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Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church & Beyond

For there is still a vision for the appointed time; the vision speaks and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not delay. (Hab. 2:2-3)

Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship Logo

Founded in 2022, in partnership with Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, the Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond (JBDI), a one-of-a-kind global Institute that provides training in the sacred musics of Africana church traditions and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.

 

The Institute has a four-fold purpose:

 

    1. To provide ongoing training and mentoring in the areas of contextual worship and sacred musics born out of Black Church traditions while seeking to give homage to the global ethos of Africana musics.
    2. To enrich, revitalize, and strengthen leaders of congregational worship for the 21st century.
    3. To create an archive of music and scholarship that will preserve and promote the rich history and legacy of Black Church musics.
    4. To acknowledge, uplift, and celebrate the contributions of past, present, and future Africana church musicians.

 

The Institute’s initial efforts will focus on professional development for practitioners who have experienced limited or no formal training in the areas of sacred music and worship unique to the Black church. In the spirit of the former Methodist Circuit Riders, the Institute will be itinerant, holding events and trainings around the country to reach churches, musicians, and choral leaders who cannot easily come to the Chicago area.


Junius B. Dotson Institute Inaugural Event

 

August 18-20, 2022
The American Hotel | Atlanta, Georgia

 

We are excited to announce the inaugural event for the Junius B. Dotson Institute will take place on August 18-20, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia! Join us for a time of training and mentoring in the following areas:

 

    • Post-pandemic worship planning
    • 21st Century congregational song
    • Audio & video training
    • Liturgical movement
    • Instrumental accompaniment
    • Relationship building for pastors and worship/music leaders
    • And so much more!

 

With seminar options for both beginner and advanced worship/music leaders, there is something for everyone. Seminars will be taught by renowned leaders, including Mike Bowie, Renita Weems, L’Tayna Moore-Copeland, YaNi Davis, David Wood, Kathleen Turner, and more!

 

The inaugural event will also feature a Celebration Concert by Richard Smallwood & Vision with Cynthia Wilson and the Dotson Institute Mass choir!

 

Questions? Contact us at jbd.institute@garrett.edu!

Registration and Hotel Information

Registration Options

 

Full Event includes all event seminars, lunch each day, and a celebration concert ticket for Saturday. Full event participants also have the opportunity to participate in the celebration concert Mass Choir if they wish at no additional cost.

 

Virtual Seminars includes access to four seminars being held with a virtual option on Thursday and Friday. Seminars include:

    • Africana & Traditional Hymnody
    • “…and BEYOND” – Global Song
    • Biblical & Theological Foundations for Worship & Music Ministry
    • Post-Pandemic Worship Design

 

One-Day Event Pass for either Thursday or Friday and includes morning and afternoon seminars and lunch.

 

Instrumental or Vocal Technique Seminar for Children Only is for those who would like to only attend the Saturday morning seminar, “Out of the Hearts of Children,” with their child(ren). Lunch is included.

 

Mass Choir Only is for those who only wish to be a part of the mass concert for Saturday’s celebration concert and not attend the event seminars. Responsibilities include rehearsals on August 18th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; August 19th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; August 20th from 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and celebration concert participation at 7:00 PM. Dinner is provided on Saturday.

 

Liturgical Movement Only is for those who wish to be a dance participant of Saturday’s celebration concert. Responsibilities include Thursday, August 18th from 9 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday, August 19th from 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; August 20th from 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.and celebration concert participation at 7:00 PM. Lunch is provided on Thursday and Friday. Dinner is provided on Saturday.

 


 

Registration Pricing

 

For student and group rates of 4 or more, please e-mail jbd.institute@garrett.edu for a discount code!

 

Full Event

$200 Early Bird Rate (good through July 31st)

$250 Regular Rate (after July 31st)

$100 Student Rate

 

One-Day Event Pass (Thursday or Friday)

$100

 

Instrumental or Vocal Technique Seminar for Children Only (ages 4-12)

$15 per child

 

Mass Choir Participation Only

$50

 

Liturgical Movement Participation Only

$125

 

The American Hotel Atlanta Downtown

Location: 160 Ted Turner Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 3030

 

For room block reservations, please call 313-437-1213 or e-mail jbd.institute@garrett.edu.

 

Registration Is Open!

Registration is now open!

REGISTER NOW

Celebration Concert

 

August 20th | 7:00 p.m.
Saint Philip AME Church,
240 Candler Rd SE, Atlanta, GA

 

Those who register to attend the full Dotson Institute Inaugural Event will also receive a free ticket for the Celebration Concert on August 20th at Saint Philip AME Church. The concert will feature Richard Smallwood and Vision with Cynthia Wilson and the JDBI Mass Choir!

 

If you would like to buy additional tickets to the concert, please click the button below.

Richard Smallwood & Vision

Gospel Recording Artist and Guest Performer

Cynthia Wilson

Cynthia Wilson and JBDI Mass Choir

Grammy Nominated Artist and JBDI Founder & Director

General Schedule

Thursday & Friday

9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

  • Morning Seminar Session
  • Liturgical Movement Rehearsal

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

  • Lunch (Provided)

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Afternoon Seminar Session
  • Liturgical Movement Rehearsal (Thursday and Friday)

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

  • Dinner (On Own)

6:30 p.m.

  • Celebration Concert Preparation (for Mass Choir and Liturgical Movement participants)

Saturday

9:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

  • Morning Seminar Session

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

  • Lunch (Provided)

1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  • Celebration Concert Preparation (for Mass Choir and Liturgical Movement participants)

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

  • Dinner (provided for Celebration Concert participants, on own for other attendees)

6:45 p.m.

  • Celebration Concert featuring Richard Smallwood and Vision at Saint Philip AME Church

Meet Our Seminar Faculty

Mike Bowie

 

National Executive Director
SBC21

Renita Weems

 

Writer & Biblical Scholar
Something Within

L’Tanya Moore-Copeland

 

Director of Worship Arts
Saint Philip AME
Atlanta, Georgia

YaNi Davis

 

Founder
My SupaNatural Life (MSNL)

David Wood

 

Executive Director
GNTV Media Ministry

Kathleen Turner

 

Liturgical Dance Ministry
Greater Allen AME Cathedral
New York, New York

Diana Sanchez-Bushong

 

Executive Director, Worship Resources
Director, Music Ministry
United Methodist Discipleship Ministries

Monya Logan

 

Director of Worship Arts
St. Luke Community UMC
Dallas, Texas

Kevin Smalls

 

Senior Pastor
Hope UMC
Southfield, Michigan

Cynthia Wilson

 

Founder and Director
Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond

Jarvis Wilson

 

Minister of Music
West Hunter Street Baptist Church
Atlanta, Georgia

Derek Weber

 

Director of Preaching Ministries
United Methodist Discipleship Ministries

Eli Wilson

 

Founder
Eli Wilson Ministries: A Church Music Leadership Educational Resource Ministry

Brian Hehn

 

Director
The Center for Congregational Song, The Hymn Society

Toska Medlock Lee

 

Owner
The Myriad Group & Co.

Jeff Greene

 

Unity Productions, LLC

Alisha Lola Jones

 

Assistant Professor
University of Cambridge

Ronda Kingwood

 

Pastor and Founder
Heart of Christ United Methodist Church

Valerie Bridgeman

 

Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible
Methodist Theological School of Ohio

Felicia Patton

 

Instructor, Muzicnet School of Music
Music Minister, Kingswood United Methodist Church

Llewon Felder

 

Minister of Music at St Phillip AME

Robert Harris

 

Professor Emeritus at
Northwestern University’s
Bienen School of Music

John Paul McGee

 

Assistant Chair of the Piano Department
Berklee College of Music

Tony McNeill

 

Director of Choral Activities and Chairman of the Department of Performing Arts
Clinton College

Thursday Morning Seminar Options

Diane-SanchezDiana Sanchez-Bushong grew up in San Antonio, Texas singing from the age of five at Browning United Methodist Church. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s degree in Music in Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology at SMU, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas Austin. She has served in a number of churches and at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, where she worked with the Hymnal Revision Committee to develop The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989. In addition, Dr. Sanchez-Bushong helped develop the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship, and Mil Voces para Celebrar, 1996, an official UM hymnal for Spanish-speaking churches. She served as the Volume Editor for The Hymns of the United Methodist Hymnal (Abingdon, 1989) and authored Your Ministry of Planning and Leading Hymn Festivals (Discipleship Resources, 1990). Most recently she has served on the editorial team for a new Spanish language worship resource, “Fiesta Jubilosos” (Abingdon, 2022) compiled by Raquel Mora Martinez, and she was also a contributor to the resource, “Forming Disciples Through Worship” (Discipleship Ministries, 2020). She has written extensively on hymnody and music in worship, including the article ‘Latin American Hymnody, USA’ in the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Dr. Sanchez-Bushong also enjoys teaching and has taught the course “Culto de Adoracion y los Sacramentos” for the Course of Study Program and she also teaches as an adjunct professor at Belmont University in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry.

 

Tony McNeilDr. Tony McNeill affectionately known at “Dr. T.,” is a sought-after workshop clinician, lecturer, consultant, mentor, and guest choral conductor throughout the country. Dr. McNeill currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Chairman of the Department of Performing Arts at Clinton College in Rock Hill, SC. Prior to his appoint at Clinton College, he was a Visiting Professor and Interim Choral Director at Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, TX. Dr. McNeill also served four and a half years as the Director of Worship and the Arts at Atlanta’s Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, “America’s Freedom Church.”

 

He has presented lectures and workshops for the Hymn Society of the United States and Canada, The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), American Choral Directors Association, Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, Duke Divinity School, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, The Presbyterian Association of Musicians (PAM), The American Baptist College, The National Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators Conference (APCE), Shaw University Ministers’ Conference, and served as Consultant and Artist-in-Residence for the past six (6) years at Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ) for The Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI).

 

Dr. McNeill is a member of the gospel recording group Donald Lawrence and The Tri-City Singers and the Founder/Curator of THE CALL 2 WORSHIP GROUP, an online resource community for musicians and clergy. He is also a board member of the Western NC Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of American, Inc.

 

Dr. McNeill earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree, with a concentration in piano and choral music, from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC); a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL); and a Doctor of Worship Studies from The Robert Webber Institute for Worship Studies (Jacksonville, FL).

Jeff GreeneJeff Greene, a native of Miami, FL currently resides in the Atlanta, GA metro area. He is a graduate of Morehouse College where he earned a BS Degree in Computer Science.

Jeff began his communications journey at Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, GA where he served as a volunteer in their Communications Ministry. In 1996, he joined the staff as the Assistant Technical Director.

 

While serving in this capacity, Jeff studied all aspects of audio, video, lighting and projection and developed his expertise in these areas. In 2001, Jeff decided to launch out and start his own production company, Unity Productions, LLC. The company focused on helping churches with their audio, video, lighting and projection needs while also providing technical services for live events all around the Atlanta area.

 

In 2017, Jeff was promoted to Technical Director and continued to grow his company. While consulting and installing systems for multiple churches, Jeff recognized that many of them lack training for their staff and volunteers. Training has become a vital component for Unity Productions, LLC in helping churches improve their worship experience.

 

Jeff has been married to the lovely Dr. Toya D. Greene for over 32 years and together they have six wonderful children.

 

David WoodDavid Wood grew up in Macon, GA. His family attended Vineville United Methodist Church where he earned his Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 19. Since being a teenager, David has been in ministry with GNTV Media Ministry, traveling and working with the organization to provide lights, sound, and video for hundreds of church events, retreats, and concerts. He is a 1997 graduate with a B.S. in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology (North Avenue Trade School) in Atlanta, GA. He completed his Master of Divinity in 2007 from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. David was ordained a Full Elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference in 2010. Since September 2012, he is currently appointed to Macon Urban Ministries (the parent ministry of GNTV) with responsibility for being Executive Director. David was married in 2004 to Hope and has two beautiful little girls named Sarah and Hannah.

Derek WeberBorn and raised in Indiana, Dr. Derek Weber has a BA in Speech and Theatre, a Master of Theology, (MTh), and a Ph.D. in preaching and communication from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

 

An ordained United Methodist Elder, Derek has served churches, from small to large, in Indiana, Arkansas, and the UK. As of July 1, 2019, Derek was named Director of Preaching Ministries with Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Nashville Tennessee.

 

Derek is married to La Donna Riddle Weber and they are parents to their now adult children Rhys Edmund Myung-hoon Weber and Madeleine Marie Min-hee Weber.

 

Kevin SmallsReverend Dr. B. Kevin Smalls is a native of Washington, DC. He is the only child of Emma Francine and the youngest child of Benjamin F. Smalls. Even as a youngster, Rev. Smalls always wanted to be a minister. He preached a five minute sermon in lay speaker school and that launched him as a young teenage preacher in various pulpits in the DC/Maryland area. At the age of 17, at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, he preached his first Sunday morning sermon in February of 1987. His great uncle who was the pastor of Ebenezer began teaching Rev. Smalls the ways of the ministry, church and worship leading.

 

After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, Rev. Smalls matriculated at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Upon graduation from Claflin, he enrolled at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta George where he earned the Master of Divinity Degree with a concentration in preaching and New Testament Studies. While in seminary, Rev. Smalls was a student lead pastor of Burns and St. Mary United Methodist Churches. Rev. Smalls holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary where he focused on Post Modern Preaching to Contemporary Audiences with an emphasis on Hip Hop culture.

 

Rev. Smalls is the founder of the Young Adult Christian Cafe’, The Off the Hook Bible Study (for young(ish) adults), and serves on the Washington East District Committee on Ordained Ministry. He has written published articles in periodicals and a book entitled “Voices Crying Out in the Wilderness: Contemporary Theologies of Preaching,” edited by Dr. Greg Howard; was honorably mentioned in a book entitled “Together for Good: Lessons from Fifty Five Years of Marriage” by Drs. Henry and Ella Mitchell and the second and third volume of “The Africana Worship Book.”

 

Also, Rev. Smalls has served the general church as a Lina McCord Black College Fund ambassador for the eleven historically black institutions of higher education. He is currently a selected candidate to begin executive coach training with the General Board of Global Ministries and has completed his first tract. Additionally, he is a participant in the Northeastern Jurisdictional conversation with the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race exploring ways to reach more people, specifically young people, and more diverse people in our local congregations

 

Rev. Dr. Smalls became the Senior Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Rev. Smalls has four children, Kevin Jr., Kailyn, Nicholas and Aiden.

Thursday Afternoon Seminar Options

Ronda Kingwood

Pastor Ronda Kingwood is a charismatic visionary, Pastor and Founder of Heart of Christ United Methodist Church, in Southeast Wichita, KS.

 

Pastor Ronda impacts and transforms countless lives through her powerful sermons and dynamic leadership. Her love for God, passion for people and powerful anointing continually inspire her to create innovative ways to reach souls for Christ. 

 

Pastor Ronda previously served as associate pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church and lead pastor for the Saint Mark Southeast Campus.   Before becoming a licensed local pastor, Pastor Ronda served as the Director of Magnification at Saint Mark for 14 years under the leadership of Rev. Junius B. Dotson. In this position, she led all aspects of worship, including planning, developing, and implementing original creative styles of worship that embraced all ethnic, generational, and cultural backgrounds. Pastor Ronda’s leadership elevated the worship experience for thousands of congregants each Sunday.

 

Today, she brings the same spirit of excellence to her pastoral role at Heart of Christ, a church that is growing both spiritually and numerically. Under Pastor Ronda’s energetic leadership, the church has gone from ordinary to extraordinary. She has turned the focus from an attractional church to a missional church.  Her main focus is creating fresh new ways to see all the people that God is calling us to reach through community building – reaching those outside the building and those that may never come into the building.

L’Tanya Moore-Copeland

 

Alj Headshot 2Dr. Alisha Lola Jones is an associate professor in the music department of the University of Cambridge. She is a board member of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), a member of the strategic planning task force for the American Musicological Society (AMS), and a co-chair of the Music and Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). Additionally, as a performer-scholar, she consults museums, conservatories, seminaries, and arts organizations on curriculum, live and virtual event programming, and content development. Dr. Jones’ book Flaming?: The Peculiar Theopolitics of Fire and Desire in Black Male Gospel Performance (Oxford University Press) breaks ground by analyzing the role of gospel music-making in constructing and renegotiating gender identity among black men. Dr. Jones’ book has been awarded several book prizes: the 2021 Ruth Stone (SEM), Music in American Culture (AMS), and Philip Brett (AMS) Prizes. Her research interests extend to global pop music, musics of the African diaspora, music and food, the music industry and the marketplace, and anti-oppressive ways of listening to black women. A little-known fact is that Dr. Alisha Lola Jones and her sister Rev. Angela Marie Jones are co-owners of Paradise Media Group, a Black women-owned radio company based in Oxford and Henderson, NC. She is married to Rev. Calvin Taylor Skinner, her partner work and love.

 

Brian Hehn is an inspiring song-leader equally comfortable leading an acapella singing of “It Is Well” as he is drumming and dancing to “Sizohamba Naye.” Experienced using a variety of genres and instrumentations, he has led worship for Baptists, Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Presbyterians, and many more across the U.S. and Canada. He received his Bachelor of Music Education from Wingate University, his Master of Sacred Music from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is certified in children’s church music (K-12) by Choristers Guild. He has articles published on sacred music and congregational song in multiple journals and co-authored two books on liturgical drumming under the title “All Hands In” published by Choristers Guild. While working for The Hymn Society as the Director of The Center for Congregational Song, he is also adjunct professor of church music at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina and director of liturgical worship and discipleship at St. John’s Lutheran Church Sweet Air in Phoenix, MD. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his beautiful family: Eve, Jakob, and Clara.

YaNi DavisIyana “YaNi” Davis, is a graduate of Claremont School of Theology with her Masters of Divinity. Rev. YaNi received her B.A. from Spelman College, with an English degree. YaNi has always been passionate about the impact of words, storytelling, truth-telling  and the therapeutic nature of writing one’s words and sharing one’s story. YaNi believes firmly in our power as storytellers and sets this example everyday of her life as a coach, creative and community leader.

 

Rev. YaNi, is an ordained minister with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has been a featured speaker, poet and teaching-artist around the United States, throughout Europe and across Asia. YaNi uses her words wisely as a Hip Hop artist, an inspiring speaker, an effective educator, a profound poet, a modern day prophet and griot. She has shared the stage with top performers, theologians, creatives, and healers around the world, an honor that she does not take lightly. YaNi has spoken and performed in venues from University settings, to churches, coffee shops and clubs as her message is one for everyone invested in growing in the peaceful expressions of communalism, wholeness and love. 

 

YaNi has founded several spiritual communities around the country, is the author of, Love Poems for Peace, is a kidney transplant survivor and near completion of a second masters (Professional Studies-Business of Art and Design) via Maryland Institute College of Art.

 

Valerie Bridgeman sitting 2022Dr. Valerie Bridgeman is Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as Associate Professor of Homiletics and Hebrew Bible at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. She also is founding president and CEO of WomanPreach! Inc. —the premiere non-profit organization that brings preachers to full prophetic voice. Dr. Bridgeman has lectured or taught in some of the nation’s premier seminaries and divinity schools. She has been in licensed or ordained ministry since 1977. Some of her publications include “Interpreting the Bible in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter: The Gideon Story and Scholarly Commitments,” in Second Wave Intertextuality and the Hebrew Bible, published in 2019; “’A Long Ways from Home’: Displacement, Lament, and Singing Protest in Psalm 137,” in Perspectives in Religious Studies, 2017; and “‘I Will Make Boys Their Princes’: A Womanist Reading of Children in the Book of Isaiah,” 311-327, in Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse, 2016. She is a regular contributor to workingpreacher.org and writes regularly for the Journal for Preachers. She currently is completing a commentary on Hosea with Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan and will write the commentary on Job, both in the Wisdom Commentary series. She also is co-editor of a volume on Womanist methodologies, with Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder, under Fortress Press.

 

Dr. Bridgeman is active on several boards, including the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the editorial board for Homiletic, and the College of Affirming Bishops and Faith Leaders of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She was inducted into the Society for the Study of Black Religion in 2007 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars and Preachers at Morehouse College in 2010. She also is an active member of the Society for Biblical Literature, where she currently serves on the Committee for Women in the Profession. Her other professional guilds include the American Academy of Religion, the Black Religious Scholars Group, the Academy of Homiletics, and the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.

 

Dr. Bridgeman is a graduate of Baylor University, with a Ph.D. in biblical studies (Hebrew Bible concentration) and secondary studies in ethics. She received her Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and her BA in Communication and Religion from Trinity University (San Antonio). She is a peace activist and advocate for human rights.

Friday Morning Seminar Options

Eli WilsonEli Wilson, Jr., is a native of New Orleans. He is an ordained Minister of Music with 32 years of full time service. He is the founder of Eli Wilson Ministries: A Church Music Leadership Educational Resource Ministry.

 

Eli is an independent solo artist with 9 recordings to his credit and his compositions have been recorded by Babbie Mason, Keith Pringle, Ben Hill United Methodist Church, and Trinity United Church of Christ. His music has also been published in five hymn books?

 

Eli is the author of “Equipping The Church Choir for Ministry” and produces a weekly music and teaching broadcast series on You Tube and Facebook.

 

Eli did his undergraduate study at Dillard University – New Orleans, LA – in Vocal Music Education and his post-graduate study at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and the Eastman School of Music – Rochester, NY – in Christian Education and Sacred Music. He also holds an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Virginia Seminary and College.

 

Eli has been the worship leader and a workshop facilitator at the Hampton Minister’ Conference. He is a Certified Life Coach, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

 

Eli is married to Brenda Marie Simmons- Wilson. Together they have two sons, Eli III and LeVar Antoine. They also have two grandchildren , Elijah, and Nahla.

 

Minister Wilson is retired from the local church music ministry, and is now committed to working with church music leaders for the betterment of musicians and their ministry.

 

 

Cynthia WilsonRev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson is an ordained deacon serving as the founder and Director of the Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond, a one-of-a-kind global Institute that provides training in the sacred musics of Africana church traditions and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.

 

Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Worship Resources and Director of Liturgical Resources at Discipleship Ministries, an agency of The United Methodist Church. Prior to her work at Discipleship Ministries, Dr. Wilson served as Assistant Vice-President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

 

A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson has participated as a solo artist, choral conductor, academician, preacher and clinician across 6 continents. She is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards. Her recording credits have been nominated for several awards and she has been a featured soloist on a multitude of recording projects and shared the stage with noted music legends such as Richard Smallwood, Edwin Hawkins (“Oh Happy Day”), Ken Medema, Nancy Wilson, Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar, Cissy Houston, the late Lionel Hampton, and Rev. James Cleveland. One of the true highlights of her ministry included a benefit concert for Africa University at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

 

Dr. Wilson was invited to join the National Task Force (1979) that produced the Songs of Zion, and Co-Chaired the task force that produced its sequel (2007), Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation with the late Dr. William B. McClain.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Dillard University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology/ SMU, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Monya Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarvis Wilson

Kathleen TurnerKathleen Turner, PhD, a native New Yorker, began dancing at the age of five at the Gloria Jackson Dance Studio. After graduating from the New York High School of Performing Arts, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SUNY Purchase and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College. Kathleen graduated from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Sacred Theology (STM) degree in 2009, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 2008 and received a Certificate of Merit from the Institute of Sacred Music, an affiliate of Yale Divinity School. Kathleen graduated May 2012 with her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Religious Education from Fordham University. Kathleen has danced with many New York based choreographers and has worked extensively with Director/Choreographer, Dianne McIntyre as a member of the Sounds In Motion Dance Company touring the United States and Europe. Kathleen was a tenured Associate Professor in the Dance Program at CUNY Hunter College from 1994-2005. She has taught and choreographed for a variety of private dance studios, college programs, and theatre productions on the eastern coast in addition to teaching throughout Germany and Austria.

 

Kathleen is a recipient of numerous awards from both Yale University and the Society of Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS). Kathleen has delivered papers at the SARTS 2008 meeting at the American Association of Religion (AAR) in Chicago; at the 2011 and 2012 Religious Education Association Conferences; and at the Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance 2014 Conference at Duke University. Her Ph.D. dissertation, “And We Shall Learn through the Dance:” Liturgical Dance as Religious Education, investigates liturgical dance as religious education in the church as a community place of learning. Kathleen contributed a chapter in the book, Readings in African American Church Music and Worship, Volume 2, edited by James Abbington. Kathleen published her first manuscript, And We Shall Learn Through the Dance: Liturgical Dance as Religious Education, through Wipf and Stock under their PICKWICK Publications imprint July 2021. Kathleen has been commissioned to contribute a chapter on the relationship between sacred music and liturgical dance in the 2025 publication of The New Oxford Handbook of Music and Theology published by Oxford University Press.

 

Kathleen has taught at Drew Theological Seminary in the Master of Arts in Ministry degree program in the areas of liturgical dance, liturgy, and worship. Kathleen was a guest lecturer for the course, Forming Worshiping Communities for the Distance Learning Program at Calvin Theological Seminary and a current seminar and workshop presenter, choreographer and dancer for the Calvin Symposium on Worship, an international worship conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship on the campus of Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI. Kathleen has taught as an adjunct professor at New York Theological Seminary in the Master of Arts in Religious Education and Master Arts in Youth Ministry degree programs where she designed and taught courses using Moodle for both online and in class courses. Kathleen served as the Director of Children, Youth and Families at the St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Hollis, New York, under the direction of Father Terrence A. Lee. She is a Christian Education Consultant to a variety of churches within the tri-state area and was a guest workshop instructor for the 2014 Institute of Sacred Music at Yale Divinity School Congregations Project, The Human Body and the Body of Christ. Kathleen is returning to Yale Divinity School Spring 2022 to teach a newly developed course, Worship: The Embodied Moment for Self and Church Community. Kathleen is a longstanding member of the national Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Religious Education Association, and the North American Professors of Christian Education.

 

Kathleen is the founding director of the Allen Liturgical Dance Ministry (ALDM) of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, choreographing over seventy-five dances for ALDM. She coordinated and co-coordinated ten international liturgical dance conferences from 1998 to 2014. In 2018 Kathleen returned home to the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York as the Director of Christian Education/Discipleship, a position that oversees, creates, and instructs major Bible Study Programs both virtually and in person for both the adult and senior populations, Christian Nurturing and New Membership Studies. Kathleen is married to Mr. Curtis Turner, and they travel both separately and jointly throughout the United States ministering and co-choreographing for dance ministries, marriage enrichment ministries, church congregations and liturgical dance conferences.

Toska-Medlock-LeeToska Medlock Lee is a strategic marketing communications with a career that spans to over 25 years. As a Dallas-based business owner, her marketing and communications firm, The Myriad Group has been called upon to drive innovative campaigns in the private sector, government, faith and non-profit and entertainment industries with a focus on media, cause marketing and community outreach and organizing.

 

Her ministry marketing and public relations work supports ministry efforts for the second largest denomination in the world; The United Methodist Church. Ms. Medlock Lee strategically develops and promotes ministry and congregational impact programs for various initiatives within the church, including Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, and ministries from across the country.

 

She is the lead event manager and content development specialist for the National Prison Summit on Mass Incarceration and Social Justice presented by Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, and her personal experiences have propelled her to the forefront with national and international ministries, pastors, bishops, elders and other leaders working to end the grind of mass incarceration and to engage local congregations around social justice, advocacy and reform initiatives.

 

Mike Bowie

Dr. Michael L. Bowie, Jr. is the National Executive Director of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. He was ordained an Elder in the Texas Annual Conference in 2000. Dr. Bowie has effectively led urban, cross racial and large congregations throughout the connection. He is an innovative, visionary and passionate servant leader. Dr Bowie received his Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology and his Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. Dr. Bowie is married to Jeannette, proud father to Lauren & Trey, and grandfather to Karter and Cade. Dr.Bowie, along with other SBC21 partners recently launched a new initiate to strengthen congregations and transform communities called “The Black Church Matters.” He believes, “When the Black Church is Strenegthened the entire denomination is Stronger.

Friday Afternoon Seminar Options

For this seminar, pastor & music/worship leader are required to enroll as a team.

In addition to being a former professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School (1987-2004), Dr. Renita Weems has taught at Spelman College, Howard University Divinity School and Memphis Theological Seminary. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga where she attended Atlanta public schools.

 

Dr. Renita Weems earned a Ph.D. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1989 making her the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in Old Testament Studies. Her dissertation was a trailblazing effort. Writing in an era when women doctoral students hesitated to take on “women’s issue” topics, and when most male faculty still felt uncertain, if not uncomfortable, advising such topics, Dr. Weems chose to study marriage imagery in the Hebrew prophets. Her work offered careful, challenging, and often painful insights into use of this metaphor; moving beyond traditional scholarship, which had all too easily looked only at the “love” side of the marriage metaphor. Weems was among the first to point to the violence associated with this biblical imagery, violence acceptable within the prophets’ cultural assumptions about marriage and all too often considered acceptable even in twentieth-century America. Dr. Weems’ 1995 volume Battered Love: Marriage, Sex, and Violence in the Hebrew Prophets brought this important work to a wide audience, with powerful hermeneutical reflection on implications for contemporary understandings of God and of marriage. Just A Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women’s Relationships in the Bible, published in 1989 along with a host of other articles and books highlighting the questions and experiences that black women bring when reading the Bible has sealed her legacy as a trailblazer in the field of womanist biblical scholarship. Her seminal essay “Reading Her Way: African American Women and the Bible” appeared in the landmark book Stony the Road We Trod: African American Biblical Interpretation (1991). Her commentary on the book of “Song of Songs” in the New Interpreter’s Bible (1997) remains an important resource for understanding biblical notions of love, sex and human sexuality.

 

Finally, Dr. Renita J. Weems is a biblical scholar, a minister, and an author whose scholarly insights into modern faith, biblical texts, and the role of spirituality in everyday lives has made her a highly sought-after writer and speaker for more than four decades. She has numerous books, commentaries and articles on the Bible and prophetic religion to her credit. She has written multiple articles and essays for academics, preachers and lay audiences on topics of faith, prophetic religion, Christian ethics, biblical notions of justice, women’s spirituality, and the Bible and human sexuality. She is the first black woman to deliver the Yale University Lyman Beecher Lecture (2008). Dr. Weems is featured in “Black Stars: African American Religious Leaders” (2008), a collection of biographies of some of the most important Black Religious Leaders over the last 200 hundred years, including such impressive figures as Adam Clayton Powell, Elijah Muhammad, Sojourner Truth, Howard Thurman, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Cynthia WilsonRev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson is an ordained deacon serving as the founder and Director of the Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond, a one-of-a-kind global Institute that provides training in the sacred musics of Africana church traditions and beyond for musicians and worship leaders.

 

Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Worship Resources and Director of Liturgical Resources at Discipleship Ministries, an agency of The United Methodist Church. Prior to her work at Discipleship Ministries, Dr. Wilson served as Assistant Vice-President of Student Life and Dean of Students at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

 

A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson has participated as a solo artist, choral conductor, academician, preacher and clinician across 6 continents. She is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards. Her recording credits have been nominated for several awards and she has been a featured soloist on a multitude of recording projects and shared the stage with noted music legends such as Richard Smallwood, Edwin Hawkins (“Oh Happy Day”), Ken Medema, Nancy Wilson, Patti LaBelle, Shirley Caesar, Cissy Houston, the late Lionel Hampton, and Rev. James Cleveland. One of the true highlights of her ministry included a benefit concert for Africa University at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

 

Dr. Wilson was invited to join the National Task Force (1979) that produced the Songs of Zion, and Co-Chaired the task force that produced its sequel (2007), Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation with the late Dr. William B. McClain.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from Dillard University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology/ SMU, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

John Paul McGeeJohn Paul McGee is a masterful musician, dynamic preacher, producer, published author, and educator. At the age of 4, without any formal training, he began to play familiar hymns and church songs by ear. By age 11, he was studying piano and pipe organ at the New Shiloh School of Music, under the tutelage of the late Dr. Nathan Carter, and subsequently graduated in 2002 from Baltimore School for the Arts with an arts certificate in piano and opera studies. He began his career in church music at the age of 12 as full-time minister of music at Waters AME church in Baltimore. As a keyboardist, vocal arranger, producer, and songwriter, he has been privileged to grace stages across the world with many popular gospel, jazz, R&B, and classical artists.

 

Dr. McGee is a 2006 graduate of Bethune-Cookman College with a Bachelor of Arts in music with a concentration in piano performance. He is a May 2008 graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Arts in religion with a concentration in church ministries. He is a 2015 graduate of Emory University in Atlanta with a Master of Sacred Music degree with a concentration in pipe organ performance. He is a June 2021 graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta with a Doctor of Ministry degree with concentration in pastoral care and counseling. From August through December 2021, McGee was resident professor of music for Verto Education in Pahoa, Hawaii, and he began his appointment as assistant chair of the Piano Department at Berklee College of Music in January 2022.

Derek WeberBorn and raised in Indiana, Dr. Derek Weber has a BA in Speech and Theatre, a Master of Theology, (MTh), and a Ph.D. in preaching and communication from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

 

An ordained United Methodist Elder, Derek has served churches, from small to large, in Indiana, Arkansas, and the UK. As of July 1, 2019, Derek was named Director of Preaching Ministries with Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Nashville Tennessee.

 

Derek is married to La Donna Riddle Weber and they are parents to their now adult children Rhys Edmund Myung-hoon Weber and Madeleine Marie Min-hee Weber.

 

Kevin SmallsReverend Dr. B. Kevin Smalls is a native of Washington, DC. He is the only child of Emma Francine and the youngest child of Benjamin F. Smalls. Even as a youngster, Rev. Smalls always wanted to be a minister. He preached a five minute sermon in lay speaker school and that launched him as a young teenage preacher in various pulpits in the DC/Maryland area. At the age of 17, at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, he preached his first Sunday morning sermon in February of 1987. His great uncle who was the pastor of Ebenezer began teaching Rev. Smalls the ways of the ministry, church and worship leading.

 

After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, Rev. Smalls matriculated at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History. Upon graduation from Claflin, he enrolled at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta George where he earned the Master of Divinity Degree with a concentration in preaching and New Testament Studies. While in seminary, Rev. Smalls was a student lead pastor of Burns and St. Mary United Methodist Churches. Rev. Smalls holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary where he focused on Post Modern Preaching to Contemporary Audiences with an emphasis on Hip Hop culture.

 

Rev. Smalls is the founder of the Young Adult Christian Cafe’, The Off the Hook Bible Study (for young(ish) adults), and serves on the Washington East District Committee on Ordained Ministry. He has written published articles in periodicals and a book entitled “Voices Crying Out in the Wilderness: Contemporary Theologies of Preaching,” edited by Dr. Greg Howard; was honorably mentioned in a book entitled “Together for Good: Lessons from Fifty Five Years of Marriage” by Drs. Henry and Ella Mitchell and the second and third volume of “The Africana Worship Book.”

 

Also, Rev. Smalls has served the general church as a Lina McCord Black College Fund ambassador for the eleven historically black institutions of higher education. He is currently a selected candidate to begin executive coach training with the General Board of Global Ministries and has completed his first tract. Additionally, he is a participant in the Northeastern Jurisdictional conversation with the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race exploring ways to reach more people, specifically young people, and more diverse people in our local congregations

 

Rev. Dr. Smalls became the Senior Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Southfield, Michigan.

 

Rev. Smalls has four children, Kevin Jr., Kailyn, Nicholas and Aiden.

Saturday Morning Seminar Options

Robert HarrisRobert A. Harris is currently Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, IL, where he held the position of Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Organizations from 1977 to 2012. Active as a conductor, composer, clinician, lecturer and adjudicator, he has appeared in these capacities throughout the US, Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa, Columbia and Argentina. He has also held guest professorships in conducting at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI., the University of Texas in Austin and the University of South Africa in Pretoria. Harris earned his doctorate degree in Composition and Theory from Michigan State University. As a composer, he has been the recipient of numerous commissions from various schools and musical organizations. His choral compositions can be found in the catalogs of the following publishers: Boosey and Hawkes, Oxford University Press, Alliance Music, Walton Music, Kjos Music, Mark Foster and Trebor Publications (available from JW Pepper). His choral works have received performances throughout the United States and Canada, in several European countries, as well as South America and South Africa.

 

John Paul McGeeJohn Paul McGee is a masterful musician, dynamic preacher, producer, published author, and educator. At the age of 4, without any formal training, he began to play familiar hymns and church songs by ear. By age 11, he was studying piano and pipe organ at the New Shiloh School of Music, under the tutelage of the late Dr. Nathan Carter, and subsequently graduated in 2002 from Baltimore School for the Arts with an arts certificate in piano and opera studies. He began his career in church music at the age of 12 as full-time minister of music at Waters AME church in Baltimore. As a keyboardist, vocal arranger, producer, and songwriter, he has been privileged to grace stages across the world with many popular gospel, jazz, R&B, and classical artists.

 

Dr. McGee is a 2006 graduate of Bethune-Cookman College with a Bachelor of Arts in music with a concentration in piano performance. He is a May 2008 graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Arts in religion with a concentration in church ministries. He is a 2015 graduate of Emory University in Atlanta with a Master of Sacred Music degree with a concentration in pipe organ performance. He is a June 2021 graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta with a Doctor of Ministry degree with concentration in pastoral care and counseling. From August through December 2021, McGee was resident professor of music for Verto Education in Pahoa, Hawaii, and he began his appointment as assistant chair of the Piano Department at Berklee College of Music in January 2022.

Monya Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarvis Wilson

For children ages 4-12 only. There is an additional $15 cost per child to cover their lunch. Parents/guardians are encouraged to stay in the seminar with their child(ren).

 

Felicia PattonFelicia Patton has been singing in gospel choirs for most of her life. After high school, she became a featured local soloist in the Chicago area, obtaining two graduate degrees from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Felicia’s voice has taken her around the continental United States singing gospel, soul, funk, jazz, and blues. She has been the lead singer of Chicago Soul Revue for more than eight years, as well as continuing her solo work in many different genres of music.

 

Felicia also gives vocal, guitar, and piano lessons through Muzicnet School of Music and serves as Music Minister for Kingswood United Methodist Church.

 

Llewon Felder HeadshotBorn in Detroit Michigan, Llewon Felder is no stranger to great music! She was born into a musical family and has received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from Clark Atlanta University in Piano Performance and began to travel and tour all over the world with independent artists and performance groups such as Shamora, Heston, Julie Dexter, JOI, Kenny Miles, K. Michelle, Americolor Opera Alliance, Cantemos, CanDyse Jones, Cynthia Wilson, Phillippia, Avery Sunshine, JFly, Kebbi Wiliams, and more.

Llewon has spent her last 12 years as the director of the youth, young adult, and children’s choirs at Andrews Chapel United Methodist Church in Jonesboro, GA and St Mark Lutheran Church in East Point, and she is also teaching music lessons under her company she calls Well Rounded Productions in the Atlanta area and surrounding cities while also singing background for some of the most amazing local artists. While pursuing her M.Div at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga, Llewon is also the Minister of Music at St Phillip AME in Griffin, Ga. She continues to perform, minister, write and recently decided to become a recording artist herself, so look for her soon!


Institute Director & Founder

Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson is an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church serving as the founder and Director of the Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond. A talented vocalist, Dr. Wilson has participated as a solo artist, choral conductor, academician, preacher and clinician across 6 continents. She is a Grammy nominee and was noted the “Best Female Vocalist” at the Gospel Choice Awards. Dr. Wilson was invited to join the National Task Force (1979) that produced the Songs of Zion, and Co-Chaired the task force that produced its sequel (2007), Zion Still Sings! For Every Generation with the late Dr. William B. McClain.

Cynthia Wilson

Junius Dotson

About Junius B. Dotson

 

The Junius B. Dotson Institute for Music and Worship in the Black Church and Beyond was is named in honor of the late clergyman and denominational leader, the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, a nationally recognized speaker and author on evangelism and church revitalization.

 

A nationally recognized leader, speaker, and author, the Rev. Junius B. Dotson is the General Secretary (chief executive officer) of Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church, an organization with a staff of more than 130. Dotson was elected General Secretary in 2016.

 

Under Dotson’s leadership, Discipleship Ministries has worked toward having the 11-million-member denomination ensure every congregation has an intentional discipleship system, engages with people currently outside the church, and cultivates local (contextual) resources around the globe.

 

Rev. Dotson is the author of Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness (Upper Room Books). Released to national acclaim, the book is a 6-week study for everyone who moves at breakneck speed through daily life.

 

Rev. Dotson served on a team of 16 global United Methodist leaders, across a wide theological spectrum, toward a proposal that would preserve The United Methodist Church while allowing traditionalist-minded congregations to form a new denomination. The proposal was reached with the help of famed mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who worked on the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

 

Dotson launched “See All The People”, the highly successful church-wide initiative that helps church leaders concentrate on intentional discipleship, while learning new behaviors around engaging their surrounding community. 

 

Rev. Dotson is also the author of Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations and Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People. Both resources help congregations look beyond their walls, acknowledging that God calls us to have “meaningful relationships in authentic, organic and consistent ways.”

 

As a leader who responds to challenges and opportunities in new and creative ways, Rev. Dotson believes that effective ministry is about training, developing, and empowering leaders to establish ministries that address the needs of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. 

 

His current 90-second daily radio series, “See All The People”, is featured on more than 40 stations across the U.S. His ministry has been featured in The Tennessean, The San Jose Mercury News, The San Francisco Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, The Wichita Eagle, religious journals and segments on CBS Radio’s “The Osgood File,” as well as on ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates in San Francisco, San Jose and Wichita.

 

Prior to his present position, Rev. Dotson was Senior Pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he was instrumental in transforming the 3,500-member church into a multi-campus congregation.

 

In 1996, Rev. Dotson responded to the challenge of planting Genesis United Methodist Church, a new and innovative church in the Silicon Valley of California, which grew into a diverse faith community of nearly 500 people. 

 

Rev. Dotson received his undergraduate degree in political science, with a concentration in economics, at the University of Texas at Arlington. While attending UT-Arlington, he was president of the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation’s oldest African-American fraternity.  Rev. Dotson began his graduate work at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. He was ordained in June 1992.