Rev. Dr. Rosalyn Nichols
Dr. Nichols is a native of Memphis, TN and proud to have graduated with honors from the historic Booker T. Washington High School and LeMoyne Owen College. In May 1996 Dr. Nichols graduated summa cum laude from the Memphis Theological Seminary and in 2004 she received her Doctor of Ministry degree from the historically black Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA.
In 1998 following the death of a childhood friend, as a result of relationship/domestic violence Dr. Nichols organized the 501(c)3 nonprofit, A More Excellent Way, Inc. (AWay) with a mission to help individuals from all walks of life to enter into, engage in and maintain spiritually healthy relationships toward the elimination of relationship violence. Dr. Nichols has focused her energy in helping faith communities regardless of faith tradition to examine how to define, practice and preach what it means to love. Through AWay, Inc. Dr. Nichols travels nationally preaching and teaching the message of 1 John 4.18, there is no fear in love, there is a more excellent way to live.
As is the case of many women in ministry, Dr. Nichols was the first in her family to answer the call to pastoral ministry and is among only a handful of African American woman in her region to organize a new church start from inception to sustainability. Freedom’s Chapel Christian Church (DOC) was birthed at her father’s dining room table on Sunday, November 4, 2001 with 9 members and a vision based upon John 8.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! Today Freedom’s Chapel is 15 years old, in a new 15,000 square feet worship facility, is experiencing a season of revitalizing and is committed to renewal in the 38111 community. We stand committed to the belief in acknowledging that God is truly both willing and able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that is at work in us.
Dr. Nichols had the privilege as the first ordained clergy woman to serve as visiting professor at the Gweru Baptist Theological Seminary in Gweru, Zimbabwe South Africa. She travelled with a group of church planters throughout the provinces of China, and in 2008 participated in a renewal pilgrimage to the Galilee and Jerusalem. In April of 2012 she was honored to have been a guest presenter at the first Conference on Sexuality and Covenant in Decatur, GA hosted by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Mercer University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Omni Prep Academy, is an advisor for Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis, and is a part of United Against Violence 901, an ecumenical group of pastors and faith leaders committed to addressing violence in our community. In 2012 she joined the staff at Memphis Theological Seminary as the Director of Advancement for Special Programs and is responsible for the production of the prestigious Dr. Henry Logan Starks Scholarship Endowment Fund, and the Starks Scholarship & Awards Ceremony, now in it’s 30th year. The Starks Celebrations honor the legacy of Dr. Starks and continuing his commitment to theological excellence and civil rights for all. Dr. Nichols has been named Executive Director for the Dr. Henry Logan Starks Institute on Faith, Race and Social Justice now in development.
Dr. Nichols has received numerous awards, is a Memphis Leadership Graduate, a lifetime member of the NAACP and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Beta Epsilon Omega Chapter. Her writings have been featured in numerous articles and books.
Dr. Nichols is a dynamic, passionate, community advocate, preacher, teacher, and pastor who believes that freedom in Christ gives one the liberty to live and the responsibility to serve.
Rev. Marvin Owens
Presently serves as the Senior Pastor, Michigan Park Christian Church in Washington, DC., as well Senior Director for Economic Programs at the NAACP. Rev. Owens has responsibility for economic program development, management, and the development of innovative fund development models across the NAACP national network. Rev. Owens also serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Stonehenge Capital NMTC fund, where he advises, recommends, and monitors fund investments for economic impact. With more than 25 years of experience in community and economic development, Rev. Owens has served as a consultant, lecturer, and technical assistance provider in the areas of Community and Economic Development, Small Business Development, and Community Organizing. Mr. Owens was recently a guest lecturer at Oxford University’s Saïd School of Business on the subjects “Responsible Leadership,” and “Economic Development in the Black Church.”
Prior to his current roles, Rev. Owens served as Vice President for Economic Empowerment at the National Urban League (NUL) where he managed all aspects of NUL’s corporate, foundation, and government relationships with specific focus on affiliate economic development activities, small business development, and finance. Rev. Owens was responsible for managing a budget of $5 million dollars and implementing business and economic development efforts in more than 20 US cities. Rev. Owens oversaw implementation of the National Urban League’s Empowerment Fund, a $127 million tax credit finance fund for small and minority businesses.
In addition to being certified by the National Development Council as a Housing Development Professional, Mr. Owens is also an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Rev. Marvin Owens has served congregations in Euclid, OH and Brooklyn, NY. Rev. Owens earned his BA in Religion from Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas and, and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Marvin J. Owens, Jr.