Con­tro­ver­sial "Ex-pas­tor" Kevin Wes­ley to share his views at Chris­tian fo­rum

South Florida Times - - PRAYERFUL LIVING - Staff Re­port Flor ida Times, hood, South The Sis­ter-

MI­AMI - Each year, the John­nie Cole­mon The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary (JCTS) hosts a thought-pro­vok­ing col­lo­quium de­signed to stim­u­late dis­cus­sion sur­round­ing top­ics rel­e­vant to the church and its ex­is­tence in this coun­try. This year’s fo­rum, “The In­cred­i­ble Shrink­ing Church 2.0: Where Are the Mil­len­ni­als?” is tak­ing place May 17 to 19 at the Uni­ver­sal Truth Cen­ter for Bet­ter Liv­ing, lo­cated at 21310 NW 37th Ave., in Mi­ami Gar­dens.

“We have an ex­cit­ing pro­gram ev­ery year,” said Rev. Anna Price, the sem­i­nary’s provost and the host of the col­lo­quium. “This year we have both a com­pelling and timely topic with an ex­cep­tional panel of pre­sen­ters and pan­elists.”

One of the most an­tic­i­pated as­pects of the con­fer­ence in­cludes, “ex-pas­tor,” Kevin Wes­ley, a Mil­len­nial him­self who went vi­ral on Face­book two years ago for his pub­lic de­nun­ci­a­tion of his Chris­tian faith. Wes­ley will ap­pear via live stream to share his per­spec­tive as an ex-cler­gy­man who is now part of the grow­ing spir­i­tual-con­scious move­ment to awaken individuals from the “spell of religion.”

Open­ing night of the col­lo­quium fea­tures the Rev. Sheila McKei­then, pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sal Foun­da­tion f or Bet­ter Liv­ing, Inc. (UFBL) and the JCTS; as well as in­tro­duc­tory re­marks from Price, who will ex­pound on the back­ground of the year’s theme. McKei­then will share a clip from a fo­cus group she mod­er­ated with youth in Kingston, Ja­maica, as they dis­cussed their views on the church.

Mitchell Walthour Jr., a film­maker-ac­tivist and a co-co­or­di­na­tor of this year’s event, will fa­cil­i­tate a video pre­sen­ta­tion.

“My pre­sen­ta­tion is a fu­sion of cur­rent re­search re­gard­ing my gen­er­a­tion – Mil­len­ni­als – which I’m sure is go­ing to ruf­fle some feath­ers,” the 29- year-old laughs. “I will use data to shine a light on who my gen­er­a­tion is and what we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally. I will also go a step fur­ther to link those so­cial and eco­nomic f ail­ures to the church. I also don’t shy away from the racial el­e­ment ei­ther.”

The evening’s key­note ad­dress will be de­liv­ered by the Rev. J. Ed­win Ba­con, au­thor of “8 Habits of Love” and a na­tional voice on the one­ness of all, faith, and jus­tice. Oprah Win­frey re­cently named Ba­con a “soul teacher” on her “Su­perSoul 100” list of awak­ened lead­ers. Ba­con will present on, “It’s The End Of the Church As We Know It and I Feel Fine.”

Fri­day’s ses­sion in­cludes the Rev. Joshua Mitchell, the Min­is­ter of Youth and Col­lege Stu­dents at Wheeler Av­enue Bap­tist Church in Hous­ton, Texas, and au­thor of the newly re­leased book, “Black Mil­len­ni­als and the Church: Meet Me Where I Am.”

“Not only has he pro­duced orig­i­nal re­search on this sub­ject, but Mitchell has ex­pe­ri­ence with col­lege-aged mem­bers at his church, which is vi­tal to dis­cuss, as churches of­ten lose their youth when they head off to col­lege,” said Price. Mitchell will present re­motely.

Fri­day evening con­tin­ues with Dr. Joan Muir, a li­censed clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist and the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Brief Strate­gic Fam­ily Ther­apy® In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami in Coral Gables. Dr. Muir will of­fer the psy­chol­ogy of Mil­len­ni­als, giv­ing us an aca­demic glimpse into the lives and minds of the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion.

Satur­day’s pro­gram leads off with Michelle Hollinger, ed­i­tor of the

pub­lisher of au­thor and film­maker; and Tawni­cia Fer­gu­son-Rowan, a fac­ulty mem­ber at both the JCTS and Florida Me­mo­rial Univer­sity in Mi­ami Gar­dens. Both pre­sen­ters will ex­plore this theme in the con­text of New Thought, of­fer­ing unique and in­di­vid­ual per­spec­tives.

The ses­sion will also in­clude a panel dis­cus­sion with all live pre­sen­ters and Mil­len­ni­als to re­view key points taken from the fo­rum and an­swer fi­nal ques­tions from at­ten­dees. Par­tic­i­pants will have an op­por­tu­nity to con­vene in break­out groups to share their re­sponses to “Where do we go from here?”

The first night is free to the pub­lic and will be live-streamed on the UFBL’s Face­book page. The Col­lo­quium is open to the pub­lic, and par­tic­i­pants may at­tend live or on­line. Ad­mis­sion is $30.00; ad­mis­sion and a record­ing are $50.00.

Please visit www.jct­sem­i­nar y.org/2018col­lo­quium to reg­is­ter. For more in­for­ma­tion, email aprice@jct­sem­i­nar y.org or call 305-624-4991

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF JCTS

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