Hello, Welcome to the Arise Academy.


Here we believe in supporting the women who hold up the world. We want this to be your safe space to connect, grow and thrive. We've provided cutting edge scholarship, prepared faculty, and engaging topics to meet you where you lead and serve and we are ready to welcome you with open arms. 


Our Philosophy


Because the world has changed, so too must the ways we gather, learn, serve, and live out our Spirit borne call. Arise Academy is a fully online experience, for women by women.  Each course is designed to offer you skills and practical training for your ministry area to study from the comfort of your home, the busy-ness of your life, and the uncertainty of our times.  Each course is 6 Weeks long, requires about an hour a week of your time, and is set to go at your own pace.

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Arise Academy 2023 Faculty

Rev. D. Michelle Williams

Michelle D. Williams is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur. For over twenty years, Rev. Williams has worked with people during some of the most formative and stressful seasons of life. Beginning as a social worker with at-risk populations; serving as a pastor walking through life’s transitions; working as an advisor/mentor to undergraduate college students (Anderson University); navigating tumultuous racial/cultural conflicts, and most recently as a dean at a graduate seminary (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary). Michelle is co-author of Diversity Playbook: Recommendations and Guidance for Christian Organizations. She is a Certified Diversity Executive and CEO of Shalom Consultants.



Rev. Erin Moss Taylor

Erin Taylor is passionate about helping others experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ. Her life and ministry are marked by her love for the local church, passion for developing leaders, and desire to pour out her life for Christ.

In the summer of 2017 she was thrilled to begin serving as the Senior Pastor of the First Church of God in Alma, Michigan. Prior to that she served as Teaching Pastor at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis for 13 years.

Much of the story of her life is deeply rooted in the local church. As the daughter of a Church of God pastor, Bob and Renee Moss, she grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan and answered the call to ministry at age 15 at the International Youth Convention of the Church of God.

In 2002 she served as Miss Michigan for the Miss America Organization and traveled throughout the country speaking at schools, community events, and many churches. Erin completed her undergraduate and seminary work at Anderson University where she currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Erin and her husband Dan have 4 energetic kids (Will, Noah, Jake, and Anna Kate) and love celebrating how adoption is part of their family story.



Rev. Dr. Leslie Parker Barnes

Leslie Parker Barnes is a native of Akron, Ohio. She graduated from Akron Public Schools and continued her education at Bowling Green State University.

After receiving an Associate Degree in Applied Business she furthered her education at the McCreary Center for Black Religious Studies receiving a diploma in Black Religious Studies. She then went on to obtain a Master of Divinity degree from Ashland Theological Seminary.

Leslie began YEPAW in 1990, encouraging youth, through the arts, to pursue lifestyles of excellence. In 2006, she was the recipient of The Akron Beacon Journal's Extraordinary Woman Crystal Award in recognition of her service to youth. She is a graduate of the 2008 class of Leadership Akron.

In 2010, the Women’s Endowment Fund recognized Leslie for her extraordinary commitment to social justice through her service to thousands of youth.

Mrs. Barnes is also a popular vocalist who performs with the nationally acclaimed gospel group, Divine Hope. She annually presents a “Leslie Parker Barnes and Friends” concert featuring a 100+ person community choir. She is also a cast member of the accredited musical, “Paul: A Musical Journey,” which has performed in cities across the U.S. In addition to her leadership of YEPAW, Ms. Barnes is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and serves as the Minister of Praise & Worship Arts at Arlington Church of God in Akron. Leslie is married to Ted Barnes and together they have two children, Theo and Kimberly.


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