Heal the World Summit: Installation Service for the President and Dean

Join Auburn Theological Seminary to celebrate our renewed vision and commitment to heal the world featuring Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson.
June 1, 2024

Event Details

You are invited to join Auburn Theological Seminary for the Installation Service of the Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson as President and the Rev. Dr. Patrick B. Reyes as Dean.

Celebrate the culmination of the 2024 Heal the World Summit with a service marking Auburn’s new leadership and new direction featuring the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson’s vision for a healed world defined by joy.

As Auburn’s president, the Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, says, we are “sending a letter to the future.” Join us to read from these letters and write your own.

The program will run from 9:30 AM—12:00 PM, with refreshments and reception in Assembly Hall to follow until 1:00 PM.


Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson is president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and CDF Action Council. CDF envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. Wilson is board chair for the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE).

From 2011 through 2020, Rev. Wilson was president & CEO of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based philanthropy for child well-being and racial justice in St. Louis. From 2008 through 2018, Dr. Wilson also pastored Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community), a multiracial congregation in the city. Under his leadership, the foundation constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being, a community action tank engaging thousands of citizens annually. After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., the church hosted the #BlackLivesMatter Freedom Ride to and other mobilizations.

Wilson was appointed co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, which released the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility in 2015. He currently serves boards for Duke Divinity School, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Starsky is married to Dr. LaToya Smith Wilson, a dentist and child advocate. They are raising four children.

Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, President of Auburn Theological Seminary

With her appointment as President in 2021, the Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson became the first Black woman and non-Presbyterian to lead Auburn Theological Seminary. With Rev. Jordan-Simpson’s leadership, Auburn Seminary is leaning forward in its mission to identify and strengthen leaders – from the pulpit to the public square – to build communities, bridge divides, pursue justice, and heal the world. Advancing a long-term view of social change, she is preparing Auburn to seed a thriving future with a new intergenerational focus on the formation of leaders the world needs.

Rev. Jordan-Simpson serves on the pastoral team of the Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to her appointment at Auburn, Rev. Jordan-Simpson was the 26th Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR USA); and has led the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, Girls Inc. of New York City, was Executive Vice President of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

Rev. Dr. Jordan-Simpson earned the Executive Level Certificate from the Columbia Business School Institute for Not-for-Profit Management; the Doctor of Ministry Degree (with distinction) from Drew Theological School; Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary; and BA from Fisk University. She is the immediate past President of American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York.

Rev. Dr. Patrick B. Reyes, Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary

A Chicano writer, theologian, and executive leader, Patrick B. Reyes, Ph.D., Auburn Theological Seminary’s Dean, and the bestselling and award-winning author of The Purpose Gap and Nobody Cries When We Die. Prior to joining Auburn, he worked in administration in higher education and the faith-based non-profit sector. He served at the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), providing strategy and direction for FTE’s diverse programs, grants, and teams supporting the next generation of pastoral leaders. There he was the first Latino/Chicano director to lead the historic fellowships supporting scholars of color. He hosted the Sound of the Genuine podcast and spearheaded research and resource design.

Patrick provides leadership on several boards in theological and higher education, publications, and the nonprofit sector, supporting the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and Chicano spiritual and cultural leaders. He is a current board director for the American Academy of Religion and serves as the Co-Dean of the Freedom Seminary for the Children’s Defense Fund. He is a past board president of the Religious Education Association.

In the last decade, he has been recognized for his service and scholarship by Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Boston University, Drew University, Duke Leadership, Children’s Defense Fund, Hispanic Theological Initiative, Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy, and Raices Latinas, among others. Patrick was recently inducted into the Morehouse College MLK Jr. Collegium of Scholars. The Council of Independent Colleges NetVUE selected The Purpose Gap as the Big Read for 2022-2023. Patrick holds a doctorate and masters from Claremont School of Theology, an M.Div. from Boston University School of Theology, and is a proud graduate of California State University, Sacramento. He lives on ancestral land in New Mexico, embracing the cultural and religious traditions and communities he and his family inherit and belong to.

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