Board of Directors
Aram Mitchell— President
Ever since he laced up his first pair of hiking boots Aram has been walking the long trail that led him to Renewal in the Wilderness. The miles he’s covered with a pack on his back have taught Aram the value of walking with levity in a heavy world. When he’s not scouting for new experiences of renewal - and spreading the news in coffee shops, congregations, board rooms, mountains, streams, deserts, and forests - Aram is probably somewhere in Portland (Maine) with a comic book in hand, or pushing his nieces on the swing, or brushing up on old card tricks.
Angela Parker—Vice President
Angela Parker is a Co-founder and President of Realized Worth. Realized Worth is a global consultancy focused on the design and implementation of employee volunteer programs with wide range of clients including Apple, Microsoft, Abbott Labs, At&t, McDonald’s, AstraZenenca, and others. Prior to launching Realized Worth, Angela managed long-term volunteers at non-profit organizations, worked with at-risk youth and children, and led groups in disaster relief efforts. With an additional background in communications, Angela writes for various publications on the topics of engaging employees in volunteering, entrepreneurship, and employee engagement.With an additional background in communications, Angela writes for various publications on the topics of engaging employees in volunteering, entrepreneurship, and employee engagement.
Greg Rose is a student at Chicago Theological Seminary pursuing a Master of Arts degree. He came to theological studies after more than 25 years in the corporate world, and prior to that obtained his MBA from Northwestern University. An Eagle Scout, Greg has loved the outdoors since his parents first took him camping in the Colorado Rockies when he was only two months old. His favorite places for adventure include the Rocky Mountains and the southern Utah desert. With Chicago as his home though, he also enjoys nearby escapes to Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. In addition to serving on the board of Renewal in the Wilderness, Greg is on the board of Lakeview Pantry, one of Chicago’s largest food pantries. Greg believes that it is vital for each of us to periodically take time to separate ourselves from our normal, typically hectic routines, in order that we might be able to gain some perspective on our lives while being renewed and restored. Not surprisingly, Greg feels that the best place for renewal is in the wilderness.
Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Ph.D.
Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary. From June of 1998 until June of 2008, she served as the 11th President of CTS. Prior to the Presidency, she had been a Professor of Theology at CTS for 20 years and director of the Ph.D. Center for five years. An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ since 1974, she is the author or editor of thirteen books. Thistlethwaite has become widely known as a blogger on religion in the public square and she writes for several online news outlets. She is currently a consultant to the Carter Center “Scholars in Action” and the Women, Religion, Violence and Power program and her most recent book, called Women’s Bodies as Battlefield: Christian Theologies and the Global War on Women ( (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015) has been #1 on Amazon’s “Hot New Bestsellers” in the Human Rights category.
Sharon Welch, Ph.D.
Sharon Welch is Provost and Professor of Religion and Society at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Unitarian Universalist), Chicago, Illinois. She has held positions as Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri from 1991-2007. She was assistant and then associate professor of Theology and Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School from 1982 to 1991. Welch is currently a member of the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network, and a Fellow of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Raised on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle, Welch has long known the restorative power of deep engagement with the bounty and beauty of the natural world. In her work as Provost, Welch has led in the development of a contextual model of theological education that is grounded in deep immersion in both the social and natural worlds that surround us and sustain us. Welch is the author of five books and numerous articles in the field of social ethics.
No matter where she goes or how far she wanders, Lauren always takes her yoga mat along on the adventure. She shares this practice in wildly creative ways with anyone who needs a chance to catch their breath whether that happens in her local yoga studio in Portland, ME or around a campfire with trail mates. When the pack feels too heavy, the climb too steep, the air too cold or the mind too weary, Lauren likes to ask the question—I wonder what will happen next? When she’s not helping to craft future manifestations of Renewal in the Wilderness, Lauren is likely out in the wild with her dogs or taking a nap.