Sponsored by the LatinX Student Group and the African and African Diaspora Student Group
About HESED 2023 - HESED X
In 2023, we celebrate Hesed’s tenth lecture series. Since that time, the Hesed lectures have done far more than bring speakers to campus. The Hesed experience has created community and formed leaders that have helped transform Austin Seminary and the communities the students have entered after graduation. Three of the last four student body presidents were Hesed chairs. Twenty-six Black, LatinX, and Asian students won graduate fellowships and awards over the last decade. Hesed leaders are hard at work in their communities: leading congregations, advocacy organizations, working as chaplains. Two previous Hesed chairs are even on staff at Austin Seminary!
This year's Hesed focuses on the theme of "Cages." While "cages" can evoke the dehumanization of those in detention, we are focusing on the more abstract idea of dehumanization all oppressed people feel when placed in cages of racism and injustice. These cages aren’t easily broken, but they can be stretched and weakened as the people within create community and work towards the incremental change—change that we have experienced and celebrate as a seminary community. Questions arise for us: How do we work within cages to create that community? How do we bend the bars to reach out and form collaborative relationships with others? How do we reconcile the cages of our culture with our interior freedom in God?
Join us in this year’s HESED lecture series, March 3 - 4, 2023, as we explore these questions and more!
Rev. Dr. Stephen G. Ray Jr. currently serves as the Crump Visiting Professor and Black Religious Scholars Group Scholar-in-Residence for the 2022-2023 academic year at Seminary of the Southwest. He recently retired as the 13th President of Chicago Theological Seminary (a seminary related to the United Church of Christ).. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Ray has served as the pastor of Imani Fellowship Community Church (UCC) in Hartford, The Black Church at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC) in Louisville, Kentucky, and as assistant minister at Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut.
Prior to taking this leadership role at CTS he held the Neal F. and Ila A. Fisher Chair of Theology and is Professor of Systematic Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. In addition, he is the immediate Past President of the Society for the Study of Black Religion.
Dr. Ray is the author of several works including: A Struggle from the Start: The Black Community of Hartford, 1639-1960 and Do No Harm: Social Sin and Christian Responsibility. In addition to his own monographs he is co-author of Black Church Studies: An Introduction; editor of the 20th Anniversary Edition of We Have Been Believers: An African-American Systematic Theology; co-editor of Awake to the Moment: Introduction to Theology; and a contributor to several other books.
Dr. Ray held teaching appointments at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary as the Neal A. and Ila F. Fisher Professor of Theology, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia as Associate Professor of African-American Studies and Director of the Urban Theological Institute at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy. In addition, he served as Lecturer at Yale Divinity School and the Hartford Seminary.
Dr. Ray received the PhD in theology and African-American Studies from Yale University, MDiv (summa cum laude) from the Yale Divinity School, and a Certificate from the Hartford Seminary Black Ministries Certificate Program. Among his recognitions are a Doctor of Divinity from the United Lutheran Seminary; 2018 Distinguished Alumni of Yale Divinity School; Charter Oak State College Distinguished Alumni Award; Kentuckiana Metroversity, Distinguished Teacher of Adult Learners, and the 2006 Associated Church Press Award of Excellence for Column.
Addie is the founder and CEO of Red Oak Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing freedom, hope, and restoration to survivors of sexual exploitation. Red Oak works to stop trafficking on a large scale while simultaneously providing holistic care to individuals already affected in Austin, Asia, and Uganda. When Addie started Red Oak in 2012 with a simple desire to help one woman escape her trafficker in Asia and return home to freedom, she never could have imagined what has now become a global movement serving over 600 survivors and at-risk individuals in 10 countries over the last 10 years. With a MA in International Community Development, a passion for finding beauty amidst chaos, and a commitment to sustainability, Addie loves the work that she gets to do and considers leading Red Oak and walking alongside survivors to be one of her greatest privileges.
Workshop Leader - Eddie Canales - Founder & Director
Eddie Canales is currently the Director of the South Texas Human Rights Center in Falfurrias, TX. Born of migrant farm worker parents, Eddie spent his early years in a rural, migrant border town outside of Texas, while his father worked in steel mills in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago. They were poor: he did not have the luxury of inside bathroom facilities until 6th grade. Early jobs included farm work, shoe shining, barber/beauty shop sweeping and the neighborhood youth corps, followed by factory work, cafeteria cleanup, and bottling plant/warehouse work. After junior college, Eddie attended the University of Houston, where he became involved with MAYO and La Raza Unida Party, beginning a long history of political activism and organizing. He has served the social and economic justice movements in many capacities and with several organizations, including the Congreso de Aztlan (the National Committee of La Raza Unida), the Texas Farmworkers, the Longshoremen, SEIU’s School District Campaign of custodians and cafeteria workers, and Centro Aztlan in Houston, where he was a Director for ten years. Eduardo has been an organizer in Colorado, New Mexico, Eastern Washington, Montana, Idaho, Texas and Wyoming; he has agitated, organized, negotiated and provided direct services around issues ranging from economic and labor justice to anti-police brutality.
Workshop Leader - Maggie Luna - Community Outreach Coordinator & Policy Analyst
Maggie is a policy analyst and outreach coordinator at Texas Center for Justice and Equity and the TimeDone Texas chapter coordinator. Her work involves research, coordinating activities, and communicating issues relating to decreasing the prison population and transforming policies within the context of the criminal justice system in Texas. Maggie also strives to cultivate relationships with policymakers and key stakeholders to effectively advocate for policies ending harsh sentencing and racial inequities within the context of the criminal justice system while also researching legislative proposals that work to reform the criminal justice system to operate equitably and ensure humanity for all. She is the lead organizer of the Statewide Leadership Council, a team of system-impacted leaders advocating for transformation in Texas’ justice system. Luna also serves as the Texas Chapter coordinator for TimeDone, the largest national community of people working to overcome barriers that come with a past arrest or conviction. She is working to build strong families and communities by organizing to end post-conviction poverty.
Workshop Leader - Bee Moorhead - Executive Director
Texas Impact equips people of faith and conscience with information, opportunities, and outreach tools to educate their communities and engage with lawmakers on pressing public policy issues. Bee has been Director of Texas Impact since 2000, managing every aspect of the organization’s work and answering to a 45-member board of directors. The Texas Impact Board is made up of representatives from the state’s many faith communities. Under Bee’s leadership, Texas Impact has moved from fewer than 1,000 members to more than 20,000 members and earned recognition as a national leader in interfaith education and community leadership development. Bee spent eight years as a senior fiscal policy analyst for former Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, John Sharp. Bee was responsible for the Comptroller’s attention to public policy issues related to health and human services. She was the chief architect of Family Pathfinders, a unique program linking Texas congregations and civic organizations with families on public assistance. She holds a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas in Austin, and a M.A. of Public Affairs from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
We seek to make HESED X a robust and substantive experience for all attendees, whether joining in-person or virtually. We are currently in the process of exploring ways to help make the online experience more engaging than the average hybrid event, and will share more information as we finalize these details! Contact the HESED Organizing Team at email@example.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!
We'd love for you to be involved with HESED! If you are interested, please fill out the form below. Contact the HESED Organizing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!
The purpose of the Hesed lectureship at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is to promote awareness and church involvement in the area of social justice, thus enabling hesed, which is Hebrew for love in action. The Hesed lectureship was a grassroots effort started by Austin Seminary students of the (then) African American Student Group and Hispanic Student Association in 2014 to bring scholars from black, LatinX, and other marginalized communities to Austin Seminary’s campus. These voices had been under-represented in other lecture series on campus and students hoped their voices would deepen the community’s conversations in response to issues of justice.