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The Rev. Starsky D. Wilson

Starsky D. Wilson is a pastor, philanthropist and activist pursuing God's vision of community marked by justice, peace and love. He is pastor of Saint John's Church (The Beloved Community), President and CEO of Deaconess Foundation and chair of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Deaconess is a faith-based grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. Since 1998, Deaconess has invested nearly $80 million to advance its mission. With the Rev. Wilson’s leadership, the Foundation is building a movement for child well-being through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing. Saint John’s Church (The Beloved Community) is an inter-racial, inner-city congregation in St. Louis, affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Through Saint John's, he has led activism on myriad issues, including youth violence prevention, Medicaid expansion, public school accreditation, voter mobilization, capping payday lending and raising the minimum wage, while more than quadrupling worship attendance and annual giving. In 2014, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Rev. Wilson to lead the Ferguson Commission, a group of citizens empowered to study the underlying conditions and make public policy recommendations to help the region progress through issues exposed by the tragic death of Michael Brown, Jr. In 2015, they released the ground-breaking ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity’ Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility. He was elected chair of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in 2017.

The Rev. Wilson earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, master of divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and is currently completing his doctoral thesis, entitled, “The Truth of Reconciliation: Leadership for American Apartheid,” at Duke Divinity School. For his public theology and ministry, he was awarded doctor of public service and doctor of divinity degrees honoris causa by Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary.