2014 Conference Presenters
(Click on name to read bio.)
WIM Forum Speaker
Dr. Alfred C. D. Vaughn
Choir Directors' and Organists' Guild Workshop
Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr.
Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr. is the Senior Pastor of The House of Hope Atlanta located in Decatur, Georgia. Prior to moving to metro Atlanta, he served as Senior Pastor of the Beulahland Bible Church in Macon, Ga. A native of Macon, Dr. Smith received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and received his Master of Science degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Southern Christian University, Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Smith earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He was inducted into the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College as a Distinguished Preacher. God has highly favored him by allowing explosive growth and outreach to accompany his ministry. His first congregation grew from 48 to over 3,000 people in 13 years. After faithfully serving at Beulahland, God elevated him to become the Senior Pastor of The House of Hope Atlanta. Since the commencement of his pastorate at The House of Hope Atlanta in January 2004, the church's membership roll has grown from a few hundred to more than 11,000--with an average weekend attendance of 7,000 people. During the first five years of his tenure at The House of Hope Atlanta, the church was blessed to acquire a 60 acre, seven building (480,000 total square feet) campus--featuring a 7,000 seat Neo-Gothic Cathedral--all for the glory of God.
Dr. Cynthia Rembert James Ph.D.
Dr. Cynthia Rembert James Ph.D., D.Min., is an international speaker, established author, and Christian Psychologist with a PhD. from Rutgers University and a D.Min. from United Theological Seminary. Dr. James has held numerous faculty positions and has additionally served as the Earl Lecturer for the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Dr. James served as the National Director for over 2,000 congregations, providing support in the area of Leadership Development, Congregational Health and the International Youth Programs for the Church of God. She has formerly pastored three congregations in Oakland California as well as served as the Regional Director for the Northern California, Northern Nevada, Hawaii and Guam Districts for 16 years. In 2012, Dr. James joined the pastoral staff as Dean of Christian Education at The Potter’s House, pastored by Bishop T.D. Jakes. She considers this to be the highlight of her ministerial career. Her hopes are to further enhance those with a passion for Spiritual Formation and Biblical Study. Along with her zeal for study, Dr. James and her husband, former City Manager, Alvin James, share an enduring devotion to the Lord and take immeasurable delight in their three adult children.
Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr.
The Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr., is The Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary, Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church, and President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation (all of these institutions of New York City). The Riverside Church is an interdenominational, interracial, and international church built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1927. The 2,400 member church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. Forbes, who was installed as the fifth senior minister of Riverside on June1, 1989, and retired on June 1, 2007, was the first African-American to serve as minister of this multicultural congregation. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches. In national and international religious circles, Dr. Forbes is known as the preacher’s preacher because of his extensive preaching career and his charismatic style. In its March 4, 1996 issue Newsweek magazine recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world. This pastor, educator, administrator, community activist and interfaith leader was twice designated as one of America’s greatest Black preachers by Ebony magazine. Born in 1935 in Burgaw, North Carolina, Dr. Forbes is married to Bettye Franks Forbes, formerly of San Antonio, TX. They are the proud parents of one son, James A. Forbes, III.
Dr. Alfred C. D. Vaughn
Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. Theologian, pastor, and civic leader the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., is one of America’s most influential religious leaders and highly sought-after public speakers. He is pastor emeritus at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He also serves on the board of trustees at Morehouse College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1956. He earned a Masters of Divinity Degree from the Morehouse School of Religion/Interdenominational Theological Center in 1959. He also completed special studies at the Inter-Denominational Theological Center from 1960 to 1961 and earned a Doctorate of Divinity degree from the United Theological Seminary while leading the Olivet Flock in 1990. From 1954 to 1961 Moss served as pastor of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in LaGrange, Georgia. From 1956 to 1961, he also served as pastor of Atlanta’s Providence Baptist Church and therefore, simultaneously led two congregations from 1956 to 1959. From 1961 to 1975 he pastored the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Lockland, Ohio, and in 1971 he served as co-pastor, with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Sr., at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. In 1975, Moss was called to pastor the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. President Barack Obama named him in February 2009 to serve on a newly established 25-member White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bishop T. D. Jakes
Bishop T. D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinker, and entrepreneur who serves as senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a global humanitarian organization and 30,000-member church located in Dallas. Named “America’s Best Preacher” by Time Magazine, Jakes’ voice reverberates from the world’s most prominent stages. Through his nexus of charitable works, T.D. Jakes is known for extending a hand of help to the needy, heart of compassion to the hurting, and message of inspiration to the disenfranchised. Beyond the pulpit, Jakes ranks among EBONY’s Power100 and is the winner of several prestigious awards including BET Honors, Stellar Award, NAACP Image Award, Keeper of the Dream Award and McDonald’s 365Black Award for his humanitarian efforts. His worldwide impact is also felt through high profile conference series such as MegaFest which recently drew more than 75,000 participants and an empire that spans film, television, radio, best-selling books, and the T.D. Jakes School of Leadership. After more than 36 years in ministry, Jakes continues to be a leading voice of innovation, inspiration, and influence in Christendom today.
Rev. Dr. Peter M. Wherry
A 35 year veteran of Christian Ministry, pastor, scholar and musician, the Reverend Dr. Peter M. Wherry is a native of Buffalo, New York, where he graduated with honors from St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in Buffalo. He earned with honors, the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Gerontology from Virginia Union University and the Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union both in Richmond, VA. Dr. Wherry earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Dr. Wherry also holds a Certificate in Church Management awarded jointly by ITC (Interdenominational Theological Center) in Atlanta, GA and The Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology. He has been Guest Lecturer in the Doctor of Ministry Programs at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology where he is an Adjunct Faculty Member, having taught Baptist History. Most recently, Dr. Wherry has served as a Doctoral Advisor in the D.Min. program at Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, NC. In the year 2000, he co-authored with his wife, Dr. Wanda H. Wherry, the groundbreaking devotional book, A Door of Hope, which includes a CD of music sung by Dr. Wanda and produced by Pastor Wherry. He is author of the new book from Judson Press, Preaching Funerals in the Black Church: Bringing Perspective to Pain. He is married to Dr. Wanda H. Wherry and they are parents of two adult children Justin Michael (Amy) and Bethany Elise. Dr. Wherry has just celebrated 7 years as Senior Pastor of the Mayfield Memorial Missionary Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC.
Evangelist Susie C. Owens
Evangelist Susie C. Owens is a native Texan and a product of the Boston Public School system. She is a graduate of Bethel Bible Institute, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree in New Testament Studies in 1970. Understanding her call to teach, she pursued the field of education, graduating from Brooks College in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. In May of 1999, she received a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Howard University of Divinity. More recently, she received a doctoral degree in African American Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. She has been in the ministry for over forty years and serves alongside her husband in ministry as the Co-Pastor of Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church, a progressive, inner-city church with an adult membership of more than 7,000 and the International First Lady of Mt. Calvary Holy Church of America, Inc. She is the author of two books Unless Two Agree and Memorable Moments. In her spare time, she enjoys the theater and reading. Finally, she is the proud mother of two children, Alfred Thomas and Kristel Moneek and grandmother of six Nathan, Darian, Nicholas, William, Kaiden and Kiyson.
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III
Dr. Otis Moss III is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching prophetically that the message of love and justice are inseparable companions forming the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has a unique gift to communicate across generations. His creative bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a popular speaker on college campuses, at conferences, and churches across the globe. Dr. Moss is a native of Cleveland, OH. He is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, GA., his first pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2100 disciples during his tenure. Dr. Moss currently serves as Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL. Dr. Moss authored Redemption in a Red Light District, co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix; How to Reach the Hip-Hop Generation, and with his father, The Rev Dr. Otis Moss Jr., co-authored, Preach! The Power and Purpose Behind Our Praise. His book of sermons, The Gospel According to the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema will be released in 2014. He is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is on the board of The Christian Century Magazine, and chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. He is married to Monica Brown of Orlando, Florida. They are the proud parents of two creative and humorous children, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon.