Everyone has a beautiful voice
Rebecca is a Renaissance woman with expertise as a musician, theologian, teacher, coach, and pastor. She was born and raised in western North Carolina, and trained as a classical musician throughout childhood and college. Since moving to New York City in 2012, Rebecca has crafted her musical education and pastoral sensibilities into a ministry that serves a diverse and dynamic community. As the Church changes and embraces the need for new and creative ways of living out the Gospel, Rebecca has found herself as a pioneer in the ecumenical church, working with innovative and creative ministries in multiple contexts.
Rebecca studied liberation theology under the late Dr. James Cone, and developed a children’s liberation theology to serve as an extension of all liberation theologies, understanding that all oppressed people experience life as a child and thus share a common experience of oppression. With a passion for worship and creative leadership, Rebecca conflates concepts based in children’s liberation theology and digital parish ministry and applies that formula to her work at For People Media Ministries. Her vision is that anyone who is seeking a life of faith should have access to a liberating, loving, affirming Christian experience.
Rebecca graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 2017 and has served several in-person congregations in New York City. She is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church, USA and was chosen as an Auburn Seminary Edwards Fellow in 2016 and Duke Divinity Reflective Leadership Grant recipient in 2023.
While she often gets pegged as a children's pastor (not a bad thing!) her work as a consultant has been most effective in spaces where people are grappling with difficult questions around the future of ministry and how the church functions (or doesn’t function) as both an oppressive institution and an engine for liberation.
Rebecca also serves as the Founding Executive Director at For People Media Ministries. For People was an idea that Rebecca developed out of the desire to see the Church grow organically across the digital landscape. Having researched and put into practice several intergenerational worship initiatives and projects, Rebecca believes that the self-described “progressive” church is missing a critical piece in the effort to spread the liberative teachings of Jesus Christ. Part of her graduate research was a deep dive into megachurch culture and practices, seeking to understand the models and strategies for growth. While some of the information she collected in this research was concerning, she found that within the megachurch movement, there was a genuine desire to spread a message by any means possible. Somehow the megachurch movement understood in a way that progressive churches didn’t, that the internet was not a foe or separate entity, but rather a collaborative tool for Christian engagement across a wide spectrum of participants.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020, Rebecca watched as churches, quite literally overnight, converted to the format of worship they had been fearing for so long - a solely online experience with the goal of creating community and connection in a digital space. From this place, Rebecca began to build upon the energy of this effort. Since then many churches have returned to primarily in-person worship but are still seeking digital resources for connection, education, and outreach. No longer is a robust digital space required because of a pandemic, but rather needed in order to meet people where they are - people with disabilities, childcare challenges, people stuck in the closet, and folks exploring the idea of a spiritual life but who aren’t ready to step into a brick-and-mortar church.
Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Rebecca believed that digital ministry was essential to the sustainability of the Church. There is plenty of evidence from more theologically conservative churches that a robust online presence can build and foster community. In March of 2020, having watched churches switch to online worship, quite literally overnight, Rebecca understood the progressive church to finally be in a new era of understanding their influence in the digital space. With that momentum, Rebecca’s training in the arts informed her mission to carve out an intentional, central, digital space for progressive Christians, not just on Zoom or in short clips on social media, but in an array of content specifically created for a digital platform, much like Netflix or Hulu. Inspired by Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rebecca believes that media is a powerful tool in sharing a progressive Christian message to the masses. While there is some progressive Christian content spread across the digital landscape, Rebecca’s ministry seeks to create, collect, and compile progressive Christian content into a centralized platform that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime at any age and at any stage in their faith journey.
Rebecca has served in-person congregations in New York City, including St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn where she co-created an intergenerational ministry fondly called Waffle Church. She also works with churches as a consultant, helping congregations imagine new ways of worshiping and establishing community within a frame of intergenerational intention and accessibility. Intergenerational worship is Rebecca's first step in this type of education, inviting each participant, in a theologically rich way, into the liturgy as full and complete children of God. A front-line proponent in the movement to #eradicatesundayschool, Rebecca teaches congregations that learning about Jesus starts in one-bodied worship.
Rebecca believes that the progressive church has a lot of introspective work to do while also participating in the eradication of white supremacy and bigotry. Thus, she hopes her ministry empowers individuals and organizations to live out truthful Gospel principles including abundance, grace, and a belief in miracles.
Rebecca is a biological mother, foster mother, and dog friend. She is married to a fellow minister and lives in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.