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Big Tent 2019

Big Tent 2019


Banner - Conference Leaders

Plenary Speakers

Assoc. Professor of Church Growth & Evangelism
North Park THeological Seminary

Image of Rev Dr Soong-Chan RahRev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL and the author of The Next Evangelicalism (IVP Books, 2009); Many Colors (Moody, 2010); Prophetic Lament (IVP Books, 2015); co-author of Forgive Us (Zondervan, 2014); Return to Justice (Brazos, 2016); and Unsettling Truths (IVP Books, 2019).

Soong-Chan received his B.A. from Columbia University; his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; his Th.M. from Harvard University; his D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Duke University.

Rah is formerly the founding Senior Pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC), a multi-ethnic church living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. He has previously served on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners and the Christian Community Development Association.

He has extensive experience in cross-cultural preaching as well as on numerous college campuses. Soong-Chan has been a main stage speaker at the Urbana Student Missions Conference, the Congress on Urban Ministry, the Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference, the CCDA National Conference, the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary National Preaching Conference, the Fuller Missiology Conference, the Justice Conference, and Verge, Catalyst, and Calvin Worship Conferences.

Rev. Amantha Barbee
Sr. Pastor
Oakhurst Presbyterian Church - Charlotte, NC

image of Rev Amantha BarbeeReverend Barbee holds a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA, where she earned the E.T. George Award for Excellence in Homiletics and Worship. Rev. Barbee worked in corporate sales before heeding the call to ministry, then served as a program director in an area women’s homeless center. She has served as pastor at Statesville Avenue Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC, since 2011, and is currently working on her doctoral degree at Columbia Theological Seminary.

A native of Charlotte, Rev. Barbee is a leader in the PC(USA) and in her city. She sits on the Board of Trustees for Montreat Conference Center, as well as the Strategy Team for NEXTChurch.

In 2018, Rev. Barbee received the PCUSA Women of Faith Award, recognizing clergywomen who challenge systemic racism and oppression, work for transformative change, and seek to end racism and injustice. The award was given in part for her work the night Keith Scott was killed in Charlotte, when she stood between protestors and policemen with several other ecumenical leaders.

Rev. Barbee led a movement to make anti-bias training mandatory for all teaching elders, now represented as a “Racism Task Force” for the Presbytery of Charlotte. She is also a supporter of the Women In Transition program at the YWCA and the NC School of the Arts in Charlotte.

Rev. Barbee is an advocate for those with no or limited voice and does not shy away from living into discipleship. She believes that ministry that happens inside and outside the building. Her ideal church is one that adamantly loves, is affirming and accepting, and is willing to stand on the front lines of social justice and change.

Rev. Cindy Kohlmann & Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri
Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018)

Image of Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly

Cindy Kohlmann (left) has served two churches as a solo pastor, in Carlisle, Ohio and Clinton, MA. She has been serving the Presbytery of Northern New England as their Presbyter since 2010, and in 2015, she said goodbye to the church in Clinton and began serving Boston Presbytery. In addition to serving these two Presbyteries as the Resource Presbyter, Cindy was also elected in June 2018 as Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is married to the Rev. Eric Markman, pastor of the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church in Natick, MA, and has two adult step-daughters.

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri (right) is an ESL teacher and a Presbyterian elder. A life-long Presbyterian, Vilmarie was ordained in San Juan, Puerto Rico 25 years ago.  She has served at the session, as a member and chair of several presbytery committees, vice moderator of Synod Boriquén and council member, a commissioner to the 212th General Assembly, a member of the General Assembly Committee on Theological Education and as Moderator of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida. 

Vilmarie holds a B.A. in Education (English as a Second Language) from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s in Education (Curriculum and Teaching) from Turabo University. Dedicating most of her adult life to education, teaching high schoolers and adults from all over the world, her first classroom was in Sunday School.  She currently serves as part of a CREDO faculty team. 

Vilmarie lives in Miami, FL, with her husband, the Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts, pastor of La Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana en Miami.  An organizer at heart, she loves arts & crafts and decorating as well as relaxing over a good cup of Puerto Rican coffee.   Along with the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, Resource Presbyter of the Presbyteries of Boston and Northern New England, Vilmarie serves as Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018). 

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Worship Leaders

Rev. Dr. Amaury Tañón-Santos
Synod Networker
Synod of the Northeast 

Image of Amaury Tañón-Santos A pastor by vocation, a historian by training, and a networker by calling, Amaury Tañón-Santos serves as the Synod Networker for the Synod of the Northeast, the region of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) that serves 1100 gospel communities, organized in 22 presbyteries in New England, New Jersey and New York. As networker, Amaury brings together leaders and congregations who share a common passion in mission and ministry throughout the region. His connecting folks with partners and resources in and out of the church seeks to encourage a missional engagement and a social justice witness that is relevant and innovative. Amaury also serves the church as member of the Committee on Theological Education, and is a minister-member of Albany Presbytery.

Before his call to mid council leadership, Amaury served as pastor of congregations in urban contexts of New York and New Jersey. He also served as director of programs on multicultural ministry, faith and public life, and Latina/o leadership formation at Princeton Seminary’s continuing education.

Amaury pursued studies in history at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, trained for pastoral ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, and deepend his passion in urban ministry and intercultural engagement at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He lives in the Capital District of New York State with his wife, Jeannette, his stepson, Aiden, and his baby boy, Sebastián Mikel.

Rev. Dr. Renita Weems
AssT. Professor of Educational Ministry
Columbia Theological Seminary

Image of Rev Dr Renita WeemsReverend Dr. Renita J. Weems is a biblical scholar, a writer, an ordained minister, and a public intellectual whose scholarly insights into modern faith, biblical texts, and the role of spirituality in everyday lives make her a highly sought-after writer and speaker.  She has numerous books, commentaries and articles to her credit.  Among these are “Just A Sister Away” (1987 & 2005); “I Asked for Intimacy” (1993); “Song of Songs: A Commentary”, Interpreter’s Bible Series, Vol. 5 (1997).  Her 1999 book, “Listening for God: A Minister's Journey Through Silence and Doubt” won the Religious Communicators' Council's prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award.

Dr. Weems received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. Upon receiving her Ph.D. in 1989 from Princeton, she became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Old Testament studies.  Invited by Yale University to deliver the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures in 2008, she became the first African American woman to give the Beecher lectures. She taught in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University for many years; she has served as the William and Camille Cosby Visiting Professor of Humanities at Spelman College and, more recently, as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at American Baptist College in Nashville. When she isn’t writing she co-pastors with her husband, Rev. Martin L. Espinosa, the Ray Of Hope Community Church in Nashville.

Dr. Weems is featured in “Black Stars: African American Religious Leaders” (2008), a collection of biographies of some of the most important Black Religious Leaders over the last 200 hundred years.

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Bible Study Leader

Dr. William Brown
William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament
Columbia Theological Seminary

Image of William BrownWilliam P. Brown is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.  Bill has also taught at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond and at Emory University.  His teaching and writing continue explore the intersecting issues of justice, creation care, and hope from biblical and theological perspectives.  Bill is the author of several books and numerous essays, including A Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis (WJK), Sacred Sense (Eerdmans), Wisdom’s Wonder (Eerdmans), The Seven Pillars of Creation (Oxford University), Seeing the Psalms (WJK), as well as editor of Engaging Biblical Authority (WJK).  

Most recently, Bill was a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton (, where he worked collaboratively with scientists, philosophers, and ethicists exploring the “societal implications of astrobiology.”  He is currently working on a major commentary on the Psalms.  Bill is an avid Sunday School teacher and was a founding member of Earth Covenant Ministry, an organization of Presbyterian churches in the Atlanta area dedicated to creation care now part of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL).  Gail and Bill are active at North Decatur Presbyterian Church and have two grown daughters, Ella and Hannah.  

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