Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr
The Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan is the executive director of the 103-year-old statewide body known as the Ohio Council of Churches. As the OCC is a “Jesus movement for unity, justice, and peace,” Dr. Sullivan gives public and collegial leadership and service that lifts up the Council’s priorities while working to enhance the relationships of the 17 Christian denominations that comprise the OCC. He is the immediate-past Senior Pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Findlay, OH, and is former Executive Director of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, and Regional Minister and President of the Northwest and Pennsylvania Regions, respectively, of his denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) US and Canada.
An internationally known speaker and leader in, social justice, ecumenical, and anti-death penalty realms, Dr. Sullivan is president of the board of Journey of Hope: From Violence to Healing, a national co-victims-led anti-death penalty organization and co-president of the Disciples Justice Action Network. In addition, he is immediate past president of the Governing Board of Ohioans to Stop Executions; and a member of the Global Advisory Council of Restorative Justice International. Dr. Sullivan is a former member of the Steering Committee of the France-based World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Dr. Sullivan’s anti-death penalty activism stems from his interest in ending cycles of violence, a concern he has known all too well after the 1997 murder of his sister, Jennifer, in Cleveland, OH.
Executive Director Sullivan is an ardent supporter of civil rights, gun violence reduction, mental health advocacy, and LGBTQ+ rights. He has given leadership to numerous religious, civic, and social organizations in Ohio, Washington State, and other communities where he has resided and served. Dr. Sullivan is a former Big Brother and member of Ohio University’s Ebony Bobcat Network and Central Ohio Alumni Chapter, the Advisory Boards of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Catholic Mobilizing Network, and Death Penalty Action. In addition, he is an Adjunct Instructor in Ecumenism with the Center for Ministry and Lay Training at Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, OK, and a member of the Athens, OH-based Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society, the Academy of Homiletics, the National Action Network, the US Global Leadership Council, and the Lexington Theological Seminary Alumni Council. Dr. Sullivan is a life member of both Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the NAACP.
Dr. Sullivan has presented scores of ecumenical, racial justice, and anti-death penalty perspectives through a variety of forums in religious, social, and academic circles such as Georgetown University, the Ohio State University, Capital University Law School, and his alma mater, Ohio University. He was the 2022 Beechy Peace, Justice and Reconciliation Lecturer at Indiana’s Goshen College, and the 2021 Keeney Peace Lecture at Ohio’s Bluffton University.
(https://www.bluffton.edu/news/-2020-21/032621keeney.aspx). His thoughts have been captured in works such as “Atonement: The Million Man March,” Pilgrim Press, 1996, and a chapter in, “Black Religion After The Million Man March,” edited by Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher, Orbis Books, 1998. Dr. Sullivan is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has contributed to the public discourse through Op-Eds, Facebook, Twitter, and faith-based publications – in print and online. Through his recently re-released article, “Preaching While Black: Ten Indicators of Racism in Predominantly White Church Bodies,” Dr. Sullivan is giving anti-racism guidance to individuals and church groups across the country. He will publish a book of sermons during fall 2022.
Dr. Sullivan is a native of Cleveland, OH. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal Communication from the Scripps College of Communication of Ohio University, Athens, OH. While at Ohio University, Dr. Sullivan was a member of the Black Students Communication Caucus, the University Chorus, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, and the Gospel Voices of Faith. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington, KY and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Economic and Social Justice from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH where he studied with Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and the late Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor. Dr. Sullivan has engaged in graduate studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, and has earned two certificates, one in non-profit leadership from Jackson State University, Jackson, MS, and the other in conflict resolution from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
In recognition of his social justice and anti-death penalty efforts, Dr. Sullivan was given the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award by Governor Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Black Heritage Library and Multicultural Center of Findlay, OH. In 2018 Dr. Sullivan received the African American Liberation Award from the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), while in 2013, Dr. Sullivan was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bethany College, Bethany, WV.
An advocate of global learning, Dr. Sullivan has attended and given leadership in conferences and events in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Israel-Palestine, and Switzerland. He was a member of an October 2018 Journey of Hope delegation to Uganda for purposes of anti-death penalty advocacy. In 2019, Journey of Hope presented Dr. Sullivan with its Victims’ Services Award. Dr. Sullivan was a 2019 participant in both the 7th World Congress against the Death Penalty in Brussels, Belgium, and the National Sikh-Christian Dialogue, Columbus, OH. He is expected to participate in the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, set for Karlsruhe, Germany during the summer of 2022.