Project Staff

sarah bixlerRev. Sarah Ann Bixler, PhD

Program Director and Co-Principal Investigator

Sarah Ann Bixler (PhD and MDiv Princeton Theological Seminary, BA Eastern Mennonite University) is Assistant Professor of Formation and Practical Theology and Associate Dean of the Seminary at Eastern Mennonite University. Her research focuses on adolescent belonging, attachment, faith and meaning-making throughout the life course, human and spiritual formation, and communal practices of teaching and learning.
Sarah is currently working on a book manuscript that draws on attachment theory to understand the paradox of adolescent happiness without belonging in religious communities, and equip communities to respond in ways that support belonging and faith. She is the editor of the Collected Essays of Richard Osmer (Kindle Direct Publishing, 2022) and her chapter "Religion Has No Bo(u)nds? Expanding the Dimensions of Religion to the Attachment of Spiritual Friendship” is featured in Multireligious Reflections on Friendship: Becoming Ourselves in Community (Lexington Books, 2023). 
Sarah is ordained for teaching ministry in the Virginia Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. Prior to university and seminary teaching, Sarah was a middle school teacher, congregational youth minister, Sunday school curriculum writer and regional church administrator. She and her spouse enjoy the adventure of parenting their three school-aged children.


almeda wrightRev. Almeda Wright, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

Almeda M. Wright (PhD Emory University, MDiv Harvard Divinity School, MAT Simmons College, BS Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is the tenured Associate Professor of Religious Education at Yale Divinity School. Her research focuses on African American religion, Womanist practical theology, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion, education, and public life. Almeda recently launched Communitas, a young adult ministry innovation hub at Yale.

Almeda’s most recent book Teaching to Live: Black Religion, Activist-Educators and Radical Social Change (Oxford, 2024) explores religion, education, and radial social change among African Americans through the stories of eight educators across the twentieth century. She is also the author of The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans (Oxford, 2017) and the editor, with Mary Elizabeth Moore, of Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World. Almeda contributed to the exciting student bible, the Common English (CEB) Student Bible.

Almeda is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches and has worked with young people for over 25 years, including as a 5th and 6th grade teacher, as a youth minister, and the Assistant Director of the Youth Theological Initiative at Emory University.


greg cGregory Czyszczon, PhD, LPC

Restoring Connections Lab Professor





debra pardiniDebra Pardini

Administrative Assistant





kathy smithKathy Smith

Finance Administrator

Text Here...
visit graphicVisit
apply graphicApply