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When the Cat’s Away…

Well, these mice will be sad, but fortunately our cat (Sid, in case you are confused) is super cool and arranged for fabulous guest speakers during his absence.  Though Sid will be enjoying some much-needed r & r with his family instead of belting out 70’s tunes for the next few Sundays, you will not want to miss hearing these folks:

  • Sunday, July 18: Rev. Tom Smith, Board President of Pastors for Peace
    • Rev. Thomas E. Smith currently serves as the Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His duties include the senior pastoral responsibilities of a three hundred-member congregation.  In addition to pastoral duties of the church, Rev. Smith serves as Executive Director of the House of David, Chairman of the Center for Family Excellence and Chairman of Monumental Mission Ministries Inc.   Rev. Smith serves on the boards of the Allegheny County Volunteer Board for Emergency Food and Shelter and the Metro-Urban Institute.  Rev. Smith also serves as President on the board of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace, and has traveled with Pastors for Peace to Cuba on several occasions and Chiapas, Mexico.
  • Sunday, July 25: Barbara Wendland
    • Barbra is a lifelong Methodist.  She was a lay delegate in 1996 and 1988 to General Conference, the worldwide governing body of the United Methodist Church (UMC), which meets every 4 years, and a lay delegate in 2004, 2000, 1996, and 1988 to UMC Jurisdictional Conference, the body that meets every 4 years to elect UMC bishops.  She is a speaker at church-related events throughout the U.S., and was the 2007 recipient of the annual Seals laity award given by SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.  Barbara is a graduate of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, a 2-year ecumenical program sponsored by the United Methodist Church, and a member of the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society and its Executive Committee, 1996-2004.  In her local congregation, she is a long-time Sunday School teacher and choir member, past chairperson of numerous committees and projects, and frequent developer and teacher of short courses about theology, church membership, and spiritual growth.  She is also a write, wife, and mother.
  • Sunday, August 1: Eileen Flynn DeLaO
    • Eileen has been the Religion Writer/Faith Columnist for the Austin American Statesman since 2000 and has been an Adjuct Professor in Journalism and Religion at the University of Texas in Austin since 2007. She has worked as a reporter and editor since 1994 in Massachusetts and Texas. She started her career at the North Adams Transcript in North Adams, Mass., and went on to cover state government and politics in Boston with the MediaNews Group Statehouse bureau. She moved to Austin in 2000, worked part-time as a crime and breaking news reporter at the Austin American-Statesman, co-founded a creative writing group, won 2nd place in a short story contest and in 2002 landed her favorite job so far: writing about religion. She has also waited tables in Amarillo and worked at a scrapyard in Western Massachusetts. Eileen is married to Abe DeLaO is the mother of little Clara.
  • Sunday, August 8: Bob Jensen (Sid here
    • Though Sid will be back on the 8th of August, he will sitting with the rest of us as we hear from UT journalism professor and peace activist Bob Jensen.  Robert Jensen is a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

      Jensen joined the UT faculty in 1992 after completing his Ph.D. in media ethics and law in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a professional journalist for a decade. At UT, Jensen teaches courses in media law, ethics, and politics.

      In his research, Jensen draws on a variety of critical approaches to media and power. Much of his work has focused on pornography and the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence, and he also has addressed questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism.

      In addition to teaching and research, Jensen writes for popular media, both alternative and mainstream. His opinion and analytic pieces on such subjects as foreign policy, politics, and race have appeared in papers and on websites around the world.  He contributes to local organizing in Austin, TX, through his work with the Third Coast Activist Resource Center and the progressive community center 5604 Manor.

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