2019 PEP FACULTY
The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katharine Jefferts Schori is the former Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church and is curently the Assisting Bishop of the San Diego Diocese. Previously elected as the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, she was the first woman elected as a primate in the Anglican Communion. Jefferts Schori was elected at the 75th General Convention on June 18, 2006, and invested at Washington National Cathedral on November 4, 2006 and continued until November 1, 2015, when Michael Bruce Curry was invested in the position. She took part in her first General Convention of the Episcopal Church as Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in July 2009.
Jonathan Merritt is an award-winning writer on religion, culture, and politics. He serves as a contributing writer for The Atlantic, a contributing editor for The Week, and is author of several critically-acclaimed books including Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words are Vanishing – and How We Can Revive Them.
Jonathan has published more than 3500 articles in respected outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. As a respected voice, he regularly contributes commentary to television, print, and radio news outlets and has been interviewed by ABC World News, NPR, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, and CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
As a collaborator or ghostwriter, Jonathan has worked on more than 50 additional books, with several titles landing on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. Additionally, he trains hundreds of young writers through his Write Brilliant course and is available for exclusive one-on-one coaching for a select number of aspiring and accomplished writers. Jonathan holds a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the Wilbur Award for excellence in journalism, the Religion News Association’s columnist of the year, and the Englewood Review of Books “Book of the Year” award.
Sr. Miriam Elizabeth, OSH (aka the Rev. Faith E. Bledsoe)
Sr. Miriam Elizabeth is a religious sister in the Order of St. Helena, an Episcopal monastic order for women in North Augusta, SC, where she serves as a priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She serves as a supply priest in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and works as a mentor for Backstory Preaching. She received her M. Div. in 2002 from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX and served churches in south Texas for nine years. Prior to her priestly ministry, she worked for fourteen years as a hospital and rehabilitation speech pathologist. She enjoys all things creative including preaching, cooking, quilting and photography; and loves kayaking on a cool morning.
The Rev. George “Tripp” Hudgins, Bogard Teaching Fellow at CDSP, Instructor in Homiletics and Liturgy
Tripp is currently working on his dissertation on Liturgy and Ethnomusicology, addressing how the public performance of a concert becomes the work of, for, and by the people we call Liturgy. As a preaching pastor and musician, he had served in the local parish, in ecumenical settings, as well as events such as The Wild Goose Festival.
The Rev. Gary D. Jones, Rector St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Richmond, VA
Gary Jones has been rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, for 14 years. St. Stephen’s Church is a large parish that is known for its worship, social engagement, communal vibrancy, and its role as a “Village Green” for the city. Gary has special interests in the pastoral dimension of preaching, the future of parish ministry, the contemplative dimension of the Gospel, and meaningful social ministry. He is married with three grown children.
The Rev. Dr. Brent Norris, Rector St. Mary’s, Asheville, NC
Brent teaches preaching in the Diocese of Western North Carolina Deacon’s Training Program and is the Diocesan Ecumenical Officer. He holds a B.A. in drama from Furman University, an M.Div. from Sewanee, and a D.Min. from Columbia Theological Seminary. Brent has served on the faculty of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s annual Preaching Excellence Program since 2005. For most of those years he has done double duty as a preaching group leader and the conference liturgist/musician.
The Rev. Dr. Carolyn J. Sharp, Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School
Dr. Sharp’s research explores the theology of biblical texts as resources for homiletical theory and praxis. Professor Sharp is interested in ways in which preaching can draw artfully on biblical poetics, feminist perspectives on power, and emancipatory pedagogy. Her books include Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible (2009), Wrestling the Word: The Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Believer (2010), and Prophetic Literature (forthcoming in 2019). Professor Sharp has edited or co-edited six volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of the Prophets (2016) and Feminist Frameworks and the Bible: Power, Ambiguity, and Intersectionality (with Juliana Claassens; 2017). Her current projects include a commentary on Joshua (Smyth & Helwys), a commentary on Jeremiah 26–52 (Kohlhammer), and a book on preaching as catechesis. An Episcopal priest and member of the Academy of Homiletics, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Society of Biblical Theologians, Professor Sharp preaches regularly at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex and elsewhere. She lives with her husband, Leo Lensing, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. They are the parents of two grown children, Dinah and Jake.
The Rev. (Thelma M.) Nikki Panton Mathis, Rector at St Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, GA
Before entering the priesthood in 2008, Rev. Mathis worked as a licensed clinical social worker, enjoying a career that spanned nearly 20 years. During that time, her research earned publication in The Journal of Family Social Work.
Since entering the priesthood, Rev. Mathis has authored several articles and sermons in publications that include The Sewanee Theological Review, The Episcopal Preaching Foundation’s Preaching the Beatitudes, Graymoor and The Alban Weekly. She is currently a recipient of a grant from the College of Pastoral Leaders from Austin Seminary, and serves as Trustee for Sewanee, University of the South. Rev. Mathis is a regular member of the PEP Faculty.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Angela F. Shepherd, Rector at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA
The Rev. Canon Dr. Angela F. Shepherd is the seventh rector of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta a congregation deeply committed to radical hospitality, social justice, Christian formation, worship, and music. Her tenure began in March of 2018 and she is the first woman and African American to be called as rector. Angela is a contemplative Gospel based strategist who loves cradle to glory ministry, helping bring people closer to God, and working with others to make the world a better place. Prior to coming to Atlanta, her ministry in the Diocese of Maryland included serving on the bishop’s staff as Canon for Mission (2010 – 2018) where she led and supported several initiatives. Her portfolio included leadership positions of Chief Operating Officer for the Sutton Scholars High School Enrichment Program, and chair/co-chair and staff support to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which focused on dismantling racism. She was rector of St. Philip’s, Annapolis for nearly eleven years and vicar of St. Augustine’s, Youngstown, OH for three years. She has actively served on commissions, committees and boards in dioceses, the broader church, and local communities.
Angela earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Theological Seminary and Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western where she received the Field Prize for Homiletics.
The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Dean of the School of Theology
The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, Th.D, D.D., was appointed dean of the School of Theology on June 26, 2012. He is also professor of liturgy and the Charles Todd Quintard Professor of Theology.
Alexander was elected the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta and served from 2001 to 2012. During his time as bishop, he focused on growing new congregations and ministries and developing an efficient communication strategy for the diocese. He led multiple pilgrimages and mission trips to dioceses in Africa and placed a special focus on relationships with global-south dioceses.
Alexander has served in a variety of parish settings and has taught at The General Theological Seminary, Yale University, Drew University, and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. He has been a board member of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation and a faculty member and chaplain of the Preaching Excellence Conference of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation. He is the president of the Board of Directors of the College for Bishops.
The Rt. Rev. William H. “Chip” Stokes, Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey
The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes is the twelfth Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. Elected on May 4, 2013, he was Consecrated on November 2, 2013 and succeeded The Right Reverend George Councell.
He is a recognized preacher and Christian educator.
He has been active in the area of anti-racism, is a certified trainer in multi-culturalism and anti-racism and was a member of the Committee on Anti-Racism for the Episcopal Church. He has served at many levels of governance in the Episcopal Church. While in Florida, he served as Chairman of the Board of Episcopal Charities of Southeast Florida. He was an active leader in his community in Delray Beach serving on several Boards and Committees and working actively to see that St. Paul’s was actively engaged in the life of the city. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of General Theological Seminary.