Alexis Carter, founding board member, is a contemplative activist and disciple-maker who spends much of her time teaching others about abundant life. She teaches others to wrestle with the complexities of societal norms and personal allegiances that hinder their understanding and acceptance of true identity. Alexis encourages students to engage with the disturbing and difficult aspects of faith and society through readings, acts of service and reflection.
Alexis did her undergraduate studies at Oral Roberts University and received her Master of Divinity from the Divinity School at Duke University. She is an ordained minister, and currently serves as the Pastor of Discipleship at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Alexis loves writing non-fiction, reading quality literature, and having soul-stirring conversations over coffee or a good meal. She has spent time traveling and teaching abroad; but more importantly, she has spent time traveling as a learner, which has greatly shaped the way she views and lives within the world. After spending time in South Africa, Alexis discerned a call and passion to serve communities that are both politically and spiritually impoverished. Alexis’s hope is that her presence and gifts will be used to bear witness to the glory of God. Furthermore, in all of her endeavors, she is striving to do good better.
Jayakumar Christian is the National Director of World Vision India. He earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and Masters degrees in Social Work, Missiology, and Divinity. He is the author of God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God (World Vision International, 1999) and several articles relating to working among people in poverty. Jayakumar is a frequent speaker at international events and serves as an adjunct professor for a number of universities. He and his family live in Chennai, India.
Patricia Jenkins-Armstrong, one of America’s great civil rights leaders, Patricia was just 17 years old when she trained under Rev. James Lawson in tactical nonviolence. As a college student at Tennessee State University (formerly A&I College), she began participating in Nashville’s sit-ins, stand-ins, and sleep-ins.
In May of 1961 the Freedom Riders set out to desegregate the US interstate system by riding buses through the American South in mixed racial groups to challenge local laws that enforced segregation in seating. Patricia was one of the original Freedom Riders.
Honored on the Oprah Winfrey show for the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Ride, Patricia has also received honors and acknowledgements from number of historical black colleges and universities (HBCU) including Stetson University’s School of Law, Lane College, and an honorary doctorate in humanities from Jacksonville State University.
Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest ordained by the Archdiocese of Kampala, has served as associate professor of theology and world Christianity at Duke University, where he was the founding co-director of the Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation. Presently Emmanuel serves as the Associate Professor of Theology and Peace Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Emmanuel’s research interests focus on politics and violence in Africa, the theology of reconciliation, and Catholicism in the global South. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain and a diploma in theology and religious studies from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
He is the author of books on the Christian social imagination, the crisis of faith following the genocide in Rwanda, and Christian approaches to justice, peace, and reconciliation. His most recent book is The Sacrifice of Africa: A Political Theology for Africa (Eerdmans, 2010).
Professor Katongole’s other books include Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda (Zondervan, 2009), Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace, and Healing (IVP, 2008), A Future for Africa: Critical Essays in Christian Social Imagination (University of Scranton Press, 2005), African Theology Today (University of Scranton Press, 2002), and Beyond Universal Reason: The Relation Between Religion and Ethics in the Work of Stanley Hauerwas (Notre Dame Press, 2000).
The late Fr. Thomas Keating, founding board member, was a Cistercian monk of the Strict Observance (O.C.S.O.) and one of the principal architects and teachers of centering prayer. He was a founding member and spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach—a manifestation of his longtime commitment to contribute to the recovery of the contemplative dimension of Christianity.
His life was an outpouring of love and service of others. He gave of himself so that others might be liberated into their potential as children of God. Fr. Thomas had a pivotal influence on Chris and Phileena and the subsequent work of Gravity. He served on the Gravity board for one year before serving as an Advisory Council member for five years.
Fr. Keating was an internationally renowned theologian and authored many helpful books including, Open Mind, Open Heart; The Human Condition; The Mystery of Christ; Crisis of Faith, Crisis of Love; Active Meditations for Contemplative Prayer and Finding Grace at the Center.
For a complete list of Fr. Keating’s publications, please visit Contemplative Outreach.