African American Convocation Speaker Bios

Rev. Dr. Sharon Davis

Rev. Dr. Sharon Ellis Davis is a UCC Pastor, Womanist Scholar, Theologian & Ethicist. She speaks both nationally and internationally, in the areas of Sexual and Domestic Violence especially as it relates to and intersects with race, class, culture, gender, and the Criminal Justice System. Sharon served as a Chicago Police Officer for 31 ½ years. She is a survivor of sexual and domestic violence. Sharon is a trainer with the Faith Trust Institute in Domestic Violence and Healthy Clergy Boundaries. Sharon earned her M.Div., (Pastoral Care), and Ph.D., (Theology, Ethics and the Human Science) from Chicago Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary respectively. She serves as Affiliate Professor with McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, and Mentor of Doctor of Ministry Students, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH. Her recent book is titled, African American Battered Women: A Study of Gender Entrapment. 


Rev. Velda Love

Velda currently serves as Minister for Racial Justice in The Justice and and Local Church Ministries of The United Church of Christ National Office in Cleveland, OH. Velda develops:

·        Comprehensive culture centered curriculum

·        Restorative justice study guides

·        Restorative justice faith practices

·        Facilitator training resources

·        Witness For Justice Commentary contributor

·        Racial Justice workshops and church-wide teaching & preaching

Velda’s work includes developing strategic approaches for UCC national conferences, congregations and staff colleagues to explore and understand the intersection of race and racism with other justice related issues—economic, environmental, gender bias, poverty, and mass incarceration. The goal of her work is to assist the Christian Church, UCC congregations, underrepresented groups, and society to dismantle and eradicate structural, systemic, and individual racism by understanding the role and intent of the creation of colorism categories, the construction of whiteness , and people of color myths. Velda brings an African-centered, Black liberation, and Womanist approach to the Bible and theology. Restorative justice is inclusive of  healing narratives placing God at the center of life and faith, and all cultures and ethnicities on the margins.


 The Reverend Doctor Patrick Garnet Duggan

The Reverend Doctor Patrick Garnet Duggan was called to serve as Executive Director of the United Church of Christ Church Building and Loan Fund (CB&LF). CB&LF is the successor to the first church building society in the United States. The Fund offers loans, capital campaigns and consulting services for the purchase and development of real estate owned by UCC and other Christian churches in the United States. In 2013, CB&LF became one of the first church financial institutions to implement an impact investment policy. In 2018, CB&LF launched the ADESE (Ah-DEH-seh) Fellowship, a catalytic experience for emerging spiritual entrepreneurs who renew the Church's mission to create a just world for all.  The Fund’s vision is to re-invent the concept of “church” through innovative uses of buildings and space created through unique partnerships and the application of biblical principles, to dramatically improve the economic, social, environmental, and spiritual vitality of poor communities and gentrifying neighborhoods.

A blogger, a preacher, and a transformational denominational executive, Dr. Duggan asserts that he is “on a mission to enable church leaders and congregations to live into God’s economy”in alignment with the Gospel mission as explicated in Luke 4 and Matthew 25. In fulfillment of his personal mission, Dr. Duggan serves as a volunteer on the organizing committee of FaithInvest, a multi-billion-dollar investment platform that will match mission-driven investors with faith-driven projects that seek to eliminate poverty globally.

A native New Yorker, Duggan earned the Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1980. Dr. Duggan earned the Master of Divinity in 1993 and the Doctor of Ministry in 2013, both from New York Theological Seminary (NYTS).  An adjunct instructor at NYTS, Dr. Duggan has taught a course on the Black Church in the Transformation of Society and a primer on church real estate projects, “Church Building 101.”  


Rev. Brenda Brown

Rev. Brenda T. Brown is a native of Norfolk, VA and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.  Rev. Brown received her BA degree from Virginia Union University with a major in Sociology.  In 2006 Rev. Brown graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Master of Divinity degree, focusing on Christian Education.  

Rev. Brown retired from IBM Corporation in December 2013, after 33yrs of employment. She has been married for 44 years to William Sidney Brown, Sr.  Together, they have 2 adult children, 3 grandchildren, and 2 lovely daughters- in-law.  

She currently serves as an Associate Pastor and Pastoral Advisor to Youth Ministries  at St. Mark United Church of Christ,  and Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Kairos Freedom Schools of Virginia Program—Norfolk’s first Freedom Schools program. 

Rev. Brown has always had a passion for educating children in a faith based setting.  She believes the church needs to assume a vital and active role in the community to reclaim our children and prepare them to be contributing, productive citizens of the world.  Consequently, she has worked for nine years to establish the Freedom Schools program promoting high quality literacy and character building enrichment;  parent and family involvement; intergenerational servant leadership development; civic engagement and social action; and nutrition and  health—key elements to ensuring, for our children, safe and successful passage into adulthood.  She has taken to heart the Freedom School motto that says, “We must believe in our children, so they can believe in themselves.” 

For her work with Freedom Schools, Rev. Brown has received the “Safe Harbor Award” presented by the Children’s Harbor, and the “Exemplar Award” presented by the Hampton Roads Gazeti.She has served with the National CDF Freedom Schools Program as amentorto Executive Directors training at their Alex Haley Farm facility in Clinton, TN and as on site counselor at the 2015 and 2017 Ella Baker Child


Rev. Hugo J. Morrison

Reverend Hugo Morrison is a proud alumnus of Regent University, obtaining his Masters of Divinity Degree in Practical Theology. 

Rev. Morrison was authorized to ordained ministry by the Eastern Virginia Association of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ in September 2016.  He was elected in September 2017 and currently serves as the Senior Pastor & Teacher of the Union United Church of Christ located in Norfolk, VA. 

A great source of strength for Hugo is found in the word of God. In particular, Hugo finds encouragement and renewal in Psalm 27:14, where it is states to: “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart, wait, I say on the Lord


REV. DR. YVONNE V. DELK

Rev. Dr. Yvonne Delk is currently a member of the Historical Council of the UCC. and the Board of Trustees of Franklinton Center at Bricks. She is the former Executive of the Community Renewal Society of Chicago. She was the first black woman to be ordained in the United Church of Christ and has served the denomination in leadership positions including serving as the Director of its Office for Church in Society. She also served as the moderator of the Programme to Combat Racism of the World Council of Churches. For 50 years she has served as an educator, preacher, organizer and a prophetic voice leading the fight for human and civil rights for people of color, children and the poor throughout five continents. She is the founding Director of the Center for African American Theological Studies. 


Dr. Kenneth Lee Samuel

Dr. Kenneth Lee Samuel is a native of Darlington, South Carolina, one of four children born to Mr. & Mrs. Bessie and Albert Samuel, Sr. He has been the recipient of many scholastic and civic honors, including ‘A Better Chance Scholarship’, which allowed him to attend high school at the prestigious Delbarton School in Morristown, New Jersey. He graduated in 1978 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History. He continued his academic pursuit by matriculating at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received the Benjamin E. Mays Theological Fellowship Award, among others. In 1981, he received his Master of Divinity Degree. In 1996, he received the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. His theological focus is in the field of homiletics and social ethics.

Dr. Samuel was licensed as a Minister of the Gospel on his 23rd birthday, August 5, 1979, at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Joseph L. Roberts, Jr., and Pastor Emeritus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. He was ordained in 1982 also at Ebenezer Baptist Church. In November 2002, Dr. Samuel was granted full ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ through the Georgia/South Carolina Association of the United Church of Christ.

In March of 1987, Dr. Samuel organized the Victory for the World Church, which has dual standing as an Independent Baptist Church and an active congregation of the United Church of Christ. Situated in a growing eastern suburb of Atlanta called Stone Mountain, the Victory Church seeks to address the total needs of the total person through a broad array of ministries and services which promote the spiritual development, educational enhancement, physical fitness and social empowerment of every child of God – regardless of race, gender, culture, class or sexual orientation. In 2001, Dr. Samuel and the Victory Church completed construction on a 3000 seat Worship Center, replete with classrooms, offices, library, bookstore, recording studio and a 500 seat banquet hall. In addition, the Kenneth Lee Samuel (KLS) Community Life Center houses a full court gymnasium, additional classrooms, offices and a computer lab. 

Dr. Samuel has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Clark Atlanta University and has served as a Teaching Assistant in homiletics at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Dr. Samuel’s first book, entitled ‘Solomon’s Success: Four Essential Keys To Leadership’ has appeared as a number one best seller in The Christian Century Magazine.

Believing that our love for Jesus should never be separated from our passion for Justice, Dr. Samuel has engaged himself in the struggle for Human Rights through numerous agencies, which most recently include serving as Vice-Chair of the African American Leadership Council of People For the American Way (Washington, D.C.), Trustee Board Member of Lancaster School of Theology (Lancaster, PA), Board Member of Leadership DeKalb (the premier Leadership Development program in DeKalb County, GA), Religious Advisory Board Member of the National Black Justice Coalition, Past appointed member of the Georgia Council on Adult Literacy, Past member of the Citizens Panel Review Board of DeKalb Juvenile Court (CASA), Volunteer Chaplain of the DeKalb County Jail, Past Board Member of the Scottdale Child Development Center, Past Southern Regional Chaplain of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Past Chair of the United Way Ministerial Campaign, and Past President of the DeKalb County, Georgia Branch of the NAACP. Additionally, Dr. Samuel has been elected as a Georgia delegate to several Democratic National Conventions.

As the founder of Victory Outreach In Community Empowerment (VOICE) 501c3, Dr. Samuel has led community services that have enriched the Stone Mountain vicinity in the following areas; customer service training, career development workshops, foreclosure prevention programs, homebuyer down payment assistance workshops, and basic computer skills training. Currently, VOICE provides free GED preparatory courses for ages 17 and older, financial literacy classes, and physical recreation for youth ages 12-18. VOICE will soon offer loan modification counseling. All of these services are open and available to the Stone Mountain/DeKalb Community.

Dr. Samuel is the proud parent of one daughter, Kendalle Marye, and resides in Ellenwood, Georgia. 


REV. DR. JAMES ALEXANDER FORBES, JR.

The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes is the Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, as well as The Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary. 

He currently serves as the President of the Healing of the Nations Ministries and is on the faculty of Duke Divinity School in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Forbes has joined with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and the Rev. Traci Blackmon in a national tour to redefine morality in American politics and challenge leaders of faith and moral courage to be more vocally opposed to harmful policies that disproportionately impact the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color and religious minorities.   

Additionally, Dr. Forbes is a highly acclaimed author, scholar and nationally sought-after speaker, affectionately referred to in national and international religious circles as the preacher's preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style. Newsweek magazine once recognized Forbes as one of the 12 "most effective preachers" in the English-speaking world.As a passionate educator, administrator, community and human rights activist and interfaith leader, 

Dr. Forbes was twice designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine.


Pastor K. Ray Hill

Pastor K. Ray Hill is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC).  He currently serves as the Senior Pastor-Teacher at Maple Temple UCC located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was an instructor for the Southern Conference Pastoral Leadership Development Program. K. Ray is an UCC History, Polity & Theology instructor and Boundary Trainer for the Southern Conference. He is certified Christian Educator for United Church of Christ.  

In the past, he served on the staff of the Southern Conference as Area Conference Minister and as the Program Associate in Christian Education.  He served on the UCC national staff as an Educational Consultant assigned to the Southern Region for Local Church Ministries-United Church of Christ. He was an instructor for General Synod 28 and 29 UCC History, Theology & Polity Class. K. Ray has been adjunct faculty member for Wake Forest University Divinity School and Pacific School of Religion.


Rev. Gregory Milton

Rev. Gregory Milton is the middle child of the Rev. Ervin and Louise Milton, the Pastor of Union Chapel UCC in Burlington, NC. In 2002, Milton graduated from Brevard College with a BA in Music. He completed a Master’s degree from Michigan State University in Jazz Performance in Spring 2009.

Milton is no stranger with working with young people. Upon completing his Undergraduate degree he began working at Broadview Middle school, a predominately black school in Alamance County, which had 78 in the total program but three years later had 250 young musicians. Besides working at Broadview Middle, Milton has been Director of Bands at Cummings High and James B Dudley High School where he has received numerous awards for his service. Milton also served as the Director of Music at High Point Central High School where he was the 2012 – 13 “Teacher of the Year.”

Not only is Rev. Gregory Milton an exceptional band director but an awesome church musician and teacher. He was the Associate Pastor
for Youth and Music at First Baptist Church

on Apple St. where Rev. Dray Bland is the pastor. During this tenure there, he developed and supervised one of the largest Vacation Bible Schools in Alamance County as well as witnessed the personal growth of the children and youth both spiritually and numerically.

Rev. Milton completed his Master of Divinity in May 2018 at Duke Divinity School where he was awarded the Hoyt Hickman Excellence in Liturgics and the Seminarian Award of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts.

Currently, Rev. Milton is the pastor of Antioch United Church of Christ in Henderson, NC. Antioch has a proud theme of being “a real church, with real people, serving a real God”

In December 2008, Gregory married Tracey Kirby Milton and they have two children;Corey and Andrea Je ries.


Rev. Jamal Brown

Reverend Jamal Brown believes the call of the church is to be God’s vehicle through the sharing and experiencing of God’s gospel of Jesus Christ in the building of God’s community of believes. He envious fostering unity among beleivers where the love Christ is a shared exepeirinced for all believers. 

Pastor Brown is a proponent of community involved four the individual believer and the church as a whole. He beleives that God has equipped each of us with various gifts in order to serve our immediate community and worldwide community towards spiritual, emotional, physical and economic empowerment. 

Pastor Brown completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University in 1993. He recently received his Master’s in Divinity with a concentration in Clinical Pastoral Counseling and his certification in Family Wellness Life Skills Coaching from Shaw University in 2011. 

On a personal level Pastor Brown loves traveling and spending time with the family. Pastor Brown has been happily married to Shandolyn since 1997. She is accomplished herself with a BSN from North Carolina Central University and is in her field of practice offering physical and emotional healing to her patients in the Triangle Area. They have four children Immanuel who is serving in the US Navy, Alexcia, Candace, and Charitee.