Rev. Dr. Herbert Davis | Nehemiah Christian Center 


Herbert Reynolds Davis maintains an active academic, ecclesiastical and advocacy profile engaging: Church Planting, Community Organizing and Advocacy, Christian Theology, Leadership Development and Organizational Consulting.  Herbert holds a Bachelor degree in Religion, the Master of Divinity degree, the Doctor of Ministry and the Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership. He has earned professional certification in Leadership Education. 

He served in academia as the Executive Vice President of a Title IV theological institution for more than a decade. Herbert has participated in broad based community organizing for over two decades through Metro IAF (Industrial Areas Foundation), serving on both local and national Strategy Teams.  He regularly speaks to civic and faith-based groups effecting positive spiritual and social change.  He is often requested to offer trainings for church leaders, nonprofit leadership teams and community organizations.  Dr. Davis is the President of HRD Strategic Development LLC which offers training and development for religious organizations, higher education institutions, non-profits and small businesses.  Herbert is the author of three books: The Visitation: Your Defining Moment in the Presence of God; The Christian Leadership Blueprint: Seven Principles for Building Something Great, Transformative, and Lasting; and Graced for This. 

Herbert is ordained in the Church of God in Christ.  He has served faithfully on the local, statewide, national, and international levels for more than thirty years.  Locally he serves as the Senior Pastor of the multicultural Nehemiah Church.  Herbert serves as a District Superintendent and Chairman of Ordination within North Carolina Second Jurisdiction.  He has used his gifts through service both nationally and internationally with the Annual Leadership Conference, World Missions Department, the Pastors and Elders Council as well as the Education Commission.  Herbert finds greater meaning and inspiration of life from his wife Psiyina and his four adult daughters.

Dr. Cullen McKenney | (formerly) Duke Memorial United Methodist Church

Dr. Cullen McKenney began organizing in 2014 while serving as a minister at Duke Memorial UMC. The congregation was actively engaged in a number of ministries meeting the immediate needs of people in the community around issues of food insecurity, homelessness, and refugee resettlement. As a new minister, he wanted to get to know the people of the congregation. At the same time, Cullen was invited to work with a Pastoral Intern from Duke Divinity school, the (spectacular) Casey Stanton (check out her current project here: Casey had a background in organizing and together they did over 100 one-on-one meetings with members of the church. They noticed that members of the congregation were growing in both their love for their neighbors through these ministries, and also growing in their frustration/anger at the systems perpetuating issues around things like food insecurity and homelessness.

At the time, Durham CAN was deeply engaged in an affordable housing campaign to pressure the City to build affordable housing units in downtown Durham along the proposed light rail line. One of those sites was literally across the street from Duke Memorial. The congregation attended several meetings, and was inspired by CAN's work. The church joined CAN and hosted an important meeting that secured support from City Council to build 82 units of affordable housing on Jackson Street -- the current Willard Street Apartments ( CAN's work has inspired Cullen to serve as a member of the Clergy Caucus (2015-2019) and on the Strategy Team (2019-present). It is an honor to be a part of this organization and the work we do together to effect concrete positive change for Durham.

Team Members:


Rev. Jacqueline Brett | Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Rev. Jacqueline Brett (she/they) is Lead Minister of the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, located on Garrett Road in Durham. Her ministry is devoted to making a transformative and equitable difference in the world by taking an active stand for collective liberation both within and beyond the congregation’s walls. Rev. Brett received M.Div.and MALS degrees from Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago) where she was also a member of the Board of Trustees and received numerous awards, including those in preaching and religious leadership. She currently serves on the executive team and as a pane chair of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministerial Fellowship Committee, which guides the competencies and credentialing of UU ministers in the U.S. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), which advances human rights globally.

Rev. Brett hails from Brooklyn, NY and has two adult sons; she and her family have lived in North Carolina since 2003. She finds balance through her meditation practice, by walking at least 5 miles each day, and whenever possible, gathering with friends to share a good meal and to explore art, live music, dance, and theater.


Bishop Clarence Laney | Monument of Faith

Bishop Clarence Laney, Jr. is a native of Selma, NC. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University School of Divinity, Durham, NC, a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism from St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, NC and is a 2007 graduate of the Harvard Divinity School Leadership Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 1996 he was appointed to the Monument of Faith Church (“MOF”) in Durham, NC. Under his leadership, education (spiritual and academic) has become the cornerstone of this ministry. MOF is a progressive liturgical Pentecostal church with a strong commitment to social justice and community outreach.

Bishop Laney has preached and taught throughout the United States, Canada, and Sierra Leone, West Africa.

In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Bishop Laney serves as Presbyter of the NC Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) Region #3, providing oversight to four districts and 26 denominational churches. Bishop Laney is also a Co-Chair of the Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods Clergy Caucus, community organizer and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

He is married to Lisa Laney and together they have two sons: Caleb Elijah, a senior at NC A&T State University, Greensboro and Joshua Holt, a freshmen at Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington, NC and a Labradoodle name Max.

Bishop Laney enjoys exercising, reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends. His favorite saying is that of Fredrick Douglas, ‘‘where there is no struggle there is no progress.''

Pastor Molly Brummett Wudel | Emmaus Way

A native Tennessean, Molly first came to North Carolina ten years ago on a Wait Fellowship at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She is recipient of Baptist Women in Ministry’s Addie Davis National Award for Excellence in Preaching (2013), and is published in The World is Waiting on You: Celebrating the 50th Ordination Anniversary of Addie Davis (2014) and Believe the Women: A Journey of Liberation with Alliance of Baptists' Women (2019). 

As pastor at Emmaus Way, Molly focuses her time on curating the weekly worship gathering, creating space for theological and spiritual formation, cultivating deeper community relationships, and visioning alongside staff and lead teams. In addition to pastoring, Molly serves on Durham CAN's strategy team and is co-chair of the clergy caucus and has taught within the Department of Homiletics at Duke Divinity School. She lives in Durham with her husband, daughter, and  precious pup.

Elder James Blake | Fisher Memorial United Holy Church

Elder James Blake is a native of Durham, North Carolina. He was educated in the Durham Public School, Hillside High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While a student at UNC he joined the Black Student Movement which focused on the issues related to being black students on a predominantly white institution. This organization gave voice to those who felt invisible and powerless. Advocacy for others has been an early commitment and it continues today.

Not only was he an advocate for others but he has a great love for God and the church. He has been dedicated to the church by serving in many capacities. Believing that all service to God is important, he served in many aspects of the church including Sunday School Teacher, Vacation Bible School Teacher, Bible Study Teacher, Trustee, Minister of Music and eventually preacher of the Gospel. All of this was done under the leadership of the late Elder Robert A. Siler.

Elder Blake preached his initial sermon in January 2001 and was licensed in the United Holy Church in 2002. He was assigned to the Guiding Light United Holy Church in August of 2004 where he served for twelve years and was ordained an Elder in July 2005. He has served as an Assistant District Elder and on the Board of Presbytery. He also served as the President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Durham and Vicinity from 2015 thru 2018.

Currently Elder Blake serves as the pastor of the Fisher Memorial United Holy Church in Durham, North Carolina. There’s the church serves the community with a weekly food bank, adopting a class at CC Spaulding Elementary School as well as Fisher Tribe designed to attend to the needs of our youth. He also serves as a District Elder and as a member of the Board of Elders for the Western North Carolina District of the United Holy Church of America.

Elder Blake is married to Minister Sabrena Mervin-Blake and they are the proud parents of one daughter, Taylor.

Rev. Dr. Tim Conder | (Formerly) Emmaus Way


Rev. Dr. Timothy Conder has been organizing with Durham CAN since 2005. In addition to having served as a Co-Chair of CAN, he has also been a Co-Chair of the Clergy Caucus. Some of his priorities with CAN have included leadership in the criminal justice action that resulted in CAN's historic victory to secure a policy of written consent-to-search automobiles and strategic shifts toward community policing by the Durham Police Department; organizing in the statewide "10% is Enough" campaign addressing predatory lending practices by banks headquartered in NC; and representing CAN in the Metro IAF "Do Not Stand Idly By" national gun violence campaign. This latter action included leading satellite actions targeting renegade gun sellers and gun manufacturers like Sturm, Ruger, and Co. Tim has also been deeply engaged in organizing and reorganizing the internal structures and practices of CAN.

Tim was the Founding Pastor (2005-2018) of the CAN member institution, Emmaus Way, building the congregation with a dynamic team including Pastors (and CAN Strategy Team members) Daniel Rhodes and Molly Brummett Wudel around organizing principles and practices.

In 2020, he co-founded the Black Mountain School of Theology & Community <>. The school is a collective of organizers, scholars, and activists who teach congregational and civic leaders how to build and revitalize their institutions through collaborative actions of durable social justice. He currently serves a Co-President of the school with Dr. Daniel Rhodes. The school is currently working with 30 congregations in NC and around the country. They have begun teaching virtual courses to individuals and have vital partnerships with the Freedom Center for Social Justice (Charlotte, NC), the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University, and the Miller Institute at Pittsburgh Seminary.    

Tim has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from UNC Chapel Hill researching the how leaders negotiate Protestant heritages/commitments to construct identities as social justice activists in an ethnography of the NAACP-convened Moral Movement in NC. Tim is Adjunct Professor at UNC Chapel Hill teaching courses on social justice in education and qualitative research. He is also a Part-time Professor at Shaw University Divinity School teaching courses on organizing leadership, theological writing, and action research. 

Tim is also the author or co-author of three books for the church including Organizing Church: Grassroots Practices for Embodying Change in Your Congregation, Your Community, and Our World (Chalice Press, 2017) along with Dan Rhodes. He is a co-editor and co-author of an academic book, Mentoring Students of Color: Naming the Politics of Race, Social Class, Gender, and Power (Brill/Sense, 2019). Tim has also published many other journal articles and book chapters including forthcoming articles on a moral vision of action research and an a new geography of community-based education.

Matthew V. Soffer, Senior Rabbi  |  Judea Reform Congregation

Rabbi Matthew V. Soffer lives in Durham with his wife and three children.

Rabbi Soffer was ordained as a graduate of the New York Campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He served at Temple Israel of Boston since 2009, beginning as a rabbinic intern and finishing as Senior Associate Rabbi. As a Student Rabbi, he served at Main Line Reform Temple and Congregation Beth Elohim, both in New York. His work has included portfolios in Social Jusice and in outreach to and engagement of Jews in their 20s and 30s.

Among his honors are the Religious Action Center's 50 Faces of Justice, Newsweek/Daily Beast's 10 Rabbi's to Watch, and NFTY President's Award. His publications include "Global Swarming: Can We Become Worthy of Creation," CCAR Press, 2017; several commentaries and essays on My Jewish Learning, on Reform, and in The Times of Israel. His work also includes music composition and performance, comedy, and community organizing.

The topic of his Rabbinic Thesis, “Listening for Laughter: Sensing Humor in the Babylonian Talmud,” is a wonderful window on his character and style.

You can follow him on Twitter @MattSoffer and listen to his podcast, Pulpit on the Commons.



Reverend Tanya Johnson  | Abundant Hope Christian Church

Reverend Tanya Johnson is an Associate Pastor at Abundant Hope Christian Church. Rev. Johnson is also a professional who works for Duke Hospital. She is a native of Durham, NC and born to preacher/teacher parents. Rev. Johnson lived in public housing in her youth, which has fueled her passion for Affordable Housing. Rev. Johnson has been an active member of CAN for over four years.  She has been the lead on several actions calling for DHA accountability, City Council Accountability and CAN to do internal reflection on how we engage and consider our work based on race, gender and socio-economic status. Rev. Johnson is a voice of reason for the CAN organization. As a leader, she is not afraid to challenge power in order to advocate for all. Her faith is pivotal in all decisions she makes. She does not take any assignment given to her lightly. It comes with prayer, research and analysis.