You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

April 25-27, 2018  in Chicago, IL

When leaders let us down... When ideologies of hate arise.  When climate change denial is mocked by disasters while deniers ignore science in favor of personal gain - When our own government threatens to deport thousands of innocent Dreamers while building yet another wall of separation... When, worst of all, moral leaders fail to speak up, face up, and step up to fight these injustices...  it's time for new leaders to take their place.

That's why we want you at our three day Leadership Summit where we will challenge your theological limits and teach proven skills to help you STEP UP to your next level of leadership.

Learn to lead with compassion, justice, and power! 

  • OMNIA will teach you to become a more powerful leader!
  • You will join others from many walks of life, including religion, politics, business, an education... in a spirited atmosphere of shared learning and dialogue. 
  • Seasoned leaders with special expertise to help us tackle everything from discovering your hidden assets to organizing people and money.

Our Leadership Trainers

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.

Rev. Walter "Slim" Coleman:
Rev Walter L Coleman has spent over 50 years in organizing movements in Chicago, and was the pastor of Adalberto UMC when Elvira Arellano took sanctuary there. The public debate about that incident is recounted in his book Elvira’s Faith and Barack’s Challenge: The Grassroots Struggle for the Rights of Undocumented Families (Wrightwood Press, 2016).

Rev. Emma Lozano:
Rev. Emma Lozano began organizing in the 1970s with Chicago's independent Latino political movement. She founded Centro Sin Fronteras in 1987 to defend the rights of undocumented Mexican immigrants. At the same time, Pueblo Sin Fronteras began organizing neighborhood residents, using hunger strikes and demonstrations to win construction of the city's first community-based bilingual school. Ever since, Sin Fronteras has played a leading role on issues ranging from school reform to legalization of the undocumented to getting the U.S. Navy out of the Vieques, Puerto Rico.

Stephen G. Ray, Jr. Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Ray is Professor of Systematic Theology at Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Chicago, IL.  An ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, received his M.Div. summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School and his Ph.D. in Religious Studies – African American Studies Joint Degree Program at Yale University.  He is president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion intersection of religion and politics. Ray’s current work focuses on the Church’s complicity in several genocides and to a theology that leads to the formation of genocide-resistant Christian communities.

Rev. Dr. Shanta Premawardhana
Dr. Premawardhana is the President of the OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. He has served as Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches based in Geneva, Switzerland, Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ, New York, and is founder of the Chicago Ashram of Jesus Christ, a Christian community with an outreach to South Asian immigrant.  He served for fourteen years as community organizer and senior pastor of Ellis Avenue Church located Chicago's south side.

Dr. Mary Nelson
Mary Nelson is President Emeritus of Bethel New Life, where she served for 26 years. Bethel pioneered in creative community based efforts to build healthier, sustainable and equitable communities on Chicago's west side. She serves on the Boards of Sojourners, Christian Community Development Association, Good City and is past Board president of Woodstock Institute. Mary served as interim President of the Parliament of the World's Religions.  Mary earned a PhD from Union Graduate School and has received six honorary PhDs.  In addition to serving as a key member of OMNIA's Resource Team, Mary consults, writes and teaches in the area of faith based- and or-community development. 

Denise Stein
With nearly 30 years experience in leadership consulting and executive coaching, Denise Stein has worked with hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals, helping them to identify, engender, and achieve their leadership goals.  As an entrepreneur and business consultant, Denise has helped clients to establish clear goals and strategies while enabling leaders and their organizations to identify and mobilize strengths. Her training is proven to promote teamwork, build accountability, solve problems creatively, and utilize each person's personal values and passions as strengths to build a successful and sustainable outcome.