Editorial team

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Neil Alexander

Neil M. Alexander is the President and Publisher Emeritus of The United Methodist Publishing House. There, he also served as Editorial Director, Book Editor of The United Methodist Church, Vice President of Publishing and for twenty-one years as President and Publisher. Previously he held posts as a publisher and program executive with the General Board of Discipleship and as a member of the conference staff of the former Southern New Jersey Annual Conference. He has been actively involved with conceiving, developing, delivering and evaluating the quality and efficacy of resources for congregations, the general church and the academy in the areas of worship, music, liturgy, theology and Christian formation. He has served on numerous church and ecumenical boards and has attended every General Conference since 1980.



Rev. Dr. Jacob Dharmaraj is a retired clergy member of the New York Annual Conference. He has also served in Bombay and Illinois Great Rivers Conferences.

Dharmaraj has lived in various cultural settings, has been involved in interfaith relations and is actively engaged in global mission. He has written over a dozen books and numerous articles in the areas of Christian mission and interfaith relations. He writes regularly commentary in The Vision, New York Annual Conference’s monthly news magazine. Dharmaraj has served the church-at-large in various capacities including teaching, lecturing, conducting workshops and has served as a consultant both in academic and church settings. He has traveled extensively and worked with both United Methodist Church and ecumenical partners from around the world. He is passionate about world Christianity at work through mutuality in mission engagement.

Dharmaraj holds a Ph.D. in Theology of Mission, an M.A. in Political Science and Public Administration. He has also earned an M.Div, S.T.M and Th.M. degrees in Biblical Languages and Mission Theology.



Rev. Scott Gilliland is an ordained Elder in the North Texas Annual Conference, where he currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Lovers Lane UMC in Dallas. He is passionate about discussing the future of Methodism and believes in the "big tent" vision for a denomination that reflects the sacred diversity of God's people. For the past decade, Gilliland has had a front-row seat to the beauty and challenges of such diversity at his church, which is home to rich and poor, progressive and conservative, African immigrants and LGBTQIA+ folk and many other groups. His experience at this church is the basis for a book co-authored with Senior Pastor Stan Copeland, entitled Together: United Methodists of the Temple, Tabernacle and Lord's Table. Scott is married to Raegan, who is also an ordained elder and Associate Pastor at Lovers Lane. They are the proud parents of Andie Jane.

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Michelle hettmann

Michelle Hettmann (she/her/hers) is a young person and certified candidate in the Virginia Annual Conference. She currently serves as the Community Curator at Neighborhood Church, a church plant in intown Atlanta. She has served on the Connectional Table for the past quadrennium and loves the opportunity to serve with people from across the denomination. She is passionate about telling stories well and trusts that God will work in and through the connections that will come from her story-telling and story-sharing projects. She earned an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology.


Harriet Jane Olson

Harriett Jane Olson has served as chief executive officer of the United Methodist Women’s national administrative and policymaking arm since 2007. United Methodist Women is a nearly 800,000-member organization within The United Methodist Church in the United States.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Olson practiced real estate and environmental law in New Jersey before working for the church full-time. Olson has also served as senior vice- president for publishing, editor for church school publications and United Methodist Church book editor at The United Methodist Publishing House.

Olson has a bachelor's degree from Houghton College in Houghton, New York, where she serves on the board of trustees.



Christine Schneider-Oesch has wide experience in the worldwide UMC. She's served as a missionary in Congo; a member and chairperson of the mission board of the Switzerland-France-North Africa Annual Conference, director of the General Board of Global Ministries, a member of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters for the 2016–2020 quadrennium and as a three-time delegate to the General Conference. She is currently a self-employed copywriter and editor, serving small businesses and NGOs. She has a diploma in development studies and has trained in copy writing and public relations. A native of Switzerland, she is fluent in English and French and speaks Italian and Swahili. Schneider-Oesch is married to Richard Schneider.

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Rev. Dr. Michael Stephens

Rev. Dr. Michael Stephens is the senior editor for Bibles, Bible Reference and Wesleyan Studies at The United Methodist Publishing House. He holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in American church history from Vanderbilt, where he studied the holiness movement of the nineteenth century. Stephens also teaches the Kairos Sunday school class at Belmont UMC in Nashville. He is married to Heather Harriss, who is an Elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. They have two children, Daniel and Emma Anne.


Mai-Anh Le Tran

Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran is incoming Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She teaches in Religious Education and Practical Theology and is an ordained Elder in full connection with the California-Nevada Conference. Prior to her work at Garrett, Tran was the assistant professor of religious education and Asian American studies at Pacific School of Religion. Tran holds a Ph.D. in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett-Evangelical, an M.Rel.Ed. from Southern Methodist University and a B.S. from Texas Wesleyan University. Her denominational service includes a quadrennial term on the Curriculum Review Committee of The United Methodist Publishing House and the District Committee on Ordained Ministry in Missouri.



Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner serves as Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement and is the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies at Duke Divinity School. She is an elder in the Texas Annual Conference and has served on the University Senate, Ministry Study Committee and Council of Bishops’ Task Force for Leadership Formation and Theological Education. Warner served as a delegate for the past two General Conferences. She has authored and co-authored a number of books, including Saving Women, Grace to Lead, From Relief to Empowerment and Method of Our Mission. She lives in rural Texas on a farm with her spouse, daughter and many animals.



Rev. Dr. Jay Williams has served congregations in New York City, Boston and San Francisco, including Glide Memorial, and currently pastors Union Church in Boston.

Williams holds a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University. His work explores the meaning of "spirit” in black cultural discourse at the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality. His particular focus explores how spirit-talk has been a marginalizing language of power. His dissertation, “Unholy Ghosts in the Age of Spirit: Identity, Intersectionality, and the Theological Horizons of Black Progress,” develops a constructive theology of spirit that rethinks hope, courage and vitality, premised on insights from W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston and Howard Thurman. Through his pastoral and academic work, Williams strives to help more disinherited folk find their voices.

Williams, a queer, cisgender man, and his partner, Robert, have two crazy yorkie-chihuahuas, Bentley and Hurston.