WHO WE ARE

Ruby Sales

Ruby Sales, Founder / Director, Atlanta, GA
Ruby Nell Sales is a highly-trained, experienced, and deeply-committed social activist, scholar, administrator, manager, public theologian, and educator in the areas of Civil, Gender, and other Human Rights. She is an excellent public speaker, with a proven track record in conflict resolution and consensus building. Ms. Sales has preached around the country on race, class, gender, and reconciliation, and she has done ground-breaking work on community and non-violence formation. Ms. Sales also serves as a national convener of the Every Church A Peace Church Movement.

Full General Biography  •  Social Justice Biography  •  Ms. Sales' Essays

Dean Johnson

Dean J. Johnson, PhD, Board Chair, West Chester, PA
Dean is Director of Peace and Conflict Studies and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his work at WCU, Dean served as Director of International and Global Studies and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Defiance College in Defiance, OH. Dean also served in several different administrative and academic appointments at Goshen College (Ind.), including Director of the Plowshares Peace Studies Project and Assistant Professor of Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. As an activist scholar, he has worked with several nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee (Chicago), Mennonite Urban Ministries (Denver), ACORN (Denver), Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBTQ Interests (Minneapolis), the Veterans of Hope Project (Denver), the World Council of Churches Historic Peace Church Consultations, and the Peace and Justice Studies Association. The first instructor to teach a Peace Studies course at Anderson University, he has also lectured in Peace Studies at Purdue University, Richmond, IN, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership at Bethany Seminary, and the Indianapolis Peace Institute. Dean and his partner Melissa Bennett are faithful donors to the SpiritHouse Project.

Nancy Talbot

Nancy Talbot, Secretary/Treasurer, New York, NY
As the daughter of a South Asian scholar, Nancy lived in India and traveled extensively throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. These various experiences gave her a deep appreciation and respect for different world cultures and peoples. Upon receiving an MSW in Community Organizing from Boston University, Nancy embarked on a career in public housing that lasted for 15 years. During this time, Nancy designed and implemented many educational and community-service programs with housing residents and developed an abiding commitment to racial justice work. Nancy played a lead role in shaping policy and grant-funding activities at the federal agency The Corporation for National Service. She left to attend seminary and graduated from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York with a Master's of Divinity. Nancy was ordained in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Currently, she works within the church as Stated Clerk for the Synod of the Northeast.

Michelle Armster

Michelle E. Armster, Board Member, Lancaster, PA
Presently, Michelle E. Armster is the Transitional Executive Director for Mennonite Central Committee Central States. Michelle worked for Mennonite Central Committee for 12 years. During her employment, she was the director of Mennonite Conciliation Service (MCS) and co- director for the Office on Justice and Peacebuilding. In her positions, she provided resourcing, consulting, and training for churches, agencies, and communities on conflict transformation and restorative justice. She has many years of extensive training and experience in meditation, facilitation, conciliation, restorative justice, arbitration, victim/offender mediation, anti-racism, and alternatives to violence. She has served on various community boards, such as the Lancaster YWCA, SpiritHouse, Inc., Lancaster Mediation Center, and Lancaster NAACP. She graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary's Masters of Divinity program in 2007. For 4 1/2 years, she served as a co-pastor of St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Lancaster, PA. For 2 years, she served as the associate pastor for community outreach at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster, PA. Equally as important, Michelle is a creative soul, weaving song and drama through all dimensions of her life. She enjoys creative writing, acting, and singing!

Cheryl Blankenship

Cheryl Blankenship, Advisor / Consultant, Atlanta, GA
As the co-director of SpiritHouse, Cheryl Blankenship brings several decades of finely-honed administrative and management skills. She currently manages the day-to-day programmatic activities and fiscal affairs. In addition, she supervises volunteers and additional staff who occasionally help SpiritHouse with administrative and technical work, or with project development. Prior to SpiritHouse, Blankenship worked with the federal agency Corporation for National and Community Service, and at various institutions of higher education, where she served as Director of Financial Aid, Director of Student Affairs, and Associate Bursar. She has also served as a consultant to the United Nations Trust Fund and on projects for other philanthropic agencies. While a Senior Program Officer for AmeriCorps, Blankenship managed 300 programs in 24 states and territories. In this capacity, she oversaw all programmatic activities and disbursed budgets of approximately $100 million. Blankenship's portfolio included outreach to communities applying for grants to build a culture of service through Learn and Serve America and AmeriCorps programs.

©2017 The SpiritHouse Project
P. O. Box 607  •  Decatur, GA 30031
Phone: (404) 228-7794
Email: info@spirithouseproject.org

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