Plenary Speakers

Nancy AmmermanNancy Ammerman
Professor of Sociology of Religion, Boston University

Dr. Nancy Ammerman has spent more than a decade studying American religious organizations and the people who participate in them. Her 2005 book, “Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and Their Partners” describes the common organizational patterns that shape the work of America’s diverse communities of faith. It was named distinguished book of the year by the American Sociological Association’s Religion Section. She has also written extensively on conservative religious movements, including “Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World.” Her 1990 book, “Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention,” was named distinguished book of the year by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR). She has served as president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, the ASA Religion Section, and the SSSR and has lectured widely in the U.S., Europe, Israel, South Africa, and China. Currently, with funding from the Templeton Foundation, she is exploring “Spiritual Narratives in Everyday Life,” a research project that will analyze how and when religion is present in the everyday worlds of ordinary Americans. Ammerman is also a member of the faculty in the department of sociology, where she serves as the department’s chair.

Randall BalmerRandall Balmer
Professor of American Religious History, Columbia University

Dr. Randall Balmer, professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, has taught at Columbia since earning his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985. He has also been a visiting professor at Yale Divinity School, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Dartmouth College and at Rutgers, Emory, Yale, Drew, Princeton and Northwestern universities. Balmer has written a dozen books, including “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America” and “God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.” His second book, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America,” was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS; Balmer was nominated for an Emmy for writing and hosting that series. In addition to his academic and scholarly pursuits, Balmer, an Episcopal priest, is rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, Connecticut.

Neville CallamNeville Callam
General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance

Neville Callam is a graduate of the United Theological College of the West Indies with a diploma in Ministerial Studies, the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology with first class honors, and Harvard Divinity School with a master's degree with concentration in Ethics. Callam has taught at the United Theological College of the West Indies and Jamaica Theological Seminary. He served as Researcher in Theological Education with the University Council of Jamaica, the country's accreditation body for colleges and universities. He has authored five books, several book chapters and published articles in academic journals. An ordained minister since 1977, Callam was an assistant pastor the East Queen Street Circuit of churches in Jamaica and senior pastor for the Grace/Mineral Heights and Tarrant/Balmagie circuits. Callam served the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) in many capacities, including president (1985 and 1987) and treasurer and warden to Baptist students at the United Theological College of the West Indies (2000 - 2002). Prior to election as general secretary in 2007, Callam served BWA as vice president (2000 – 2005) and on numerous committees and workgroups including the general council and executive committee.

Fisher HumphreysFisher Humphreys
Professor Emeritus of Theology, Samford University

Dr. Fisher Humphreys received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi College, the Master of Arts degree from Loyola University, the Master of Letters degree from Oxford University, and the Bachelor of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was born in Columbus, Mississippi, and was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Columbus, MS. He has served as pastor of churches in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Humphreys is the author of “The Almighty Baptist Theology: A Really Short Version,” “The Christian Church,” “The Death of Christ,” “A Dictionary of Doctrinal Terms” (with Philip Wise), “Fundamentalism” (also with Philip Wise), “God So Loved the World” (with Paul Robertson), “The Heart of Prayer,” “I Have Called You Friends,” “The Nature of God,” “Southern Baptist Heritage,” “Speaking in Tongues” (with Malcolm Tolbert), “Thinking About God,” and “The Way We Were.” He is the editor of “Nineteenth Century Evangelical Theology.” He has contributed articles and reviews to various journals and has written lessons for use in Sunday School and in other settings. In 2008, Fisher Humphreys retired as professor of Divinity at the Beeson School of Divinity at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.