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2017 Beane Lecture Series at WPU Welcomes Rev. Michael & Rev. Maria Westbrook


William Penn University will welcome both Rev. Michael T. Westbrook (’82) and Rev. Maria A. (Ellis) Westbrook (’83) on Thursday, April 6 as the 2017 Beane Lecture Series guest speakers.  These lectures will be open to the public.  Their first lecture, titled “Restoring the Community; Repairing the Leaks,” will be held at 11:15 a.m. in the Chief Mahaska Room in the Dana M. Atkins Memorial Union and biblical references will come from Isaiah 58:12 NKJV.

The Westbrooks currently serve over 1,500 residents annually in the city of Newark, NJ, as co-founders of Greater Life, Inc., an outreach ministry that meets the needs of youth and families. They also serve as co-founders and pastors of Greater Life Christian Fellowship Church, an 18-year-old church that was initiated to encourage spiritual growth and meet needs of teen members.  The church now serves entire families.

Michael Westbrook worked in leadership capacities in both church and para-church ministries and focused on leadership development for 31 years while Maria Westbrook has focused on non-profit organizational development for 30 years; impacting 28,000 youth and families of Newark, NJ, and over 57,000 globally.  Maria has a decade of corporate experience at Kemper Insurance in underwriting and collection accounting as well as 30 years expertise in fund development.  She has volunteered for dozens of organizations, is a co-founder with Michael for the Gateway Pregnancy Center, is a member of AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) and has been on various other boards of directors.

Michael has expertise in executive leadership, including management and membership of several collaborative efforts and he has volunteered for dozens of organizations, including: President/Dean, Gerrell Bible Institute & Training Center; Co-Manager, Summit Group/Global Leadership Summit; former Vice President of Multicultural and Urban Ministry, Young Life; and Dean of Winter Intensive, Young Life/Campolo School, Eastern University.  He also serves on other various boards of directors.

Michael is a contributing author of the books: “Planting Seeds of Hope,” “Men of Color Study Bible,” and “African American Leadership in The Black Church,” along with several published magazine articles, and is a recipient of numerous awards.  Maria is a contributing author of the book “African American Leadership in the Black Church,” and is a recipient of numerous awards, including the “State of New Jersey First Lady Award”.

Michael studied at William Penn College (University); Northern Baptist School of School of Religion; Metropolitan Bible Institute; Urban Training, Young Life/Fuller Theological Seminary; and Alliance Theological Seminary.  Maria received her degree in Business Administration and Economics at William Penn College (University) and has also attended the following programs and schools: Urban Training, Young Life/Fuller Theological Seminary; Young Life Fund Development School; Young Life/Campolo School; Eastern University; Metropolitan Bible Institute; and Executive Leadership Certification, Rutgers University.

Happily married for 32 years, the pair has resided in Newark, NJ, for 30 years.  As a strong African American couple, they have also dedicated their lives to parenting dozens of orphans and children in crisis for 31 years.

The Beane Lecture Series was established through an endowment by Ercil and Maxine Beane in 2008 to develop programs that engage students, faculty, and the community in discussions influenced by Quaker principles and philosophies. Through that endowment, a guest speaker is brought to William Penn University each year. Due to their commitment to kindness, generosity, and community, William Penn University is pleased to welcome both Rev. Maria A. and Rev. Michael T. Westbrook for the 2017 edition of the Beane Lecture Series.


For more information, contact:

Hailey Brown
Communications/Event Coordinator
William Penn University
641-673-1078 |

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