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Leadership Faculty

Donald J. Brash

A native of western Pennsylvania, Dr. Brash is an ordained minister with an ecumenical history. Presently, he is Resident Theologian at Princeton United Methodist Church in Princeton, New Jersey. He has extensive experience as a pastor of American Baptist churches, and is a recipient of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey's Executive Minister's Award for Excellence in Ministry.

In his 2010 book, The Indispensable Guide to God's Word (Pilgrim Press), Don introduces inquiring laypersons to a way of understanding the relationship between God's Word and the “books” of the Bible that will help readers interpret the biblical authors’ writings for the issues and questions of our time. Don’s current book project is Navigating Troubled Waters: The Churches of Yesterday Speak to the Churches Today.

Don believes the ministries of the churches should be instrumental in the transformation of society. As Faculty Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Palmer, he strives to create a culture where students cultivate a realistic idealism and the further skills necessary to lead churches to be transformed and transforming agents in our rapidly changing world.

Don is a member of Princeton United Methodist Church in Princeton, New Jersey, where his spouse, the Reverend Jana Purkis-Brash, is Senior Pastor. They have one grown daughter, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Tokunbo A. Adelekan 

Tokunbo A. Adelekan is the senior pastor of the Mt. Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church and associate professor of theology and ethics at Palmer Seminary where he teaches courses in African-American studies and Ecclesiology. His books include African Wisdom: 101 Proverbs from the Motherland and A Charge to Keep: Re-Missioning the Urban Church for the 21st Century. Adelekan is currently working on two other books on public theology and creative suffering. 

Born to an African (Yoruba) father and an African-American mother, Adelekan is on a pilgrimage of mind and spirit. A theologian, church growth practitioner, cultural critic, folkorist and community leader who works out of the prophetic wing of the Afro-Baptist faith, Adelekan is considered one of the leading American scholar-preachers of his generation. Featured in Ebony magazine as one of the “30 Leaders of the Future,” Adelekan has conceptualized practical models for Christians navigating the complex matrices of post-industrialism and post-modernity. In his role as a transatlantic communicator, Adelekan has worked diligently to build cross-cultural and cross-denominational alliances between Christians in the United States, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe.

Francesca Debora Nuzzolese

Francesca Debora Nuzzolese is Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care at Palmer Seminary. Dr. Nuzzolese's professional experience includes extensive experience in chaplaincy and pastoral psychotherapy, theological education, mission work, and (more recently) spiritual direction. As an ordained clergy, she also leads spiritual retreats and lectures and teaches on psycho-social issues, here and overseas. She teaches the course "Personal Transformation." She is author of Just Care: Pastoral Counseling with Socioeconomically Vulnerable Women

Benjamin Hartely

Benjamin L. Hartley

Benjamin L. Hartley has been teaching at Palmer Seminary since 2005 where he is the Associate Professor of Christian Mission. He was born in New York City, raised in a rural Minnesota town of 200, attended Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, and has lived in Michigan, Boston, and Philadelphia. He now resides in Newberg, Oregon. Hartley has an M.S. degree in international development from Michigan State University and M.Div. and Th.D. degrees from Boston University. He is author of Evangelicals at a Crossroads: Revivalism and Social Reform in Boston, 1860-1910 (University of New Hampshire Press, 2011). He was ordained a deacon in 2004 in the West Michigan Annual Conference and is currently a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. The title of the course he teaches is Missional Church Renewal in an Age of Globalization.  In this course he seeks to bring the scholarship from the fields of history, missiology, and congregational studies into conversation with what is occurring in our world through globalization which also must be critically assessed biblically and theologically. The multi-dimensional dynamics we categorize as globalization has influenced the West Virginia coalfields and neighborhoods like West Philadelphia differently. Christian leaders must carefully consider these and other contexts as they seek to guide congregations in their vibrant participation in God’s mission in the world today.  

Michael Sisson

Michael Sisson 

Michael Sisson is a native of West Virginia. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor of the Crab Orchard Baptist Church in Crab Orchard, WV. Prior to coming to Crab Orchard, he served the pastorates of Sutton Baptist Church in Sutton, WV and New Life Baptist Church in Shady Spring, WV.  

Mike's leadership experience includes serving as the President of the WVBC (West Virginia Baptist Convention) a Region of the American Baptist Churches USA, as the President of the Pastors 4 Pastors: The WV Baptist Ministers' Council, as the Chair and Academic Dean of the WVBC School of Christian Studies, and on the Committee on Ministerial Standing for the WVBC. He has served on the Board of Directors for two Nonprofit Organizations: Precision Services Inc. and the Beckley Health Right Free Clinic and its subsidiaries in Mercer and Summers Counties of WV.

Mike is an adjunct Professor for the Palmer Seminary Doctor of Ministry program in West Virginia having taught the courses "System Transforming Leadership for a Mission-Oriented Church" and "Community Transformation." He has also led seminars and workshops on the topics of Church Transformation, Leadership, Ministry Team Building, and Visioning at a variety of venues.

Mike's passion for ministry flows from a deeply held conviction that the local church is the hope of the world as Christ ordained it to be His body carrying the Good News into the world. He believes that when the local church is experiencing the transformational power of Jesus Christ that it will be the most effective as an agent of transformation for Jesus Christ.

Eduardo Ramirez

Eduardo M. Ramirez is Associate Professor of Youth Ministry at Eastern University. He teaches courses on Small Groups, Programming, Evangelism, and Preaching and Teaching for Youth. An ordained Christian and Missionary Alliance Pastor, Eduardo worked from 1979 until 2003 with Scripture Union, a Christian organization geared to reach and disciple un-churched children and teenagers. He first served as Director of Scripture Union Argentina and then became Regional Secretary for Scripture Union Americas Region (North, Central and South America and the Caribbean) where he provided leadership and training to national movements in the Americas Region. Dr. Ramirez teaches the course "Contexts, Perspectives and Ministries in the 21st Century."

McKenzie Pier

Rev. Dr. McKenzie "Mac" Pier is President of The New York City Leadership Center (NYCLC), an independent non-profit organization planted by the group Concerts of Prayer Greater New York. The mission of the Center is to encourage, unify, and support faith leaders throughout the New York metropolitan area and beyond. He is the author of the book Spiritual Leadership in the Global City (New Hope Publishers) and co-author of The Power of a City at Prayer (Pier & Sweeting, InterVarsity Press). Dr. Pier teaches the course "Community Transformation."

Al Tizon

Al Tizon is Ronald J. Sider Associate Professor of Evangelism and Holistic Ministry.  Al is Co-Director of The Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy and Co-President of Evangelicals for Social Action.  He is also a member of the American Society of Missiology; the Academy of Evangelism in Theological Education; and the Institute for the Studies in Asian Church and Culture.  A native of the Philippines, Dr. Tizon is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.  He teaches the course "Congregational Transformation."