DePaul University College of LAS > Centers & Institutes > Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology > World Catholicism Week > 2017 Speakers

2017 Speakers


Paul D. Murray (Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University—UK)

Paul D. Murray (Centre for Catholic Studies, University of Durham—UK)
Member, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III)
Director of the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham University
(Durham, UK)
Paul Murray is a systematic theologian who has been on the faculty of Durham University’s Theology and Religion Department since 2002 and director of its Centre for Catholic Studies (CCS) since 2008. The CCS is the UK’s first permanent center devoted to pioneering research and teaching in Catholic theology in the public academy.

He holds a BA and an MLitt in theology (both from Durham), and his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge focused on issues of post-foundationalism as they figure alike in contemporary American pragmatist thought and contemporary theology. His current research interests are in ecclesiology, ecclesial practice, and the dynamics of ecclesial development, and these are reflected in his MA module at Durham, “Conceiving Change in Contemporary Catholicism,” which contributes to the specialist pathway in Catholic Studies through the MA in theological research. Closely related to his current ecclesiological interests is a series of research projects and international conferences on receptive ecumenism (a fresh strategy for Christian ecumenism that takes long-term difference seriously), of which he is the initiator and director.

His wider teaching and research interests range from the interface between science and theology, political theology, the doctrine of God, and contemporary Catholic theology. As regards broader networks, he is a regular participant in the annual conferences of the Society for the Study of Theology (treasurer 2003-2005) and the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain (president 2012-2014) as well as an occasional participant in the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. From 2006-2011, he served on the editorial board of Concilium International. In 2011, he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the third phase of work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) and in 2012 as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

His numerous publications include the monograph, Reason, Truth, and Theology in Pragmatist Perspective (2004); “Ecumenical Methodology” and “Roman Catholic Theology and Ecumenism” in The Oxford Companion to Catholicism (forthcoming); “On Celebrating Vatican II as Catholic and Ecumenical” in The Second Vatican Council: Celebrating Its Achievements and the Future (2013); and the edited volume, Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism (2008).

Conference Presentation
"Formal Ecumenism, Receptive Ecumenism, and the Diverse Local Churches of the Global Catholic Communion"

Receptive ecumenism is a fresh strategy in Christian ecumenism which recognizes that further progress toward structural and sacramental unity is indeed possible but only if each church/tradition (singly and jointly) makes a clear, programmatic shift from asking "What do the 'others' first need to learn from us?" to asking instead, "What do we need to learn, and what can we learn (or receive) with integrity from the 'others'?"** This presentation aims to test and explore various assumptions related to receptive ecumenism such as
  • Is it really the case that ecumenism in the global South is in a fundamentally different place in all regards to traditional bilateral ecumenism? 
  • Is it not at least the case that the specifically ecclesiological focus of much of this formal ecumenism is of abiding relevance from a Catholic (and Orthodox) perspective, albeit with significant contextual differences? 
  • So, what does/would Catholic ecumenism look like if the Catholic Church were really to take seriously the move towards being a world church? Would Catholic ecumenism become a fundamentally different animal? Or would something like the same animal become a multilingual citizen of the world?
  • How can the diverse experience and insights of the diverse local Catholic churches of the world properly inform and re-shape Catholic ecumenism for the 21st century? 
  • Most specifically of all, what contribution might "receptive ecumenism" have to make to the creative pursuit of formal Catholic ecumenism in global South contexts?  

**Adapted from Paul D. Murray, "Introducing Receptive Ecumenism," The Ecumenist 51:2 (Spring 2014) 1. To download the full article as a PDF, click here.

Teresa Okure, SHCJ (Catholic Institute of West Africa—Port Harcourt, Nigeria)

Sr. Teresa Okkure, SHCJ (Catholic Institute of West Africa–Port Harcourt, Nigeria)
Member & sole representative of Catholic Africa, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III)
Professor of Scripture (New Testament) & Gender Hermeneutics, Catholic Institute of West Africa
(Port Harcourt, Nigeria)

A Nigerian and member of the Ibibio tribe, Teresa Okure is a sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) and the first African to join the Society. She is professor of Scripture (New Testament) and Gender Hermeneutics, First Scholar-In-Residence at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), and a founding member of the institute. Having twice served as CIWA's academic dean, she played a major role in securing its accreditation and developing its postgraduate programs. She has lectured globally, and continues to do so, on the topics of scripture, mission, inculturation, and church and gender issues. And she has also authored and co-authored many books, several book chapters and scholarly articles on these issues; these publications include Rethinking Martyrdom (with Jon Sobrino and Felix Wilfred, 2008); Searching the Scriptures, Vol. 1: A Feminist Introduction (2003); The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women (2016); and The Church We Want: African Catholics Look to Vatican III (2016).

Sr. Teresa is the current founding president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria (CABAN) and a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) as the sole representative of Catholic Africa. She also serves on the advisory committees of many journals, and as a resource person for the hierarchy nationally and internationally (including as an expert at the Second African Synod). She belongs to various biblical, theological, and mission studies associations such as the Pan-African Association of Catholic Exegetes (PACE), Association of African Theologians (ATA), Society for New Testament Studies (SNTS), International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS), and the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.

Her awards include "Woman of the Year 2004” from the American Biographical Institute (ABI) and “Extraordinary Award” (2016) in recognition of her contribution to inculturation theology from the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria. Though she has not accepted all, due to financial ramifications, she has been offered many international awards including the Legion of Honor of the United Cultural Convention, U.S. (2006); the U.S. Presidential Seal of Honor (2006); and the Gold Medal for Nigeria (2007).

Conference Presentation
"I Am With You Always (Matt 28:20): Jesus' Perspective on Ecumenism and the World Church"

This talk takes a close look at “ecumenism and the world church” from the perspective of Jesus who alone builds his church (Matt 16:16). Is “ecumenism” in the world church related to “Christian unity” for which Christ prayed, died, and rose from the dead, and which he bequeathed to his followers of all times (his world church) as his last will and testament? Though this reflection uses the great commission in Matthew as its entry point, its scope is Jesus’ view on the question of “ecumenism and the world church” as found in our primary biblical—especially Gospel and New Testament—sources (jubilee return to the ancestral land). Its ultimate aim is to gain insight that can motivate and move Christians together to rediscover and embrace that authenticity which Christ bequeathed to them as God’s church.

Felix Wilfred (Concilium & Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies—Chennai, India)

Felix Wilfred (Concilium & Asian Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies—Chennai, India)
President, Concilium: International Journal of Theology
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy & Religious Thought, State University of Madras
(Chennai, India)
Prof. Dr. Felix Wilfred is emeritus professor of the State University of Madras (Chennai, India) where, until his retirement, he was dean of the Faculty of Arts and also chair of the School of Philosophy and Religious Thought. He is president of the international journal of theology, Concilium, which is published in seven European language editions (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Croatian) and is also chief editor of the International Journal of Asian Christianity. He has numerous books and articles to his credit and recently edited the landmark Oxford Handbook of Christianity in Asia. His writings have appeared in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Prof. Dr. Wilfred has served as a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission with Cardinal Ratzinger as chair and was on deputation by the Government of India as the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Professor of Indian Studies at Trinity College in Dublin. He has also taught as a visiting professor at several international universities including the University of Frankfurt (Germany), University of Münster (Germany), Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands), Boston College (U.S.) Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines), and Fudan University (China). And he has also served as a member of the Statutory Ethical Committee of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai.
Conference Presentation
"The Future of Ecumenism through the Lens of Postcolonial Theories"

This talk is an attempt to interpret/deconstruct traditional approaches to ecumenism through postcolonial theories, and to re-envision its future. It will critically examine the presuppositions and assumptions behind the use of some fundamental concepts deployed in the theological discourse on ecumenism. The validity of this attempt will be tested the Asian Ecumenical Movement, leading to a global vision on ecumenism of the future in dialogue with the margins or periphery as an important theological trope. In this context, this presentation seeks to relate ecumenism to the larger humanistic project of postcolonial vernacular cosmopolitanism.


Patrick Alumuku (Catholic Television of Nigeria, Archdiocese of Abuja—Abuja, Nigeria)

Patrick Alumuku (Catholic Television of Nigeria, Archdiocese of Abuja—Abuja, Nigeria)
Founding Director, Catholic Television of Nigeria (CTV)
Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Abuja
(Abuja, Nigeria)

Ordained a priest in the Diocese of Makurdi in Benue State, Nigeria, Rev. Alumuku has served in many roles during his 35 years of pastoral work. In his first year after ordination, he was appointed both director of vocations and youth chaplain for his home diocese in Makurdi. He has also served as a parish priest as well as president of his alma mater seminary, St. James, in Makurdi. And for over a decade, he worked in Rome at Vatican Radio, in its Africa Service, and which awarded him a prize for his radio program, "Echo of the African Synod."

Currently, he is director of the Archdiocese of Abuja's Office of Communications and the founding director of Catholic Television​ of Nigeria​ (CTV). And he also lectures at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He holds a master's degree in missiology and a doctorate in social communications, specializing in radio, from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Over the years, his pastoral and academic journeys have taken him to England, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, and the United States.

Conference Presentation
"The Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.): Ecumenical Unity in the Face of Persecution"

Christians in northern Nigeria have witnessed massive persecution for decades. The burning of churches, refusals by state governments to grant land permits for new church projects, and the recent onslaught of violence caused by the fundamentalist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, have put immense pressure on Christians in this region. The response of various churches to these challenges was the formation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (C.A.N.), which became an umbrella organization for Christian unity, but today, parochial interdenominational differences and positions have weakened these Christian groups. The ongoing persecution, however, challenges the Christian churches to renew their efforts for stronger ecumenical unity.

Paul Avis (Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II—Exeter, UK)

Paul Avis (Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II—Exeter, UK)
Chaplain to HM Queen Elizabeth II
Editor-in-Chief, Ecclesiology
(Exeter, UK)
Paul Avis is a priest of the Church of England. After 23 years of full-time parish ministry, he became general secretary of the Council for Christian Unity (1998-2011) and theological consultant to the Anglican Communion Office (2011-12). He has also served as sub-dean and as canon theologian of Exeter Cathedral and is editor-in-chief of Ecclesiology.
Conference Presentation
"The Elusiveness of Consensus and the Road to Deeper Communion"

This presentation will explore the vexed question of what is meant by convergence and consensus in ecumenical dialogue, taking in the concept of "differentiated consensus" on the way, as a pathway towards deeper ecclesial communion between currently separated churches.

Elias Bongmba (Rice University—Houston)

Elias Bongmba (Rice University—Houston)
The Harry & Hazel Chavanne Chair in Christian Theology
Professor of Religion
Rice University (Houston)
Elias Bongmba is the Harry and Hazel Chair in Christian Theology and Professor of Religion at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he teaches religion, specializing in African indigenous religions, Christianity, theology, ethics, and political theology. In both 2000 and 2001, Bongmba received the Mosle Research Award from Rice and was three times named Outstanding Faculty Associate within the university’s Wiess College.

He is managing editor of Religious Studies Review and serves on several editorial boards. In addition, he is president of the African Association for the Study of Religion and lead investigator for “Land and Authority in Postcolonial Cameroon” with the Contending Modernity Project at the University of Notre Dame.

His publications include African Witchcraft & Otherness: A Philosophical & Theological Critique of Intersubjective Relations (SUNY, 2001); The Dialectics of Transformation in Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), which won the Frantz Fanon Prize in Caribbean Thought in 2007; and Facing a Pandemic: The African Church & Crises of HIV/AIDS (Baylor, 2007). He is also the editor of The Wiley Blackwell Companion to African Religions and co-editor of Living on the Edge: Steve de Gruchy Activist & Theologian, The Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa, and more than 50 peer-reviewed articles.

Conference Presentation
"From Comity to Competition in Cameroon & Kenya"

This presentation discusses contemporary competition in African Christianity. It explores the phenomenal growth of Christianity in Africa and the conflicts it has generated on questions of growth and ethics. Dr. Bongmba argues that, with ecclesial independence and growth of new forms of revivals which strengthened Pentecostal Charismatic Christianity, old mission and ecclesial practices like comity have given rise to competition. He illustrates this argument with case studies from Cameroon and Kenya.

Lusmarina Campos (Past President, Council of Christian Churches of Rio de Janeiro—Brazil)

Lusmarina Campos (Past President, Council of Christian Churches of Rio de Janiero—Brazil)
Past President, Council of Christian Churches of Rio de Janeiro
(Rio de Janeiro)
Lusmarina Campos Garcia holds a master's in law (2016) and a bachelor degree in law and social sciences (1994) from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; she also has a bachelor degree in theology from the Baptist Theological Seminary in southern Brazil (1985). Her work connects human rights, society, theology, and art in a liturgical and humanitarian view within the context of the global ecumenical movement, seeking to identify and discuss issues related to the reality of different social segments, especially of minority groups. Inserted in the context of international campaigns, her work aims to sensitize the audience in order to deconstruct discriminatory attitudes and create opportunities for dialogue.
Lusmarina is past president of the Council of Christian Churches of Rio de Janiero and served as a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva for nine years. During that time, she worked in close contact with international organizations such as the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and the World Communion of Reformed Churches, among others.
Conference Presentation
The Solitude of Solidarity: A Narrative from Brazil

This talk will reflect upon the dismantlement of the welfare state, the return of conservative particularisms in the face of overpowering neo-liberalism, and the Chrisitian response through, on the one hand, the aggressive neo-Pentecostal agenda, and on the other hand, contrasting practices of solidarity. In such a context, the closest "neighbor" is invisibilized, and Christian solidarity follows a political agenda.

Mark Chapman (Ripon College, Cuddeson—UK)

Mark Chapman (Ripon College Cuddeson—UK)
Vice Principal, Ripon College, Cuddeson
Professor, History of Modern Theology, University of Oxford
(Oxford, UK)

Mark Chapman is professor of the history of modern theology at the University of Oxford and vice principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon, a Church of England Seminary, where he has taught for the past 25 years. He is a Church of England priest and serves in a group of small churches just outside Oxford. He is also canon theologian of Truro Cathedral. He is currently a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and a member of the Council for Christian Unity, which is its principal ecumenical body.  

He has written widely on many different areas of ecclesiology, theology, and church history with a particular focus on Anglicanism and 19th- and early 20th-century theology.  His books include Theology and Society in Three Cities: Berlin, Oxford and Chicago, 1800-1914 (2014); The Fantasy of Reunion: Anglicans, Catholics, and Ecumenism, 1833-1880 (2014); Anglican Theology (2012); and Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (2006). He is also co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Anglican Studies (2015). A committed ecumenist, he is co-editor of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue series with Palgrave Macmillan and vice chair of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network.

Conference Presentation
"Anglicans, the Ecumenism of Blood, and Postcolonial Problems"

Using the case study of Anglicans in Nigeria (and to a lesser extent, Sudan), this presentation chuarts the ways in which Anglicans have faced different degrees of discrimination and persecution. It charts the ways in which they have engaged with Christians from other mainline denominations as they face common problems, but also the ways in which the activities of other provinces of the Anglican Communion, especially over the legitimacy of same-sex relationships, have affected Anglican self-perception and rhetoric. At the same time, Christian solidarity has also emerged from a perceived threat from new expressions of Christianity, especially different forms of the prosperity gospel.

Michael Cooper-White (Lutheran Theological Seminary—Gettysburg, PA)

Rev. Michael Cooper-White (President, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg)
President, Lutheran Theological Seminary
(Gettysburg, PA)
The Rev. Michael Cooper-White, D.D. has been president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary since 2000. He holds an MDiv from the Seminary and completed his internship with the Lutheran Church in Chile. Previously, he served in California and Chicago as an inner city parish pastor, urban coalition director, bishops’ assistant, and denominational executive.
His service to the church includes consulting and developing resources for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and ecumenical church leaders throughout the U.S. as well as directing an ecumenical council in the San Francisco Bay area. Fluent in Spanish, he has also consulted in the development of bilingual and multicultural ministries, and taught urban ministry and Lutheran polity at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Rev. Cooper-White has authored many articles on leadership and church administration as well as four books, including The Comeback God: A Theological Primer for a Life of Faith (2009) and On a Wing and a Prayer: Faithful Leadership in the 21st Century (2005). He also serves on the boards of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries and Washington Theological Consortium, as well as the National Trust for Historic Gettysburg. He is married to pastoral theologian Pamela Cooper-White. His avocation is as a commercial rated pilot and FAA certificated flight instructor.

Conference Presentation
"Bishops Saving 'Singers': Tales of Torture & Courageous Christian Witness in Pinochet's Chile"
Serving as a seminary intern during the height of the repression by Agosto Pinochet’s military junta, Michael Cooper-White had a front row seat to the courageous response of Lutheran Bishop Helmut Frenz and Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Ariztia Ruiz as they led the renowned “Comite pro Paz,” credited with saving the lives of thousands of persecuted Chileans during the mid-1970’s. Cooper-White has translated portions of Frenz’s autobiography, Mi Vida Chilena, and will share insights about how the martyrs’ (witnesses’) human rights work in Chile has enduring impact in today’s political climate and ecumenical context.

Mary N. Getui (Catholic University of East Africa—Nairobi)

Mary N. Getui (Catholic University of East Africa—Nairobi)
Professor of Religious Studies
Catholic University of East Africa

Since 2010, Prof. Mary N. Getui has taught in the Department of Religious Studies at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also CUEA's director of Quality Assurance. Previously, she was based at Kenyatta University where she served in the following capacities: ag. deputy vice-chancellor of Academics; dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; director of the Board of Undergraduate Studies; and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. She is the 2012 recipient of an honorary doctorate from DePaul University's School for New Learning and has published widely on religion, theology, education, gender, culture, governance, and health. Her publications include From Violence to Peace: A Challenge for African Christianity, co-authored with Peter Kanyandago; the edited volume, Theological Method & Aspects of Worship in African Christianity; and Religions in Eastern Africa under Globalization, co-edited with J. N. Mugambi.

Prof. Getui has provided leadership in various ecumenical initiatives: Association of Theological Institutions in Eastern Africa (ATIEA); The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians; The Ecumenical Symposium of Eastern Africa Theologians (ESEAT); Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT); and the World Forum for Theology and Liberation (WFTL). From 2009 to 2015, she served as chair of the National AIDS Control Council in Kenya. In addition, she sits on several boards related to matters of higher education, youth, peace, women, and family.

Conference Presentation
"Christian Solidarity: What Motivates Grassroots Cooperation Among Christians in Kenya?"

Unless distracted, provoked, or disturbed by mainly external forces or factors that would capitalize on or take advantage of the  denomination tag, many Christians in Kenya seem to cooperate on what would be termed as ordinary human experiences and issues. This presentation discusses what these issues are, and what is the glue that binds them together.

Vincent C. Ifeme (Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto—Italy)

Vincent C. Ifeme (Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto—Italy)
Director, Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto
(San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy)

A native of Umuchu, Nigeria, Vincent Chukwumamkpam Ifeme is a professor at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome’s Istituto Superiore di Scienze Religiose “Mater Gratiae” campus (Ascoli Piceno, Italy), where he has taught “Introduction to Theology” and “Fundamental Theology” since 2007. He also serves as the director of the Office for Ecumenism and Dialogue in the Diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto-Ripatransone-Montalto, Italy, where he is very active in practical ecumenical initiatives under the direction of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s National Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue (UNEDI). In addition, he has participated in and presented at several international conferences on interreligious dialogue, ecumenism, and ecclesiological investigations research networks in places such as Oxford, Rome, and Belgrade.

Vincent’s theological interests encompass the proprium of the Christian Specific: Trinitarian theology/Christology, especially as the locus theologicus for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. He completed his graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Uyo, Nigeria, and at an affiliate institute of the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome. He holds a doctorate in systematic/dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, and his dissertation, Jesus Christ the Reconciler in the Trinitarian Perspective: In the Theology of Karl Barth vis-à-vis Hans Urs von Balthasar, was published in 2007. He also is the author of “Diagnosing the Politics of Christian-Muslim Conflicts in the West African Sub-Region: Going Beyond the Western Paradigm,” a chapter in Religion, Authority and the State: From Constantine to the Contemporary World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
Conference Presentation
"Ecumenism & Immigration: The 'New Christians' in Italy"
With the recent phenomenon of immigration into Italy, especially of  the “New Christian” immigrants of non- Roman Catholic traditions—Eastern Orthodox Churches (now decreasing as some of these Eastern European countries enter the EU with more opportunities for jobs at home)—immigrants of Evangelical and other Protestant traditions from the global South are on the rise. This presentation discusses this trend as a new pathway and opportunity for ecumenism.

Stan Chu Ilo (Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology, DePaul University—Chicago)

Stan Chu Ilo (Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology, DePaul University)
Assistant Professor, Catholic Studies
Research Professor, Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology (CWCIT)
DePaul University

Stan Chu Ilo is a research professor at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University, where he is also an assistant professor of Catholic Studies. He holds a doctorate in theology from the University of St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, Canada, and is presently completing a second doctorate in the sociology of education through the University of South Africa. The editor of the series, African Christian Studies, for Pickwick Publications (Wipf and Stock Publishers), he is also a visiting faculty at the Institute of Social Ministry and Mission, part of Tangaza University College in Nairobi. He is the author of The Church and Development in Africa: Aid and Development from the Perspective of Catholic Social Ethics (2014) and the editor of the forthcoming book, Searching for Abundant Life: Christianity, Money, and Africa’s March Towards Modernity.

In addition to his academic work, Stan is the founder and president of the Canadian Samaritans for Africa, a registered Canadian charity working to alleviate poverty among African women by helping to develop the assets of African women in four African nations, including his home country of Nigeria. He also serves as a commentator on Africa, religion, and politics for Canada Television (CTV) and Al-Jazeera. A blogger for Huffington Post's  World Affairs, Religion, and Black Voices sections, Stan also writes columns for CNN African Voices, The Hill (Washington, DC), The Catholic Register (Canada), and Premium Times (Nigeria).

Conference Presentation
"From Miraculous Waters in Eastern Nigeria to the Earth Keepers of Zimbabwe: Ecumenical Stories of Healing, Health, and Ecology in Africa"

This presentation will build on two significant events in two parts of Africa. The first is the search for healing and health in a miraculous pond in Eastern Nigeria. The second is about the movement in Zimbabwe of the African "Earth keepers"—the practices which they adopted in the fight against environmental degradation and their ecumenical approaches to ecological consciousness and action. Building on these stories of solidarity in the face of suffering, and collaboration in the face of ecological challenges facing the continent and the world, this talk develops a portrait of ecumenism today at the grassroots level in Africa against the more formal dialogue taking place among African churches.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim (Earlham School of Religion—Richmond, IN)

Grace Ji-Sun Kim (Earlham School of Religion—Richmond, IN)
Associate Professor, Theology
Earlham School of Religion (Richmond, IN, USA)
Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is an associate professor of theology at Earlham School of Religion. Also an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the Presbyterian (USA) denomination, she writes in the intersection of religion, racism, sexism, and social justice. She has given papers/lectures throughout the U.S. and in Korea, Myanmar, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Peru, and Canada.
Kim is the author of six books: Embracing the Other (2015); Theological Reflections on “Gangnam Style” (2014), co-written with Joseph Cheah; Contemplations from the Heart (2014); Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit (2013); The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other (2011); and The Grace of Sophia (2010). Among her edited volumes are Christian Doctrines for Global Gender Justice (2015), co-edited with Jenny Daggers, and Here I Am (2015). Presently, she is working onThe Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the Holy Spirit (forthcoming, Fortress Press) and is a co-editor with Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan series, Asian Christianity in the Diaspora. She has also written over 70 book chapters, journal articles, and book reviews.

Recently, Kim has been elected to the American Academy of Religion’s board of directors as an at-large director. She also serves on the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) Research Grants Jury Committee and is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group. She is a steering committee member of AAR’s Comparative Theology Group and Religion and Migration Group. She sits on the editorial board for the Journal for Religion and Popular Culture and is also a referee for that journal as well as the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion and The Global Studies Journal. In addition, she serves as an advisory board member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.

Kim writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners,, Wabash Center, and is co-editor of the Feminist Studies in Religion. She has also written for TIME, The Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, the Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle, and The Nation.
Conference Presentation
"Making Peace with the Earth"
The greatest untapped resource for addressing the world's most pressing problems is the energy of religiously committed people. People around the globe and especially from the global South are making urgent pleas to work towards climate justice. This presentation will examine the theological underpinnings of what it means to be caretakers of creation. Making peace with the earth will not be easy, but now is the time for religious leaders, church people, and organizations to make the climate their priority and urgently listen to the voices of the marginalized from the global South.

Juan Sepúlveda (Evangelical Service for Ecumenical Development—Concepción, Chile)

Juan Sepúlveda (Evangelical Service for Ecumenical Development—Concepción, Chile)
Director, Institutional Development & Planning
SEPADE—Evangelical Service for Ecumenical Development
(Concepción, Chile)

A Pentecostal pastor, Juan Esteban Sepúlveda González is also the director of Institutional Development and Planning for SEPADE (Evangelical Service for Ecumenical Development) in Concepción, Chile, and professor of the history of churches at the Evangelical Theological Community of Chile (Comunidad Teológica Evangélica de Chile). He received his bachelor’s degree in theological studies from the Higher Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies (ISEDET) in Buenos Aires and his doctorate from the University of Birmingham (England).

From 1982 to 1989, Juan sat on the board of directors for Chile’s Confraternidad Cristiana de Iglesias (Christian Brotherhood of Churches), and from 1992 to 2002, he served as a member of the Advisory Group for the Office of Ecumenical Churches and Relationships within the World Council of Churches. From 2006 to 2013, he was a member of the Joint Working Group of the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and in 2007, he served as a Pentecostal observer at the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops (CELAM) in Aparecida, Brazil.
Conference Presentation
"Grassroots Ecumenism in Contexts of Crisis: The Case of Chile under Military Dictatorship (1973-1990)"
During the colonial period, Catholicism was the only religion allowed in Chilean territory. After independence, it remained the official religion for more than a century, while Protestant immigrants won, little by little, the right to celebrate their faith, but only privately. By 1925, religious freedom was established with the adoption of a new constitution which separated church and state, but the Catholic Church retained, along with its majority position, a privileged legal status until 1999 when a common legal status for all religious organizations was approved. Given this background, relations between the majority and minority churches at the grassroots level have tended to be competitive rather than cooperative. However, during the period of military dictatorship (1973-1990), there was a level of unprecedented ecumenical activities, both at the grassroots and the official levels. This presentation will discuss the factors that contributed, in a short time, to developing new ecumenical relationships and practices, and the reasons why few of them have survived the return to democracy.

Vimal Tirimanna, CSsR (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission—Ampitiya, Sri Lanka)

Vimal Tirimanna (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission—Ampitiya, Sri Lanka)
Professor, Systematic Moral Theology, Pontifical Accademica Alphonsiana (Rome)
Member, Catholic Delegation, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)
(Ampitiya, Sri Lanka)

Dr. Vimal Tirimanna, CSsR, is a professor of systematic moral theology at the Pontifical Accademia Alphonsiana in Rome. He also lectures at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome and the National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka in Sri Lanka. From 1997 to 2002, he was the official representative of the Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops to the Office of Theological Concerns (OTC) of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC), and from 2002 to 2012, he was the executive secretary of this same office. In 2010, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity appointed him a member of the Catholic delegation to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) of which he is still a member.

Dr. Tirimanna has published many theological articles in local and international periodicals, and has edited and written a few books including Catholic Teaching on Violence, War, and Peace in Our Contemporary World (2006) and Vatican II and Official Catholic Moral Teachings (2015). He has been invited to present papers at many international theological seminars and conferences on five continents.

Conference Presentation
"Past Divisions & Present Ecumenical Dialogues: Are These Elements of God's Plan (Providence)?"

The concept of "receptive ecumenism" (now very dear to almost all the mainline churches) basically recognizes the need to learn, unlearn, and re-learn (the lived Christian faith) from believers of other Christian churches/communities. The underlining presumption of this concept is that, in the course of history, some churches have distanced themselves from certain fundamental elements of Christian faith, whereas the very same elements have not only been preserved but kept intact and even deepened by other churches, and vice versa. In this background, could we not consider that past divisions were indeed part of God’s overall plan in order to enhance certain elements of the Christian faith in certain historical contexts according to the needs of God’s people in that particular context? However, in the last analysis, all believers in Christ (as revealed by God the Father) who are guided by his Spirit are called to be One in the same Christ, mainly through their baptism. If so, could the contemporary efforts at ecumensim, too, be viewed as yet another aspect of the same divine providence? This presentation suggests that the past divisions and present efforts of ecumenical dialogues could well be interpreted as essential parts of that divine providence. After all, all Christians belonging to diverse communities/churches do believe in the providence of God.

Justin K. H. Tse (Northwestern University—Evanston, IL)

Justin K. H. Tse (Northwestern University—Evanston, IL)
Visiting Assistant Professor, Asian American Studies
Northwestern University
(Evanston, IL, USA)
Justin K. H. Tse is a visiting assistant professor of Asian American studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Previously, he taught religious studies at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies in Seattle, WA, and human geography at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He became a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington in 2014 after receiving his PhD in geography at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver (UBC) that May. He earned his BA (Hon.) in history and an MA in geography, also from UBC.
Justin’s research focuses on the civil societies of the Pacific Rim, especially on the relationship between ideology and theology in cities in this region, and he publishes scholarly articles in human geography, religious studies, and Asian American studies. He is the lead editor of Theological Reflections on the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement (Palgrave, 2016), and he is currently working on a book manuscript titled "Religious Politics in Pacific Space: Grounding Cantonese Protestant Theologies in Secular Civil Societies." The title of the blog he writes for Patheos Catholic is "Eastern Catholic Person."
Conference Presentation
"Keeping the Family Together: The Geopolitics of Family Values Advocacy among Post-Handover Hong Kong Catholics & Protestants" 
The language of "family values" often evokes the socially conservative politics of preserving heteronormative family structures in state policy. In this talk, Dr. Tse hopes to broaden the exploration of family policy advocacy by moving the discussion to Hong Kong. While socially conservative groups did indeed attempt to stop hate crime bills and policy openings for same-sex marriage in Hong Kong, the question of family among Protestant and Catholic activists has in fact been dominated by contention revolving around migration and the "right to abode," as well as the fractures of families resulting from their differing positions regarding the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. In this way, the key ecclesiological divisions in post-handover Hong Kong tend not to fall along Protestant and Catholic lines, but along ideological conglomerations around various family issues. Tse's central argument is that, while each of the ecclesial advocacy clusters around different facets of the family in Hong Kong may seem to focus on different issues, each of them (traditional sexuality advocacy, advocacy for migrant workers, and attempts to reconcile families around the Umbrella Movement) revolve around the question of how to keep families in Hong Kong together in a divisive post-handover geopolitical climate where Hong Kong is placed in an awkward relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC). In this talk, Tse hopes to contribute to the study of World Catholicism by highlighting how the oft-discussed political geographies of Chinese Catholicism and Protestantism play out at the micro-level of the family in Hong Kong.

Philip Wingeier-Rayo (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary—Austin, TX)

Philip Wingeier-Rayo (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary—Austin, TX)
Associate Professor of Evangelism, Mission & Methodist Studies
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin, TX, USA)
Philip Wingeier-Rayo is associate professor of evangelism, mission and Methodist studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He teaches courses on the missional church, evangelism, Christianity and culture, as well as global Christianities. Previously, he has taught at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, and the Baez Camargo Seminary in Mexico City. He served as a missionary for a total of 15 years in Cuba, Mexico, and Nicaragua, and in the Rio Grande Valley.

He serves on the steering committee of the Wesley Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, the International Association for Mission Studies, and the United Methodist Professors of Mission. He has published numerous articles and two books: Cuba Methodism: The Untold Story of Survival and Revival, 2nd edition (2006) and Where are the Poor? An Ethnographic Study of a Base Christian Community and a Pentecostal Church in Mexico (2011). His current research involves models of multicultural congregations and ministry among immigrants. Dr. Wingeier-Rayo is married and has three children.
Conference Presentation
"Pentecostalism & Base Christian Communities in Mexico: Similarities, Differences, and Juxtapositions" 
This presentation will explore similarities and differences between Base Christian Communities in the Latin American liberation theology tradition and Pentecostal churches in the evangelical tradition. After reviewing some general background and studies of the two movements in Latin America, the talk will offer some observations from an ethnographic study of the two movements—physically located within one block of each other—in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The final section will focus on where both movements overlap regarding the participation of women, the poor, and civic engagement as well as offer some questions for future research and discussion.