(ST. PAUL, MINN., June 9, 2022) – In preparation for its first cohort of 16 pastors, the Leadership Center for Social Justice at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, has assembled a uniquely experienced cadre of impactful community leaders to help participants develop and deepen sustainable, community-based, social justice ministries within their churches. The inaugural program, for which applications are due July 1, launches this September.

“We are very excited to announce our amazing 2022–2023 Teaching Fellows at the Leadership Center for Social Justice,” avows Rev. Dr. Ry Siggelkow, director of the Leadership Center. “We are thrilled that pastors who are selected for our no-cost program will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most inspiring and effective movement builders in our region.”

The 2022–2023 Teaching Fellows are:

Rev. Kelly Chatman, an ELCA pastor, is the 2020 founder and executive director of the Minneapolis-based Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, an organization that seeks to mobilize “congregations and leaders as powerful neighborhood-based agents for positive social change.” He brings to this position decades of experience ministering to churches and youth, holding leadership positions in academic and religious settings, and serving on numerous boards dedicated to serving those in need. 

Dr. Amy Finnegan, as associate professor in Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, also co-founded and co-directs SocMed, a program of EqualHealth. EqualHealth is a global community of health professionals, educators, and activists dedicated to the international fight for health equity. Dr. Finnegan’s teaching interests include social change, peace and conflict, human rights, and medical sociology.

Gaagigeyaashiik (Dawn Goodwin) is an Anishinaabe/Ojibwe from the Mississippi Band of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, a staunch advocate for Nimaamaa-Aki (Mother Earth), and a fierce protector of water and the Anishinaabeg traditions. Her work centers on networking with environmental groups and nonprofits to promote environmental, social, and racial justice. Gaagigeyaashiik represents the Indigenous Environmental Network and is co-founder of R.I.S.E. Coalition—Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging who came together to stop Line 3 pipeline construction.

Ned Wik Moore is the Neighborhood Leadership and Organizing Program Director for the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota—a center that promotes awareness of public policy issues through community organizing efforts. In 2015, Mr. Moore and a colleague launched Neighborhoods Now! to train, develop, and support neighborhood organizers and leaders as they fight for racial equity and economic justice.

Nookomis (Debra Topping) is an Anishinaabe/Ojibwe (Fond du Lac Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe) from the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota who fights to preserve an indigenous way of life that honors nature and keeps sacred life-giving waterways. She is also co-founder of R.I.S.E Coalition, a powerful public speaker, dedicated protester, and avid provider. Nookomis will be co-teaching with Gaagigeyaashiik.

Rev. Hierald Osorto answered the call to become the senior pastor at the bilingual St. Paul Lutheran Church/Iglesia Lutheran San Pablo in October 2021 after serving at Ithaca College in New York as the founding director of Religious and Spiritual Life. In these and past positions, Rev. Osorto has been on the front lines of leading and teaching programs aimed at promoting diversity, justice, equity, and peace. 

“As you can tell,” Rev. Dr. Siggelkow concludes, “Every one of our Teaching Fellows has demonstrated a responsiveness to the needs and possibilities of their contexts while opening out in love and solidarity with all movements for justice.” 

Please direct any questions about the fellows or program applications to Stella Pearce at


About The Leadership Center for Social Justice

The Leadership Center for Social Justice seeks to equip, inspire, and empower leaders to faithfully and reflectively engage in concrete, contextual ministry for social justice. In the spirit of faith, hope, and love, the Center supports leaders in developing skills in contextually sensitive, creative, and effective leadership and social praxis.

About United 

Founded as a welcoming, ecumenical school that embraces all denominations and faith traditions, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities has been on the cutting edge of progressive theological thought leadership since it was established in 1962. Today, United continues to train leaders who dismantle systems of oppression, explore multifaith spirituality, and push the boundaries of knowledge.