• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    Guest Speakers

    Workshop Leader: Erin Davis
    Erin A. Davis is a marketing executive and serial entrepreneur. She has over 15 years of experience in the marketing industry, beginning her career at Radio One of Atlanta as a Marketing Research Associate. There, she conducted marketing research studies for 61 broadcasts in 13 markets.
         From there, she became a Lifestyle Marketing Expert for Fader Magazine, where she executed special promotions and events for major recording artists, motion picture films, consumer electronics, and beverage companies. Eventually, Erin became an Account Executive for BH Media - a Berkshire Hathaway company. In this role, she was responsible for selling print advertising and multi-media products to Fortune 500 companies throughout the North Carolina Triad area - including The News & Record newspaper, 1808 Greensboro's Magazine, and a complete digital product suite, including Google, Facebook, SEO/SEM, Retargeting, Reputation Management and Email Marketing.
    Erin later worked in sales and marketing as an Advertising Sales Director for Professional Sports Publications, where she was responsible for selling national sponsorships, advertising, and branding packages for over 100 professional sports franchises and events throughout the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as numerous universities sports franchises across the United States.
    Erin graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Howard University.
         Today, Erin is still involved in marketing; she is the founder of Elements Media, a full-service marketing agency.; however, her focus has shifted toward helping entrepreneurs build their businesses. She is also the Social Media Ambassador for American Baptist Women’s Ministries. She loves cycling, tennis and writing poetry but most importantly - she loves Christ, and desires to co-labor with the Lord in service through volunteering and growth in faith through personal time with God and fellowship at St Paul Baptist church, in Montclair, NJ. Erin’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. “

    Evening Plenary Speaker:  Rev.  Barbara Florvil Lavarin
    Reverend Barbara Florvil Lavarin, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, is a proud daughter of Haitian immigrants. Upon graduating from Tufts University in 2013 with B.A. in Child Development, Barbara worked as an Education Coordinator at the Berean Community and Family Life Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn as an Americorps member. Shortly after, Rev. Lavarin attended and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with her Master of Divinity. While pursuing her degree, she faithfully led as the co-chair of the Association of Black Seminarians’ Women’s Fellowship focusing her scholarship in Black Church Studies, and Women, Gender, and Theology Studies. Rev. Lavarin was licensed to preach the Gospel at the Historic Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin Jr. For the last 5 years, she joyfully served as the Assistant to the Pastor for Youth at the Historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, in Alexandria, VA, where she was ordained by the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley. Currently, Barbara resides in Durham, North Carolina where she is training to become a Spiritual Director. Rev. Lavarin is also a poet and writer who enjoys writing poetry and plays.  She is the proud wife of Rev. Marc Antoine Lavarin, her best friend and partner in life. Together, they have the joy and the privilege to parent their son, Marc Antoine Lavarin Jr. It is their life’s mission to serve God’s people through sharing the expansive and explosive nature of the Gospel through the preached Word and service.

    Workshop Leader: Minister Cassandra Foster
    Minister Cassandra Foster began her ministry work in 2007 with the youth leader at First Baptist Church of Hillside for the Teens for Christ Ministry. She became the Youth Leader of the Teens for Christ Ministry in 2008. Cassandra Foster obtained her Associate of Arts in Business from Union County College in 2008. Cassandra was the recording secretary for one year and the Teens for Christ Ministry President for two years. While leading the Youth Ministry, Cassandra obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business from Montclair State University in 2012. She also joined a campus ministry, the former CHANGE Collegiate Network, currently known as Christian Collegiate Network. CCN was focused on evangelism and spreading the gospel around the tri-state area through one-to-one witnessing and open-air preaching. 
         After over ten years of experience in Business Administration, she decided to continue her career in Business Administration. She worked for the Fortune 100 company Robert Half for 5 years and has worked in Human Resources for three years. She also began her business in the travel industry as a Travel Agent. She enjoys helping people reach their dream destinations. She believes God should come first in your life. Cassandra Foster began Cassandra’s Global Discovery, a travel business in 2015. She acknowledges that everything should be done for God’s glory first and everything will fall into place.
         During her time in Seminary, she served her field education at the Somerset Presbyterian Church under the covering of Rev. Sharon Culley. She became president of the Association of Black Seminarians in 2015-2016.  She served as a pastoral intern and Youth Minister under Rev. James Kang at the First Baptist Peddie Memorial Church. She birthed the Young Disciples Youth Ministry. Cassandra received her Master of Divinity from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in 2017. Upon completing her degree, she became a licentiate minister under the leadership of her Pastor, Rev. Dr. Christopher Michael Jones in May 2017. 
         Cassandra currently serves as the Youth Minister and Minister of Social Media at First Baptist Church of Hillside. She relaunched the VIBE youth ministry (Victorious in Believing Eternity). Additionally, she works as the Social Media Content Creator for American Baptist Women’s Ministries. Cassandra is currently enrolled at United Theological Seminary to obtain her Doctor of Ministry.

    Sunday Worship Preacher: Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain
    Reverend Dr. Gina C. Jacobs-Strain is the General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.  Previously, she served as Executive Director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) for six years. Under her guidance, ABWM introduced the AB GIRLS program, “Building Bridges and Gateways to Girl’s Future/Hie-STEAM,” an initiative connecting AB GIRLS Christian Curriculum with local STEAM providers, empowering girls to recognize God’s creative potential within them. 
    Rev. Dr. Gina served as the Transitional Pastor for First Baptist Church of New Market in Piscataway, New Jersey; Interim Pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey; Associate Regional Pastor for Women in Ministry for American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ); and is an Associate Minister of Christian Education at St. Paul Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey.
    As a teacher, Gina especially enjoys facilitating and inspiring Christian educators to share the Word of God in collaborative and interactive studies, helping teachers and students discover the immediate application of God's word to their everyday lives. She contributed to the "Testify: ABC-NJ Devotional" book released in 2015. In 2016 she co-launched the Christian Education Workshop Series, "Leading Interactive and Engaging Bible Studies (L.I.B.S. TM)" at the ABCNJ annual Church Officers and Leaders Conference (COAL), and in 2017 created a conversation series, "The Intersection of Leadership and Healing."
    Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain earned a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University and graduated from Drew University's Theological School Magna Cum Laude with a Master of Divinity degree. She also received the Old Testament Studies Scholar Award from the Biblical Studies Department. In 2015 she received a Certificate of Excellence from Palmer Theological Seminary & ABC-NJ Academy and graduated from the Nehemiah-Leadership Program in 2017. In May 2020, she earned a Doctor of Ministry from Duke University.

    Evening Plenary Speaker:  Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall 
    Rev. Joy Martinez-Marshall serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln, NE, and as the Associate Region Minister for American Baptist Churches of Nebraska. Joy grew up in The Colony, TX. Now, she calls Nebraska home after moving from Waco, TX where she served as a Student Life Minister. She holds a B.A. in Religion from Baylor University and a M.Div. from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
         FBC Lincoln shares in ministry with 2 other ABC NE congregations (Lincoln Karen Baptist Church and Livingstone Christian Church) that call 1340 K Street their home. Joy serves as the Vice President of the Faith Coalition of Lancaster County and on the Board of Directors of Baptist Women In Ministry. She is committed to helping the local church partner with what God is already doing in the neighborhood while encouraging creative ministry. Joy loves to cook and knows the value of the perfect game-day snack. She and her husband, Austin, are avid sports fans and readers. 

    Workshop Leader: Ania Norori
    Ania Norori’s professional career path has taken her through some of the major banks, Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch, where she has served in both business operations and financial advising. Ania is delighted to be serving now as Director of Lilly Programs at The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB), where she is integrating her financial education and experience with Christian ministry.
         Ania Norori holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Marketing from New Jersey City University, NJ, a Certificate in Christian Ministry from New York Theological Seminary, and is a Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®)
         Ania has also held leadership positions with New Jersey’s Latino Ministries, including Vice Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the “Concentracion de las Iglesias Bautistas Latinas” as well as American Baptist Churches USA National Hispanic Caucus Secretary, and American Baptist Churches of NJ Vice President of Finance.
         Ania is married to Rev. Santiago Norori and she is mom to Sebastian and Abigail Norori.

    AB GIRLS Workshop Leader: Rev. Dr. Cheryl Price 
    As publisher of Judson Press, the Rev. Cheryl Price, PhD, helps individuals explore, discover, and encourage the joy of reading and writing through various topics and styles. Her goals are to create an opportunity for writers to discuss their book ideas; invite more authors with multiple abilities to write; provide more books and resources regarding the environment, climate control, clean food, and water; continue to address such challenges as racism, sexism, and economic exploitation, and trends/thoughts and book discussions for Christian educators and educators in general, pastors, children, teens, and young adults.
         “What excites me are the various channels to share God’s Word through different voices and lenses,” she says. “Also, supporting and encouraging authors to engage in critical conversations about challenges and joys through printed words, spoken and unspoken words, and other artistic expressions that we can share in various mediums.
         Dr. Cheryl was the vice president of Content at Urban Ministries Inc.; minister on staff at Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Seattle, Wash.; and Lutheran and United Methodist congregations in New York and California; and has authored and co-authored several books.
          “We are developing new imprints for Judson Press to include topics from Christian education, justice, Bible studies, theology, and expanding our genres of books,” she says. “We create opportunities for writers to explore their talents and gifts through print and media possibilities. We will design and offer writing workshops for new and seasoned writers and authors.”
          Dr. Cheryl loves traveling, planning events, teaching, preaching, and spending time with her family and friends.

    Leadership Panelist: Rev. Dr. Christine Smith 
    Rev. Dr. Christine A. Smith is the National Presient of American Baptist Women's Ministries. She was called to serve as senior pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, Wickliffe, Ohio in 2006. In 2014 the church relocated to Euclid Ohio. Subsequently, in 2019, the church changed its name to “Restoration Ministries of Greater Cleveland, Inc.” She is the founder of “Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland,” and author of a weekly blog, “Shepastor,” dedicated to equipping and encouraging female clergy. Her first book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors was published by Judson Press in 2013. In addition to her service as pastor of a local congregation, Rev. Smith is engaged in community service and outreach through work with local clergy groups, hospitals and educational institutions. In 2017, Rev. Smith led her congregation, in collaboration with St. John of the Cross Parish (Euclid) and the Cleveland Clinic to launch the series, “Healthy Temples: Supporting Healthy Minds, Bodies and Spirits.” The series of workshops, free and open to the public, covered topics such as depression in youth and adults, healthy eating, the Daniel plan, physical fitness, managing stress and blood pressure screenings.
         Rev. Smith has authored articles and chapters in a variety of books, covering topics on pastoral care, inter-culturalism and diversity. Since 2012, Rev. Smith has served as adjunct faculty for Ashland Theological Seminary. Her work there includes being a small group leader in the Master of Divinity Cohort and as a Mentor in Ashland’s Thriving Church Ministries certificate program. She has also served as a keynote speaker and presenter for the seminary. In May, 2021, she gave a special presentation for Ashland entitled, “Overcoming Barriers for Women Clergy.” Rev. Smith served as “Executive Leader/Acting Administrator” of the Cleveland Baptist Association (American Baptist Churches, USA) for over two years (2011-2013), laying the groundwork for the Association to call its first female executive minister. Since 1993, Rev. Smith has been engaged locally with American Baptist Women’s Ministries of Greater Cleveland. She has served as workshop leader, keynote speaker, Bible study leader and host for AB Women annual days and retreats. Most recently, Rev. Smith served on the ABWM national nominating committee (2018) and as the Ohio facilitator for the AB Girls STEAM program, “Building Bridges and Gateways to Girls Future,” (2019).
         Locally and nationally, Rev. Smith has been invited to address the interlocking injustices of sexism, racism and classism. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree from the University of Akron and a Master of Divinity Degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse School of Religion, specializing in Systematic Theology and Women's Studies. Additionally, Rev. Smith completed a one-year Clinical Pastoral Residency Program from St. Vincent Charity Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, earning four CPE Units. Currently, Rev. Smith is a PhD candidate at Capella University. Her area of study is Human Services: Non-Profit Management and Leadership. She was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in 1995 (Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., ordaining pastor). Rev. Smith and her husband, Aristide Smith, Jr., have three children, Aristide III, Caleb and Aris. For all of these blessings, Rev. Smith simply says, “To God be the glory for the great things He has done!”

    Evening Plenary Speaker:  Jasmine Turner 
    Jasmine Turner is an Emmy-award-winning anchor and reporter for NBC 12 News in Richmond, Virginia. Jasmine leads NBC12’s On Your Side Investigators team. Through the On Your Side franchise, she helps the community solve issues they may be encountering, such as housing, finances, healthcare, and more.
         Jasmine enjoys spending time in the community. She serves on several volunteer boards, loves speaking to students and school groups, hosting events, and learning about the people who make Virginia a great place to live, work and thrive.
         She is ecstatic to be in her hometown, anchoring and reporting for the station she grew up watching.
         Outside of the newsroom, Jasmine is a certified yoga and meditation teacher. She is passionate about helping others live well, offering support along the way. Volunteering with the youth ministry at Liberation Church brings Jasmine joy. She is also an avid reader, loves to sing, travel, and spend time with loved ones. She believes deeply in the phrase, “it takes a village.”
         Jasmine’s village includes her husband Marcelus, her bonus daughter Aubrey, and their rescue dog Libbie!

    Bible Study Leader:  Rev. LaThelma Yenn-Batah 
    Reverend LT Yenn-Batah is the interim executive director of American Baptist Women's Ministries. Rev. LT, a trailblazer in ministry, made history as the first African American pastor of Flemington Baptist Church in Flemington, NJ. Prior to this groundbreaking role, she served as the Associate Executive Director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, fostering communities of justice-minded women and girls. A graduate cum laude in Sociology and Africana Studies from Scripps College, Rev. LT holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary, where she earned accolades in Urban Ministry and Sacred Music. Rev. LT has been an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA since 2018. With a rich background spanning Costa Rica, South Korea, Nicaragua, and multiple U.S. cities, she is passionate about building intergenerational and intercultural communities committed to social transformation. She is a co-founder of The SoulJourn Collective, a diverse group of creatives with a mission to harness the remarkable power of love, faith and creative restoration for positive change in our world. She is also a founding pastor of The Unfiltered Church NJ.

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