The Reverend Canon Steven C. Bonsey
The Rev. Canon Steven C. Bonsey has served as a parish priest, campus minister and cathedral canon. He was born on Molokai, Hawaii, graduated from Harvard College and received an M. Div. and S.T.M. from Yale Divinity School. He studies contemplative practice in Wisdom Schools with Cynthia Bourgeault and others and serves as Chaplain and Lead Trainer for the Leadership Development Initiative (diomassleads.org). He offers training in contemplative spiritual practice, especially centering prayer, lectio divina and sacred chant.
Originally from the Bronx and after a lot of moving settling in New Jersey, Yani's path has consistently been informed by a desire to see those around her thrive. That desire has extended into her work in social justice movements while attending Smith College, as well as working with a nonprofit in Costa Rica that focused on human rights for all. Yani enjoys reading, music, and nature; the arts and all the moments art manifests itself in our daily lives; the various ways folks interact with faith and spirituality - institutionally, societally, and individually. She is a pop culture junkie and a firm believer in justice. Yani believes because we are made in God's image, divinity and love can radiate from everything we do, so she is choosing to learn to live more mindfully and intentionally day by day.
The Reverend John de Beer
John de Beer, D.Min. (Congregational Development), MA (Theology), B.Sc. (Mathematics and Physics) has for decades been a key player in pioneering adult faith formation programs, most notably the Education for Ministry Program at the University of the South where he was on staff for eight years and has been training mentors since 1977. He recently retired as Rector of St. Mark’s, Burlington, Massachusetts. He was active in the following Diocesan programs: Life Together- from 2009-2014 he was the lead designer and trainer in the 8 day orientation program for the 20 participants; Making Excellent Disciples- a mentoring program for new clergy, and from 2010-2015, he was on the team that designed and led the cohort groups for new clergy and their mentors; and Leadership Development Initiative- transforming parish teams through spiritual practice, organizational development, and local action. From 2009-2015, he was on the leadership team and sent two groups from St. Mark’s to participate in the training, which has transformed the connection between the parish and the local community. Rev. de Beer is the co-author, alongside Patricia O'Connell Killen, of The Art of Theological Reflection, Crossroad, New York, 1994.
Ditra is the previous Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Praxis Project, an organization helping communities use media and policy advocacy to advance health justice.
Isaac Everett is the new director of the Boston-Cambridge Mission Hub for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. He has written The Emergent Psalter (Church Publishing), a musical translation of the book of Psalms, and has contributed to Psalms for All Seasons (Brazos Press), Worship and Song for United Methodists (Abingdon Press), Music by Heart: Paperless Songs for Evening Worship (Church Publishing), Rising From the Ashes: Rethinking Church (Seabury Books), and Liturgy: the Journal of the Liturgical Conference. He is a founding member of an intentional community in Jamaica Plain, where he lives with his wife, and spends his spare time playing musical instruments, lifting heavy weights, and playing nerdy games.
Natalie was a Community Organizing fellow with Life Together in 2009 – 2010. It was through Life Together that Natalie witnessed how community organizing can achieve lasting change in the world while simultaneously developing in individuals an awareness of God’s love and power in us. This experience played a foundational role in developing Natalie’s sense of call that is rooted in a belief that the Church has the capacity to be a powerful force for individual and societal restoration in our world today. Since then Natalie has helped lead community organizing movements in Boston, Texas, New Zealand and most prominently Nairobi, Kenya where she cofounded Tatua Kenya, an organization that addresses poverty through locally lead justice movements. Natalie served as the Interim Executive Director for the Leadership Development Initiative, and is now the Director of Leadership and Engagement for Episcopal City Mission. Natalie is also a Postulate for the Diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
Jerry Koch Gonzalez
Jerry Koch-Gonzalez is a certified trainer of Nonviolent Communication and of Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance. Jerry's passion and what these approaches have in common is support for the notion that everyone’s needs matter; we can organize any institution based on the inclusion of all members in decision making; and we can do it effectively, efficiently and with the joy of shared meaning and purpose. Jerry is a long-time social change activist and has worked with United for Fair Economy, Class Action Network, Spirit in Action, National Coalition Building Institute and the Institute for Peaceable Communities. Jerry is a founding resident of the 21-year old Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst MA. Some of Jerry’s leadership commitments include: EO, The Sociocracy Consulting Group; Certified Trainer, New England NVC Senior Trainer; Class Action; Member, Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community.
Nicholas Hayes, MDiv, is a PhD student in ethics at Boston College, a consultant to the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, and a Postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Nicholas's purpose is enabling the moral and spiritual agency of others, to build community and to do justice. This purpose ties together his work as a minister, community organizer, and academic. Most recently, from 2015-16, he was Teaching and Research Fellow to Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to that, he served as Faith Community Partnerships Organizer at the New Economy Coalition; Engagement Manager at the Criterion Institute; and an organizing trainer with Marshall Ganz's Leading Change Network. He first learned community organizing as a Fellow in the Episcopal Diocese of MA's Life Together program (2009-2011), through which he also began working with the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI). He currently serves on the Leadership Team of the Faith Matters Network. For fun, Nicholas loves, among other things, piano, quality fiction, Turbokick, and terrible 80s music.
The Reverend Edwin Johnson
Rev. Edwin Johnson, a self-proclaimed “smiling-dancing-Jesus-freak” is currently serving as the Priest-In-Charge of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Dorchester, the largest neighborhood of Boston. A product of our Diocese and its youth programs, Edwin attended Tufts University and directed a non-profit before heading off to Seminary in Berkeley California. Upon returning to the Diocese Edwin has immersed himself in urban parish ministry, social justice work, mission and faith formation for all ages. Edwin encountered Life Together for the first time while attending a training for site supervisors in 2010. Since then he has worked closely with several fellows while joining the Leadership Team and Life Together Faculty. He has become an important part of the Life Together family. Edwin is passionate about bringing together communities of people to “be church” in ways that enrich their lives and the lives of everyone around them through ministries of love and justice. This passion fuels him as he gives himself fully to his Parish St. Mary’s along a number of Diocesan and National Church responsibilities. In the midst of all this, Edwin finds plenty of time and energy for fun and fellowship. He’s a competitive weightlifter, a dance instructor/performer and is learning to enjoy nature thanks to his wife Susan. He and Susan welcomed their son Francisco into the world last year and are experiencing God’s love in incredible ways through him.
Hazel M. Johnson moved to Boston in 2011 to participate in LifeTogether. During her 2 years in the program, Hazel worked as a Faith-Based Community Organizer-creating the first Youth Organizing Network in the Northshore of Massachusetts. Her work, in coalition with many state-wide groups, led to the approval of a $9.8 million Youth Summer Jobs budget through the Massachusetts Statehouse. Hazel continues to use her community organizing skills in her work and school. She attends the Boston University School of Theology where she is pursuing her Masters in Divinity to become a college chaplain.
Cicia Lee is the National Coordinator of Momentum, a community dedicated to incubating, training, and launching decentralized popular movements in the United States. She is also a member of the core team for Contemplative Action Circles, which is organizing young people of faith committed to contemplative practice, storytelling, and noncooperation through direct action. She has also been dreaming about and organizing Queer House Church in Boston, which grew out of a class with Marshall Ganz and a deep need for spiritual spaces led by and for queer people of faith. She worked for several years as a designer, and is currently finding ways to integrate design process with movement-building work. Previously, Cicia worked for the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, a network of community organizations and congregations working for racial and economic justice - a part of the PICO National Network. She graduated from Wellesley College, where she spent her time reading radical Asian-American authors, and studying feminist economics and political philosophy.
Yoojin has been actively learning and practicing NVC on a personal basis for ten years and has attended trainings with Dr. Rosenberg. A trainer and consultant for leadership and social change, Yoojin has been training and supporting the development of young people and adults on justice-related topics for over fifteen years. Formerly, she was a Senior Trainer & Manager at Health Resources in Action and the Lead Organizer and Executive Director at the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project. Her enthusiasm for NVC comes from experiencing its transformative effects on her relationships at work, in her family, and with herself. Yoojin is a member of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church and worship regularly at Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastery in Cambridge. She has a BA in Government from Smith College and a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Lori Lobenstine is a co-founder of the Design Studio for Social Intervention (DS4SI), a creativity lab for the nonprofit social justice sector. She is also an established consultant and experienced youth development and diversity trainer, including over 15 years experience as a certified trainer in the National BEST Youth Worker Training Initiative. Her recent writings include “Social / Justice / Practice: Exploring the Role of Artists in Creating a More Just and Social Public” (published by AnimatingDemocracy.org), and “Spatial Justice: A Frame for Reclaiming our Rights to Be, Thrive, Express and Connect.”
Isaac Martinez is an M.Div. student at Harvard Divinity School and is a Postulant for ordination to the priesthood. He previously served as the Director of Programming at the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) where he led and managed LDI’s flagship training program in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. From 2010-2014, he worked at Next Street, a multidisciplinary advisory and financial services firm that supported small businesses and non-profits with a particular focus on inner-city and minority and women-owned firms. He is Junior Warden at St. James’s, Cambridge and a member of The Crossing. He graduated from Harvard College with a BA in Government.
Sarah received her BA from UCLA, her JD from Harvard Law School, and her MTS from Harvard Divinity School in 2007. She was a Teaching Fellow for Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2009, studying community organizing alongside Marshal Ganz. Sarah has been teaching Decision-Making from the Soul since 2004, and launched an online version of the practice in 2015.
Adiel just wrapped up her second year as a Life Together fellow, where she led the worship team and lived at the magical house that is SLAM. Adiel currently works as the Communications Director at the I Have A Future, alongside young people who are organizing to end youth criminalization and win full youth employment. She enjoys contemplative spiritual practice and is a novice retreat leader. Eventually she wants to have her own spiritual retreat center in Upstate New York. Right now, she lives in a co-op in Dorchester and enjoys story telling, drinking bubble tea, and learning how to cook random veggies in the CSA. She hopes to spend the next year learning from and with other black folks who see their connection to the divine as connected to their connection to land and to each other–ask her about this side project! She's a 2015 graduate of Tufts University where she studied Chinese and Sociology.
The Reverend Cristina Rathbone
Tina Rathbone serves as priest to the MANNA community through her position as Canon Missioner at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. She has worked with homeless men and women in the Downtown Boston area for eight years, and in partnership with this community has brought to life a thriving faith community of prayer, service and action in the world. Tina continues to learn and grow both as a priest and a human-being as a result of her work with the men and women of MANNA and is filled with gratitude that such work remains possible for her. Prior to being ordained an Episcopal priest in 2009, Tina was an award winning journalist and author of two books: On the Outside Looking In: A year in an Inner City High School (Grove Atlantic Press, 1998) and A World Apart: Women, Prisons and Life Behind Bars (Random House, 2005). She lives in Roslindale with her two teenaged boys, Jack and Lucas.
The Reverend Alexia Salvatierra
Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is currently the Special Assistant to the Bishop for Welcoming Congregations for the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She also serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations, including World Vision USA/World Vision International/Women of Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the Christian Community Development Association the Women’s Donor Network, Auburn Theological Seminary, Interfaith Worker Justice, PICO and Sojourner’s. She is adjunct faculty at the New York Theological Seminary and Biola University, and has lectured at Fuller Seminary, University of Southern California and UCLA. Her first book, “Faith-Rooted Organizing” is being published by Intervarsity Press in January of 2014. She has been awarded the Changemaker award from the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation, the Amos Award from Sojourners, the Giants of Justice award from CLUE LA and the Prime Mover fellowship from the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Lydia Strand is the Contemplative Program Director with the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI). In this position, she strengthens and integrates the offering of training in contemplative spiritual practice, following especially the Wisdom teaching of Cynthia Bourgeault, and encouraging these practices more widely in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Lydia's roots are in upstate New York and Honduras. In college, she explored interests in literature, intercultural studies, and theology. She has served as a Fellow in Life Together, living in Fall River and Boston, MA. During these two years, she explored interactions between her work in workers' and immigrants' rights, her life in community, and her spirituality. She is looking forward to continuing to learn about this place where internal and external liberation meet contemplative practice.
Mariama White-Hammond was born in Boston, MA in 1979. Mariama’s activism began in high school and continued at Stanford University where Mariama was involved in campus politics and in the arts where majored in International Relations focusing her studies in Latin America. In September 2001 Mariama became the Executive Director of Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past – History, Organizing and Power), an organization she had been involved with the organization since high school. Project HIP-HOP is a youth-led that engages young people in critical thinking, artistic production and community organizing. At PHH, Mariama used the arts as a tool to raise awareness about social issues and help young people to find their voice and share their ideas with the world. For her work in the non-profit sector Mariama has received numerous awards including the Barr Fellowship, the Celtics Heroes Among Us, The Roxbury Founders Day Award and the Boston NAACP Image award. In June 2014, Mariama stepped down as Executive Director to focus on her work within the church. Mariama is currently on the ministerial staff at Bethel AME Church and a Masters of Divinity Student at Boston University School of Theology. Her hope is particularly to challenge the Christian church to embrace a more radical understanding of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. She believes that the church must be responsive to issues like street violence, mass incarceration climate change, AIDS, food security, war and human rights which threaten to destroy our planet and humankind.