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How do we shepherd the flock in the search for economically healthy and socially just urban communities? What is the role of the local church in sustainable human development? Where do we find guidance for those facing unemployment and neighborhood displacement? Join us to explore how moral and economic clarity give direction in our mission to be true disciples, fostering effective charity, empowering our congregations and creating a context for urban flourishing.

City FAVS conference participants will envision a new framework for examining complex problems facing today’s city, built upon a foundation of theological and economic clarity. Participants will network with other catalysts in their community, ground discussion in continued emphasis on real world applications of Biblical principles, and develop leadership capacity through the resources offered for each session.

Conference attendance is by application only. This conference is ideal for urban pastors, lay leaders, and those working in urban communities.

Conference fees, meals, and lodging will be covered for accepted applicants. Travel scholarships are available. 


*Applications for this Conference are now Closed

Trey Dimsdale, J.D.
Trey Dimsdale, J.D.
Acton Institute

Director of Program Outreach

Trey Dimsdale, J.D. is the director of program outreach at the Acton Institute. He holds degrees in law, theology, and ethics and has worked as an attorney, educator, non-profit administrator, and pastor.  He is the co-editor of Work in Christian Perspective (SCM, 2018) and an editor of a forthcoming volume on Christianity and populism. He has spoken around the world on issues as diverse as housing policy, philosophy of law, and religious freedom.  He served as a clerk for state and federal trial judges as well as a state appellate judge, and is an active member of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, a research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Ronjour Locke, M.Div.
Ronjour Locke, M.Div.
Acton Institute

Affiliate Pastor

Ronjour Locke, M.Div. serves as Instructor of Preaching and Urban Ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as an affiliate pastor for the Acton Institute. Previously, he served in Baltimore as pastor of First Baptist Church of Brooklyn and as a member of the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. He holds degrees from Lancaster Bible College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Professor Locke is happily married to Anne, and they have four children.

James Patterson, Ph.D.
James Patterson, Ph.D.
Ave Maria University

Assistant Professor of Politics

James M. Patterson, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of politics at Ave Maria University. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Media Studies at the University of Houston in 2002 and his Ph.D. in American Politics from the University of Virginia in 2012. His areas of research include race, religion, and American political development. He has held research positions at the Program for American Values and Institutions at Duke University and the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, as well as teaching positions at Hampden-Sydney College and Gettysburg College.

He has published academic work on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, and biblical narratives in American political rhetoric, and he has published more popular essays and book reviews for Modern Age, Society, Library of Law and Liberty, and Public Discourse. In early 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Press will publish his first book, Religion in the Public Square: Sheen, King, and Falwell. This book examines how very different religious leaders sought to influence national politics by preaching their interpretation of American political foundations. His next research project examines the religious assumptions beneath contemporary social science methodology. Professor Patterson is an Acton University alumnus and a member of the Values & Capitalism Program for the American Enterprise Institute. He lives in Ave Maria, Florida, with his wife Julia and his two children, Esme and Keats.


Oye Waddell
Oye Waddell
Hustle PHX

Founder and CEO

Oye Waddell is the Founder and CEO of Hustle Phoenix, a non-profit organization that exists to equip and catalyze under-served entrepreneurs with the intellectual, social and financial capital they need to create sustainable business ventures for the common good. Fueled by his visionary style of leadership and the belief that all people have dignity, Oye knows that some of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the United States are in underserved, urban communities.

Prior to moving to Phoenix, Oye served as Executive Director of Eternal Sports Outreach in Los Angeles, which sought to empower young athletes to become business and civic leaders. There he recruited volunteer coaches/administrators, evaluated the effectiveness of development programs and utilized evaluation data to revise instructional objectives and methods.

Once in Phoenix, Oye founded and served as CEO of Gameplan AZ--an athletic consulting company dedicated to providing student-athletes and their families the tools to navigate and dominate the athletic recruiting process. While Oye’s long track record in urban education and entrepreneurship began as a teacher in both Compton and Los Angeles, he continues to invest in students by serving on the American Enterprise Institute with the Ideas Council where he invests in student leaders at Christian colleges. At Arizona State University, too, Oye is a Venture Mentor—for student-athletes at Arizona State University that aim to start businesses.

More recently, Oye served as a pastor at New City Church, leading members and the broader community to understand, embrace, and accomplish their mission to develop disciples locally and globally, as well as engage followers in worship, community and ministry.

Currently, Oye Waddell serves as pastor of Sojourn Village PHX--a community dedicated to seeking the flourishing of an urban/inner-city community named South Phoenix. With this same passion for families, Oye is also the CEO of the Hustle Real Estate Investment Fund which is designed to serve as a pathway to homeownership for low income individuals, helping to stabilize low income neighborhoods and bring stability to families.

Oye was selected by the Phoenix Business Journal as among the city's Top 40 Under 40 Business Men and Women for 2018. He is also a member of the Camelback Society an association of men called to the marketplace who intend to live all aspects of their lives before Christ. Conscious Capitalism a movement that focuses on businesses that have a purpose beyond profit. Oye Waddell has also been a Ted Style Talk Speaker on topics such as “Hustling for the Common Good” at Purdue University as well as a business conference speaker for Balle, an organization that fights for the flourishing of local businesses.

Oye attended the University of Washington on a full athletic football scholarship. He later earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Master of Education from Arizona State University.

Oye, his wife Crys, and their four young children--Chariot, Clover, Crescent and Oye II--currently reside in Phoenix, Arizona.

John D. Wilsey, Ph.D.
John D. Wilsey, Ph.D.
Acton Institute

Affiliate Scholar

John D. Wilsey, Ph.D. is Affiliate Scholar in Theology and History at the Acton Institute. He is Associate Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of One Nation Under God: An Evangelical Critique of Christian America (Pickwick, 2011) and American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (IVP Academic, 2015); he also edited Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous work, which recently appeared under the title Democracy in America: A New Abridgment for Students (Lexham, 2016). Wilsey is 2017-18 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is doing research for a new biography of John Foster Dulles, scheduled to appear in Eerdmans’ Library of Religious Biography series.


Event Details

Start Date

End Date


Hyatt Regency Jersey City
Two Exchange Place
Jersey City, NJ 07302
United States


The event will begin at 4pm on Thursday, January 31st and will conclude with lunch at noon on Saturday, February 2nd.


Conference fees, meals, and lodging will be covered for accepted applicants. Travel scholarships are available. 

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