Educational Intensives

Educational Intensives are educational sessions led by unbiased experts on the subject matter of each resolution that will come before the General Synod. These sessions are designed to inform delegates who will eventually vote on each of the resolutions. Delegates should attend the intensive related to the committee to which they are assigned. Committee assignments were sent out via email. Anyone who is registered for General Synod is welcome to attend any of the Intensives. Priority seating will be given to voting delegates.

Intensives take place Friday, June 30 from 12:30pm until 2:00pm.
Committee members will then meet on Sunday.

Abortion as Healthcare
Presenter: Philip Eskew, Jr., MD

Dr. Eskew is a graduate of DePauw University and the Indiana University School of Medicine. He served his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started his practice in Carmel, Indiana, as a solo practitioner and built up a large group practice. After twenty years in private practice, Dr. Eskew became the Ob/Gyn Residency Director and Medical Director of Women and Infant Services at St. Vincent Hospital.

Boarding Schools
Presenter: Vance Blackfox

VanceBlackfox, an Indigenous theologian and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, serves the churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) as the Director of Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations. He is at present the Indigenous Theologian and Coordinating Team Member for the ELCA’s Theological Round Table, as well as creator and producer of the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium hosted at LSTC.

Digital Divide                  
Presenter: Dr. Annie Cruz-Porter                   

Annie Cruz-Porter is one of the community and regional development specialists at the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD). Annie has a PhD from the University of Sheffield in England. She has also earned a Master’s degree in urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University and a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of London. She is a member of the American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners.

Presenter: Delaney Barber                              
Delaney Barber is the Outreach, Energy and Climate Coordinator for Hoosier Environmental Council. She concentrates her efforts on legislative outreach, social media, and our annual conference, Greening the Statehouse. Delaney has a BA in Anthropology from Purdue University and an MPA from Indiana University. She is passionate about sustainability in Indianapolis and is happy to be dedicating her time to Indiana’s environment.

Harm Reduction            
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Elyse Berry                       
Rev. Elyse Berry, DMin serves as the Associate for Advocacy and Leadership Development for The Council of Health and Human Service Ministries of the UCC. She is part of the national working group for the UCC’s Harm Reduction and Overdose Prevention Ministries and the Harm Reduction Network of the Heartland Conference. Berry holds a Doctor of Ministry in Spirituality from the Fordham University Graduate School of Religion and is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Guns to Gardens         
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Leah Gunning Francis    

Rev. Leah Gunning Francis, Ph.D., joined Indiana University Health as senior vice president and chief mission and values officer. In this role, she oversees the departments of chaplaincy, spiritual care and congregational partnerships, clinical and organizational ethics, and system archives. Dr. Gunning Francis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Hampton University; a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Hawaiian Language
Presenter: John Kalei Laimana Jr.                 
John Kalei Laimana,Jr. is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawai’i Leeward Community College. He teaches Hawaiian Studies with a special focus on Hawaiian systems of governance prior to 1840. He has been advising and developing curriculum for Kaiapuni o Puohala School, a Hawaiian Language immersion program of the Department of Education of Hawai’i for the last seven years.

Plant Based Living
Presenter: Marc McAleavey                           
Marc McAleavey, MSW has over 25 years as a nonprofit and government executive having served as the Executive Director of Serve Indiana, as the founding executive director of Playworks Indiana and, the founding executive director of Public Allies Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from Indiana University-Purdue University/Indianapolis as well as a Master of Social Work degree from the Indiana University School of Social Work, where he is an Adjunct Professor.

Presenter: Allyson Pumphrey Mitchell         

Allyson Mitchell was formerly the Executive Director of CIRCULAR INDIANA, previously known as Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC). Under her leadership at CIRCULAR INDIANA, Allyson led the effort to address Indianapolis’ waste and recycling challenges. She served as the Director of Sustainability for Prosperity Indiana and created a sustainability planning and consulting company.

Public Schools
Presenter: Dr. Craig Boyd                                
Dr. Craig A. Boyd is Professor of Philosophy & Humanities at Saint Louis University, where he also earned his PhD in philosophy. His doctoral work focused on social and political thought with an emphasis on ethics. He has published dozens of scholarly articles ranging from studies on love and humility to neuro-science and evolutionary ethics and the Galileo Affair to Thomistic natural law and metaphysics. Professor Boyd’s most current work is a volume on J.R.R. Tolkien forthcoming with Cambridge University Press titled, “Tolkien on the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.“

Presenter: Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker
Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker is the Assistant Professor of Community Engagement and Contextual Education, Director Contextual Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Dr. Baker is certified anti-racism trainer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and a trainer of faith-based community organizing in the Gamaliel network. Dr. Dietra teaches Church Planting, Youth Ministry, Preaching, Faith Community Organizing, Anti-Racism/Anti-Caste, Vocational Resilience and Formation.

Solitary Confinement
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan                    
Rev.Dr. JackSullivan, Jr., is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) US and Canada. He serves as executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Dayton). Dr. Sullivan is immediate past board chair of Ohioans to Stop Executions, and a former steering committee member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Human Dignity Trans-Nonbinary Persons
Presenter: Emma Vosicky, J.D.                       
Emma Vosicky received her BA from the University of Notre Dame, her JD from the DePaul University, and her MAT from National Louis University. Emma served in a variety of roles on behalf of the LGBTQ community, including outreach, education, training and fundraising with Youth Outlook (providing LGBTQ youth drop-in centers across Northern Illinois), working with the Transformative Justice Law Project in helping LGBTQ folks obtain name changes, serving with Equality Illinois as a member of its Community Advisory Group, and acting as the Project Manager for Equality Illinois’ State Boards & Commissions Project.

White Supremacy Free Zone
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Shannon Craigo-Snell    
Shannon Craigo-Snell is a systematic Christian theologian who serves as professor of theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Before arriving in Louisville, she was associate professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, where she taught undergraduates, masters students, and Ph.D. students. She was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Since then, she has been invited to teach workshops and lead worship in churches across the country.

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