Bible Study Leaders
Rev. Tonya Parker
Tonya Parker is the Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and the Associate Pastor of Macon First Assembly of God. Rev. Parker holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wesleyan College and a Master of Arts in Theology from Christian Life School of Theology Global. She works independently and collaboratively under her trade-marked title, Inclusion Practitioner™, for civil discourse and dialogue facilitations, diversity and inclusion workshops and trainings and public speaking events. Parker obtained her license and ordination into the ministry in 2015. She attended Harvest Cathedral in Macon for 18 years where she served as youth pastor, lay minister, women’s group leader, children’s church teacher, and a missionary to Honduras and Nicaragua. During the summers of 2006 and 2009, she served as lead missionary outside of the city of Masaya, Nicaragua, for women and children who had been rescued from domestic abuse, neglect and abandonment. Parker served as Director of Education for the Tubman African American Museum from 2012-2016, where she designed and implemented new learning formats to increase museum program offerings. She added the International African Children’s Village component to the Tubman’s annual Pan African Festival in 2014.
Rev. Dr. Tyler Schwaller
Tyler Schwaller is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and the Ackerman/Hurdle Chaplaincy Chair at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He is also an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church, with membership in the Iowa Annual Conference. Tyler recently completed a Th.D. (Doctor of Theology) at Harvard University in the area of New Testament and Early Christianity, writing a dissertation entitled “The Use of Slaves in Early Christianity: Slaves as Subjects of Life and Thought.” His research and teaching interests include slavery in the Roman Empire; women, gender, and sexuality in early Christianity; feminist, queer, and critical race theory; archaeology and material culture; as well as the ethics of biblical interpretation. These interests converge around particular concern for how we tell the stories of those who have been marginalized and for bringing attention to people’s intellectual, spiritual, and embodied strategies for navigating their social and material circumstances. As an out, queer clergyperson in the UMC, Tyler finds particular joy and meaning through kinship and solidarity with other queer folks, whose lives and loves reflect something of the Good News.