Rev. Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He also teaches at USC’s School of Social Work and the Keck School of Medicine. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Burklo served as the ecumenical Protestant minister at Stanford University and also pastored two Bay Area churches. Rev. Burklo serves on the board of directors of Progressive Christians Uniting and is the author of four books including Open Christianity: Home by Another Road andHitchhikingtoAlaska:TheWayofSoulfulService. Healsohasapopularblog,Musings.
Rev. Rich Lang is the father of two sons and is the Pastor of University Temple United Methodist Church. His ministry has been recognized through the Church Council of Greater Seattle’s Gertrude Appel Pioneering Spirit Award, and the Rauschenbusch Award for Leadership in the Social Gospel. Rev. Lang is a bi-weekly columnist for Real Change, and his ministry has been written about in Natural Saints: How People of Faith Are Working to Save God’s Earth, and Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media and the Religious Right.
Brenda Leaks is an educator who has spent the last 15 years working with middle school students in both public and private schools. She believes that education has the power to change individuals and communities. Ms. Leaks is also a member of University Temple United Methodist Church and serves on the Advisory Board of Children and Family Ministries. She has taught Sunday School, helped to plan retreats with children, and served the community in numerous ways. Ms. Leaks has a four-year- old son, Jackson.
Jamal Rahman is Cofounder of and Muslim Sufi minister at Seattle’s Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs, and is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Mr. Rahman is the author and coauthor of several books including Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind and Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope- Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi, and a Sheikh.
DeAnna Texley has been a teacher at the University Temple Children’s School for over 20 years. Ms. Texley also facilitates groups of teachers and other adults to develop the skills necessary to listen to children’s ideas and needs, and help them develop to their fullest potential. She believes in the ability of all children to express themselves and connect with others in a respectful, dynamic, and loving way in the classroom and throughout their lives. Ms. Texley grew up in the Free Methodist tradition and is mother to a 22 year-old newlywed.
Deshna Ubeda is the Project Director and Web Manager at ProgressiveChristianity.org. She helped create A Joyful Path, a children’s spiritual curriculum for progressive churches, and has worked with children for over 20 years in a variety of capacities. She has served as an administrator for the University of California Education Abroad Program, an infant specialist for a non-profit organization, a Spanish teacher for elementary children, a postpartum doula, and a yoga instructor. A Huffington Post contributor, Ms. Ubeda is also a coauthor of the novel, Missing Mothers. She is passionate about bringing more spiritual nourishment to children in today’s world.