Lehigh County Conference of Churches -- Justice and Advocacy Fall Gathering

A Modest Dream:
A Place to Call Home

Saturday, October 20, 2012





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Lehigh County
Conference of Churches

Justice & Advocacy

Plenary Speakers

Alan L. Jennings, as Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV), since 1990, has been the driving force behind a range of CACLV programs designed to improve the quality of life for low-income people. He joined CACLV in 1980 where he served in several positions before becoming executive director in 1990. CACLV programs include the Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania, the Sixth Street Shelter and its long-term transitional housing programs, the Energy Partnership, and Safe Harbor Easton.
His advocacy efforts have led to a wide range of affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects, including Lehigh and Northampton counties' housing trust funds, the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership in Easton, Southside Vision 2014 in Bethlehem, and the Allentown Neighborhood Development Alliance in downtown Allentown. He also conceived and led the creation of the Green Future Fund, an open space campaign that includes $67 million in funding between Lehigh and Northampton counties. He recently helped lead the creation of RenewLV, a broad-based smart growth coalition designed to modernize local governance, revitalize the cities and preserve open space.

Alan Jennings has served in an advisory role to or on the boards of directors of many statewide or national groups, including the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Urban Availability Task Force of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, and the community reinvestment boards of several local banks. He has worked hard to bring banks and community development groups together, negotiating over $600 million in formal commitments and hundreds of millions in informal commitments to low-income neighborhoods. Mr. Jennings also served as one of five delegates appointed by Governor Tom Ridge to represent Pennsylvania at the Presidents' Summit on America's Future in 1997. In 2004, the PA Senate confirmed his appointment by Governor Ed Rendell to the State Planning Board, serving 7 years in that capacity.

At the local level, Jennings currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Allentown Housing Authority. He also hosts a monthly public affairs program on WDIY, the local NPR affiliate, and is adjunct faculty at Lehigh University, teaching an upper-level and graduate course in social entrepreneurship each semester.

Elizabeth Reed, Pastor of Grace Episcopal Church, Allentown since March, 2011, is a native of Bethlehem, PA. She holds a B.A. in theology from DeSales University, an M.A. in liturgical studies from The Catholic University of America, and an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary. She was ordained in the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in 2009. Before her work as a priest, she was a lay professional minister in the field of liturgy and music and a teacher at Grace Montessori School.

Tony Sundermeier is Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown. "I grew up Roman Catholic, went to an evangelical college; attended a progressive mainline seminary; and did my doctorate at a non-denominational missional seminary," Tony says. "I am so thankful for the diverse communities that have shaped me to be a more faithful follower of Jesus." Before coming to First Presbyterian in September 2009, he was Associate Pastor for Preaching and Outreach at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania (2003-2009). Prior to that, he served as Seminary Intern at First Presbyterian Church of Moorestown, New Jersey (2002-2003), Ministry Intern at International Church, Bonn, Germany (2001-2002), Seminary Intern at Crisis Ministry of
Princeton and Trenton, in New Jersey (2000-2001), and Director of High School Ministry at Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania (1998-2000). Tony received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Philosophy from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania (1997), his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey (2003), and his Doctor of Ministry from Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania (2011). He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, writing, golfing, playing basketball and being a huge fan of all Philadelphia sports teams.

Maritza Torres-Dolich is Pastor of St. Stephen's Outreach Center, Allentown.


Workshop Leaders

Dave Evans works with HADC, which is Allentown's Housing Association and Development Corporation.

Alan L. Jennings is Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) which works to enhance economic opportunity for all residents of the Lehigh Valley. Alan is a leading advocate on housing issues in the Lehigh Valley. He joined CACLV in 1980 where he served in several positions before becoming executive director in 1990.

Lisa Pawlowski is co-chair (with Christine Nelson) of Allentown's Commission to End Chronic Homelessness. She is a licensed social worker who is working with congregations and organizations to help them create and implement child sexual abuse prevention guidelines. She has a Masters of Social Work from Marywood University and a Bachelors Degree in Bible Theology from Moody Bible Institute. She is a former children and youth caseworker for Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth Services. She is a wife and mother of two children, and a member of New Covenant Christian Community Church in Bethlehem, PA. She is also the First Lady of Allentown.

Dale Smith - works with the 100,000 Homes program to end homelessness.

Thomas Walker is the director of Clearinghouse, the Lehigh County Conference of Churches' housing program for people living with mental illness. Over the past ten years of service with LCCC, he directed the LCCC Daybreak and Homeless Supportive Services programs. At the age of 15, through his family's affiliation at Nativity Lutheran Church in Allentown, Walker volunteered at Daybreak. He attended Duquesne University, where he received a master's degree in psychology. Walker serves as Vice President of Lehigh County's Mental Health/ Intellectual Disabilities Advisory Board, and serves on Allentown's Ten Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness Steering Committee and Pennsylvania's Northeast Regional Homeless Advisory Board. Past affiliations include Pennsylvania's Balance of State Homeless Steering Committee, Lehigh Valley AIDSWALK, The Arc of Butler County, Grapevine Center for Mental Alliance Self Help and Butler County Mental Health Association.

Joe Willard is Vice President for Policy and supervises policy and research at People's Emergency Center (PEC). Most recently, Willard was associate manager for public policy at the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania for four years and associate director at The Reinvestment Fund's Regional Workforce Partnership, for four years. He earned his master's degree from Hunter College and his bachelor's degree from Penn State University.

PEC mission statement is that it nurtures families, strengthens neighborhoods, and drives change. PEC provides comprehensive supportive services to homeless women and their children, revitalizes the West Philadelphia neighborhood, and advocates for social justice.

Joe plays a lead role with the Family Service Provider Network of Greater Philadelphia, and HAPPN - the Homeless Action and PA Provider Network. HAPPN is a subcommittee of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania for which Mr. Willard serves as a member of the board.


*The program and workshop offerings are subject to change. Please check this page again for updates.

Last Updated: 10/19/2012
Created: August 16, 2012