We’ve been honored to welcome these Theologians in Residence (TIRs) to First Church in recent years.
Mark Latta is an assistant professor of English and Director of Community Engaged Learning at Marian University, and will soon be stepping away from higher education to focus on systems change work. His research and teaching interests focus on the intersections between community engagement, social change, and the ways literacy is used to resist oppression and enact futures. Latta gained his first experience teaching through an AmeriCorps term of service at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility and remains involved in carceral education as a faculty member of the Women’s College Partnership at the Indiana Women’s Prison.
Jordan Ryan is an architectural historian, archivist and activist-scholar currently working on built environment, land use, and other site-specific projects under the independent consulting firm, The History Concierge. Some of their ongoing projects include reference and archiving for the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development and facilitating oral histories and research for the NEH-funded Central State Hospital memory project for the Indiana Medical History Museum. Before that, Ryan managed the Indianapolis Bicentennial Collecting Initiative and curated the Indianapolis bicentennial exhibition. Their scholarship revolves around the built environment, urban planning, historic preservation, marginalized communities, and spatial equity.
Wildstyle Paschall, also known as Keith (that’s his government name), is a great example of how we are more than what we see! Wildstyle (appropriately named because of his unconventional skating techniques) is gifted with the skill of being a mechanic. He understands how mechanics and processes in human development work, but he is more interested in telling stories through music and visual arts. He uses his time to cultivate young hip hop artists to hone their skills like Jedi Knights. He promotes and manages them. He says that “if I don’t model how to be a productive person how can young people see how to be one?” Wildstyle also partners with The Learning Tree. He plays the role as the Roving Illustrator. His job is to make the invisible visible. Kind of an evaluator with a hip hop flare. Y’all should check out his work.
KC Chan-Brose is a recovering academic and community writing coach from Indianapolis. She is the co-founder, and CFO/CMO of Indy CALL: Community Action, Language, and Literacy support. Her work centers on empowering marginalized voices through writing, storytelling, and making. She has collaborated with local organizations to create writing programming, workshops, and literacy support programs for community writers and artists. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and doing yoga with her 3 daughters.
During his time in higher education, Aaron Wilder served as the Director of the Marian University Writing Center and was instrumental in creating and operating the Flanner Community Writing Center, the first community writing center in the Midwest. Wilder has an MA in English from Indiana University and is currently one of the managing partners of Indy CALL: Community Action, Language, and Literacy, where he is focusing his research on social agency through writing.
Fernando Rodriguez is the Associate Presbyter for Mission with the Denver Presbytery. In October of 2022, Fernando joined us at First Church to lead a discussion on resonance, how to be relevant in the world, to each other and as a church. Fernando explained that resonance “is often is used as a tool to attract people. What would it look like for faith communities to create space for resonance to happen inside and outside of congregations?”
Neomi De Anda is a Tejana scholar/activist and Catholic Lay Marianist, was raised between El Paso and Corpus Christi, Texas. She is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, where she teaches courses in religion, Latinx studies, race and ethnic studies, and women and gender studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Constructive Theology. Dr. De Anda’s research interests include Latinas and Latin American women writers in religion 1600-1900; Christology; Latina Theology; theology and breast milk; the Intersection of race and migrations in conjunction with the Marianist Social Justice Collaborative Racial & Immigrant Justice Team; and developing a border theology in partnership with the Hope Border Institute. She currently holds the position of President-Elect for the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. She has been awarded the Louisville Institute First Book for Minority Scholars grant and fellowships from the Hispanic Theological Initiative and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religion and Theology. Neomi gives much credit to her roots at St. Pius X Catholic Community in El Paso, and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Eric Barreto is the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, and an ordained Baptist minister. He earned a BA in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University, an MDiv from Princeton Seminary, and a PhD in New Testament from Emory University. Prior to coming to Princeton Seminary, he served as Associate Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, and also taught as an adjunct professor at the Candler School of Theology and McAfee School of Theology. As a Baptist minister, Dr. Barreto has pursued scholarship for the sake of the church, and he regularly writes for and teaches in faith communities around the country. He has also been a leader in the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium, a national, ecumenical, and inter-constitutional consortium comprised of some of the top seminaries, theological schools, and religion departments in the country. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion.
Hal Taussig is a retired professor and United Methodist pastor. The most recent of his 14 published books is Re-Reading the Gospel of Mark Amidst Loss and Trauma. He is co-editor of the HarperOne 2021 volume After Jesus Before Christianity: The First Two Hundred Years. Dr. Taussig’s mediography includes The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Daily Show, People Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, National Public Radio, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, the Bob Edwards Show on Sirius Radio, The History Channel, and The Washington Post.
De’Amon Harges – faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute, Community Organizer, Creator of the Learning Tree, chairperson of the Grassroots Grantmakers Association Board, and featured in the new documentary The Antidote: On Kindness in America – is a frequent speaker on ABCD in secular and religious groups around the world, and is a layperson at Broadway UMC, Indianapolis, IN. De’Amon’s role is to listen and discover the gifts, passions and dreams of citizens in his community, and to find ways to utilize them in order to build community, economy, and mutual “delight.” The bulk of De’Amon’s work is based on the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) that brings neighbors and institutions together to discover the power of being a good neighbor. De’Amon builds on what is already present and in place in the neighborhood, using those formally undiscovered assets to connect and empower rather than working only from the community’s needs and deficits. De’Amon now describes his role on this planet as a social banker. He utilizes the intangible currencies that are cultivated and used by human assets and relationships to build a more abundant community.
Kathryn Reklis is a professor of Modern Protestant Theology at Fordham University in New York City, where she teaches classes on the history and practice of Christianity in the modern age, Christianity and colonialism, theology and aesthetics, theology and popular culture, and digital religion. She is an affiliate faculty in the American Studies program and the Comparative Literature program at Fordham, where she works with students on projects that explore the intersection of religion, secularity, popular culture, and social justice. Dr. Reklis is also the author of the On Media column for The Christian Century, writing monthly columns on popular culture and art. She lives with her husband, an English professor, their two kids, and a lot of books in Astoria, Queens.
Interested in Learning More about the TIR program at First Church?
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