OMNIA Training will teach you:

1.      The method of contextual learning: This is a method that inverts the normal theological process – shifting it from “received” or top-down theology, to a “contextual” or bottom-up theology. It breaks down the exclusivism and superiority that is an integral part of received theologies, and opens one up to engage the margins, and to build alliances across the usual divisions in communities.

2.     to recognize each one’s marginality and privilege: Our motto is: “Listening to, Learning from, and Living in Deep Solidarity with those in the margins.” In order to fully understand that we need to recognize our own marginality and privilege.

3.     the P3 disciplines: Pluralism (robust engagement with diversity), Praxis (effective action) and Power (organized people and money).

4.     how to engage with those who are different – primarily in terms of religion and race.

5.     Learn the basic organizing disciplines to build power: organizing people -- individuals and to build alliances with other organizations/movements; and organizing money.

6.     Strategize about how to act together - effectively and powerfully to counter the extremism especially in today’s political climate.


The Rev. Walter "Slim" Coleman 

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Soraya Deen

Soraya blends her legal expertise of over a decade with her uniquely diverse background to inspire people to navigate conflict and promote peace. A native of Sri Lanka she developed a deep commitment and love, to learning and practicing the Eastern philosophy of SEVA and SIMRAN.  She is also the founder of Peacewrks a center for compassionate communication, conflict resolution and peacemaking. Soraya serves on the board of several organizations and travels widely inspiring communities to celebrate HUMAN CONNECTION through dialogue and Compassionate Communication. Soraya recently embarked on a mission empowering and inspiring young Muslim Americans to Create Impact and Influence through communication and community service. Soraya also hosts a popular Satellite TV show titled “Conversations at the Peacetable.” She lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles.


Dr. Sharon Ellis-Davis

Dr. Sharon Ellis-Davis serves as Affiliate Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago teaching courses such as Sexual and Domestic Violence. Prior to this, Sharon spent 15 years working as a Pastoral Care Giver at the Evergreen Park Ministries Care and Counseling Center.  She also taught Christian Ethics with the Center for African American Theological Studies (CAATS), Chicago.


Mary Gonzales

Mary Gonzales has been a professional community organizer for the past 35 years.  She retired in 2012 but continues to provide her time and talent to support and mentor organizers in the Gamaliel network.  Ms. Gonzales co-founded Gamaliel, an international network of community organizations in the United States, South Africa and Great Britain.  She served as one of Gamaliel’s primary trainers.  She founded NTOSAKE, a leadership training program designed for women within the Gamaliel network.

Ms. Gonzales began organizing professionally in 1980.  Prior to entering the profession, she gained recognition as a leader in Chicago.  Because she had a brother who was developmentally disabled, she also gained recognition for organizing on his behalf in ways that ultimately benefitted thousands of people with disabilities.


Rev. Abare Kallah

The Rev. Abare Kallah is an ordained minister in the ECWA tradition and is the current Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Northeast Region. One of Nigeria's leading peace activists, he is a Special Advisor to the Governor of Gombe State and travels worldwide addressing issues of peace, non-violence, and interfaith cooperation. With a B.A. in Theology and a M.S. in Conflict Management and Peace Studies, he represented Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo on the  Committee of Nigerian Northern States Governors Forum on Reconciliation, Healing, and Security. A pastor of more than twenty years, he is founder of the Community Peace Dialogue and Interfaith Initiatives and serves as the OMNIA Institute's key liaison to the Nigerian Government and Interfaith Community in Nigeria.

Rev. Emma Lozano

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Father Michael Pfleger

In the course of his extensive and active ministry, Father Pfleger has been recognized for his commitment to equality and passionate stance against injustice. Some of the awards and honors he has received include: "Keeper of the Dream", Rainbow/Push; Distinguished Service Award, Nation of Islam; "Thurgood Marshall Award", National Black Prosecutors Association; "Monsignor Egan Social Justice Award", DePaul University, "I Am A Man Award" from the April 4th Foundation in Memphis, TN, "Rosa Parks Award" from the SCLC and the "Unsung Hero Award" from the Wade's World Foundation.

Father Pfleger is the founder of the Employment Resource Center, the Ark Youth Center, Saint Sabina Social Service Center, Thea Bowman Spiritual Advance Center, Samaritan House for the homeless, Saint Sabina 80-unit Elders Village and the Beloved Community, Inc.

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana

Originally from Sri Lanka, the Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana is the President of the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership.  Prior to his present position he was Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, Switzerland. Shanta also served as the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ, based in New York. Following seminary education in Sri Lanka and India, Shanta arrived in the United States in 1981 for graduate study at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned his MA and PhD in Religion. Continuing to live in the Chicago area, he founded the Chicago Ashram of Jesus Christ, a Christian community with an outreach to South Asian immigrants and served for fourteen years as senior pastor of Ellis Avenue Church located in the south side of Chicago.

Vincent Isner

Mr. Vince Isner is Chief Communications Officer at the Omnia Institute for Contextual Leadership.  Isner has served as a communications officer for a Washington DC-based Social Justice agency and was founding Director of FaithfulAmerica at the National Council of Churches, USA where he organized national interfaith advocacy campaigns to address issues of peace, poverty, and planet earth. A writer and documentary filmmaker, Vince began his communications career as television producer and host of his own educational children's program before serving seven years as a Minister to Children and Families. A Video Producer at United Methodist Communications and Head of VIPMedia, Vince has written Telly-winning spots for the national “Friends Of The Family” campaign, helped advance Public Broadcasting’s Ready To Learn initiative, and is an award-winning documentary and studio photographer.  Vince holds a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Communication.