2017 Board of Directors
Rev. Vicki Flippin, Co-President, is a pastor at St. Paul and St. Andrew, a progressive, Reconciling United Methodist Church in Manhattan. A graduate of Yale Divinity School (’08) and the University of Chicago (’05), Flippin currently serves as secretary for the New York Annual Conference’s Commission on Religion and Race and on the steering committee of Methodists in New Directions, working for both racial and LGBT equality with equal fervor. A proud signer and clergy recruiter for the Covenant of Conscience, she is committed to the practice of marriage equality in the UMC. She is a member of her conference's 2016 Jurisdictional/General Conference delegation and is both a sought after preacher and a blogger for the Huffington Post. Flippin has close ties to both Taiwan and the American Midwest and lives in New York City with her husband, daughter, and two eccentric cats. Contact Vicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Elyse Ambrose is a Provisional Deacon in the New York Annual Conference. She serves as the Associate Pastor of Social Justice and Small Groups at Church of the Village (NYC). Elyse received a Master of Divinity in Ethics and New Testament Studies from Gammon Theological Seminary at The Interdernominational Theological Center (Atlanta, Georgia). Currently a Ph.D. student at the Drew Theological School, she studies Christian Social Ethics, and concentrates in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Pastor Elyse serves as the Co-Chairperson of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA)-New York, a Steering Committee member of Methodists in New Directions (MIND), an Executive Committee member of the Board for Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), and a member of the Alliance of Clergy and Allies to Heal the Plight of Homeless LGBTQ Youth. Contact Elyse at: email@example.com
Joey Lopez was raised in North Carolina and moved to Detroit to work as a minister and organizer with diverse communities of young people for a politically active United Methodist congregation. Before living in Detroit, Joey organized United Methodist communities in Western North Carolina, Michigan, Nebraska and the Austin area of Texas toward a more inclusive church through the work of Reconciling Ministries Network and Methodist Federation for Social Action. Joey served with the Campaign for Southern Equality as a Community Organizer through the Tzedek Social Justice Residency. Personal experiences with intersecting identities shape Joey’s commitment to educational, economic, racial, ethnic and queer justice both inside and outside communities of faith. Contact Joey at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Nelson, Program Council Co-Chair is an active member of the Oregon-Idaho MFSA community. He serves as the Director of Communications for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference. He is a member of the General Commission on Communications (United Methodist Communications) and chaired the 2008-12 Western Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy. Contact Greg at: email@example.com
Rev. George McClain, Program Council Co-Chair. George is MFSA executive director emeritus (1973-1998); author, Claiming All Things for God–Prayer, Discernment, and Ritual for Social Change and Creating a Scene in Corinth–A Simulation; adjunct professor, St. Paul School of Theology, teaching in the UM Deaconess/Home Missioner Program; mentor to formerly incarcerated men; "retired" elder, NY Ann. Conference. George is passionate about theological education for clergy and laity; prison reform; racial justice; LGBTQ justice; Christian feminism, eco-justice; unity of social witness and spirituality; that the church (UMC and beyond) BE the church. And now, biblical resistance to newly-energized principalities and powers not of God. George can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Watts, Treasurer, is very active in East Ohio community as the convener, communication chairperson and Program Council representative. He is very active in East Ohio Reconciling Ministries Network leadership (treasurer, communications). He has also been a East Ohio Annual Conference delegate since 2011. He worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and is known all over the world as a Rubber Mixing Technology specialist. Besides having a passion for social justice issues, he is the coordinator of the Uniontown Lions Paul Ruley Eyeglass Recycling Center which serves Northeast Ohio by preparing eyeglasses for various mission team’s work all over the world. Contact Bill at: email@example.com
Neill Caldwell, Southeast Representative, is a member of the Virginia Conference staff in Communications, as editor of publications since 1996. Prior to that he was a secular journalist and president of the Board of Communications for the Western North Carolina Conference. He’s been elected as a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in both conferences (2004 and 2012). Neill currently serves as the president of the United Methodist Association of Communicators and regularly covers the Judicial Council for United Methodist News Service. He is also a clergy spouse, married to the Rev. Dr. Lynne Caldwell, who is pastor of Brookland UMC in Richmond, professor of United Methodist studies at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University and director of the Johnson A. Edosonwam Center for Evangelism, Mission and Global Christianity. Contact Neill at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paloma Rodriquez-Rivera, At Large Member. Paloma is a young adult from the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. She holds a bachelor's degree in environmental sciences and is currently working on a master’s degree in Soil Science and Water Quality. She serves as the National Leader of the Youth in Puerto Rico. She serves on the Bishops Strategic Council of Puerto Rico, Nominations Committee of the Church of Puerto Rico, Bishop's Supervision Committee and the World Methodist Council. Paloma can be contacted at: email@example.com.
Rev. Joshua Steward, North Central Representative, was born nine weeks early with a mild form of cerebral palsy and has always had a passion for “the least of these”; be it God’s preferential option for the poor, or the call to Do No Harm to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Josh worked with the Laborer’s International Union in New Jersey as part of his Interfaith Worker Justice Seminary Summer Internship in 2002; earned his MDIV in 2004 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City; an STM from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2007; and completed a CPE residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO in 2009. His greatest passion has been helping people find their voice as a pastor in the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church. Josh is the Social Questions Bulletin editor for the Iowa Chapter of MFSA and enjoys finding authors to tell the stories of mission and social justice going on in Iowa and around the world. Contact Josh at: firstname.lastname@example.org
JanJay Innis, At Large Member. Born in Kansas City, spent early childhood in Liberia where my parents and entire extended family is from. I came to the US at 10 years old and became involved in every local church my family was part of , until our permanent move to Worcester , MA. I was a member of an old , white congregation struggling to preserve its traditions in spite of the changing demographics of their community and my call to ministry came out of that tension. I'm a grad of UMass Amherst with a BA in English and a minor in Education and a Grad of Boston University School of Theology with an MDIV and a Certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation . Post Seminary, I served as a US-2 Missionary in Tacoma , WA as a Social Justice Advocate, telling the success stories of refugees and Immigrants and training them to get involved in the political process through voter education and policy advocacy. I love the UMC in all of its complexities,but I want to be part of preserving what I feel is important to it, connectionalism .It is my hope that MFSA can help join my voice with others who want to see our church engage in fruitful dialogue across difference and work towards bringing God's dream of a just and peaceful world to life. Contact JanJay at: email@example.com
Rev. Sara Baron, Northeastern Jurisdiction Representative, is a pastor at First United Methodist Church of Schenectady, a Reconciling- Stephen Ministry – Peace with Justice Congregation in the Upper New York Annual Conference. A graduate of Claremont School of Theology ('06) and Dartmouth College ('03), Baron currently serves on the Reaching Our Neighbors Ministry Oversight Team in Upper New York, on the board for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, and as a director of camp for young people with special needs at Sky Lake Camp and Retreat Center in Windsor, NY. She has served on GCFA, and worked with GBHEM on issues of young clergy and young adult seminarians, and is working with the Global Connections Team on issues of international justice in the UMC. Contact Sara at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Lydia Munoz, At Large Member. Lydia is a passionate community advocate, trained therapist, and renowned musician. She has extensive experience serving with multi-cultural settings, has a deep commitment to serving Latino and immigrant communities, and a heart for engaging young people. She has been a part of creating and designing worship for the World Council of Churches in South Korea for the World Assembly, and has led and designed worship for various local, jurisdictional, and national conferences and events. She is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary and Penn State University. Contact Lydia at: email@example.com
Rev. Stephen Griffith, South Central Representative, is a retired member of the Great Plains Conference. A graduate of Saint Paul School of Theology and Nebraska Wesleyan University, he served churches across Nebraska for 35 years, including extended pastorates in Omaha and Lincoln. A member and leader of the Nebraska Chapter for more than 30 years, he is now convener of the organizing committee forming the new Great Plains Chapter. Steve is a member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor’s Committee on GLBT Concerns; has been an active member and officer of PFLAG Lincoln; and is a long-time advocate for a broad range of justice issues. Steve currently is Executive Director of Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Contact Steve at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Michelle Lewis, At Large Member. Rev. Michelle Lewis holds joint master's degrees from Yale Divinity School, and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is the first woman of color to complete the joint degree program in religion and ecology. While at Yale Michelle spent time researching the best ways to connect underserved populations to the environment. Rev. Lewis spent time working at the United Nations as an Advisor to the Federated States of Micronesia. Rev. Lewis has done interfaith work in Connecticut and New York traveled as a guest of Prince Turkey Al Faisal to Saudi Arabia where she engaged in Christian/Muslim dialogues. She also spent a year and a half as a hospital Chaplain serving Hartford and Norwalk hospitals.
Michelle spent 12 years working for the Department of Interior; During which time she worked as a Law Enforcement Officer, Biological Science Technician, and Interpreter. She has created two award winning films and received special recognition from Senator Johnny Isakson for her work engaging communities. Rev. Lewis has been honored to teach around the world and she has given talks and interviews for the BBC and local news outlets. She has a podcast called Unpacking Faith that is available through itunes.
Michelle is from Manteo on Roanoke Island, a part of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree from the HBCU, Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also holds an M.A. in Film Directing from Regent University located in Virginia Beach, VA. Rev. Lewis is a member of Rotary International. Rev. Lewis is on the conference worship committee, and is a member of the board governing camps for the New York Annual Conference. She loves God, and is excited about finding ways to creatively engage people of all ages in worship.
Andy Millman, Western Jurisdiction Representative. Andy is a member of the Rocky Mountain Conference and serves on conference staff as the Young People’s Ministry Developer and Mission & Ministry Project Coordinator. Prior to his current role, Andy served alongside migrants and asylum seekers as a Global Mission Fellow in Moscow, Russia for two years, focusing on issues of immigration, xenophobia, and racially-motivated violence. He is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary (MDiv ‘13) and Virginia Tech (BA ‘10) with academic focuses in process theology, theodicy, and systemic trauma. In addition to his work for the Rocky Mountain Conference, Andy in engaged with local organizing efforts through Together Colorado – an interfaith advocacy organization – and SURJDenver – an organization dedicated to engaging white people in the struggle for racial justice. Andy can be contacted at: email@example.com