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posted: 6/11/2014 4:15 PM

Global wealth inequality will be explored at June 23-26 Urban Ministry Conference

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Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education

CHICAGO -- Six globally known social justice-oriented religious scholars and activists are lined up to present analysis and inspiring vision for social and economic change when they appear as featured speakers for the 2014 Congress on Urban Ministry in Chicago June 23-26.

The congress, presented by the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education, will bring hundreds of seminarians, pastors and religious leaders, social policy analysts and community organizers to DePaul University's Student Center.

The conference offers religious and social activists, students of public and social policy and students of religion an opportunity to study the impact of wealth inequality during workshops focusing on fighting poverty, confronting economic violence, strengthening urban families, support for ministers working in urban areas and strategies for the future of urban churches.

Topics under the wealth inequality umbrella include mass incarceration, immigration, corporatization of the common good, organizing religious communities, examining sacred texts through an economic lens and the role of economic justice and inequality upon gender, the environment and news reporting.

Featured speakers at "#SCUPE14" -- that's the hashtag for the event -- are:

•Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, a South African liberation theologian;

•Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby, and organizer of "Nuns on the Bus;"

•Bishop Sally Dyck, episcopal leader of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church;

• Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago;

• Dr. Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd professor of sociology at Columbia University in the city of New York and co-chair of the university's Committee on Global Thought; and

• Dr. Helene Slessarev-Jamir, professor of urban ministry at Claremont School of Theology in California and a member of the United Methodist Church's National Committee for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and National Immigration Task Force.

• Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry of Cleveland, board president of Interfaith Worker Justice, and former president of the United Church of Christ will serve as one of the co-chairs of the congress along with Moss and Slessarev-Jamir.

Registrations for the congress are accepted at A crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds for those who need scholarships is being conducted at

The congress is a biennial project for SCUPE. The consortium is comprised of 12 seminaries mostly in the Midwest, representing nine U.S. Christian denominations.

SCUPE's conference overlaps by one day with the national conference of Interfaith Worker Justice, to be held June 22-24, also at DePaul.

Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, a native of Sri Lanka, is president of SCUPE. A theologian and community organizer, Premawardhana's career is steeped in interreligious dialogue, including positions with the World Council of Churches in Geneva and the U.S.-based National Council of Churches. For 14 years, he pastored the Ellis Avenue Church on Chicago's South Side.