Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Ministry 2020 2021 Cohort
Tiffany Adams was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. She is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Physical Education-Athletic Training (2001). After graduation she moved to Atlanta, GA where managed a fitness gym while becoming a massage therapist and personal trainer. While training a client she became interested in the airline industry. As a result, she has been a flight attendant since May 2003. In 2011 she returned to her hometown and church. She contributes a large part of her spiritual growth in Christ and leadership to her membership at The People’s AME Zion church under Pastor Daren C. Jaime. There she continues to serve as the Christian Education Director and Youth church leader. Tiffany is the proud mother of one son, Darien, an actively growing 12-year boy.
Bishop Dr. H. Bernard Alex, Senior Pastor/Teacher of the Victory Temple Fellowship Church, “A Missionary Baptist Church”. A native of Syracuse, New York he matriculated through Tuskegee Institute University, majoring in English Education/Language Arts, post baccalaureate studies in Curriculum Development and Program Design. An Honorary Doctoral Degree was conferred by St. Thomas College and Seminary. Continued Christian Education was completed through the National Sunday School Publishing Board, Certificate of Progress and is a Dean of Christian Education. Having won a vocal scholarship from the Mobil Foundation, Pastor Alex has sung and studied extensively and given opportunity to sing across the country and abroad; Syracuse Symphony, Syracuse Opera, Hartford Opera, Buffalo Philharmonic and many others. His dedication to his community is passionate and authentic. He serves on many community board of directors, considers himself “A Community Transformist” not an “Activist” one who seeks for true transformation through change, dialogue and intentional self-discovery of barriers that hinder community transformation. He is the husband of Pastor Jahnjae (pronounced Jahn-Jay) a native of Monrovia, Liberia West Africa. She is a true asset to ministry and the soul compliment to his life.
Jahnjae E. Alex is a native of Monrovia, Liberia West Africa. One of her desires was to be a missionary for God, working on foreign soil. Psalm 37:4 declares that when you delight yourself in the Lord, He gives you the desires of your heart; and He brought her to America to do just that…to bring others to the saving knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and into relationship with Him. Pastor Jahnjae graduated from Bishop Ludden High School, and then continued studies at Tuskegee Institute and Auburn University, in Alabama. To further develop herself in reaching and ministering to all people, she enrolled in the Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Centers’ Clinical Pastoral Care Training Program and successfully completed and graduated from the program. After many years of operating as Pastor in partnership with her husband, Bishop H. Bernard Alex, Pastor Jahnjae was officially ordained to continue in this role by the Ordination Council of The Northeastern District Baptist Association, in June 2016. As Pastor/Shepherd Mother, she teaches and supports the work of ministry along with her husband who is Bishop/Overseer of the Victory Temple Fellowship Church. In her community, Pastor Alex serves on the Quality Assurance Board of the Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc. Married on 1st November 1986, Pastor Jahnjae is first and foremost the proud wife of Rev. Dr. H. Bernard Alex. She’s also the delighted mother of four children, “her gems”: three daughters; Zeruiah Marie, Zaire Emmanuela, Zion Jahnelle; one son, Zecarjah Bernard; and a precious grandson, Asahel Will Alex.
Katherine Bartholomew is a campus minister with Baptist Campus Ministry at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel. Originally from the western New York region, Kate attended Syracuse University for an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. Growing up in a non-denominational Christian family propelled her to seek Christian community upon moving to Syracuse, and Kate became involved with the Baptist ministry as a student. After several years working as a research and development engineer in the chemical detection equipment industry, God called Kate to return to Syracuse University to serve alongside her husband, Devon Bartholomew, who is currently the Baptist Chaplain at Hendricks Chapel. Kate’s focus on campus is to mentor students through Christian leadership development, equipping them to do the work of ministry in their everyday lives. When not working with college students, Kate enjoys hiking, reading, preserving homegrown and wild foods, and playing board games with her husband and young daughter.
Sharon Baugh is the youngest child with two brothers born and raised on the Eastside of Buffalo, NY. Her father, Marvin, who worked for General Motors in the foundry at a time when black men were giving the worst jobs with no PPE, died early in his life of lung cancer. Her mother, Mary, works for the State of New York as a mental hygiene therapy aide at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Her family was a solid middle class African American family. Both of her parents migrated from the south in search for a better life. She grew up walking to church every Sunday and school each weekday. As a child of the sixties church life at Loguen Memorial AME Zion Church seemed very exciting. They had youth groups that where highly organized and engaged locally and nationally. Sharon remembers watching her brothers five and six years her senior and admiring their activities in the life of the church. But by the time she became a teenager there had been a drastic shift in church culture and like many churches in the seventies major decline of once central institutions in the community. Even with the dwindling population at church Sharon remained close to her Church teaching Sunday school at 13 and Church administration at 16.
Married at the age of 20 children soon followed at 25, with divorce following by the age of 32. After a failed marriage church became her refuge, this led her to a serious engagement with her faith. Putting Sharon on a trajectory to the pastorate, this calling on her life was not an easy one. She had no female role models to help her answer the calling on her life. Sharon left the familiarity of her home Church and united with the lead Church of the Buffalo District, St Luke AME Zion. She went through an eight-year process to become an ordained Deacon. Successfully completing her studies, Sharon was appointed to her first pastorate the Blackwell Chapel AME Zion in Jamestown, N.Y. This was difficult because she was still working full-time at the State Insurance fund in Buffalo, N.Y. pastoring for two years. Sharon’s next appointment was to the St. Mark AME Zion Church in Lackawanna, N.Y. pastoring five years. During her appointment at St. Mark she was ordained an Elder and retired from the State Insurance after thirty years of employment. In 2018, Sharon was appointed to her present Church, Hope Chapel AME Zion in Utica, N.Y. Interesting enough Hope Chapel AME Zion was founded by the abolitionist J. W. Loguen the namesake of her birth Church. All her pastorate are historically the first churches started by African Americans in their areas, with the first two pastorates initially started by women. The pastorate Sharon presently leads is 172 years old and she is the first woman to pastor this historic Church. With the pandemic and social unrest in the country Sharon truly believes that she is called to this pastorate. At a time such as this, she prays that her efforts will always reflect the liberating love of God.
Kathy Hodge Davis is a daughter, a sister, a wife and a “GIGI” (grandmother). She is a graduate of Columbia College with a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts and also a graduate of Utica College with an A.O.S. degree in Retail Merchandise Management. Kathy has obtained a Certificate of Achievement from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University for Women of Faith in Business. She is a retired Paraprofessional with over 25 plus years in Education, while being employed by the Syracuse City School District. Currently, Kathy serves as the Office Administrator for her church and serves as one of the Associate Minister at Bethany Baptist Church in Syracuse, NY. She has been in ministry since 2003. Kathy was the founding partner of a woman’s Ministry entitled, Esther’s Daughters Ministry (2003-2010). She became an ordained Minister of the Gospel in 2018 under the leadership of Rev. Phil M. Turner, Sr. Pastor and the Bethany Baptist Church in conjunction with the Northeastern District Baptist Association; and the American Baptist Association. Kathy serves on various ministries in her church and oversees the Usher Ministry and the Prayer Team. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. the first African American Female Sorority founded in 1908 at Howard University and Lambda Kappa Mu business and professional woman’s sorority. Kathy loves family, encouraging people, and, to date, one of her greatest accomplishments in addition to her family, preaching the gospel, is co-authoring a book entitled Chronicles of a Walk with God.
Rev. Tara Lamont Eastman is an ordained pastor in the ELCA since 2016. She is from WNY and moved to her second call to King of Kings Lutheran in Liverpool, NY in February of 2020. She attended Wartburg Theological Seminary prior to her ordination and also holds a Certificate in Youth and Theology from Princeton Seminary. She is currently developing a podcast, “Holy Shenanigans”, to develop a space for conversations on spiritual and creative aspects in everyday life. Rev. Eastman is married to her spouse Ian for 28 years, and they have a 27-year-old daughter, 23-year-old son and 7-year-old grandson. She enjoys writing, painting, yoga, gf/vegetarian cooking and black coffee. It is her hope to grow her skills in leadership, creativity and innovation in ministry in the 2020/21 Emerging Leaders Cohort.
Ann Marie Eckert is currently serving as the Pastoral Associate at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Ithaca, NY, a position she’s held for 8 years. Prior to St. Catherine’s, she worked for 11 years for a national Catholic training organization called the Center for Ministry Development, where she was primarily involved in providing training and formation for adults who work with young people, but also provided leadership and service programs for youth. Ann Marie spent 11 years working in diocesan youth ministry in the Diocese of Buffalo and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. She has a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from Christ the King Seminary in Buffalo. She is single, has a big cat named Sandy, and is currently providing a home and some care for her 85+ year old parents (a COV’sID-19 response that seems like it will continue). She still thinks of myself as a potter, although it has been two years since she has devoted much time to it. She has lived most of her life in Buffalo and still considers it home, although she likes Ithaca very much. Ann Marie’s favorite place in the world is her family’s summer cottage on the Canadian shores of Lake Erie, which has been in her family since her great, great uncle built it in 1932. She is excited to be learning about leadership again and to have a new community of ministers to pray and learn with, and to get support from.
Susan Feurzeig was born and raised in Massachusetts. Her family was Jewish but non-practicing and distinctly unreligious. Still, through her music education in the junior and youth choirs of the local Unitarian church, and through cultural exposure to Jewish festivals such as Rosh Hashanah and Passover, Susan learned a bit about Judaism and what she might call the Christian tradition. She was hungry for faith. In her family, they focused on education and the arts, so it was dreams of being a writer, actor, or theater director that took her to New York and Chicago, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and history. In her thirties, Susan began again to explore her faith. She heard her call to ministry while worshiping at Unity in Chicago, in the context of 9-11 and the fascinating and often poignant stories of her diverse group of freshman composition students.
One of her first friends was her African American neighbor, a boy who just never seemed to fit into the suburban setting where he had been planted. Witnessing his struggle made her curious about African American experience. For her college history project at the University of Chicago, Susan plunged into The Souls of Black Folk and Negro theater of the 30’s and 40’s, which made for an interesting essay but led her no further. Susan has always held in her heart the uproariously diverse church of Pentecost and prayed for the church to lead the culture toward justice, rather than the reverse (so often the case).
During seminary at Boston University, Susan joined the United Methodist Church. From 2007-2014, she served two-point charges in Massachusetts and NE Connecticut (the “rust belt”), where she had one foot in the congregation, one in the community (or, as a colleague put it, the congregation in the fellowship hall where they served their weekly meal).
Loneliness as a single pastor, sorrow over her father’s death, frustration with the Methodist ordination process, and questions about the direction of the church drove me into the wilderness. Susan took leave and headed to Texas to visit young Christian communities there (seminarian mission houses founded out of S.M.U.) and renewed her focus on social mission and justice work, volunteering in homeless programs. She interned for a summer at Koinonia Farm in southwest Georgia (an integrated community founded in the 1940’s deep South), and soon found herself in a sister community in Atlanta, the Open Door, serving and advocating for the city’s numerous unhoused persons and renewing her interest in racial justice. Susan co-founded a mission to bring showers and hygiene to community members. Through that mission, she came into connection with Lutheran congregations and entered the ordination process in the ELCA. She was ordained at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta in January 2020.
Susan is now serving in her first Lutheran call, at Luther Memorial in North Syracuse. Two months into her time here, the pandemic hit. It’s her fervent hope that FELM will help her to develop relationships, tools, and resources to help her congregation connect, expand, and serve despite the restrictions that COVID-19 has instituted.
Nicole Y. Franklin was born and raised in a non-denominational church. Her greatest example of servanthood was from her father, Joseph Brown Jr., who was Chairman Deacon for 28 years. It is an honor for her to say that she is a founding member and still a part of the same ministry on today, over 39 years later. Nicole has been active in church all her life and serving in several different capacities. She has been an usher, choir director, Youth Ministry leader, and President of the Woman’s Ministry. Nicole currently serves as Overseer of the Hospitality Team, Deaconess for almost five years and Church Administrator.
Mary Hallman, from the time of her baptism, has been called to discipleship and mission, growing in personal faith in order to help others to encounter the person of Jesus Christ and the transformative power of the Gospel. Brought up in a loving Catholic home, she has experienced many different Christian denominations in different areas of the country. Mary now serves as the Director of Evangelization in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse. A firm believer in the principles of co-responsibility, dialogue, and intentionality, this role allows Mary to accompany others, so that they might realize the big dreams God has for them, living courageously a life of surrender to the Holy Spirit. Mary holds a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA in Theology from the Augustine Institute in Denver, CO. She enjoys coffee, cooking, and the companionship of her family and friends.
Rev. Suzi Harriff, an ordained American Baptist minister with a world parish, has served in United Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches, both as Pastor and as Minister of Music. She is Senior Faculty member at Bethel Bible Institute and teaches at Northeastern Seminary and for those studying for lay certification in the American Baptist tradition. A graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius, Fredonia State University, and Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Suzi is also a media and public relations consultant, and owns her own business, MediaMarCon. Suzi and her husband Jim, the ‘other’ Rev. Harriff, travel regularly to Rwanda, where they share their music and preaching, teaching and counseling ministries in a variety of settings. They are the proud parents of son Michael, and of Murakoze the cat – whose name means “Thank you” in the Rwandan language!
Margaret M. Ksander [Meg], born March 26, 1950 (70 yrs.) in Chicago, Ill. A “cradle Catholic;” married to Richard L. Ellison, who is Jewish, for 34 years. Mother of two sons: Samuel, our child by adoption (born in Feb. 1990) and Jacob, born (in Sept. of 1990). Retired in 2015 from career as a professional Sociologist, having engaged in research, published, and taught in the field for 30+ years – for the greatest part on the Faculty of Onondaga Community College. Education: B.A. in English & Sociology from Alverno College (Milwaukee, WI); M.A. in Sociology from Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI); and work through the Dissertation Stage in Sociology at Syracuse University). Commissioned as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse in 2005, having completed the Diocesan Formation for Ministry (FFM) Program. Also, a participant in the Loyola University Institute for Ministry Extension (LIMEX) Program, and currently serving on the Pastoral Team of All Saints Roman Catholic Parish in Syracuse, NY as Pastoral Associate and Coordinator of Liturgy. Formally, served on the Staff of St. Therese, the Little Flower Parish (one of two Parishes that merged in 2008 to form All Saints Parish). At St. Therese, served in Faith Formation, RCIA, Liturgical, Social Justice Ministries as well as Administrative.
Patrick (Pat) Kinne is a professing member, seated Elder, and the current Vice-President of Consistory at the Reformed Church of Syracuse. His involvement at the Reformed Church of Syracuse has included participation and leadership in Bible studies, teaching Sunday School, serving as a Confirmation mentor, regularly being a weekly liturgist, leading and assisting with weekly services, and he is currently the head of the Nominations and By-Laws Committee, which recently shepherded the congregation through the process of creating and adopting a new mission and vision statement. Pat is also presently serving as the Acting Principal of Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School in East Syracuse, NY. He is a proud alumnus of Bishop Grimes and has been a faculty member since 2004. For the past six years, Pat has been the Assistant Principal and will return to this role when the next Principal of the school is found. As a member of the administrative team, Pat is responsible for the academic, physical, and spiritual well-being of the faculty, staff, and students of the school. Pat received his undergraduate degree from Hope College in Holland, MI (B.A., English with a concentration in Secondary Education) and his graduate degree from Le Moyne College (MS Ed., Adolescent Education). Pat also currently serves as the Moderator for the Board of Trustees of Fowler Camp and Retreat Center, which is a summer camp and retreat facility associated with the Albany Synod of the Reformed Church in America, located in Speculator, NY. Pat’s affinity for Camp Fowler runs deep as he is a second-generation camper, volunteer, and former summer staff member. Camp Fowler is where Pat met his wife, Sarah. They have two children, Hannah and Alec. In his “down-time,” Pat enjoys spending time with his family at their cottage north of the Canadian border, discovering new board games, and watching Broadway musicals with friends.
Magelene Moore-Holley, a native of Kingstree, South Carolina. The 13th of 15 siblings. Received a BA in Cultural Studies from Empire State College and obtained a Master of Divinity from Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York, 2008. Served as Spiritual Formation Facilitator while attending Northeastern In 2008. Received certificate from the United Way of Rochester African American Leadership Development Program in 2011; served with AmeriCorps in 2014; a CASH volunteer since 2011 (Creating Assets Savings and Hope) a tax prep agency. Joined Memorial AME Zion Church in Rochester, New York on August 05, 2015; Is currently serving on the Conference and District level in the capacity of Director of Adults in Christian Education, Assistant Conference Secretary and District Recording Secretary. Admitted on trial to the Western New York Annual Conference on July 15, 2018; completed Conference studies in May 2020 to be admitted with full connection. Within the local church, served as Christian Education Director from 2017–2019; currently serving as New Member Class Facilitator, Catechism Facilitator; recently accepted to the Class Leaders ministry 2020. A member of AKWAABA, the Heritage Associates; AKOMA, the African American Women’s Gospel Choir and am a Harriet Tubman re-enactor; mother of two adult children and married to Terry L. Holley.
Joseph Olgetree is a native of Syracuse, New York. He attended and graduated from George Fowler High school in 2006. After high School Joseph furthered his education attending Herkimer Community College majoring in Criminal Justice. His faith has always been important to him. Joseph was raised in a nondenominational Christian church on Syracuse’s East side. He has always been greatly involved in ministry since a young age. Today he serves as Senior pastor of The Purpose Church, Syracuse, New York. Outside of pastoring Joseph serves as Community Engagement Specialist for a non-profit organization, educating the community about HIV and administering testing.
Shawn L. Roberson was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the younger of two offspring to reverend W. D. Roberson and Ms. Annie B. Drakeford. He is married to the former Melanie E. Tolbert of Columbia, South Carolina and is the father of two sons: Shawn Christopher Roberson and Tolbert Langston Roberson; and two daughters: Amaya Desiree Davis and Camille Marie Roberson. Rev. Roberson matriculated through the Richland District One school system, graduating from W. J. Keenan High School. While still attending high school, he joined the U.S. Army Reserves under the delayed entry program. Rev. Roberson completed basic training and advanced individual training shortly after graduating in May 1995. After completing his military training, Rev. Roberson returned to South Carolina and enrolled at South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC, where he participated in the jazz band ensemble and the marching 101 band. After completing just one semester Rev. Roberson’s reserve unit was activated to be deployed to Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia. He spent one and a half year fighting for his country overseas and again returned home to further his education at South Carolina State University. After completing another semester of college Rev. Roberson decided to move from reserve status to full time soldier and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He would spend the next 4 years working in Aviation at Ft. Bragg until leaving the military to pursue other aspirations. After leaving the military Rev. Roberson decided to venture into the financial sector. It was while working in the financial sector that he acknowledged his call to preach the Gospel. Rev. Roberson began volunteering with a youth advocacy group called Project Gang Out.
After a year of volunteer work he was hired to be the Director of School Based Intervention Services, where he developed and compiled curriculum to be used in elementary, middle and high schools around the state of South Carolina. The agencies primary focus was geared towards youth that were involved in gang activity or who were being targeted by gangs for recruitment. Rev. Roberson has done extensive gang research and seminars throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Currently Rev. Roberson is the Sr. Servant at Southern Missionary Baptist Church Syracuse, NY. He was appointed as the 4th Vice President of the Empire Missionary Baptist Convention of New York State’s Congress of Christian Education. He also serves as the President of the Concerned Clergy of Syracuse, a group that looks to have impact on the social, economic and spiritual environment in Greater Syracuse area. He sits on the Policy Council of P.E.A.C.E., Inc.’s Head Start Program and serves as the enrollment and retention representative for the Policy Council. Rev. Roberson has received an Associate’s degree in Biblical Studies and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, Georgia. Rev. Roberson is currently a candidate for the M.A. in Christian Counseling at Andersonville Theological Seminary with an expected graduation date of December 2021.Rev. Roberson accepted his call to preach in September of 2005 and received his license to preach the Gospel on July 29, 2007, at the age of 31. He was officially ordained into the ministry on January 10, 2010. Above all his accolades and accomplishments, Rev. Roberson believes that fulfilling God’s will is primary and everything else is secondary. Reverend Roberson loves God, loves the people of God and loves preaching God’s Word. His favorite passage of scripture and firm conviction is I Corinthians 9:27, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Antoinette Scanes is 51 years old and has 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren. She is a Systems Consultant at OCM BOCES, where she’s been employed for over 30 years. Antoinette is a licensed minister at “The Purpose Church”. Her ministry experience includes serving as an Usher, Praise & Worship Leader, Armor Bearer, Christian Education Director, Teacher, Youth & Children’s Leader and Women’s Ministry Leader.
Kaleya Scott is 24 years old. She is an Ordained Elder at God’s Temple of Faith Ministries. Kaleya obtained her BSSW at Syracuse University in 2019 and is currently awaiting to obtain her MSW in hopes to one day having her own private practice of Clinical Social Work blended with Ministry. She desired to join this class because she saw an opportunity to grow in the area of viewing other perspectives in Ministry, and in learning all of the facets that make up the system of the Church as a whole.
The Rev. Christine Williams-Belt is Canadian born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Although unchurched, she believed in God her whole life. It was in 1998 she confessed her faith in God and began to live in the example of Christ’s image and ministry. Rev. Christine felt her initial call to ministry after graduating with her undergraduate degree. In 2005, she moved to Kingston, Ontario to attend seminary obtaining a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Restorative Justice. Her call to ministry came subtly resulting in her ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests on November 21, 2010 in the Diocese of Ontario of the Anglican Church of Canada. She served in several parishes to include St. George’s Cathedral (Kingston, Ontario) as a Curate. In her last Canadian appointment, her ministry discerned and laid the groundwork to the development of affordable housing, a community center, and the parish church into a mission of the Diocese. Following this, she spent a couple of years in Germany before moving to Georgia where she served as an interim Rector of an Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Atlanta. Rev. Christine has accepted the call to Grace Episcopal Church in Utica NY and is excited for the opportunity to continue to serve as a priest of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Central New York. She is passionate about social justice, equality, and Jesus call to love God and neighbor. Rev. Christine enjoys sharing the Gospel as a means to inspire people to be the church in thought, word, and deed. She comes to the Diocese with a great deal of experience with pastoral and administrative operations of the Parish as well as the means to develop strong relationships within the community. As the first female Rector at Grace Church, Rev. Christine began her call June 1st, 2019. She is a mother of a toddler named Owen Elijah Dave.