about melvin

bray fam apr 07

Assuming that most of you didn’t click this tab to read a full-fledged bio—rather to figure out whether you want to connect—let me start with the short of it: I am a devoted husband, committed father, learner, teacher, writer, storyteller, lover of people, connoisseur of creativity, purveyor of sustainability and believer in possibilities.

Although I’ve engaged issues of faith and race and history and systemic/structural transformation a lot, I’ve spent the last 20 years making my living elsewhere. Going forward, my focus will be intersectional engagement and strategic convening.

Of great interest to me is how do we get to where beloved community is possible? Whereas there are plenty of people more qualified and gifted in talking about oppression and healing, my particular skill is in creating intersectional space that not only white folks and people of color, but persons of various historically marginalized identities, are willing to enter into, try on new scripts and risk across their differences in experience.

Professionally I function as:

  • A Connector . . . connecting people and resources with one another.
  • A Collaborator . . . establishing collaborative relationships that help people and programs come into their own.
  • A Convener . . . convening intersectional gatherings, gatherings not just built on our commonalities but that also make room for the beauty of our difference.


For the more curious—or those who just have time to kill—the narrative professional profile goes…

Born and raised in inner-city Washington, DC, by a strong single mother, I grew up in a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-class faith community that gave me opportunities to live beyond the ordinary limitations of my socio-economic circumstance. My church was my first experience of the beauty that can arise when we transcend boundaries of difference, and I have lived my adult life helping others imagine even greater possibilities.

My career began in a socioeconomically diverse Camp Blue Ridge, a multi-racial Boys & Girls Club of America and a multi-denominational urban Young Life. It was in these contexts that I began cultivating skills as a connector and collaborator, working to expand the limits of what was perceived as normative. I went on to advance these skill-sets as both a classroom educator for Atlanta Public Schools and an on-air educator with WPBA30, Atlanta public television’s MindBusters, for which I won an EMMY® and other awards. While with APS, I piloted and co-piloted multiple innovative initiatives, including Teen Leadership (a character development / life-skills / public speaking program), The School for the Common Good (a service learning program) and STAR Academy (a future-teacher magnet program). Since then I have excelled as a lead administrator, curriculum developer, program designer, process facilitator and was founder and director of Kid Cultivators, an ecology-focused missional youth development organization. Most recently I have begun collaborating as a “knowledge worker” / process facilitator with top-notch consulting firms who use design theory to help courageous leaders solve complex problems. I have spent 20 years as a leader in formal and informal education settings in both the public and private, for-profit and non-profit arenas, using my talent for collaborating with unlikely partners to create greater synergies and connecting people to resources in order to expand capacity for what is possible.

Simultaneously, I have been expanding my skill as a convener of often disparate groups of people. Exercising my talents connecting and collaborating, for years I gave little thought to why others would draw me into this or that attempt at assembling groups of people. I figured it was my ability to problem-solve and generate useful ideas or to be a good sounding board or to extend friendship and freedom to public personalities when they weren’t on stage. However, 15 years of helping convene and coordinate weekly, annual and one-time gatherings would suggest I bring to the table more than just companionship to leaders in the journey.

I have been integrally involved in the successful execution of the Georgia Conference of Ethics and Standards for Community Service Organizations (2000 – 2002), the Atlanta Emergent Cohort (2003 – 2007), the Mainline Emergent/s Gathering at Columbia Seminary (2007), The Church Basement Roadshow Atlanta stop (2008), the Jesus for President National Tour Atlanta stop (2008), The National Emergent Village Council (2009 – 2011), the Emergent Village Theological Conversation in Atlanta (2010), the Kindezi Gardens Extravaganza (2013), 3 church plants (Buckhead Community Fellowship 2001 – 2007, Neighbors Abbey 2008 – 2011 and CommonUnity 2012 – Present), the Faith Forward conference on children and youth ministry (2012, 2014) and the Wild Goose Festival (2010 – 2014). In addition to serving as a founding board member of the Wild Goose Festival—the fastest growing progressive Christian gathering of its kind—I served as the festival’s 2014 program director and co-producer. I was the architect of the festival’s efforts to become culturally accessible to an intersectionally broader audience.

I hope we can connect!

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