2018 Worship, Prayer & The Arts

The National Gathering worship experiences are always a very inspirational and enlivening part of our weekend of education and advocacy. As an organization that draws diverse Christians from all across the United States and beyond, we bring a variety of gifts from the various Christian churches and communities. These gifts find expression in an harmonious way as we build upon areas of commonality in Christian worship and allow ourselves to be stretched to embrace new experiences. Similarly, we allow our imaginations and vision for worship to be expanded by each year’s conference theme and the perspectives of the various workshops, plenaries, and legislative needs that are presented.

Find out more about: Offerings at EAD

Music & Arts Ministry for the 2018 National Gathering

Rev. Julian DeShazier (JKwest), Featured Artist

Rev. Julian DeShazier (JKwest)

Rev. Julian DeShazier to #EAD2018 was our featured artist at our Spoken Word Cafe. Rev. DeShazier hails from Chicago, Illinois, where he joined University Church as Senior Pastor in November 2010. A Chicago native, he is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Julian previously served as Teen Pastor at Covenant United Church of Christ, and has also worked extensively with the Coca-Cola Leadership Program and the Fund for Theological Education.

Pastor Julian is also an award-winning hip hop musician and songwriter, known to many as “J.Kwest.” In 2015, he won an EMMY Award for his role in the short film, Strange Fruit. He has also been featured on FOX, CBS, and NPR; on the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s Sirius XM radio program; and on the cover of the Chicago Reader. In 2016, Julian began serving as the inaugural chair of the Community Advisory Council of the University of Chicago Medical Center, focused on optimizing population health outcomes on the Southside of Chicago. He is also the associate director of the Office of Field Studies and Experiential Education and a former adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Rev. Tracy Howe-Wispelwey, Director, Restoration Village Arts

Tracy-Howe-WispelweyTracy has been a touring artist creating music at the intersections of faith and justice. She and her family live in Charlottesville, Va. An ordained United Church of Christ minister leading university students and justice ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church PC(USA), Tracy works to build up capacity for justice movements in Charlottesville and all over the world through support for the arts and especially through Restoration Village Arts, which she founded in 2000. It presently facilitates local and international collaboration with artists, communities and organizations to produce music, liturgy and advocacy resources in support of peace, love and justice work.

Learn more about Restoration Village Arts.

View a video produced by Tracy below.


Tracy will be joined by Natalie Serno from Hermosillo, Mexico.

Natalie, born in Virginia, spent her childhood in Colombia playing between the coffee plantations of his parents and the forests of the Echeverri family. She always liked music, grabbed a guitar at the age of fourteen and started writing songs. She studied Sociology at the University of Illinois in Chicago and was captivated by the issue of migration. In 2009, she traveled through Mexico on the freight train with a group of Nicaraguan migrants. The experience changed his life.

She returned to the border in 2013 as a volunteer of the Kino Initiative. She devoted herself to writing songs about the lives of migrants and sharing them in shelters. The Corazon Norte album was born. “La Muna,” as she is known has a sister and brother and she dreams of having a garden, a dog, a fish and many other creatures to take care of.

Claire Hitchins

Photo from Claire’s recent album

Claire Hitchins will also be part of the music ministry team. She hails from Charlottesville, Va, where her music was recently featured in the online arts news website C-Ville.

Read more about her and listen to her music on her website. and view her music videos on her Facebook page



Offerings at #EAD2018

Issue Offering: Sunday Worship

Each year the leadership team of EAD designates organizations engaged in the work of justice to receive the fruits of an offering taken up during Sunday Worship. For #EAD2018, the recipients chosen are:

  • The St. Thomas Recovery Team. In the wake of the damage done by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Virgin Islands, the St. Thomas Recovery Team works locally with partner projects, raising funding to transport chronically ill and senior patients to medical appointments. The pre-existing “dial-a-ride” program is no longer functioning due to the damage that occurred island wide to vehicles, as well as the loss of employment for the volunteer drivers. They no longer have their vehicles or the ability to use their time/gas money to provide these free services. The budget was proposed at $300/month. A donation of $1200-$1500 (approx. one half of past EAD free-will offerings) could provide 4-5 months of transportation for those services which are desperately needed. Donate to the St. Thomas Recovery Team online through Church World Service.
  • No More Deaths. The mission of No More Deaths (make online donations here) is to end death and suffering in the Mexico–U.S. borderlands through civil initiative: people of conscience working openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. Our work embraces faith-based principles for immigration reform and focuses on the following themes:
    – Direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance
    – Witnessing and responding
    – Consciousness raising
    – Global movement building
    – Encouraging humane immigration policy

All proceeds received during the worship service will be divided equally between the two organizations. Those who wish to donate by check at EAD, please make your check out to “Church World Service” and indicate “2018 Issue Offering” in the memo field.

Scholars Fund Offering

As part of the ongoing efforts of EAD to ensure that young scholars and young adults are able to apply for scholarships to attend EAD, enabling them to participate in our National Gatherings, there will also be an offering during the weekend in support of the EAD Scholars Fund. You may also donate online to support the Scholars Fund at fundlyAll proceeds received in this collection are earmarked specifically for the Scholars Fund. Those who wish to donate by check at EAD, please make your check out to “Church World Service” and indicate “2018 Scholars Fund” in the memo field.

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations