I am the Director of Communications for Claremont School of Theology and an adjunct professor for both Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles and CST. I am a twenty-year church leadership veteran having served in religious education and youth and children’s ministries in United Methodist Churches in Missouri and California as well as a Unitarian Universalist Church in Long Beach, CA.
I hold an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology: Education and Formation: Interreligious Education from Claremont School of Theology, an M.A. in Interreligious Studies from Claremont Lincoln University, a B.A. in Communications from Truman State University, and a Certificate in Islamic Studies and Leadership from Bayan Islamic Graduate School. My research interests include practical theology, interreligious education,Christian discipleship, American Islam (and Islamophobia), Christian-Muslim relations, and narrative approaches to teaching and learning.
My dissertation engaged practical theological methods to argue that interreligious education is integral to Christian discipleship. To live in a multi-religious world demands a knowledge of the religious other. To live fully into a Christian identity in a multi-religious world demands interreligious education. The project nuanced interreligious education apart from interreligious dialogue and interreligious experience, then considered Jesus’ life and Biblical witness, as well as the lives and work of John and Charles Wesley, to argue for the holistic integration of interreligious education in the local church. Finally, because Muslim Americans are ongoing targets of hate and discrimination, the last chapter unashamedly argued for specific interreligious engagement between Methodists and Muslims.
I teach world religions, Christian ethics, and the mission of the Church in the world. I lead workshops on Christian-Muslim relations and Islamophobia in America. I serve on the National Council of Churches (NCC) Committee on Interreligious Relations and Collaboration.
Before moving to California in 2011, I lived most of my life in north, south and western Missouri. Born in Kansas City and growing up in one of its suburbs, I am a mid-westerner who was quite surprised to find myself at home on the west coast.
I am deeply committed to peace-building, interreligious education, and to creating learning spaces where people are free to be fully and wholly themselves. I also fancy myself as a crafter, a scrapbooker, and a small furniture up-cycler.
I live in Rancho Cucamonga, CA with my husband Monta, a compassionate and adventurous, soccer-loving Tunisian, who speaks three languages, and who is quite the handy man.