Reality Ministries Forum 2021
Look for 2021 registration opening December 2020
What is the Reality Forum?
A day of exploring the theological roots of Reality Ministries, proclaiming the beauty of the Gospel, and integrating these truths into daily life.
This is a conference; a day set aside to reflect on our life in Christ, consider new ideas, and explore theological themes. You don’t have to be a theologian or academic to enjoy or participate. It’s for anyone curious about what it means that we all belong. This year, we’ll also explore theological themes from the wider community, and learn from Dr. Jamie Lathan and Rev. Dr. Louis Threatt about what Christ-centered inclusion means for their respective fields (prison chaplaincy and history — see bios below).
The Beauty of the Gospel: What Inclusion Really Means
*All are welcome — this is an all day conference for people who want to listen to speakers, reflect on new ideas, and engage in conversation. If you’d like more information about if this event is appropriate for you or your loved one, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- 9:00am: Registration and Coffee
- 9:15-9:30am: Worship with Lee Anderson
- 9:30-11am: Plenary Session with Jeff McSwain
- 11am-12pm: Session 1: Allison Waters or Dr. Jamie Lathan
- 12-1pm: Lunch (provided)
- 1-2pm: Session 2: Rev. Dr. Louis Threatt or Allison Waters
- 2-3pm: Session 3: Susan McSwain, Dr. Jamie Lathan, or Rev. Dr. Louis Threatt
- 3-4pm: Final Reflections + Worship with Lee Anderson
Jeff McSwain, Ph.D.
Jeff is the founder of Reality Ministries. He has published various articles including “Sheep or Persons? What Luke 15 has to say about Agency and Persons with Intellectual Disabilities” (Participatio, The T.F. Torrance Theological Fellowship, 2014), and “Seeking a Theology of Equality for Those with Intellectual Disabilities” (Ministry Matters, 2019) and two books, Movements of Grace: The Dynamic Christo-Realism of Barth, Bonhoeffer and the Torrances (2010), and most recently ‘Simul’ Sanctification: Barth’s Hidden Vision for Human Transformation (2018).
Allison Waters, MSW, MDiv **Click here to listen to Allison’s full session.**
Allison began her love of Reality Ministries in 2012 as a volunteer, and is now the Clinical Director. Allison has masters degrees in Divinity from Duke and Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill. Her recent career focus has been on utilizing clinical knowledge and theology to foster communities of belonging, empowering faith-based communities to embrace neuro-diversity. She previously served at NC START doing crisis response for adults with I/DD and facilitating in-home therapeutic programs for families with a child with I/DD. She also worked as a volunteer coordinator and job-readiness coordinator for Catholic Charities at a day-center for homeless and low-income women.
Susan McSwain, Executive Director of Reality Ministries
Susan McSwain is a resident of the best neighborhood in the world, an extremely enthusiastic Realty Ministries storyteller wherever she’s asked to do so (and often where she’s not asked, if she gets the slightest opening), and head cheerleader for the incredibly gifted, insightful, passionate and delightful Reality staff team. She’s been part of the adventure of Reality since the very beginning, and is unsure how she has been lucky enough to have a front row seat for twelve years to this beautiful revelation of the Kingdom of God, where our friends of all abilities are our teachers and our guides. Her favorite book is Becoming Human by Jean Vanier and her favorite song is I AM for You by Lee Anderson and Sloan Meek. Oh, and if you ask Terry Lee Clements, Reality participant for the past five years, you’ll find out she’s also “GORGEOUS!”
Rev. Dr. Louis Threatt
We are so excited to learn from Rev. Dr. Louis Threatt at this year’s forum; he is a former staff member at Reality Ministries. He currently serves as the Senior Chaplain at Orange Correctional Center and as the Executive Director of the Alamance Orange Prison Ministry. He is also a Special Programs Instructor at Duke Divinity School, teaching and assisting with the Prison Studies certificate helping students to think theologically about prison ministry and Restorative Justice. Louis is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and has served in several roles such as Senior Pastor, Campus Minister at NCCU, High School Science and Math Teacher, GED Instructor in Durham County Jail, a Chaplain in the Federal Prison, and a Chaplain at a youth detention center. As Director of Project TURN here in Durham, Louis helped create opportunities for academic training and spiritual development for all participants, including juveniles in the state and federal prisons. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Louis has degrees in Physics, with a minor in Mathematics from NC Central University, a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School (with a focus on Prison Studies) and a Doctor of Ministry from Drew University where his dissertation addressed Pastoral Care and Incarceration and how to become a Re-Entry church.
Dr. Jamie Lathan
We are so excited to hear from Dr. Jamie Lathan at this year’s forum; he is a former volunteer at Reality Ministries. He is currently the Dean of Distance Education and Extended Programs at NCSSM, where he supervises and leads Distance Education faculty by supporting and modeling innovative pedagogy and technology integration. Jamie joined NCSSM in 2001 and is recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and a National Board Certified teacher. He has taught AP US History, American Studies, Latin American Studies, Race Ethics and Leadership, and African American Studies in face-to-face and distance education environments over his two-decade career. Over those years, he has worked with high school students of diverse abilities and backgrounds, from students in rural northeastern North Carolina to students in Beijing, China. Jamie received his bachelor’s degree in history and master’s degree in social studies education from the University of Virginia, and his doctorate in curriculum, culture, and change (education) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jamie’s dissertation focused on surveying racial bias in US History textbooks.