Success Stories!

Meet the people who make it happen

Sustainable Solutions for Sacred Sites Team

Allison Norton

Researcher

Dr. Allison Norton is the Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life at Hartford Seminary, where she directs the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England.

Read full bio

She teaches courses in sociology of religion, immigration, and multicultural and intergenerational ministry. Her research and publications explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on US congregations, the rise of megachurches in West Africa, the transnational dimension of African Pentecostalism, the role of migration on the worldwide expansion of the Christian faith, and the religious identities of the “new” second generation. Her forthcoming co-authored book, “Migrant God, Migrant Faith” (with Matthew Krabill, IVP Academic) provides a historical and contemporary exploration of migrant Christianity in the United States.

Andrew Gardner

Andrew Gardner serves as Visiting Faculty Associate of American Religion History and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Hartford Seminary and Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Read full bio

He holds research interests the history of theological education, religion and race, and spatial theory. Andrew also serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Baptists and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  

Caleb Leman

Coach: Chicago Cohort

Caleb Leman is in his second year of the Master of Divinity program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Hyde Park.

Read full bio

Caleb Leman is in his second year of the Master of Divinity program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Hyde Park. He is vocationally interested in neighborhood-led homesteading and is currently doing his field study with Growing Home, an urban farm in Englewood. He has been working as a freelance digital marketer for nonprofits since 2017. He lives in an intentional living community in Humboldt Park with his fiance, three other "chosen family" members, and two bunnies.

Dr. Marc Boswell

Coach: New Orleans Cohort

Dr. Boswell earned a Master's of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary and a Ph.D. in Constructive Theology from Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University.

Read full bio

Dr. Boswell earned a Master's of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary and a Ph.D. in Constructive Theology from Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University. Marc previously served as the pastoral administrator and theologian-in-residence at The Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church (Richmond, VA) and as the executive director of Together for Hope Louisiana. He now lives in New Orleans, LA, and serves as the administrative pastor of St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church.

Emily Sajdak

Researcher

Emily Sajdak came to Partners for Sacred Places in 2017 to coordinate and facilitate capital campaign consulting services.

Read full bio

Since that time she has delivered feasibility and readiness studies, furthered grant-funded initiatives as a project manger for the Nordic Churches Project, and fostered connections with the preservation community in Chicago through participation in Landmarks Illinois’ Skyline Council. She previously worked with Rethos, the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and Calvin Theological Seminary. Emily holds a Master’s degree in Public History: Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University, as well as a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Theology in Old Testament from Calvin Theological Seminary.

Gianfranco Grande

Gianfranco Grande brings over 25 years of experience in management of nonprofit organizations and capital campaign fundraising to his role as Executive Vice President of Partners for Sacred Places.

Read full bio

Educated at the Vatican Seminary, Gianfranco has worked with more than 1,000 community-serving urban congregations and built strategic relationships with local faith leaders, lay leaders, community leaders, universities, seminaries, public officials, foundations, and philanthropists since joining Partners in 2008. In 2012, he was awarded the Richard Nickel Award from the Institute of Architects (AIA) Illinois, recognizing his dedication to the principles of livable communities through grassroots initiatives, and over the last 20 years, he has successfully helped to raise over $80 million. In 2014, Gianfranco was inducted into the Board of Sponsors of Martin Luther King, Jr. College of Ministers and Laity of Morehouse College. He has served as Board Chairman of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, IN, as well as member of the Board of Trustees of Preservation Action and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Kate Toth

Kate Toth is Executive Director of Bricks and Mortals, a project of Judson Memorial Church, which has the mission of providing creative, sustaining solutions to help houses of worship thrive amidst the costly and challenging landscape of operating in New York City.

Read full bio

With a background in advocacy, program development and fundraising, Kate has more than 15 years supporting and empowering vulnerable communities. Kate has worked as an LGBT Liaison, run field campaigns across the Northeast, and in supportive housing. She holds an BA from New York University and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Kate was a Fellow in the NYU Wagner FELPS program and is a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow. She's proud to be a born and bred New Yorker.

Patricia Tevington

Consultant and Lead Trainer

Patricia Tevington is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Read full bio

She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and previously worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Montclair State University’s Institute for Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation. Broadly trained, Patricia uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore religious socialization, social class inequality, and family formation among young adults.

Rev. David Ezekiel

Coach: Pittsburgh Cohort

The Rev. David Ezekiel is a trained, professional interim having served a dozen churches and denominational entities as a transitional minister.

Read full bio

The Rev. David Ezekiel is a trained, professional interim having served a dozen churches and denominational entities as a transitional minister.  Though an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, he jokes that he is his own ecumenical agency having also served churches in the United Church of Christ, Episcopalian, and Baptist traditions.

Pastor David's background is in congregational development, primarily focusing on health and vitality.  Congregations have sought his services as a consultant to assist them in focusing their work, vision, and efforts to achieve purposeful and meaningful results.  The objective is always to seek out and position yourself in the place for most potential.  He facilitates the work of church health by drawing upon his experiences at all levels of church life: congregational, denominational, and educational.  Pastor David was invited to serve as faculty at San Francisco Theological Seminary as the inaugural Ford Fellow in the Center for Innovation in Ministry researching and teaching about congregational life in the areas of culture, mission, and leadership.  He continues as an adjunct professor in the Doctor of Ministry program.    

Rev. Ezekiel holds certificates in interim ministry, coaching, leadership, conflict management, and urban church studies.  His continuing educational endeavors have taken him to such diverse places as Israel – meeting with peacekeeping organizations; South Africa – meeting with leaders of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and members of Parliament; China – meeting with leaders of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Hong Kong Reunification Committee; Cuba, and Scotland.  

He and his wife love to travel.  Though COVID has disrupted their recent plans, they are looking forward to resuming their excursions. They also love to cook and try new recipes.      

David always looks forward to empowering the work of ministry for the next phase in the journey of life and faith.




Rev. Dr. Derrick McQueen

Coach: New York Cohort

Rev. Derrick McQueen earned his is a Ph. D. in Homiletics and New Testament at Union Theological Seminary (NYC). He also received an M. Div. in Worship and the Arts from Union; and a B.A. in Theater Arts from Drew University.

Read full bio

Rev. Derrick McQueen earned his is a Ph. D. in Homiletics and New Testament at Union Theological Seminary (NYC). He also received an M. Div. in Worship and the Arts from Union; and a B.A. in Theater Arts from Drew University.  Dr. McQueen is the Associate Director for Community Partnerships at Columbia University Center on African American Religion Sexual Politics and Social Justice—better known as CARSS.  The project brings together scholars, activists, clergy, and communities for the healing in historic Black Church life culture.  Rev. Dr. McQueen is also the pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem, the oldest African American Presbyterian Church in New York City.  St. James is an affirming congregation. Rev. McQueen and St. James is also in partnership with LAB/SHUL, a “Storahtelling” Jewish Congregation, led by Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie.  He has joined LAB/SHUL as a Christian partner as a Ritual Leader for High Holy Day Seasons. They have completed a second anti-racism set of sessions, “From Separation to Reparation.”  

Before moving back to New York, Derrick lived in Cape May, New Jersey one of the few towns entirely on the National Historic Registry as a Landmark.  As a community activist, he was twice selected as a Fellow for the National Historic Trust for Preservation. Mixed and alternative uses for historically preserved sites to aid existing communities thriving in those spaces, as well as re-imagining worship spaces for mixed uses for existing congregations is a passion.

www.derrickmcqueen.com



Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper

Consultant and Lead Trainer

The Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper, formerly at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami and before that at Yale University, is Senior Minister for Judson Memorial Church on the corner of Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Read full bio

She has been at Judson 15 years. She is associate professor for religious leadership at Hartford Seminary and author of 38 books, most recently REMOVE THE PEWS.

Rev. Valerie A. Ross

Coach: Virtual Cohort

Rev. Valerie A. Ross is an Associate Conference Minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and a former New York area pastor.

Read full bio

Rev. Valerie A. Ross is an Associate Conference Minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and a former New York area pastor.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the New York Conference of the UCC. Rev. Ross earned both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She also graduated from the Columbia University School of Business Executive Not For Profit Management Program. Says Valerie, "I am empowered by the prophet Joel's reminder, 'Without a vision the people perish.” It is this that sparks my passion to cast and implement vision. Developing vision and inspiring a strong sense of mission are essential to improving the health of all areas of ministry to include the work of creating new futures for sacred sites.

Scott Thumma

Research Director

Scott Thumma is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Hartford Seminary and director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford, Connecticut.

Read full bio

He has published numerous research reports, articles and chapters on US religious life in addition to co-authoring three books, The Other 80 Percent, Beyond Megachurch Myths, and Gay Religion. He has researched and written on megachurches, evangelicalism, gay religious life, congregational studies, nondenominationalism, and the changing religious landscape. Scott directs a Thriving in Ministry grant and a Lilly Endowment planning grant to study churches and the pandemic. He co-leads the Faith Communities Today national research project which in 2020 surveyed over 15,000 congregations. Scott also regularly consults with churches and religious organizations on congregational vitality and member engagement.

Transform, revive and restore your sacred real estate

We will help you to have a specific action plan for the future of your sacred real estate.

Contact us