Micky ScottBey Jones
Associate Fellow for Racial Justice
Micky is a perpetual learner, communicator, facilitator, mama/sister/friend and contemplative activist living just south of Nashville, TN. After ten years as a mother-baby specialist, trainer, and author, Micky decided to shift back to earlier interests: theology and community development. She is also a member of the co-learning community of NAIITS (North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies) through George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Learn more about Micky’s story here.
Sarah Withrow King, MTS
Sarah came to Palmer Seminary of Eastern University as a Sider Scholar in 2011, but we quickly convinced her to take on the role of Deputy Director because she is so gifted and effective, and she succeeded wonderfully. When she graduated in 2014 with her MTS degree she started “Jesus People for Animals” and has published two books entitled, Animals Are Not Ours (No Really, They’re Not): An Evangelical Animal Liberation Theology and Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith. Sarah is also an Associate Fellow of Oxford University’s Oxford Center for Animal Ethics and is Co-Director of CreatureKind.
Kristyn Komarnicki, MA
Oriented to Love Director
Kristyn Komarnicki edited PRISM Magazine for 15 years, and she continues to curate content for the ESA website, which means she gets to tell lots of wonderful stories. She delights in discovering and sharing the (extra)ordinary heroes and ministries we profile, and she enjoys the creative challenges of pulling together compelling content and nurturing young writers. Passionate about relational wholeness, she writes and speaks about both sexual justice and sexual exploitation. In 2011, she won Christians for Biblical Equality’s Micah Award, which “honors those who exhibit courage, creativity, and tenacity in opposing abuse and advancing justice for women and children in Christ’s name.” Helping Christians understand that pornography is hate speech and that it is directly linked to human trafficking is a particular concern of hers. Read more about Kristyn’s work here.
Associate Fellow for Racial Justice
Darren is a photographer and community activist based out of Chicago. Compassion and justice have been core to Darren’s community engagement for close to 15 years. Currently, Darren serves within the leadership of arts ministries at his church, the downtown campus of Willow Creek Community Church, and volunteers with organizations such as Breakthrough Urban Ministries. Darren has been part of the grassroots efforts to reduce recidivism, truancy, violence, and unemployment on Chicago’s South and West Sides as well as community-led projects to engage city aldermen, pastors, residents, business owners and police for long-term community change. Read more about Darren’s story here.
Francesca Nuzzolese, ThD
Oriented to Love Spiritual Director
As a scholar, activist, and clergywoman, Dr. Nuzzolese is committed to the organic and intentional integration of theory and pastoral praxis, issues of faith and social justice, the gifts of faith communities and the needs of the world. Leading spiritual retreats and offering educational workshops on a variety of psycho-spiritual and social issues is an expression of such commitments: to see growth and transformation in individuals, families, and communities, both domestically and internationally. An integral part of her current work is expressed through research, advocacy and education in the anti-trafficking movement. Her writing focuses on the young victims of the sex and labor trade and on their tales of de-humanization. She is the author and producer of a play, Lifeline, which tracks the stories of trafficked girls around the world. In 2014 she founded Be the Lifeline, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting people on the front lines of anti-trafficking work. Dr. Nuzzolese is an Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Care at Palmer Seminary and provides spiritual direction for ESA’s Oriented to Love dialogues, a program she believes is the foundation for building more loving, inclusive and truly compassionate communities.
Melissa Helmbrecht, JD
Director of Strategic Partnerships
In 2003, Melissa became the youngest woman ever to run for Congress in the USA when she ran for Virginia’s 8th District. She has been the founder, co-founder, executive director, or CEO of several very successful nonprofit and for profit organizations such as the Points of Light Foundation, the Caring Institute, the Youth Investment Project (for which she was named “one of six most promising social entrepreneurs in America” by Youth Service America), Camden’s Promise Charter School, Champions of Hope, and Splashlife – the AARP for young Americans. Melissa connects us to friends and foundations who want to support our particular mission and vision for bringing Christ’s radical love to the whole world.
Mayra Picos-Lee, DMin
Coordinator of Latino/o Initiatives
Originally from Tampico, México, Dr. Picos-Lee teaches pastoral care and counseling and marriage and family systems for Palmer Seminary’s Master’s and Doctoral programs. She is also engaged in teaching abroad, having taught at Universidad Peruana Union in Lima, Peru (family systems models and psychotherapy), and at pastoral counseling conferences in Guadalajara and Chiapas, Mexico. She also leads a travel course each year to Tijuana, México, where students experience firsthand the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border by volunteering at Deborah’s House, an organization assisting victims of domestic violence. Students also meet with U.S. officials and advocates of undocumented persons encountering human rights abuses. Dr. Picos-Lee also has extensive experience working as a counselor for bicultural and immigrant families, and serves on the board of directors of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.