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Webinar: Moral Resilience for Religious Leaders During COVID-19


Moral Resilience for Religious Leaders During COVID-19

Monday, July 27

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

Join the webinar! REGISTER HERE

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted in-person community gatherings, choirs, ritual services, worship, and spiritual care for months. Yet, the work of religious leaders has simultaneously become increasingly more important as their communities face mounting death tolls, isolated community members, hospitalized congregants, and the emotional and psychological challenges of staying home and practicing physical distancing. As they seek to serve the needs of their communities, they may have had to learn new ways of addressing those needs or relinquished some work.

This interfaith panel of religious leaders will discuss the challenges they have faced in their work, how they have managed the challenges, what they do for self-care, and what they have learned from their experience.


The Ven. Bhante Chao Chu, PhD, is Abbot of Rosemead Buddhist Monastery and president of the Los Angeles Buddhist Union (LABU). Born in Sri Lanka, he spent a number of years in language studies, and has a doctorate in Buddhist Studies. In the U.S. since 1981, he has served internationally, as an executive council member of World Chinese Buddhist Sangha Congress, as vice-president of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and the World Buddhist Sangha Council, and as an adviser for the International Association of Buddhist Universities. In Los Angeles, he has been president of the Center for Buddhist Development, vice-president of the Inter-religious Council of Southern California, secretary of the Chinese Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California, and co-chair of the Los Angeles Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue.

Mr. Umar A. Hakim, MA, is Executive Director of ILM (Intellect Love Mercy) Foundation with a mission to teach life skills to economically underprivileged youth and adults so that social ills are replaced with opportunities for intellectual and economic empowerment. He is an alumnus of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute at the USC Center of Religion Civic Culture and has worked with the City of LA Emergency Operations Center for Disaster Response and Relief. In 2016, Umar became founding principal for INKERIJ, which encourages community leaders by providing social-preneurial programs on Dialogue, Leadership Design, and Social Media content that enable leaders to be an effective social network to fight the ills of apathy and self-helplessness in urban communities.

Rev. Allen V. Harris, MDiv, has been the Regional Minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Capital Area since 2015, one of 31 Regions in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U. S. and Canada, and he has served nationally on its General Board and Administrative Committee. He offers pastoral care to clergy as well as to their congregations and guides the region in social justice engagement and effective, inclusive ministries. He previously served for over two decades as Senior Pastor of churches in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City, and is especially experienced in leading congregations and individuals through Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation, Open & Affirming, and Accessible Congregational processes. He uses social media to mentor clergy and to further mission and advocacy work.

Ms. Patricia Russell is a lay presider, educator, and homilist at Dignity/New York, an LGBTQI Catholic organization and has served on Dignity’s National Board of Directors. A Leader of the Women of DignityUSA, she was integral to implementing lay presiders and convening a local young adult group, which became the national Young Adult Caucus. A former women religious and telecommunications specialist, she teaches and works with social justice organizations, such as Call To Action, the Women’s Ordination Conference, and the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual. She recently was awarded the DignityUSA 50 and Forward Award for helping to create Dignity Communities of the Future. On the first day of marriage equality, July 24, 2011, she married her partner of 16 years and is currently caring for her 97-year-old mother.

Dr. Bobby Manning, ThM, DMin, a native of Washington D.C., is Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of District Heights, which has grown in size and local and global impact during his ministry. Under his leadership in empowering the community, “The Heights” has been recognized in local and national publications such as Outreach Magazine, BET, and The Washington Post. He is the author of three books, Saving Our Sons: Effectively Engaging Young Men of Color, Move Like a King, and Are You Afraid of Heights. He also serves as a seminary professor, church consultant, and leadership coach.


Dr. Patricia A. Newton, MD, MPH, MA, is CEO and Medical Director of the Black Psychiatrists of America. She has worked internationally with psychiatrists and other health care providers in the USA, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, pioneering techniques for cultural competency relative to mental health delivery in HIV/AIDS. She is an expert on PTSD, depression, chronic mental illness and transcultural psychiatry encompassing the interface of Western and Traditional African healing systems. She served as faculty for over sixteen years at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was the first female chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry at Provident Hospital (Baltimore, MD).

Webinar Host:

Rev. Dr. Al Boyce

Chaplain, Volunteers of America Northern New England


James Marshall, Jr., MA

Senior Vice President and Director of the Office of Ministry, Volunteers of America

Chat Host:

Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, MA, PhD

Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America