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Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr

Executive Director

The Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan is the executive director of the 104-year-old statewide organization known as the Ohio Council of Churches. As the OCC endeavors to function as a “Jesus movement for unity, justice, and peace,” Dr. Sullivan gives public and collegial leadership and service that lifts the Council’s priorities while working to enhance the relationships between the 18 Christian denominations that comprise the OCC. He is the immediate-past Senior Pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Findlay, Ohio, and is the 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 chairperson of the Governing 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 the 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, Ohio.

Executive Director Sullivan is an ardent supporter of civil and human rights, gun violence prevention, mental health advocacy, and LGBTQ+ rights. He has given leadership to numerous religious, civic, and social organizations in Ohio, Washington State, and other states where he has resided and served.   Dr. Sullivan is an alumni member of Big Brothers and a 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, Dr. Sullivan is an Adjunct Instructor in ecumenism with the Center for Ministry and Lay Training at Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and member of the Athens, Ohio-based Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society; the Canal Winchester, Ohio Lions Club; the Academy of Homiletics; the National Action Network; the United States Global Leadership Council; the Lexington Theological Seminary Alumni Council; and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers;  He holds life memberships in 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 Xavier University, Georgetown University, The Ohio State University, Capital University Law School, and his alma mater, Ohio University. He was the preacher for Ohio’s Heidelberg University’s Baccalaureate Service and preacher during the Commencement Exercises of Trinity Lutheran Seminary. In 2022 Dr. Sullivan was the Beechy Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation Lecturer at Indiana’s Goshen College, and the 2021 Keeney Peace Lecturer at Ohio’s Bluffton University.  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 National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. He has contributed to the public discourse through op-eds, Facebook, Twitter, and faith-based publications in print and online. Dr. Sullivan’s impactful 2015 essay, “Preaching While Black: Ten Indicators of Racism in Predominantly White Church Bodies,” was recently slated to be published as a book by The Pilgrim Press.  In October 2023, he co-wrote the newly recorded and released song, Ceasefire, that addresses war and violence around the world.

“Reverend Jack,” as he is often called,  is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal Communication from the Scripps College of Communication of Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.  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, Kentucky, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Economic and Social Justice from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio 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 continuing education certificates, one in non-profit leadership from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, and the other in conflict resolution from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. 

In recognition of his social justice and anti-death penalty efforts, Dr. Sullivan was given the 2022 Death Penalty Abolition Award by Restorative Justice International; 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; the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Black Heritage Library and Multicultural Center of Findlay, Ohio; and the 2019 Victims Services Award from Journey of Hope From Violence to Healing.  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, West Virginia. In 2024, he received an honorary doctorate from Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio.

An advocate of global learning, Dr. Sullivan has attended and given leadership in conferences and events in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, 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.  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 of the National Council of Churches. In 2022 he participated in both the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the 8th World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Sullivan attended the 12th General Assembly of the All Africa Conference of Churches in Abuja, Nigeria, in November 2023.

Dr. Sullivan is married to the Reverend Sèkinah Hamlin, a sought-after justice activist and organizer currently serving as Advocacy Consultant on the staff of the Disciples Overseas Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Together they are parents of three adults and two minor children.

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