A Methodist pastor, a Christian blogger and a United Church of Christ Reverend were announced as intended appointees by U.S. President Barack Obama to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, according to a White House news release.
Council members have three overall responsibilities: identifying best practices and successful modes of delivering social services; evaluating the need for improvements in the implementation and coordination of public policies relating to faith-based and neighborhood organizations; and making recommendations to the President and the Administration on changes in policies, programs, and practices.
Rev. Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., the largest United Methodist Church in the United States and one of the fastest growing, most highly visible churches in the country. Hamilton has authored 23 books, including "Making Sense of the Bible." He speaks on leadership across the country, and in 2013, he delivered the sermon at the Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He received a bachelor's degree from Oral Roberts University and a master's of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. His forthcoming book and companion Bible study is "Half Truths: God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" and "Other Things The Bible Doesn't Say."
Rachel Held Evans is a Christian blogger, and the author of "Faith Unraveled, A Year of Biblical Womanhood," and "Searching for Sunday." In addition, she speaks at retreats, conferences, universities and churches across the country. She has been featured on NPR, Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN, The View, and The Today Show. In 2012, she was named one of Christianity Today's "50 Women to Watch." She received a bachelor's degree from Bryan College.
Rev. Traci D. Blackmon is the acting Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries for The United Church of Christ. She is also a pastor at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo., where she has served since 2009. She previously served as coordinator of health, mind, body, and spirit for BJC HealthCare, and as pastor of Simpson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia, Mo. She has 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry and served on The Ferguson Commission. She received a bachelor's degree from Birmingham-Southern College and a master's in Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary.
Obama said he is pleased to announce these experienced and committed individuals have decided to serve the country. "I look forward to working with them."
"I'm honored to join with other leaders and experts in the work of evaluating and making recommendations for changes in policies, programs, and practices relating to faith-based and neighborhood organizations to better serve people in need," Hamilton told the Michigan Area United Methodist Church staff. "I believe I was chosen in part due to Church of the Resurrection's commitment to serving the community and its long-standing work partnering with low-income schools in the Kansas City area."
Current council members include: Susan K. Stern, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Jewish Federations of North America; Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals; Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink; Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide; Bishop Mark Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Lynne Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church; The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Church; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, The Rabbinical Assembly; Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR); Reverend Elder Nancy L. Wilson, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches; Miaohong Hsiangju Liu, Buddha's Light International Association; Barbara Williams Skinner, Skinner Leadership Institute; Elder Steven Snow, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; and Maria Nagorski, Fair Chance.