Facilitators for 2015 Immersion

CCD philosophy: Facilitators

Care for the soul: Teachers

Ministry stories and site visits: Presenters

Jonathan Brooks Noel Castellanos Canaan Community Church – Jonathan & Micheal Brooks
Donald Coleman Mark Charles Church on the Block – Nate Ledbetter
Kit Danley Wayne “Coach” Gordon Grace and Peace Community (GAP) Church – John & Iliana Zayes and Sandra Van Opstal
Nate Ledbetter Karen Morant Kedzie Center – Angela Sedeno
John Liotti John Perkins Lawndale Community Church – Wayne “Coach” Gordon & Darryl Saffore
Mary Nelson Patty Prasada-Rao River City – Daniel Hill and Carlos Ruiz
Pablo Otaola   Salt & Light – Nathan Montgomery
Alexia Salvatierra   Sunshine Gospel Ministries – Ethan Daly
Amy Williams    

CCD philosophy: Facilitators

Jonathan Brooks


Affectionately known as “Pastah Ja,” Jonathan Brooks is the Senior Pastor of Canaan Community Church and CEO of Canaan Community Redevelopment Corporation in Chicago’s West Englewood Community. Under the name of Amen Anointed, he has recorded four hip-hop albums with the group Out-World. Jonathan has also been an elementary teacher for Chicago Public Schools for eight years and is currently enrolled at Northern Seminary, pursuing his M.Div. in Christian Community Development.


Donald Coleman


Donald L. Coleman has more than 25 years of urban-ministry experience living in Richmond, VA. Don presently co-pastors, along with Corey Widmer at East End Fellowship, a multi-ethnic, economically diverse community in the east end of Richmond. Don’s ministry in Richmond also includes serving as the elected chairman of the Richmond Public School Board. He also worked for numerous years for the spirit of reconciliation to impact his city serving on various boards and initiatives that promote the functional unity of the body of Christ. Bless Richmond is one notable annual initiative that brings together over 50 different churches and 1900+ people together to worship, pray and provide food for the hungry. Don also serves by speaking at various conferences and equipping events.


Kit Danley


Kit is the founder and president of Phoenix, AZ based Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. – a comprehensive, holistic outreach that combines social justice work with many forms of community development which includes an indigenously led church. This 33 year-old work has been featured in magazines like “World,” “Christian Century,” and “Christianity Today.” Kit has a doctoral degree from Bakke Graduate University. Kit and her husband Wayne have two awesome young adult children who married wonderful people, three grandchildren, and two adopted two girls, ages 17 and 19.


Nate Ledbetter


Nate Ledbetter served as a Local Outreach and Regional Pastor for six years at Mars Hill Bible Church in West Michigan before relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, to join FCS Urban Ministries, where he served as a co-executive director. He is passionate to apply the love of neighbor in every context, including urban development, vocational neighboring, and practical theology. He and his wife, Melissa, and their four children now reside in the Austin neighborhood of West Side Chicago, where Nate serves as pastor of Church on the Block, linked with Chicago First Church of the Nazarene.


John Liotti


John has been serving in urban communities in the U.S. and Mexico for over 25 years. He co-founded Able Works in 2005. Able Works equips individuals with financial education, life skills and assets that enable one to live free from oppression and poverty. John is a gifted teacher, public speaker, team builder and strategic planner. His passion and life focus is to identify the best and brightest emerging leaders from under-resourced communities, serving them so they can be the agents of change in their communities. He is a Chaplain for the East Palo Alto Police Department and serves on the Board of Directors for the San Mateo County Housing Leadership Council. He has lived in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park for 14 years with his wife Melissa, son Samuel and dogs Clementine and Jax. When not working, you can find him tearing up the hills on his motorcycle or playing insanely loud music.


Mary Nelson


Founder, former CEO, and president emeritus of Bethel New Life on Chicago’s West Side, Mary Nelson is presently coordinator of the Loyola University Institute of Pastoral Studies master’s degree program in Social Justice and Community Development. She serves on the boards of CCDA, Sojourners, and the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education and is in demand as a consultant, writer, teacher, and speaker in all areas of community development. Mary holds a Ph.D. from Union Graduate School.


Pablo Otaola


Pablo was born in 1980 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and immigrated with his family to the US in 1990.  Pablo grew up a pastor’s kid in an immigrant church and home that spoke mostly Spanish while he experienced a world that spoke mostly English.  After high school, Pablo joined the Air Force.  He has since completed his undergrad with concentrations in Computer Science and Urban Mission.  Pablo is currently on staff with Denver Young Life and runs his own Web Design Firm – Step Stone Designs.  He is also pursuing a Certificate of Urban Ministry, MBA in Non-Profit Management, and a Master’s in Christian Formation from North Park Seminary & Business School.


Alexia Salvatierra


Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is currently the Special Assistant to the Bishop for Welcoming Congregations for the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  She also serves as a consultant (training, facilitating, organizing and leading strategic planning) for a variety of national/international organizations,  including World Vision USA/World Vision International/Women of Vision, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the Christian Community Development Association the Womens’ Donor Network, Auburn Theological Seminary, Interfaith Worker Justice, PICO and Sojourner’s.  She is adjunct faculty at the New York Theological Seminary and Biola University, and has lectured at Fuller Seminary, University of Southern California and UCLA.  Her first book, Faith-Rooted Organizing was published by Intervarsity Press in January of 2014.


Amy Williams


Amy L. Williams, a 20-year youth ministry veteran, pursues her passion to minister to those involved in gangs and/or affected by gang culture and to those lost in the criminal justice system and their families – at the core of which life-on-life mentoring is her key strategy. As a certified Gang Intervention Specialist, she heard God’s call to move into a gang neighborhood in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community to be a “Hope Dealer” and build solid, impactful relationships with youth and their families. She is currently working on building a safe place for gang involved youth, returning citizens and their families to provide alternatives to a lifestyle of hopelessness. Amy’s mission is to be a light in a kid’s darkness with the message of hope through Jesus Christ.


Care for the Soul: Teachers

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Noel Castellanos

Noel has worked in full-time ministry in Latino, urban communities since 1982. He has served in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose, and Chicago. After serving on the Board of the Christian Community Development Association for many years, he established the CCDA Institute, which equips emerging church leaders in the philosophy of Christian Community Development, and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of CCDA. Noel is the author of Where the Cross Meets the Street: What Happens to the Neighborhood When God is at the Center, which blends the art of story with firmly rooted theology and time tested praxis. Noel and his wife of 30 years, Marianne make their home in the barrio of La Villita in Chicago, and have three grown children; Noel Luis, Stefan, and Anna..



Mark Charles

Mark Charles is a dynamic and thought-provoking public speaker, writer, and consultant. The son of an American woman (of Dutch heritage) and a Navajo man, Mark speaks with insight into the complexities of American history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for the nation.  Mark is the founder and director of 5 Small Loaves, an organization that pursues racial reconciliation through honest education, intentional conversation, and meaningful action. In December of 2012 Mark organized and hosted a public reading of the US Apology to Native peoples that was buried on page 45 of the 2010 Department of Defense appropriations bill.



Wayne “Coach” Gordon

Wayne “Coach” Gordon is founding pastor of Lawndale Community Church and president of CCDA. In over 30 years of ministry, he has played a key role in numerous community development initiatives, and one of his major goals has been to develop new generations of leaders for North Lawndale. Coach holds a D.Min. degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Real Hope in Chicago.


Karen Morant

Karen Morant

Karen Holmes Morant has worked for more than 25 years in city and county governments as a public servant, and currently provides leadership in Wake County Government as a Consultant and Life Coach, focusing on facilitating personal transformation, organizational change, systems and programs improvement processes and developing community partnerships. Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Frostburg University, a master’s in Organizational Change and Leadership from Pfeiffer University, and certifications from Johns Hopkins University’s Leadership Development and Fellows in Change Management programs. Karen currently serves as board chair of a 15 year old CCDA best practice, The Encouraging Place, a non-profit in Raleigh, NC. Karen was one of the host team co-chairs for the 2014 National Conference.  


John Perkins

John Perkins

Dr. John M. Perkins is a sharecropper’s son who grew up in New Hebron, Mississippi amidst dire poverty. Fleeing to California at age 17 after his brother’s murder by a town marshal, he vowed never to return. However, after converting to Christianity in 1960, he returned to Mendenhall, Mississippi to share the gospel of Christ. While in Mississippi, his leadership in civil rights demonstrations resulted in harassment, beatings and imprisonment. In Mendenhall, Perkins and his wife, Vera Mae, founded Voice of Calvary Ministries, which included a church, health center, leadership development program, thrift store and low-income housing development. In 1982, the Perkins family returned to California and founded Harambee Christian Family Center in Northwest Pasadena, a neighborhood that had one of the highest daytime crime rates in California. In 1983, while yet in California, Perkins and his wife, along with a few supporters, established the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation & Development. In 1989, Perkins co-founded the Christian Community Development Association.

Watch videos of Dr. Perkins’ Bible studies at the CCDA National Conference and check out his books.



Patty Prasada-Rao

Patty Prasada-Rao has been working in community development for almost 20 years, primarily with the ministries of New Song in Sandtown (West Baltimore). She most recently served as COO for the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago.  Patty was born to Indian parents in the U.S. with an extended family network, which instilled in her a strong value for community and what it means to belong together. 



Ministry stories and site visits: Presenters

Darrel-and-WaneCanaan Community Church – Jonathan & Micheal Brooks

Canaan is a non-denominational Christian church which seeks to bring value to every person with which they come in contact. Pastor Jonathan Brooks is leading Canaan into deeper levels of understanding and practicing the philosophy of Christian Community Development. “Pastah J” is a former member of CCDA’s Leadership Cohort and a speaker at our CCDA National Conferences (


Nate Ledbetter Church on the Block – Nate Ledbetter

We are becoming a diverse people who follow Jesus by practicing love block-by-block. Our hope is to create a healthy exchange between the city and suburbs as one people unified in Christ. Through values such as “listening to the community,” we’re committed to listen to and learn from the people of Austin. We envision healthy blocks in the city where people from all stripes are thriving together in the peace and presence of God. We trust the whole gospel to meet the needs of a whole neighborhood, including all of who we are as mind, body, soul, and emotion as well as the spiritual, social, and economic fabric of our neighborhoods. And in our brokenness, God is changing us. (


johnzayasAngelaThe Grace and Peace Community Community (GAP) – John and Iliana Zayas

An urban congregation that intentionally embraces and actively reaches out to the northwest side of Chicago in all of its ethnic diversity.” The mission of the Grace and Peace Community is to bring restoration to the northwest side of Chicago by actively living out God’s word until his glorious return. Pastors John & Iliana Zayas will share the journey of GAP as it moves toward their vision of seeing a community of broken people being restored and raised up by God’s saving grace for all generations (


AngelaThe Kedzie Center – Angela Sedeno

Dr. Sedeño is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who trained at Loyola University Chicago with a specialty in child and family psychology. She is a native Chicagoan who has worked in community mental health since 1999. Prior to joining The Kedzie Center as Executive Director, she served as Family Services Program Director at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. Her clinical specialties include adolescent psychology, conduct disorders, trauma informed care, acculturation and cultural identity. Other interests include social and restorative justice and the roots and impact of community violence on youth and families. A first generation Mexican-American, she is bilingual (English/Spanish). (



Lawndale Community Church – Wayne “Coach” Gordon and Darryl Saffore

Lawndale Community Church is a nondenominational Christian Church that exists to provide a place to worship Jesus Christ. The church, now more than 35 years old, puts a high priority on a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ and growth in Christ by meeting both the spiritual and physical needs of the community through involvement in people’s lives.(


carlosruiz-100pxDaniel Hill and Carlos Ruiz – River City

Our vision is to become a multiethnic community of Jesus followers who transform the city of Chicago through worship, reconciliation, neighborhood development.  Started in 2003, River City longs to see increased spiritual renewal as well as social and economic justice in the Humboldt Park neighborhood and entire city, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God. (

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Salt & Light – Nathan Montgomery

Nathan is cofounder and Executive Director of Salt & Light in Champaign, IL. Since opening its doors in January of 2004, Salt & Light has grown into a community leader in poverty alleviation efforts in Champaign County. Beginning as a food pantry and clothing closet, Salt & Light has evolved into an organization whose programs are built on systems of reciprocity—which focus on providing opportunities for those living in poverty to equip themselves with the tools they need to create lasting change in their lives. Nathan has served in various roles of leadership within the community, working to educate others about poverty related issues while challenging the existing systems designed to address them. (


Ethan Daly – Sunshine Gospel Ministries

Ethan Daly is Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Sunshine Enterprises, an initiative of Sunshine Gospel Ministries, in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. He joined the staff of Sunshine Gospel Ministries in 2012 to help launch Sunshine Enterprises, a program that recruits and trains entrepreneurs in struggling communities to help them grow sustainable businesses. Since launching, the program has garnered a wide range of media attention and received several accolades, including being voted by the Chicago Reader as the Best New Small Business Incubator in 2014. Ethan has over 10 years experience in community development working with adults, children, and families in low-income neighborhoods. He lives in Woodlawn with his wife and three boys. (

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