We believe creativity and community belong together. As a team effort, A Sanctified Art is rooted in collaboration and creative partnership. Thanks to the growth of our work together, we’ve been able to expand and increase the voices and creativity poured into our art and resources. Here are the talented creatives, scholars, and ministry leaders who have contributed to our resources.
Larissa (she/her) is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and founder of Courageous Spaces, inviting others to co-create spaces for disruption, transformation, and change. She also currently works as a consultant with Vandersall Collective. Larissa has dedicated her life and career to racial and gender justice, and is interested in the ways that the intersections of all parts of one’s identity can be embraced as strengths. This work brought her to denominational leadership, including service as the Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the PC(USA) and as a current member of the General Assembly Committee on Representation. She’s a founding board member of the Collective Foundation, an organization researching and providing training concerning the fundraising practices in Christian communities of color. CourageousSpaces.com
Ashley (she/her) is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She obtained her Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, a Master’s in Theater Arts from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. An outspoken advocate for youth ministry and social justice, Ashley recently served as the Co-Moderator of the Board of Directors for More Light Presbyterians and has written for the NEXT Church blog, Believe Out Loud, and the Progressive Youth Ministry Blog on Patheos. She also starred in two theological web series: "Theology Unhinged" and "A Quick Chat with Rev. Ashley." Her passion for ritual, worship, and theatre have not only pushed her to use theatrical and improvisational elements in services but also to respond to God as a worship light and sound designer, as well as a Zoom worship and ritual designer and technician. ashleybirt.com
Adrian (they/them) is a writer, Texan, and third year MDiv student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. They grew up in the PC(USA) and feel called to the work of bringing to life the church’s growing commitments to the inclusion and thriving of all children of God! They are proud to serve on the board of More Light Presbyterians. In Nashville, Adrian serves on staff at Woodland Presbyterian Church and organizes with Southerners On New Ground (SONG). When not working and studying, Adrian enjoys playing board games with their spouse Wynn and taking long walks with their dog Bex.
Denise (she/her) is a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the acting Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries. A graduate of Howard University School of Divinity, she is the former Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (USA). A nationally-recognized writer and blogger, Denise’s work has appeared in The Christian Century, The Huffington Post, These Days, and on her own blog, SOULa Scriptura: To Be Young, Gifted, and Reformed: soulascriptura.com. Denise writes, preaches, and engages on issues of social justice, diversity, and reconciliation. As a gifted visual artist, she creates art that explores themes of spirituality, history, religion, and race: tdandersonart.com.
Carmelle Beaugelin (she/her) describes herself as an “Afro-Latin, West-Indian, Haitian-American, Miami-an” artist currently residing in Princeton, NJ. Her daily work swims in the waters of human flourishing and spiritual formation at the intersection of Christian Spirituality & Innovation. She strives to create work that engages some form of “God-talk.” Her art moves towards the exploration of Visio Divina (divine vision) via theological themes related to redemptive transformation, the concept of "home," hyphenated ethnic identities of diasporic communities, and human flourishing as a continued expression of divine creativity (Imago Dei). Her larger vocation is to point to the dignity, self-awareness, and spiritual connectedness of creative expression in the lives of those who carry hyphenated identities, particularly those navigating within what it means to both black and foreign in America. In the daytime, she works to champion the voices of young people and individuals who have been given Vision Divina towards their personal and communal flourishing. carmellebeaugelin.com
Paul Demer (he/him) is a singer-songwriter, record producer, outreach musician, and worship leader. Paul connects with diverse audiences in living rooms, bars, churches, nursing homes, and hospitals in his hometown of Dallas, TX, and across the country. Passionate about the craft of songwriting, he has released several albums of original music, and was recently selected as a finalist in Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk songwriting competition. In addition to producing his own records, Paul has produced over 50 tracks for fellow singer-songwriters. He has played over 1,500 concerts in local nursing homes and hospitals, in partnership with the Dallas non-profit Texas Winds Musical Outreach, and he currently serves as a Music Minister at St. Matthew's Episcopal Cathedral. Paul and his wife, Trisha, live in Lower Greenville, Dallas. When not making music, he enjoys reading, spending time outside, and good conversation. pauldemer.com
Vilmarie (she/her) is an educator and a ruling elder. Ordained for 26 years, she has served in the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the Session, Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly levels. Vilmarie holds a B.A. in Education (ESL) and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Teaching. She has taught English and English as a Second Language to teenage and adult students from all over the world. Vilmarie and her husband, Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts, live in Miami, FL. Along with the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, she served as Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the first Hispanic Latina and first Puerto Rican person to be elected to this office. Among her loves is the love of art in its many forms. These days she feels closer to God through color, shapes, and movement, exploring watercolor painting as a form of prayer and engaging in one of her preferred spiritual practices, “Praying in Color.”
Becky (she/her) and Nathan (he/him) work as musical directors for The Gathering Service at Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas (vpcthegathering.org). Together they also create and perform music as Barnaby Bright (barnabybright.com).
Introduced by a booking agent in Kansas City in 2005 after college, Becky and Nathan moved to Brooklyn, got married, and started the indie folk band, Barnaby Bright. After the release of their first full-length album in 2009, they began touring extensively all over the world, playing roughly 150 shows a year. After six years of steady touring, releasing three full-length albums, winning several international songwriting awards and gracing such notable stages as Lincoln Center and NPR’s Mountain Stage, they returned to Kansas City and were thrilled to accept the position as musical directors for The Gathering service at Village Church. Their most sincere hope since they began their musical journey together over 10 years ago was that their songs and sounds would inspire, uplift, and connect audiences to something greater than themselves. Being able to do this on a weekly basis in a more focused, intentional way gives them great joy.
Dr. Raj Nadella (he/him) is the Samuel A. Cartledge Associate Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Dr. Nadella’s research and teaching interests include postcolonial biblical interpretation, migration, and New Testament perspectives on economic justice and their ethical implications for the Church and society. In addition, his research has focused on Mikhail Bakhtin and Biblical Studies. His work has appeared in publications such as The Huffington Post, Christian Century, and Working Preacher. Since 2018, he has served as an area editor for Oxford Bibliographies: Biblical Studies. Nadella was one of two biblical scholars who led the PC(USA) General Assembly Bible Study in 2018. In 2020, Patheos featured him as one of 50 NT scholars to follow. ctsnet.edu/faculty/nadella-raj
Rev. Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum (she/her) serves as pastor of Mercy Community Church, a grassroots ecumenical congregation that meets out-of-doors in borrowed space, parking lots, and on the streets of Atlanta, GA. As a community, Mercy strives to bring those in and out of housing together to worship, fellowship, work for justice, offer shelter, and build community. The Mercy community gathers five days of the week to share clothes and meals, study scripture together, support one another in recovery, write, study, pray, drink coffee, and spend time together. Brittany first came to Mercy Church while completing her MDiv at Columbia Theological Seminary. Brittany is passionate about the church’s vocation to be present to the poor in ways that foster mutual relationships and healthy communities. Brittany loves writing, creating, and studying theology alongside her congregants. She is jointly ordained by the PC(USA) and Mercy Community Church. mercyatl.org
Remington Johnson (she/her) is an ordained PC(USA) minister who has served at the bedside of the sick and dying as a healthcare chaplain for the last ten years. Remington is currently pursuing a masters in nursing at the University of Texas. Remington is active in the research community by working as a consultant on a growing number of peer-reviewed studies and also serving a medical school think tank at the University of Texas. She regularly lectures on the complex care navigation process with a special focus on values identification. Remington is engaged to a lovely woman and mother to a delightful six-year-old. remingtonjohnson.com
The Reverend Aisha Brooks-Johnson, formerly Brooks-Lytle, (she/her) is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2018, Aisha began her role as the Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta serving 80+ congregations and encouraging 20+ new worshiping communities. She is honored and overjoyed to serve as an encourager to the congregations and leaders within a presbytery filled with a deep cultural diversity and a vast theological landscape. She believes that it is part of her call to support healthy and vital congregations and to equip healthy and innovative leaders to live into their passion and purpose as the people of God. Aisha is blessed to have her mother, Deborah, and her son, Ellington, to join her in this adventure in the Greater Atlanta region (atlpcusa.org). Aisha gives thanks to God for her recent marriage to the Rev. Dr. Alonzo T. Johnson who serves as the Coordinator for the Self Development of People for the PC(USA) headquartered in Louisville, KY (presbyterianmission.org/ministries/sdop).
The Many is an indie, intentionally diverse music collective from Chicago singing music of faith and doubt, hope and lament. The lead singers in The Many—Darren Calhoun, Leslie Michele, and singer/songwriter Hannah Rand—as well as writer Lenora Rand and musician/producer Gary Rand, come together around their shared love of music and commitment to honest expressions of faith, peace-making, economic and racial justice, and LGBTQ+ inclusion. The Many offer songs made for reflection, for protest, for healing, and worship. They are songs made for singing with each other, in churches, in living rooms, in basements, and in bars. . . anywhere and everywhere, in spirit and in truth. With lyrics born from scriptures, from headlines, and from their own experiences, this is not head-in-the-clouds “worship music.” These are not songs about a God who only loves some of us. These are feet-on-the-ground, heart-in-hands, scars-revealed, wild and holy songs of resistance and reconciliation and restoration. This unique group of musicians reminds us over and over again that we aren’t alone, that God so loves every one of us, and we all belong here. themanyarehere.com
Dr. Riggs (she/her) has an undergraduate degree in Religion from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and a PhD in religion/ethics from Vanderbilt University. In April of 2006, Dr. Riggs was inaugurated as the first professor to hold the J. Erskine Love Chair in Christian Ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She teaches in the Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, and the Master of Theology Programs at the seminary. Dr. Riggs was awarded a 2017-2018 Henry Luce III Fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Association of Theological Schools; her research project was entitled: “Envisioning and Practicing Beloved Community in the 21st Century.” She received the “Distinction in Theological Education” Award from Yale Divinity School in 2012 and the Alumnae Achievement Award from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in 2006. Dr. Riggs has served on the Editorial Boards for the Encyclopedia on Women and Religion in North America, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Feasting on the Word Lectionary Commentary Series. She has also chaired the Womanist Approaches to Religion and Society Group and has chaired or served on committees of the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Theological Schools, and The Fund for Theological Education (currently, the Forum for Theological Exploration).
Dr. Riggs is currently writing a book on an ethical theory and practice called religious ethical mediation. Religious ethical mediation (REM) prepares leaders to address religion, conflict, and violence in a transformative manner. She is the founder of an educational non-profit: Still Waters: A Center for Ethical Formation and Practices that offers training in REM. Dr. Riggs is interested in the relationship between social oppression and socio-religious ethical praxis, ethical discourse that bridges the gap between womanist religious scholarship and the Church’s practice of ministry, the moral foundations for public policy, and the Church’s role in social justice ministry. ctsnet.edu/faculty/riggs-marcia
The Plural Guild came together to create and curate music, poems, prayer, visual art, liturgy, experiences and community that embrace questions and doubts, as well as faith. To make work that can be used in worship gatherings that’s truly inclusive and helps everyone feel like they belong. That has eyes wide open to the pain of the world. That speaks of a God who came to this earth in Jesus to show us the way to love and live fully alive lives. Work that invites participation versus performance. For anyone…and everyone…who longs for a more loving, just, open, and abundant world. The Plural Guild is a collective led by the husband and wife team, Lenora and Gary Rand, as well as the members of The Many. pluralguild.com
Rev. Mieke Vandersall (she/her), Owner and Principal Consultant of Vandersall Collective, has over 15 years of executive leadership experience in the religious nonprofit arena.
Mieke's work with clients is comprised of the creation and implementation of capital campaigns, major donor programs, online crowdsourcing campaigns, grant-writing and grant-making procedures, website writing and development, communication strategies, board development, event planning, worship planning, and organizational capacity-building. In addition, Mieke encourages nonprofits, congregations, and religious leaders as they work to fund their ministries; this work comes out of a deep knowledge of the particular exhilaration and stress of working for long-term structural change and beginning and sustaining programs.
Prior to her consulting work she was the Executive Director of Parity, where she founded a program for LGBTQ Future Pastors, as well as Not So Churchy. Mieke attended Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, where she was the recipient of the Hudnut Award for Excellent Preaching Preparation. vandersallcollective.com
Erin Weber-Johnson (she/her) has worked as a fundraising and strategic planning Senior consultant with Vandersall Collective since 2017. A published author, she strives to root her work in practical theology while utilizing her significant experience in the nonprofit sector.
She also currently serves as Primary Faculty of Project Resource, a national training program on stewardship for the Episcopal Church. In 2017 she co-founded the Collective Foundation, which is currently working to address the gap in giving characteristics in faith communities of color.
In addition to her consulting work, Erin facilitates national and regional workshops, preaches in congregations across denominations, provides plenaries and workshops at conferences, and leads church leadership retreats. Previously, Erin served as the Senior Program Director of Strategic Resources at the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) from 2009-2018, working with parishes on annual and planned giving and successful led capital campaigns widely ranging in size.
Erin holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University. She is a member of St. John the Evangelist Church in St. Paul, MN. vandersallcollective.com
Slats (they/them) is a writer, musician, theater artist and preacher, whose work has been published in Call to Worship, Sacramental Life, The Presbyterian Outlook, Fidelia Magazine, and Discipleship Ministries’ “History of Hymns” column. They are the author of the poetry collection Queering Lent. They are a Deborah Carlton Loftis Ambassador for the Center for Congregational Song, a member of the NEXT Church Advisory Team, secretary of their town’s Human Relations Commission and a frequent presenter on queer/trans issues in the church. Recently, Slats served on the team that compiled “Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming the LGBTQIA2S+ Community” with the Hymn Society—they also have a hymn published in that collection. They are the resident sound designer for The In[heir]itance Project and their multidisciplinary piece about difficult Biblical texts, Who Do You Say That I Am? was recently developed with Undiscovered Countries’ “Blast Off!” development lab. Slats holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from New York University and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. slatsite.com