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Back to the Garden... Out of the City: Deconstructing Walls of Injustice Conference, Offers Fresh Look at an Old Problem, in Atlanta March 20-22

Contact: Rev. Tim Rodgers, 404-681-3558, newlife575@gmail.com

ATLANTA, Feb. 14, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- A fiery theologian who challenges Christians on God's call to a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community, one of the nation's most sought after evangelical authors and experts on faith in action, and a leading young voice who merges history and theology to give an inspirational perspective on the growing disenfranchisement of young black men in America, headline the first Back to the Garden…Into the City:  Deconstructing Walls of Injustice conference.  The event will take place Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, at New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta.

The conference will  provide an anointed example of multi-culturalism, power sharing and inclusion.  New Life Covenant is co-led by Pastor Tim Rodgers and Pastor Catherine Gilliard. Pastor Tim, who is white and Pastor Catherine, who is black, bring a new model of shared leadership, co-laboring and  prophetic voice to a gentrifying community. New Life seeks to live out a Christ-centered, incarnational model of co-laboring compassion and power sharing in a struggling under resourced community.

Designed to be a peer mentoring experience, the conference will take place in "The Bluff," a community with a rich and checkered history,   known as a slowly changing, multi-cultural enclave, with starkly different class and racial neighbors, struggling to co-exist in hope and promise, not exclusivity and privilege.

Dr.  Soong-Chan Rah, a professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago and author of Many Colors, points out that the long-enduring American, white-dominated society, will become a minority in the midst of a nation of minorities by 2050.  Rah, who also wrote, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity, constantly pushes for the need to build cross-cultural alliances to tackle systemic ills by challenging the culture of the church.  Rev. Rah will preach Friday March 20th at the opening worship session at 6 p.m.

Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is adjunct faculty at New York Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Eastern University and New Theological Seminary of the West, and co-author of Faith Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World.  She  details out how the oppressed and the marginalized built local movement centers in order to construct coalitions of like-minded believers committed to improve the life chances of those in their communities, despite walls of economic, racial, class and social injustices.  Rev. Salvatierra will preach the closing session Saturday, March 21, at 6 p.m.

Rev. Dominique Gilliard is a board member of Christian Community Development Corporation (CCDA) and on staff at New Hope Covenant Church in Oakland. An emerging leader, he is an increasingly sought after voice for the impact of the alarming,  resurgent  killing of unarmed young black men and the sociological impact it has on their disfranchisement and de-socialization, from a Christ-centered perspective.  He will present a theological paper at the opening session Friday at 1 p.m., followed by a Q&A session.

In addition to presenters, collaborative think-tanks and shared meals, the conference will feature an immersion experience into the English Avenue community, near the heartbeat of Atlanta and only two miles from the home of the American who gave his life for the "beloved community," Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   Designed for church leaders, activists and theologians, attendees are invited to stay over for a unique Sunday morning worship experience at New Life Covenant Church.

For registration details, please contact conference officials at newlifecovenantchurch.org/center-for-reconciliation-restoration.