Workshop Leaders

Rev. Donna Banks

Rev. Jennifer Copeland is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. She is a native of South Carolina and an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church. For ten years she pastored United Methodist churches across the South Carolina Upstate and then spent sixteen years as the United Methodist Chaplain at Duke University where she continues to teach one class each semester. She attended Duke University where she earned a BA, double majoring in English and Religion, a Master of Divinity, a PhD in religion, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. She is the author of Feminine Registers: The Impact of Women’s Voices on Christian Preaching and a co-editor of Preaching Gospel: Essays in Honor of Richard Lischer. Jennifer has two children: Nathan, a software developer who lives in Durham, NC, and Hannah, a student at the University of Tampa.

The Rev. Dr. Carolyn J. Sharp is Professor of Homiletics at Yale Divinity School. Her research explores the poetics and theology of Hebrew Scripture texts; she is interested in homiletics, literary theory, feminist interpretation, and emancipatory pedagogy. Her books include Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible (2009) and Wrestling the Word: The Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Believer (2010). Professor Sharp has edited or co-edited six volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of the Prophets (2016) and Feminist Frameworks and the Bible: Power, Ambiguity, and Intersectionality (with L. Juliana Claassens; 2017). Her current projects include an introduction to biblical prophetic literature (Abingdon) and a commentary on Joshua (Smyth & Helwys). A member of the Academy of Homiletics, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Society of Biblical Theologians, Professor Sharp serves on the editorial board of the journal Horizons in Biblical Theology. An Episcopal priest, she preaches regularly at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in New Haven and elsewhere. She and her husband live in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Ms. Angela Whitenhill serves as the Mental Health Initiative Manager at the National Benevolent Association. She is an innovative family and children’s therapist, as well as a licensed minister with experience in the mental health field and higher education, with proven success in interdisciplinary program development, bridge building, and organizational leadership.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Angela specializes in general trauma, religious trauma, identity issues, self esteem issues, child attachment, adoption, and parenting issues. She served as a chaplain and therapist at Tennyson Center for Children, where she helped create one of the nation’s few spiritually integrated residential treatment programs. She has created and facilitated multiple training workshops on therapeutic intervention and cultural competence within the social work field, and has developed curriculum for the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, where she serves as an adjunct faculty member.

Angela is a clergy activist, community organizer, and faith community justice educator, and she is known for organizing in such a way that pays close attention to the nuanced intersections of social identity, religious belief, and mental health. Active in her congregation, Covenant Christian Church Disciples of Christ, Angela co-leads a community bible study at a local bar, Open Table: Bible, Beer and Community.

A graduate of the University of Denver and Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Angela holds two master’s degrees—a Master of Divinity and a Master of Social Work—and earned a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Denver Family Institute, where she also served as a psychotherapist at the institute’s community clinic.

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