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 2022 Faculty

Rev. Alyssa Pederson-DeWitt

Rev. Alyssa (pronounced “uh-lee-suh”) Peterson-DeWitt is a writer, chaplain, and mother to many cats and dogs. She is an Anderson University (And., IN) graduate, with a Bachelors of Arts in Christian Ministries (with Minors in Writing and Biblical Studies) and a Master of Divinity. She is a credentialed and ordained minister in the Church of God (Anderson, IN) Wesleyan-Holiness movement. With 7 years of church ministry experience and 3 years of non-profit experience, Alyssa now serves as a critical care hospital chaplain in Atlanta, GA. Alyssa is passionate about women in ministry and church leadership, and she works to create a wider, more inclusive table for all people to encounter God. Alyssa loves to read, practice yoga, and spend time with her husband and their many animals in their humble, wooded abode.

Rev. Felecia Pearson-Smith

Felecia Pearson Smith has established herself as a speaker, instructor, scholar, and community servant. Reverend Smith also facilitates women’s conferences and speaks and preaches locally and nationally. In addition, she has dedicated herself to full-time ministry with her husband, Pastor Michael A. Smith. She and Pastor Michael retired in 2020 after 40 years of pastoral ministry. Rev. Smith served as the Executive Pastor of Community Church of God. 


Felecia Pearson Smith has a legacy of outstanding accomplishments. As an Atlanta, Georgia native, she graduated from Wesleyan College, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. Following graduation, Felecia entered the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and earned a Master of Divinity. She was the first African American woman graduate from the School of Theology.  


Felecia is also a licensed and ordained minister of the Georgia Ministerial Assembly of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. Currently, Rev. Smith serves as the coordinator of the Georgia Fellowship Women’s Ministry of the Church of God. 


She has served as the President/CEO of the Shenango Valley (PA) Urban League, Inc, and director of the Bonner Office of Community Service and Student Development at Spelman College. 


 Reverend Smith focuses on emotional and spiritual health for women, the faith community, and organizations. She is a published author, My Hair My Marriage, a chronicle of her hair stories that coincide with her marriage. Recently, Felecia released an e-book called The Principles of Naomi: Strength for Your Journey. She is also the host of FeleciaSpeaks, authentic conversations on emotional and spiritual health on FB Live.   


Rev. Smith is the mother of two adult children, and the Smiths have one grandson. 


Reverend Smith is a distinct woman of great character, integrity, and grace. She believes that with strength, balance, and faith, “God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion through Christ Jesus."  



Jennifer Stanley

Jennifer Stanley is a certified health coach, enneagram guide, and business owner. She is the founder of Living Well, a company committed to helping people achieve optimal health in order to experience fulfilling, authentic, influential lives.  

Jennifer’s career began in 2001 as an independent recording artist and worship leader serving in churches across the nation. Driven by her desire for impact outside the church walls, in 2011 she became a small business owner, personal stylist, and passionate community volunteer.

Despite success in business, her health and personal fulfillment suffered. She knew she needed to find a way out of obesity, exhaustion, and shame. In 2019, with the help of a coach, the enneagram, and Jesus, Jennifer changed the course of her life and now helps others do the same.

Jennifer is married to her best friend and biggest fan, Casey. They have two children and a golden retriever. Jennifer enjoys roller skating, skiing, and Broadway musicals. Her favorite spot is sitting on the porch with Casey dreaming about their future adventures. 

Rev. Jennifer Wilson

Rev. Jennifer “JJ” Wilson thrives on finding a path through a problem. She has helped numerous friends and organizations sort through their stuff, creating a plan to move forward with hope and purpose. She is an activator and motivator, positive and productive. A wife and mother, Jennifer trained as an elementary educator and served as an associate pastor and worship leader.

She earned her MDiv while raising her two sons and currently is the administrator for The Center for Pastoral Formation for the Free Methodist Church. She lives in southwestern Illinois with her family and enjoys singing, reading, walking, and chatting with friends over a cup of tea.



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