Ms. Carrie Newcomer

Ms. Carrie Newcomer has been described as a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe, as one who “asks all the right questions” by Rolling Stone, as “a voice as rich as Godiva chocolate” by The Austin Statesman. One of the definitive voices of the heartland and progressive spirituality, Carrie recently released her twelfth album on Rounder Records, Before and After (featuring Mary Chapin Carpenter on the title track). She has toured with Alison Krauss and Nickel Creek recorded Newcomer’s song “I Should’ve Known Better,” on their Grammy-winning album, This Side. Carrie facilitates workshops internationally on the topics of writing and spirituality, vocation and activism, at colleges, universities, spiritual communities, and retreat centers. In the fall of 2010, she served as a cultural ambassador to India, invited by the American Embassy in India to tour the country performing for Indian audiences and working with community service organizations. In October 2011, Carrie will release Everything is Everywhere, a collaboration with Amjad Ali Khan by The Times of India. USA sales will benefit The Interfaith Hunger Initiative.

Dr. Parker J. Palmer

Dr. Parker J. Palmer is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. He is founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, The Active Life, To Know as We Are Known, The Company of Strangers, The Promise of Paradox, The Heart of Higher Education and, most recently, Healing the Heart of Democracy. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as ten honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press, and major grants from the Danforth, Lilly, and Fetzer foundations. In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named him one of the thirty most influential senior leaders in higher education and one of the ten key agenda- setters of the past decade. In 2010, he was given the William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mead, Marshall McLuhan, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel). Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer, was published in 2005. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin. 

“We have been trying to bridge the great divides in this great country for a long time. In Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer urges us to ‘keep on walking, keep on talking’—just as we did in the civil rights movement—until we cross those bridges together.”
 - Congressman John Lewis, recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Rev. Dr. Gregory Clark Ellison II

“Fearless Dialogues:  See.  Hear.  Change.” Dr. Greg Ellison fosters strong communities for the common good by creating spaces for unlikely relationships to change the way people see themselves and the world around them. He leads us to see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and others.

Dr. Ellison is Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. His research examines the intersections of pastoral care, personality development, theologies of hope, and marginalized populations.

Dr. Ellison received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 from Emory University. He received his Master of Divinity degree in 2002 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2008. While at Princeton, Dr. Ellison was awarded the Seward Hiltner Prize for his outstanding academic promise in the field of pastoral theology and was inducted into the Emory College Hall of Fame and was the first African American male to receive that honor.

Ten years after graduating from Emory University, he returned to join the Candler faculty in 2009. He was the recipient of Candler’s “Faculty Person of the Year” award in 2010-2011. He also received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, Emory University’s most prestigious faculty teaching honor.

His first book, “Cut Dead But Still Alive: Caring for African American Men” (Abingdon 2013), is based on his years of counseling youth and his work with young men transitioning out of correctional facilities. Two more books are in progress with Westminster John Knox Press: “Fearless Dialogues: See, Hear, Change” and “Anchored in the Current: The Eternal Wisdom of Howard Thurman in a Changing World.” “Fearless Dialogues: See, Hear, Change” uses interdisciplinary voices to provide school systems, local and regional initiatives, faith-based alliances, and partnership-minded organizations with a theoretical template for creating space, appropriating silence, fostering discussion, managing conflict, revealing strengths, nurturing strategic alliances and facilitating sustainable change.

Dr. Ellison is an ordained Baptist minister who has served Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches.

Mr. Matthew Sanford

Inspiration and insight are a big step, but the long-term goal of waking mind and body is long-lasting changes in everyday behavior. Matthew offers his mind-body insights and experience in practical and tangible ways through strategies for managing stress, increasing energy levels, and improving quality of life.

"It took a devastating car accident, paralysis from the chest down, and dependence on a wheelchair before I truly realized the importance of waking both my mind and my body."

Matthew Sanford has inspired and enhanced the lives of thousands by sharing the fundamental importance of the mind-body relationship. For him, connecting mind and body is not just a health strategy; it is a movement of consciousness that can change the world.

Matthew’s core message of personal and organizational transformation is powerfully practical for a wide variety of audiences. His inspirational story of realizing opportunity in the face of change shows the way to better living, greater success and increased purpose. He connects with audiences nationwide, including corporations, major conferences, healthcare organizations, universities, colleges and national yoga conferences.

Matthew shares his personal story in his critically acclaimed book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence. Waking not only received two book awards, but was also reviewed in many national publications. “I wrote a memoir, not to tell you something about me, but rather to show something about the mind-body relationship,” he notes. In 2002, Matthew founded Mind Body Solutions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming trauma, loss and disability into hope and potential by awakening the connection between mind and body.

Matthew teaches at national yoga conferences, studios and institutions around the country. He teaches traditional students and is a pioneer in adapting yoga for people living with disabilities. The fact that he teaches people in both demographics tells you something not only about Matthew, but also about yoga. “We all live on a continuum of abilities and disabilities,” he says. “The principles of yoga apply to all people, to all bodies.” Matthew was an active member of the Investor’s Circle from 1995-2008 and is now a founding member of the Slow Money Alliance. He believes sustainable investing (investment practices that balance financial returns with social and environmental impact) is an essential and practical expression of mind-body integration.

Maureen Fiedler, SL is the founder (in 2002) and host of Interfaith Voices, an hour-long award winning radio magazine show, currently heard on more than 77 public and community radio stations across North America. The show is also available via podcast at   Maureen is a seasoned interviewer on interfaith topics, reporting on stories involving the full spectrum of religious traditions.  
She is also the editor of two books: Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women Religious Leaders in Their Own Words, and co-editor of Rome Has Spoken: A Guide to Forgotten Papal Statements, and How They Have Changed Through the Centuries.

Maureen has been an active participant in interfaith activities for more than four decades, including coalitions working for social justice, racial or gender equality, LGBT rights and peace.  She is a Sister of Loretto and holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.   She lives in University Park, MD.