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2nd CEDA Student Symposium

Empower 7:9 Turning Confrontation into Conversations

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What is Empower 7:9

“After this, I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”– Revelation 7:9

We strive to embody this verse by creating an environment of unity where diversity is celebrated.

Mission Statement

Making a conscious effort to empower and equip students to have difficult conversations and be waymakers in a Christ-driven manner while leading the way in diversity, equity and inclusion from a Biblical perspective as they promote unity in the body of Christ with our differences.


Be ready not only to learn but also to actively engage in discussions.


Creating unity amongst Christian educators is a primary goal of the symposium. We believe we can do the work better together.


Our goal is to empower educators to enact tangible change.

During the conference, we will…


that God created us to have different identities, backgrounds, and experiences


ourselves about how to approach diversity from a Christian perspective


our newfound knowledge to create change and empower others to do the same

About the Planning

We are a collective of High School students from Eagles Landing Christian Academy, Boston Trinity Academy, Mount Paran Christian Academy, Prestonwood Christian Academy, and Wesleyan School.

Under the leadership of Mr. David Mawhinney, Mrs. Jenny Brady, and Ms. Grace Lee, we have been empowered as students to recognize the part that we can play in combating injustice and promoting community diversity. Each of our respective schools functions with Christ at the center while equipping their students to lead lives of faith and leadership. Empower 7:9, now in its first official year, is our way of sharing this passion with other students from our communities by inviting them to learn and to contribute to the fight towards inclusion and racial reconciliation. This symposium seeks to tackle this conversation in three parts: acknowledgment, education, and application.

Being completely student run and led, our symposium will run for three days with Monday, June 7th, being the most compact with activities, keynotes, and workshop discussion.  Our desire for the youth who attend our symposium is that they are inspired by the devoted lives of our speakers and challenged to reach their own potential as leaders in their communities. We are asking speakers to share the story of their fight for unity and their passion towards diversity, specifically as people of faith.


Pastor Gilbert Fields

Gilbert Fields is Pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist. He is a graduate of Luther Rice Seminary (MDiv 2004) in Lithonia, Georgia. Gilbert was licensed and ordained into the ministry in August 1992, and he has served in Decatur, Rome and Jonesboro, Georgia, as well as West Palm Beach, Florida. His ministry experience includes leadership in evangelism training and strategies, minister of education and discipleship ministries, international missions in 5 countries abroad, including the founding and organization of Rock of Ages Bible Institute in Kapletundo, Kenya, East Africa. He has also provided leadership and implementation of community outreach. He is a conference speaker and men’s ministry leader. Currently, Gilbert is a prospective candidate for a PhD in Systematic Theology at Clarks Summit University in Clarks Summit, PA.

Gilbert currently lives in Hampton, GA and is married to Shawnn Fields, and they have two children, Jonathan and Courtney.

Eryn Eddy

Social entrepreneur, storyteller, and art director, Eryn Eddy is the founder and CEO of So Worth Loving - a lifestyle brand that uses apparel and community to bridge pain and shame toward an awareness of self-worth. In her 12 year journey of observing, learning, and growing in the mission of storytelling, she has developed an understanding that when people are honest and vulnerable in their own stories, it compels others to respond likewise. The So Worth Loving family has grown hundreds of thousands strong in 50 states and over 30 countries. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Oprah Magazine, CNN Headline News, MSNBC, Mashable, Southern Living Magazine, and Atlanta Magazine. Her story has been shared throughout corporations, conferences, and universities.

Sarah Park

Sarah Park is the Community Engagement Coordinator for Gwinnett County in Georgia, a county that is diverse with the majority of its residents representing communities of color. As the President of the Metro Atlanta chapter of the Korean American Coalition, she led an online memorial service at a Korean American center in Atlanta for the victims of the March shooting, with more than 4,000 people viewing the service online and organizations like Nike standing in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community for this worldwide vigil. After studying political science at Georgia State University, Park worked as an interpreter and also spent five years in the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau. Since 2013, she has been married to a second-generation Korean American who's on the urban planning board for Gwinnett County.


Arrival – Sunday, June 6th


Dinner outside hosted by Joshua Expeditions at Mt. Paran (“dress comfy”)

Day 1 – Monday, June 7th


Welcome and Devotional


Session 1: Defining Diversity and Race as the Bible Defines it and How it is Important

Gilbert Fields


Break (bathroom, water, snack)


Workshop 1: Small Group activity and discussion




Session 2: Confrontation to Conversation


Break (bathroom, water, snack)


Center for Civil and Human Rights


Dinner in Atlanta

Day 2 – Tuesday, June 8th




Workshop 2: Small Group Discussions: Discussion on movements


Session 3: Student Panel


Break (bathroom, water, snack)


Workshop 3: What Would You Do? Scenario Activity




Session 3.5: “Loving Action”

Eryn Eddy


Break (bathroom, water, snack)


Debrief and Prepare for adult presentation


Break (bathroom, water, snack)


Wrap up: Students report back to adults


Dinner Hosted By Student Leaders