John Dempsey Parker works to support and cultivate resilient and creative community leaders, faith communities, and social entrepreneurs.

John engages leaders, activists, nonprofits, congregations, funders, universities, tribes, and businesses around their ideas, projects, and partnerships.  For over twenty-five years, he’s nurtured collaborative, culturally appropriate, and responsible leadership to strengthen local, statewide, regional, and national initiatives.

John’s areas of focus include strengthening skills, strategies, resources, and partnerships around:

  • civic engagement and community organizing 
  • collaborative and cooperative leadership and group work
  • spiritual activism and contemplative organizing for restorative justice, watershed discipleship, and cultural healing
  • sustainable, community-based and rooted development for cultural survival, integrity, and resilience, including community self-reliance and self-determination 
  • watershed and bioregional stewardship and re-inhabitation, wilderness preservation, and a thriving wild Creation

John also supports others in their vocational development – helping them discern how to share their time, talents, gifts, relationships, and resources with others.

Vision, Vocation, and Commitments ::  John Dempsey Parker aims for his efforts to support and strengthen creative, intergenerational, multicultural, multiracial, multi-faith, multi-sector, decolonizing, and abolitionist work for racial, economic, and environmental justice towards collective liberation.

John’s current collaborators and colleagues include the NC Council of Churches, the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, Kim Pevia, the NC Rural Center, Duke Divinity School, and the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University.  His community connections include the Southeast Raleigh TableZen Peacemakers, plus board service with Repairers of the Breach, and Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.  John splits his time between North Carolina and Louisiana, and primarily works in communities throughout in the U.S. South.

John’s career includes directing a community development collaborative, community development finance, business and organizational development, teaching cultural and applied anthropology and nonprofit management, ethnographic research, and a variety of consulting work with small businesses, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations.

John is from Moore County, North Carolina, part of the Sandhills area in the upper Cape Fear and Lumber River basins in the Piedmont region – historic and present homeland to descendants of the Pee Dee, Catawba, Shakori, Tuscarora, Lumbee, among other indigenous peoples.  He received a BA at Wake Forest University in anthropology, international relations, and politics, a MA in applied anthropology from the University of Memphis, a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and a M.Div. from Duke Divinity School.

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John’s guiding questions:

  • How do we nurture and grow cultural practices that cultivate and strengthen community?
  • What encourages generosity, hospitality, solidarity, and empowerment?
  • What nurtures wellness, healing, resilience, restorative justice, liberation, self-reliance, and self-determination?
  • How can we identify, leverage, and share our individual and collective gifts and assets in ways that are life-giving, nurture care and creativity, sustain diverse collaborations, and cultivate commitment to place?
  • What, where, and when are the places, spaces, and times to do this work?

See resources below …