At this challenging time in Race Relations this opportunity will offer a moment of blessing, healing and understanding. Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Cleveland) the Minority Leader of the Ohio State Senate, and Dr. Swisher’s personal friend, will be the Keynote Speaker for the Regional Race and Reconciliation Event sponsored by and held in the main Sanctuary of Epworth UMC on May 15 at 4:30pm. Others involved in the panel Discussion will be Dr. Swisher, Dr. Kalaba Chali, Rev. Donetta Peaks and Dr. Andrew Sung Park.
Sen. Kenny Yuko represents Ohio’s 25th Senate District that includes parts of both Cuyahoga and Lake Counties, State Senator Kenny Yuko has devoted his career to strengthening Northeast Ohio and improving the lives of those who call it home. Senator Yuko grew up in Euclid and graduated from Brush High School in the South Euclid/Lyndhurst School District in 1968. He then attended both Cuyahoga Community College and Kent State University before entering the workforce. Yuko resides in Richmond Heights with his wife Pam. He has two grown children, Rocky and Angela, and three grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Kalaba Chali is Zambian-American by nationality, Congolese by culture and Zimbabwean by education. His calling led him to Africa University in Zimbabwe for his first theological degree and then to Perkins School of Theology on the Campus of SMU where he graduated with a Master of Theology and lastly to Evangel University where he completed a Doctorate in Intercultural Studies. Dr. Chali is an ordained elder in the UMC, and currently serves as the Mercy and Justice Coordinator for the Kansas and Nebraska Annual Conferences of the UMC. Dr. Chali has served churches in Dallas, TX and in the St. Louis Metroplex, MO. Dr. Chali is married to Rev. Jill Sander-Chali, who serves as Senior Pastor at College Hill UMC, Wichita, KS. They have a daughter named Mapalo (meaning blessings in Zambian).
Rev. Donnetta Peaks is a United Methodist Pastor and the Director of the Office of Ministry at the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church. Her role is to supervise the office that handles ordination and clergy credentialing for more than 1,200 pastors throughout the State of Ohio. She has served in a number of roles within the Church and has been the Pastor of Churches in the Dayton and Columbus areas including a innovative new Church start at the outdoor mall known as Easton Town Center.
Dr. Andrew Sung Park is a professor of Theology and Ethics at United Theologial Seminary. Andrew’s teaching and research interests include Christian Mystics, the dialogue between Theology and Science, Liberation Theology, Ecological Theology, Healing Theology, Global Theology, Transformation of Christianity and Christian Ethics. He is married to Jane, who works as a Chemist at Sinclair. Together, they have enjoyed studying alternative medicine and learning how to relate theology to science.
Dr. Stephen Lowell Swisher is the Senior Pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church. He has been involved in helping to bridge the racial divide in our nation for a number of years. His service has been recognized by the NAACP with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication to Race Relations. He also was a keynote speaker at the National NAACP Convention in Dayton, Ohio. His book, “God’s Way to Good Health” was published by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Press based in New York City. Dr. Swisher’s parents Dr. Lowell and Barbara Swisher were integrally involved with the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Swisher continues that heritage. As someone who has a national media platform and who is half Native American, Dr. Swisher and his Church are in a unique position to help advance a healthy and meaningful dialogue on Race and Reconciliation.