Faculty

Donald J. Brash (Ph.D., Drew University)

A native of western Pennsylvania, Dr. Donald Brash is an ordained minister with an ecumenical history. He has extensive experience as a pastor of American Baptist churches, and is a recipient of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey's Executive Minister's Award for Excellence in Ministry. Presently, he is a member of Princeton United Methodist Church in Princeton, NJ.

In his 2010 book, The Indispensable Guide to God's Word (Pilgrim Press), Don introduces inquiring laypersons to a way of understanding the relationship between God's Word and the “books” of the Bible that will help readers interpret the biblical authors’ writings for the issues and questions of our time. Don’s current book project is Navigating Troubled Waters: The Churches of Yesterday Speak to the Churches Today. Don believes the ministries of the churches should be instrumental in the transformation of society. As Faculty Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Palmer, he strives to create a culture where students cultivate a realistic idealism and the further skills necessary to lead churches to be transformed and transforming agents in our rapidly changing world.

Don is married to the Reverend Jana Purkis-Brash, who is Executive Director of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conerence Stewardship Foundation. They have a daughter and two grandchildren.

 

Adetokunbo A. Adelekan (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary)

As Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Dr. Tokunbo A. Adelekan teaches courses in African-American studies and Ecclesiology. He is also Senior Pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Dayton, Ohio. His books include African Wisdom: 101 Proverbs from the Motherland and A Charge to Keep: Re-Missioning the Urban Church for the 21st Century, and he is currently working on two other books on public theology and creative suffering.

Born to an African (Yoruba) father and an African-American mother, Tokunbo is on a pilgrimage of mind and spirit. A theologian, church growth practitioner, cultural critic, folklorist and community leader who works out of the prophetic wing of the Afro-Baptist faith, he is considered one of the leading American scholar-preachers of his generation. Featured in Ebony magazine as one of the “30 Leaders of the Future,” he has conceptualized practical models for Christians navigating the complex matrices of post-industrialism and post-modernity. In his role as a transatlantic communicator, he has worked diligently to build cross-cultural and cross-denominational alliances between Christians in the United States, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe.

 

Andrew F. Bush (D.Min., Princeton Theological Seminary)

Andrew and Karen Bush have served for more than thirty years internationally in Christian mission in the Philippines and Israel and the Palestinian Territories.  Presently, Andrew is the founding director of  the Bethlehem Center for Global  Peacemaking and Justice in Bethlehem, the Palestinian Territories.  Andrew has authored numerous articles, and books including Learning from the Least: Reflections on a Journey in Mission with Palestinian Christians (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and his most recent, Millennials and the Mission of God: A Prophetic Dialogue (Cascade Books, 2017).  Andrew holds post-graduate degrees from the Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise  in Jerusalem and from Princeton Theological Seminary.  Andrew speaks widely in churches, universities, and conferences. Karen serves in trauma recovery and holds a MSW degree from the University of Pennsylvania. 

R. Allan Copenhaver (D.Min., Palmer Theological Seminary)

 

George Hancock-Stefan (Ph.D., Trinity International University)

Dr. George Hancock-Stefan is passionate about teaching and preaching internationally. In addition to teaching at Palmer Theological Seminary, he has taught Church History, Baptist Polity, and Missions at Wheaton, Princeton Seminary, New Brunswick Seminary, and New York Divinity School. George has been pastoring Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands since 1990 and currently serves as the President of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey’s Executive Council.

George also travels frequently to Romania and Serbia, where he has taught at The Universities of Bucharest and Beograd. He recently raised funds to build a church in his hometown of Grebenat and his doctoral dissertation, The Impact of the Reformation on the Romanian People from 1517-1645, was translated into Romanian and is frequently used as a seminary textbook there. In the 1970s, George was Executive Director of the Romanian Missionary Society in Wheaton, IL. Since then, he has served as a board member and recently wrote a history of the organization for their 50th anniversary. The relationship between Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy is of special interest to him, since those beliefs are so prevalent in Eastern Europe. He contributed to Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism (Zondervan), which was translated into Romanian and is currently being translated into Serbian to be presented at Beograd’s International Book Fair in 2019. At the Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative in 2018, George discussed this book and the relationship between Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism.

 

Manuela Kauer (D.Min., Palmer Theological Seminary)

 

Michael A. Poke, Sr. (D.Min., United Theological Seminary)

 

Eduardo Ramirez (D.Min., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Eduardo M. Ramirez is Associate Professor of Youth Ministry at Eastern University. He teaches courses on Small Groups, Programming, Evangelism, and Preaching and Teaching for Youth. An ordained Christian and Missionary Alliance Pastor, Eduardo worked from 1979 until 2003 with Scripture Union, a Christian organization geared to reach and disciple un-churched children and teenagers. He first served as Director of Scripture Union Argentina and then became Regional Secretary for Scripture Union Americas Region (North, Central and South America and the Caribbean) where he provided leadership and training to national movements in the Americas Region. Dr. Ramirez teaches the course "Contexts, Perspectives and Ministries in the 21st Century."

  

Michael Sisson

Michael Sisson 

Dr. Michael Sisson is a native of West Virginia. He currently serves as Executive Minister for the West Virginia Baptist Convention and the Senior Pastor of the Crab Orchard Baptist Church in Crab Orchard, WV. Prior to coming to Crab Orchard, he served the pastorates of Sutton Baptist Church in Sutton, WV and New Life Baptist Church in Shady Spring, WV.  

Mike's leadership experience includes serving as the President of the WVBC (West Virginia Baptist Convention) a Region of the American Baptist Churches USA, as the President of the Pastors 4 Pastors: The WV Baptist Ministers' Council, as the Chair and Academic Dean of the WVBC School of Christian Studies, and on the Committee on Ministerial Standing for the WVBC. He has served on the Board of Directors for two Nonprofit Organizations: Precision Services Inc. and the Beckley Health Right Free Clinic and its subsidiaries in Mercer and Summers Counties of WV.

Mike is an Adjunct Professor for the Palmer Seminary Doctor of Ministry program in West Virginia having taught the courses "System Transforming Leadership for a Mission-Oriented Church" and "Community Transformation." He has also led seminars and workshops on the topics of Church Transformation, Leadership, Ministry Team Building, and Visioning at a variety of venues.

Mike's passion for ministry flows from a deeply held conviction that the local church is the hope of the world as Christ ordained it to be His body carrying the Good News into the world. He believes that when the local church is experiencing the transformational power of Jesus Christ that it will be the most effective as an agent of transformation for Jesus Christ.

 

H. Dean Trulear (Ph.D., Drew University)

 

Marsha Brown Woodard (D.Min., Lancaster Theological Seminary)

The Rev. Dr. Marsha Brown Woodard is an ordained American Baptist Minister and also holds ministerial standing with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  She has previously served as Pastor and/or a member of the staff in congregations in Pennsylvania and Missouri.  She is also a consultant to churches, religious organizations, and human service organizations in the area of Christian Education and Discipleship, administration, especially church administration.

Marsha's doctoral work focused on internalized oppression, which is a reasonable response to the inundation of messages that are disempowering and devaluing.  Her project utilized a small group that was facilitated through a Midwife Leadership Style that helped African American clergywomen explore these messages.  In this participant-centered environment the women were free to share even as if they were gathered around a kitchen table.

Marsha's other writings have appeared in various publications, including Church Women magazine, Baptist Leader, and American Baptist Quarterly, as well as in the books Those Preaching Women (Vol. II), Vision of Hope, Can I Get a Witness, Sister to Sister (Vol. 2) and Volume I of Abingdon's African American Preaching series. She is the author of I Was Tired Today and I Choose to Thrive.

Rodney Ragwan

Rodney is married to Dr. Eva Anita Ragwan and they have three adult children and four grandchildren. He is an ordained Baptist minister who pastored two Baptist churches for 16 1/2 years in his native country, South Africa. He witnessed the demise of apartheid and the birth of a new free country. Both these experiences impacted his life and ministry. In South Africa he served as acting principal of the Baptist Association of South Africa Bible College, and president of the Baptist Association of South Africa. Rodney also served on several committees in the Baptist World Alliance and All Africa Baptist Fellowship.

Rodney taught at Palmer Theological Seminary’s Eastern School of Christian Ministry and Priscilla Institute. He holds a Doctor of Ministry from Palmer Theological Seminary, USA and a PhD from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Rodney serves as director of Mission Mobilization at International Ministries and a bi-vocational pastor of North Wales Baptist Church in Pennsylvania. He currently teaches Contexts, Perspectives and Ministries in the 21st Century and the Seminar Project Proposal course in the Doctor of Ministry program. He is the author of three books, In His Service: Journey of a South African Pastor, Vision in Progress: A Portrait of the Indian Baptists in South Africa and Towards a Theology of Marriage and Family: Biblical Theology of Marriage and Family with particular reference to Apartheid Theology.

Trent Eastman (D.Min., Asbury Theological Seminary)

Trent grew up on the farms of Eastern Oregon, his own father being a pastor of an American Baptist Church. After graduating from Willamette University, he moved to Kenya and began work in community development near Kenya’s north eastern border with Ethiopia and Somalia. He worked primarily in the newly formed refugee camps and local village water resource projects. From Kenya, Trent moved to Bangladesh where he became the Country Director for Food for the Hungry International. After living and working for ten years internationally, Trent returned to the United States to pursue his call into pastoral ministry.

In 2002, Trent graduated from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and soon moved to Huntington West Virginia to pastor his first church. During a time of sustained growth and renewal, Trent pastored the church through a re-merger (healing a split) with another local Baptist church to form New Baptist Church. After the sale of each church’s building, the newly formed church purchased an abandoned ice-skating rink and planted a new Christian Faith Community in the heart of East Huntington. Trent continues to serve as lead pastor for New Baptist Church, a place of community development and renewal.

Trent is an Adjunct Professor for the Palmer Theological Seminary. In the M.Div. program he teaches “Introduction to Greek,” “Introduction to the Old Testament,” and “Theological Field Education.” In the D.Min Program he teaches “Enduring Models of Leadership.”

Trent is married to Christie Eastman who is the director of the Cabell Huntington Hospital Counseling Department. They have two sons.