality and is the founding co-director of the University of Creation Spirituality Doctor of Ministry program. He is the former director of the Graduate Theological Union's Center for Urban Black Studies.  Dr. Blake received an M.A. and M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, and D.Min. from United Theological Seminary. He has conducted seminars and workshops locally and nationally. Rev. Blake has extensive field ministry experience with interfaith groups addressing justice and peace issues.

Teaching: Radical Jesus in the Cotton Patch


Sharon Bray

Sharon Bray

Dr. Sharon Bray is best known for her innovative work leading expressive writing groups for cancer patients. She is the author of three books: This Way to Canada, a children’s book; When Words Heal: Writing Through Cancer; and A Healing Journey: Writing Together Through Breast Cancer. She is also co-editor of the anthology Learning to Live Again, published by the Stanford School of Medicine. She teaches creative writing for the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program and leads a number of writing groups for cancer patients. She makes her home in San Diego.

Teaching: Writing as a Healing Ministry


Vivian Chavez

Vivian ChavezVivian Chavez , Dr.P.H., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Education at San Francisco State University. Her scholarship is partially informed by her standpoint as a woman of color and concerns the mind/body split characteristic of higher education. Doctor Chavez is a community organizer with extensive media advocacy and global health experience. She has traveled extensively and her courses infuse an international dimension to health promotion and disease prevention. Most recently she presented at the Medical Education for the 21 Century Conference on Teaching Health Equity in Havana, Cuba. She is coeditor of a leading textbook Prevention is Primary: Community Strategies for Wellbeing and is a registered yoga teacher. Her courses focus on solutions, resiliency and common values. With a passion for innovative pedagogy, Vivian teaches non-violence, embodied leadership and creative expression. Most recently she used a Community Based Participatory Research methodology to produce the book Drop That Knowledge: Youth Radio, Learning and Culture with Elizabeth Soep.

Teaching: Community Organizing for Health & Social Justice

Tuesday Night Talk July 31st: Cultural Humility: Moving and Breathing with Awareness


Terri Echelbarger

Terri Echelbarger

Rev. Terri Echelbarger serves as the founding Pastor of Peninsula MCC (PMCC) in San Mateo, CA. She has been teaching the MCC History and Polity Course at PSR since 2007, and takes a special interest (and joy) in those training to be MCC Clergy, often hosting interns at PMCC. She has been an MCC Pastor for 11 years. She holds an MDiv from PSR and a Master's of Public Administration from UH Manoa, Hawaii.

Teaching: MCC History & Polity


Jehon Grist

Jehon Grist, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Lehrhaus Judaica, the Bay Area School for adult Jewish education. He received his Ph.D. in ancient Near Eastern cultures from UC Berkeley after doctoral research at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and archaeological field research in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and Egypt. He has published articles and photos on the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, and the Biblical Archaeology Review. An instructor and assistant professor at UC Berkeley, and Cal State Fresno, Dr. Grist has spent the last 20 years administering Lehrhaus and teaching courses at various Jewish community and secular institutions in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Teaching: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Their World


Bob Johansen

Dr. Johansen was one of the first social scientists to study the human and organizational impacts of what came to be called the Internet. He created and led a program on emerging information technologies—now known as the Technology Horizons Program—that continues to be presented by the Institute for the Future, a leading independent nonprofit futures research group where he has served as president and distinguished fellow. Johansen works with top leaders across business, government, and nonprofit organizations, conducting workshops that encourage thoughtful consideration of questions such as: What are the leadership skills that will be needed to thrive in the future, given the external future forces of the next decade? A social scientist with an interdisciplinary background, Johansen holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, as well as an M.Div. degree with a focus on world religions from Crozer Theological Seminary. His books include: Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain Age (now in 2nd edition) and Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present.

Tuesday Night Talk July 24th: Leaders Make the Future: New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World


Jay Johnson

Jay Emerson Johnson, Ph.D. a theologian and Episcopal priest, is a member of the core doctoral faculty of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and teaches courses at Pacific School of Religion and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, both member schools of the GTU. He is senior Director, Academic Research & Resources at PSR's Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in Religion and Ministry CLGS).

Teaching: LGBTQ Histories and Theologies for Ministry with Bernard Schlager


Robert Kramish

Robert Kramish is a doctoral student in biblical studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He has taught courses in biblical languages and literature at the GTU and its member schools, including PSR.

Teaching: Biblical Hebrew I and Biblical Hebrew II



Hubert Locke

Hubert Locke has focused his career on examining justice in society and has a long and distinguished record of community service. He has served on the boards of many prominent organizations, including the Bulitt Foundation, Common Cause, the Institute of European Studies, Group Health Foundation, the University of Washington Edward Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office, and Lakeside School.  Locke is vice chair of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Education Committee.  He is the author or editor of several books and has written numerous chapters in publications dealing with race, criminal justice, religion, and public policy.  He has taught at Wayne State University, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and the University of Washington, where he also served as dean of the Graduate School of Public Affairs and as vice provost for academic affairs.  Locke served as trustee for the Pacific School of Religion and in 2012 was the acting president of the school.

Teaching: Speaking Truth to Power: The Minister as Public Theologian

Tuesday Night Talk July 10th: Girding for Battle: Faith, Politics, and the November Elections


Randall Miller

Randall Miller, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics and Social Thought at Pacific School of Religion.  He has taught the Introduction to Christian Ethics class as well as advanced courses in ethics and social theory. A layman and longtime advocate for greater inclusion in the United Methodist Church, he has previously held senior positions in politics, HIV/AIDS prevention, philanthropy, and national youth ministry. His dissertation is entitled Colored Justice: Situating Martin Luther King’s Justice Ethic in Normative Theoretical Discourse, and his research centers on the intersection of faith, moral values, and politics.

Teaching: Introduction to Christian Ethics: Moral Decisionmarking in a Postmodern World


Michael Piazza

PiazzaMichael Piazza currently serves as the Co-Director of the Center for Progressive Renewal, specializing in church multiplication and renewal. Rev. Piazza served as the senior pastor of the Cathedral of Hope during a time of unprecedented growth. When he arrived in Dallas in 1987, the church had 280 members and a budget of $280,000. When he retired to become Dean of the Cathedral, the church’s membership was more than 3,500, with a consolidated budget of more than $3 million. This growth took place in a setting that was hostile to the church’s constituency and during a time in which the church performed more than 1,500 funerals for persons with HIV/AIDS.  Today Rev. Piazza lives in Atlanta, GA.  

 Teaching: reNEW: Skills for Leading New and Renewing Progressive Churches with Cameron Trimble 


Elizabeth Ritter-Conn

Ritter-ConnBeth Ritter-Conn is a doctoral student in Systematic and Philosophical Theology at the GTU. Her research centers on theological anthropology and issues of embodiment, including gender, sexuality, and non-normative bodies in relation to the Christian tradition. Beth holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Theological Studies, both from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Teaching: The Art and Technique of Effective Academic Writing


Bernard Schlager

After receiving his Ph.D. from Yale University in the history of medieval and Latin America Christianity and after teaching at the University of New Hampshire, Trinity College, and Yale, Professor Schlager was hired as one of the original staff members of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) in 2000, of which he is now executive director. Dr. Schlager’s research interests include queer studies, the history of Christianity, LGBT pastoral care, and medieval social and religious history. He has published articles on ancient church history, medieval hagiography, the history of sexuality, and the history of education, and co-authored a book with David Kundtz, Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk: LGBT Pastoral Care (2007).

Teaching: Transgendering Faith: A Brief History of the Trans Movement
and also teaching: LGBT Sexuality and History with Jay Johnson


Peter Schneck

Peter Schneck holds the Chair (professorship) for American Literature and Culture at the University of Osnabrueck in Germany, where he currently directs the International Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture. He has published widely on American literature, visual and legal culture, including the recent Rhetoric and Evidence: Legal Conflict and Literary Representation in U.S American Culture. As the former president of the German Association for American Studies, he has lectured throughout Europe and the United States on topics that range from multiculturalism and indigenous literatures in Canada, to Don DeLillo and postmodern spirituality, to theories of visual culture and mediatization. He is also co-editor of Philologie im Netz, one of Germany’s oldest  online journal for humanities scholarship. He is presently a visiting research fellow at the University of California, Irvine.

Thursday Night Talk July 5th: The New Negro in Germany: From Tanzania to the Harlem Renaissance


Pat Schneider

Pat Schneider, author of nine books, including Writing Alone and With Others (Oxford University Press) and Wake Up Laughing: A Spiritual Autobiography, has pioneered a writing method that has gained international attention, both for its effectiveness in deepening the artistry of the individual writer, and as a way of empowerment for low-income and other under-served populations. Her website is

Teaching: Creative Writing Workshop


John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong has been an ordained priest and an elected bishop of the Episcopal Church for 54 years.  As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North america, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. He has authored 82 books which have sold over a million copies, including: A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his autobiography, Here I Stand

Teaching: Re-Claiming the Bible in a Post-Christian World

Tuesday Night Talk July 17th: Judas Iscariot: Did He Really Exist? Person, Symbol, and Roots of Anti-Semitism


Cameron Trimble

TrimbleCameron Trimble is the Executive Director and CEO of the Center for Progressive Renewal. She most recently served as an advisor to the Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Team of Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ, and as Associate Conference Minister of Church Development in the Southeast Conference of the UCC. She has both started and renewed churches and has coached dozens of churches across the country in numerous denominations. Each setting has given her a unique perspective on the challenges of cultivating leaders equipped to meet the needs of the future of mainline Protestantism. Rev. Trimble lives in Atlanta, GA (though she feels like she lives on Delta).

Teaching: reNEW: Skills for Leading New and Renewing Progressive Churches with Michael Piazza


Cynthia Winton-Henry

CynthiaCynthia Winton-Henry, a PSR graduate, has lectured, taught, and performed throughout the United States and in other parts of the world, including India, Thailand, Australia, England, Malawi and Germany. Winton-Henry co-developed the InterPlay practice and philosophy in 1989 and has been sharing it around the world ever since. She leads Body Wisdom, Inc., and co-created WING IT! Performance Ensemble, which has grown to be a company of over 20 improvisers who weave together movement, storytelling and singing, including live instrumental music. Winton-Henry coaches individuals and communities in embodied wisdom and mysticism through Mystic Tech. In collaboration with Phil Porter she has written and published several books: Dance—The Sacred Art; Chasing the Dance of Life; What the Body Wants; Having it All!: Mind, Body, Heart & Spirit Together Again at Last; The Wisdom of the Body; and Tales of a Suburban Mystic, and created countless concerts including performances of their community-based concert The Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human in several cities including Sydney, Australia.

Teaching: Praying the Body-The Practice of InterPlay as Soulwork 


Karen Yonemoto

Karen YonemotoKaren completed a Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity with a specialization in Race, Religion and Social Change. Her dissertation addresses the ways in which Multiracial Asian American congregations negotiate racial and ethnic identity as they mobilize congregants toward civic engagement in local and global communities. Karen earned a B.A. with honors in Sociology with a double minor in Asian American Studies and Comparative Cultures from the University of California, Irvine. She has been awarded a dozen fellowships & grants during her graduate career, including the USC "Award for Excellence in Teaching" in 2005. Karen views her role as a teacher, mentor and researcher as an opportunity to inspire, encourage and equip students to pursue a passion for lifelong learning. Outside the academy she enjoys the arts, travel, food, photography and the outdoors. 

Teaching: One Nation Under God?: Race, Religion and Politics


Devin Zuber

Devin ZuberDevin Zuber, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of American Studies, Literature, and Swedenborgian Studies.  Dr. Zuber centers his inquiries in literary aesthetics, hermeneutics, and cultural history, which includes the environment as special zone of engagement. His scholarly interests include exploring the different ways people have imagined and constructed their relationship to the environment through various practices of cultural representation. He is also a Swedenborgian specialist, and particularly interested in the legacy of Swedenborg's thought in Romanticism. His work has appeared in Religion and the Arts, American Studies, and Variations, and he is presently completing a book on Swedenborg's contribution to American environmental aesthetics.

Teaching: Enviromentalism in American Religion and Culture

Tuesday Night Talk August 7th: Sermons in Stones: American Environmental Thought and Swedenborgian Mysticism


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We reserve the right to change course descriptions, instructors, dates and hours of instruction, meeting places, and prices. In the event of a conflict between printed material and information on this Web site, the information on this Web site takes precedence. Courses that have been cancelled due to low enrollment may be absent from this list. Please contact the Summer Session Office for any questions regarding cancelled courses. Before registering please ensure that you have read the information included on the Registration and Logistics page [coming soon], including information about refunds.