Rev. Susan B. W. Johnson
Executive Director and Author of Urban Dolorosa libretto
Senior Minister, Hyde Park Union Church
Susan celebrated her 25th year at HPUC in 2010. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she currently serves as president of the Board of Trustees (Baptist Theological Union). An ordained American Baptist minister, Susan serves on a number of boards including Centers for New Horizons and the South East Chicago Commission. She is the author, with Herbert Anderson, of Regarding Children and was featured in the award-winning NPR broadcast “A Pastor’s Journal.” Her articles and book reviews have appeared in the Christian Century.
Fr. Vaughn Fayle, OFM
Composer and Music Director for Urban Dolorosa
Director of Music, Hyde Park Union Church
A Franciscan and a native of South Africa, Fr. Vaughn studied music at Rhodes University and the Royal School of Music, London. He completed graduate studies in philosophy and theology in Europe and came to the USA in 1990 to teach religion and philosophy at Our Lady of the Lake University (Texas). At the suggestion of his uncle, South African poet Dennis Brutus, Vaughn began setting Brutus’ Robben Island poetry to music and then began studying the poetry of Thomas Merton. The International Thomas Merton Society awarded him the 2007-2008 Shannon Fellowship for his setting of Merton’s poetry.
Artistic Director for Urban Dolorosa
Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults
Hallie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the New School for Social Research in New York City where she studied theater and theater in education. Her recent directing credits for Steppenwolf include the world premiere of World Set Free by Bryn Magnus and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye adapted by Lydia R. Diamond. She is currently serving as Artistic Director for The Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake and is on the board of ASSITEJ/USA – The United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People.
Dr. Keith Hampton
Conductor for Urban Dolorosa
Artistic Director and Founder, Chicago Community Chorus (CCC)
In addition to his work with the CCC, Dr. Keith Hampton is the Director of Music Ministries at Park Manor Christian Church. Classically trained as an organist and conductor, “Doc” Hampton has taught students at all levels, ranging from nursery school to college. He earned his Bachelor of Music at Westminster Choir College, a Master of Arts degree from Marywood University, and his Doctor of Music from Northwestern University. As a published composer, his arrangements of Spirituals and Gospel Songs can be found at Augsburg Fortress Press, Choristers Guild, Earthsongs Publications, and Hinshaw Music.
Carlos Javier Ortiz
Documentary Photographer for Urban Dolorosa
Carlos was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and raised in Chicago. He is currently working on the Too Young To Die documentary – a comprehensive examination of urban youth violence – that was recently featured in the Huffington Post. His work has won numerous awards and has appeared in Ebony Magazine, Newsweek, Washington Post, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, NPR, Chicago Public Radio, The Guardian, Stern Magazine, and the Biography Channel.
Rev. Zachary W. Mills
Associate Minister, Hyde Park Union Church
Zach is a poet, author, journalist, and first-generation Baptist minister. He earned his B.A. from Western Kentucky University in Print Journalism, and his Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt, where he received the Saint James Academy Award for excellence in preaching. He has had sermons published in two national journals, The African American Pulpit and the Journal of Religion and Abuse. Zach has worked as a journalist at The Tennessean and The Gallatin News Examiner newspapers, and has authored two books: The Wellspring of Life and Ghetto of Eden: the Poetic Battle between Humanity and Hip Hop.
Assistant Music Director for Urban Dolorosa
Director of Music and the Arts, First United Methodist Church at Chicago Temple
Erik Nussbaum has been the Director of Music at Chicago Temple since August 2004. He spent six years as a conductor with the Chicago Children’s Choir beginning in 2001, which brought him to Chicago from his hometown of Eureka, IL. Erik is a graduate of Knox College (BA, cum laude, ’93) and Westminster Choir College (MM in Choral Conducting, ’96), and maintains many friendships from those special places, including his wife Karen (Knox, ’98). He is an active composer and poet.
Joel Harter, Ph.D.
Project Director for Urban Dolorosa
Lilly Pastoral Resident, Hyde Park Union Church
Joel has a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from the University of Chicago, where he focused on Modern Theology and British Romantic Literature. He recently published Coleridge’s Philosophy of Faith: Symbol, Allegory, and Hermeneutics with Mohr Siebeck. His other interests include public theology, reconciliation and the arts, and inner-faith dialogue. Joel has taught courses in literature and religious studies, and he is currently an adjunct instructor of philosophy at Catholic Theological Union.
Denise A. Hill
Intern and Blogger
Denise is a mother, writer, scholar, activist, educator, social entrepreneur, and a deacon at Giant Steps Church in Chicago. In all of her work, Denise endeavors to educate and inspire individuals to greater and deeper levels of love, justice, and imagination. She is a native South Side Chicagoan and a student of ethics and religion at the University of Chicago.