Rev. Dr. Vuyani Vellem
An Associate Professor in the Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics and Director of the Centre for Public Theology at the University of Pretoria, he has held a number of positions in his career. As pastor in the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA) be became its first black General Secretary of this denomination from 2004 to 2008. He moved on to become Deputy General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) before he joined the University of Pretoria in 2010.
Prof. Vellem has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters and social commentary on various faith-related issues. He has recently co-edited a book published by CWM titled, Prophet from the South. He has presented papers and participated in a number of international Conferences. He has continued to advocate for justice and in his methodological approach within and outside the academy. Vuyani is interested in social ethical themes such as Christianity and Democracy, Christianity and Economics. He has a specific passion for studies in the areas of ecclesiology, soteriology, liberation theology, spirituality and faith in public life. His work is influenced by grassroots communities such as the Thabo Mbeki Village, an informal settlement around Diepsloot in Johannesburg. He seeks to remain in conversation with such communities engaging with questions about the meaning of life in such precarious contexts of squalor and poverty.
Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Born and raised in Bethlehem, he has served as pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem since 1988. An internationally-acclaimed author and speaker, Dr. Mitri Raheb is also the President of DIYAR, a consortium of 3 Lutheran institutions that he founded between the years 1995 to 2006. These institutions serve the Palestinian community through Culture (The International Center of Bethlehem), Health (Dar al-Kalima Health & Wellness Center) and Education (Dar al-Kalima College). He was awarded prestigious 2015 Olof Palme Prize for his fight against occupation and violence, and for a future Middle East characterized by peaceful coexistence .
He is the most widely published Palestinian theologian to date and is the author of many books including the award-winning Bethlehem Besieged, which received the Spirituality & Health Award as one of the 50 best spiritual books published in 2004. His recent book Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes shows how the reality of Empire shapes the context of the biblical story, and the ongoing conflict in Middle East. His books and numerous articles have been translated into eleven languages.
Rev. Dr. Grace Ji Sun Kim
An Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion and an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the Presbyterian Church in the USA. She received her M.Div. from Knox College (University of Toronto) and her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. She is author of numerous books and has written over 70 book chapters, journal articles and book reviews. She is a much sought after lecturer and has presented papers and lectures in the United States and in Korea, Myanmar, Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Peru and Canada.
Dr. Kim has recently been elected to the American Academy of Religion’s Board of Directors as Director-at-Large. She also serves on the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) “Research Grants Jury Committee.” She 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 a referee for three journal, namely, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, Journal of Religion and Popular Culture and The Global Studies Journal. She is an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. Grace is married to Dr. Perry Y.C. Lee and they have 3 children Theo, Elisabeth and Joshua.