you are here: / leadership-and-staff /

Leadership and Staff


Rev. Dr. Mark Sandlin, President, Co-Executive Director

Mark is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He currently serves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, has been named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press’ Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on “The Huffington Post,” “Sojourners,” “Time,” “Church World Services,” and even the “Richard Dawkins Foundation.” He’s been featured on PBS’s “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly” and NPR’s “The Story with Dick Gordon.”READ MORE

Rev. Dr. Caleb J. Lines, Co-Executive Director

Caleb J. is senior minister at University Christian Church in San Diego, California.Caleb grew up in Missouri and is a lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He has a passion for pursuing social justice for the marginalized, demonstrating the Good News of God’s radically inclusive love, and proclaiming a relevant message for today’s ever-changing world.Caleb’s views on the intersection of religion and public life have been featured in diverse publications, such as The Nation Magazine, Disciples News Service, Chalice Press, The Christian Left, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, The Center for Prophetic Imagination, and Sojourners. He currently serves on the national board of Jubilee USA Network. READ MORE

Sharon Jacob, Board Member

Sharon Jacob is currently the Visiting Professor of New Testament and Postcolonial Studies at Claremont School of Theology. Sharon earned her Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary and Masters of Sacred Theology from Yale University. She earned her Ph.D from Drew University in Biblical Studies and Early Christianity. Her research interests include gender and sexuality studies, feminist theory, race and whiteness theory, and postcolonial theory. She is currently working on a project on the rise of Religious Nationalism in global contexts. Her publications include…. READ MORE

Rev. Roger Wolsey, Secretary

Roger Wayne Wolsey is a free spirit who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious.” A trumpeter, Roger grew up during the “Minneapolis Sound” era of the 1980s and ‘90s. These experiences contribute to a musical approach to his theology. Roger studied philosophy and political science, graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church… READ MORE

Larry J. Morris III, M.Div, M.T.S., Treasurer

Larry is an apostle, digital marketer, scholar, and spiritual director based in Henderson, NV. He helps individuals and organizations realize their extraordinary purpose. After years of doing a lot-a-bit of everything in the nonprofit, religious, and social justice sectors, Larry decided to start his own company, where he can focus on the clients he wants to work with. Also, the entrepreneur in him was ready to reach out and “do the work my soul must have” – word to Dr. Katie Cannon. His soul work is using his gifts, knowledge, and creativity to support you in realizing your extraordinary purpose. Visit his website at Larry is a Ph.D. student at Christian Theological Seminary and earned his Masters of Divinity and Theology from Claremont School of TheologyREAD MORE

Marshela Salgado, Board Member 

Marshela grew up in a family of theologians from both the Quaker and Nazarene church, which influenced her heart for service and social justice. She is passionate about proclaiming and demonstrating God’s unconditional love for all, particularly toward the most marginalized communities. Diversity, multiculturalism, and trauma informed care are integral to her faith and work as a minister. Marshela has experience developing educational and faith-formation programs for nonprofits, churches, and schools, and most recently co-founded SD United Youth, an open and affirming, progressive youth group for teens across San Diego CountyREAD MORE

Rev. Darrell L. Goodwin, Board Member

The Rev. Darrell L. Goodwin, a Chicago native, serves as the First Executive Conference Minister of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ. As the Chief Vision-Keeper he is responsible for guiding the conference and its affiliates to have a positive and lasting impact in our world. Rev. Goodwin is a member of the United Church of Christ Board, the UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, and the Global Ministries Board. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Theology from Boston College; a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont; a Master of Arts in Transforming Spirituality from Seattle University; and is currently a doctoral candidate in San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program where his dissertation topic is, Praying Through: Using group spiritual direction as a strategy for the retention of African American men in predominantly white seminaries in the United Church of Christ (UCC). Learn more at READ MORE


Deborah Grady, Administrator

Deborah joined the team in November of 2013 as the Administrator after a 30-year career in the Insurance Industry. Her experience and capabilities span the full spectrum of running a small business. READ MORE

Honorary Advisors

Rev. Jacqui Lewis

After graduating with an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992, Jacqui fell in love with urban ministry, leading two churches in Trenton, New Jersey. Fascinated with how faith heals the soul—so we can heal the world—she returned to graduate school, for a Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion from Drew University (2004). Jacqui came to study Middle Church, received a call, and joined the staff in January 2004. Middle is the church of her dreams and prayers, a multiethnic rainbow coaltion of love, justice, and worship that rocks her soul….READ MORE

Rev. Fred Plumer, Past President 2006-2019

After an extensive background in building management, real estate development and restaurant ownership and management, Fred Plumer made a career shift in 1981. He earned his M.Div. degree at the Pacific School of Religion while doing work in an inner city community center. In 1984 Rev. Plumer was called to the Irvine United Congregational Church in Irvine, California to lead a UCC new start church…READ MORE

Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the award-winning author of ten books, including Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks (HarperOne, 2018), Grounded: Finding God in the World —A Spiritual Revolution (HarperOne, 2015), Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012)…READ MORE

Bishop Yvette A. Flunder

Bishop Yvette A. Flunder is an Honorary Advisor for Founder and Senior Pastor, City of Refuge United Church of Christ Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder is an unapologetic disciple and proponent of the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ, who has raised her voice for justice from the church house to the White House and steps of the Supreme Court. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry Studies and Master of Arts programs at Pacific School of Religion, and she received her Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA….READ MORE

Bishop John Shelby Spong  (June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021)

John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. His admirers acclaim him as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson — he’s considered the champion of an inclusive faith by many, both inside and outside the Christian church. READ MORE

Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox (b. 1940) is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, and activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality, which is rooted in ancient Judeo-Christian teaching, inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions; welcoming of the arts and artists; wisdom centered, prophetic, and committed to eco-justice, social justice and gender justice. …READ MORE

Rev. Brandan Robertson

Rev. Brandan Robertson is a noted author, activist, theologian, and pastor, working at the intersections of spirituality and social renewal. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego, CA. A prolific writer, he is the author or contributing author to nine books on spirituality and theology. Every year, Robertson speaks to thousands of people across the globe and has been an honored speaker at renowned institutions like The White House, Oxford University, The U.S. Peace Corps Headquarters, and The Parliament of the World’s Religions….READ MORE

Toni Anne Reynolds

Minister Toni Anne Reynolds is committed to singing flesh onto the bones of the Christian tradition by incorporating recently found texts of the ancient world into liturgy, sermons, and poetry. Toni’s Christianity forms a holy trinity with the psychological medicine of Tibetan Buddhism and the eternal Life found in Yoruba traditions. Balanced in an eclectic faith and focused in theology, Toni’s ministry offers a unique perspective on life, theology, and spirituality…READ MORE

Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs-including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation-and two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gate and The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. She has addressed members of the U.S. Congress on three occasions; lectured to policy makers at the U.S. State Department; participated in the World Economic Forum in New York, Jordan, and Davos; addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and New York; is increasingly invited to speak in Muslim countries; and is now an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations…. READ MORE

Rev. Jim Burklo

Jim Burklo is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor, retired Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California and currently serving as Pastor at UCC Simi Valley. He is the author of BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians and Tenderly Calling, An Invitation To The Way Of Jesus READ MORE

Rev. Michael Dowd

Rev. Michael Dowd is a bestselling evolutionary eco-theologian and pro-future evangelist. His book, “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World”, was endorsed by 6 Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and religious leaders. Michael and his science writer and evolutionary educator wife, Connie Barlow, have spoken to more than 2,200 groups and Michael has delivered two TEDx talks and a program at the United Nations. He has also conducted two acclaimed online conversation series: “The Advent of Evolutionary Christianity” and “The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness.” Visit his website: here READ MORE


In Honor of our Founder

James Rowe Adams

In 1994, James R. Adams founded The Center for Progressive Christianity. Until he retired from parish ministry in 1996, Jim Adams served for nearly thirty years as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Jim passed away on September 13, 2011 from brain cancer.  He was a courageous and wise man. He was an inspiration to uncountable people all over the world. He is greatly missed by us all.