Steering Committee


Barbara Blodgett (Lexington Theological Seminary) Chair 

Barbara Blodgett is a professor of pastoral leadership at Lexington Theological Seminary.  She is a minister, educator, and ethicist.  Ordained in the United Church of Christ, she has served in parish ministry as well as the national setting of the UCC.  She received an MDiv from Yale Divinity School and a PhD from the Department of Religious Studies (Ethics) at Yale University.  Her areas of research include pedagogy, pastoral and professional formation, and ministry ethics.  She served as Director of Supervised Ministries at Yale Divinity School from 1998-2009 and currently the chairs ATFE’s Research and Publications committee.  She has published three books– Constructing the Erotic: Sexual Ethics and Adolescent Girls, Lives Entrusted: An Ethic of Trust for Ministry, and Becoming the Pastor You Hope to Be: Four Practices for Improving Ministry—and co-edited one with Matt Floding—Brimming With God: Reflecting Theologically on Cases in Ministry.

John Senior (Wake Forest University School of Divinity) Treasurer

John directs the School of Divinity’s Art of Ministry program, which includes its field education curriculum. His research and teaching focus on pastoral formation for ministry, field-based learning, ministry leadership in both ecclesial and public settings, and the role of theological education in preparing leaders for a wide variety of institutional contexts. Trained in Christian ethics and the sociology of religion, Senior is also interested in political theology and ethics and earth-centered approaches to ministry and the moral life. He is currently working on a book project on structural evil. Senior is an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Jenny Whitcher (Iliff School of Theology) Communications Director

Dr. Jenny Whitcher is the founder of Juniper Formation, an ecumenical nonprofit ministry that collaborates with denominational leaders, clergy, and local churches to prophetically reimagine the Church; develop prophetic ministers; and maintain and renovate closing and closed church properties as sacred and public spaces engaged with the community through missional ministries of justice, healing, and formation work. She previously served as the faculty Director of the Office of Professional Formation and Term Assistant Professor of Religion & Public Life at Iliff School of Theology. Whitcher is currently a Member in Discernment with the Metro Denver Association of the United Church of Christ, returning to church ministry after 15 years of working in higher education and in nonprofits focused on affordable housing and homelessness. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology, her M.A. from the University of Denver, and B.A. from New York University. Full bio.

Tracy Hartman (Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond) Chair Emeritus, ex officio

Since 2001, Tracy has served as the Daniel O. Aleshire Professor of Homiletics and Practical Theology at BTSR. She teaches preaching and directs the seminary’s Supervised Ministry and Doctor of Ministry programs.  She is the author of Letting the Other Speak: Proclaiming the Stories of Biblical Women and co-author of New Proclamation Commentary.  She also contributed to the Feasting on the Word and Feasting on the Gospels commentary series. Her forthcoming book will help congregations think theologically about risk and change. Dr. Hartman served as preacher and preaching instructor for the First Annual Pastor’s Conference and as preacher and lecturer for the First Annual Lay Women’s Conference at Baptist Theological Seminary at Zimbabwe.  She is active in Baptist life and has served as staff member and interim pastor to several Virginia churches. She enjoys preaching throughout the region. Professor Hartman was a member of the first class of M. Div. students at BTSR and won the Miller Award for Academic Achievement upon her graduation in 1995. Her Ph.D. work at Union Theological Seminary included ground-breaking research into the relationship between parish setting and preaching style for women pastors.