Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III

A third-generation warrior for civil and human rights, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III, has built his ministry  on community advancement and racial and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity  United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., since 2008, Dr. Moss routinely preaches and practices a  Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration,  environmental justice, and economic inequality. 

Dr. Moss’ latest book project, Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent  Times, released in November 2022, has been lauded as a “life-affirming guide to the practical,  political, and spiritual challenges of our day.” Utilizing the scholarship of Dr. Martin Luther King,  Jr., and Howard Thurman, alongside biblical texts, a bevy of religious traditions, Black culture,  and his own personal experiences, Dr. Moss offer up a methodology on performing spiritual  resistance by uniting two pillars of his ministry: love and justice. 

Dr. Moss is part of a generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of  love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the  Gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of his community engagement through Trinity United Church of  Christ, Dr. Moss is currently providing vision for an ongoing-multi-year social project in Chicago  called Imani Village. The goal of Imani Village is to develop and build a physical and social  community at 95th & Cottage Grove, gateway to Chicago’s Pullman Community. The project is  designed to provide all of the components a community would need to be whole, including a  medical health center, lodging for tourists, housing for multiple generations, multiple options  for fresh food and vegetables, and a sports and recreation center. 

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a  Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago  Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 2014 to present the famed Lyman Beecher  lectures. The three-day event included an in-depth discourse on the subject of “The Blue Note  Gospel: Preaching the Prophetic Blues in a Post Soul World.” The lectures, which demonstrated  a homiletic blueprint for prophetic preaching in the 21st century, were the foundation of his  book, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair

Dr. Moss has a passion for preaching, which led him back to the classroom. As a visiting lecturer  of homiletics at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, Dr. Moss helped up-and-coming  preachers build and strengthen their own preaching ministries. In 2022, Dr. Moss was named a  professor of homiletics at McAfee, where he continues to teach the next generation of  preachers. 

In addition to being an author and educator, Dr. Moss is also founder and CEO of the  Unashamed Media Group, established in 2012. The production company is a faith based social  justice collective, dedicated to curating stories to inspire the heart and challenge structures that  hinder human flourishing. The Group’s award-winning production, Otis’ Dream, is a narrative  documentary short film, highlighting Otis Moss, Sr.’s 1946 attempt to vote in Troup County,  Ga. The film has not only been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, The Joy Reid  Show and Roland Martin Unfiltered, but it is also the winner of eight film festival awards in the  United Kingdom and the United States. Festival awards include, best narrative short, best  documentary short, best musical score, best actor and audience favorite. Currently Unashamed 

Media is in pre-production for a feature length version of Otis’ Dream

With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss’ creative bible-based messages  have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a  popular speaker on college campuses, at conferences, and churches across the globe. He is  highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz,  and Hip-Hop music. The work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the pastoral ministry  of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, have been primary mentors for his spiritual  formation. 

Over the years a number of awards and honors have been bestowed upon Dr. Moss. Two such  honors are: 

  • Baylor University’s Truett School Theology recognized Dr. Moss as one of the 12 most  effective preachers in the English-speaking world. 
  • Presbyterian College, Clinton, S.C., Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur Ga., and  Peachtree Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Ga., jointly awarded Dr. Moss the inaugural  Harrington Prize for young preachers. This distinction recognizes young ministers who  have shown evidence of distinguished examples of preaching, evangelism, community  service, and the promise of future contributions. 

Dr. Moss is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., his first  pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2100 disciples during his tenure.  

His earlier publications include: Redemption in a Red Light District, and The Gospel According to  the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix; How to Reach  the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose  Behind Our Praise, with his father. His sermons, articles, and poetry have appeared in several  print and online publications, including Sojourners Magazine and The African American Pulpit  Journal. 

Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United  Church of Christ. In addition to his other ministerial duties, he also serves as chaplain of the  Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. 

He is married to his college sweetheart, the former Monica Brown of Orlando, Fla., a Spelman  College and Columbia University graduate. They are the proud parents of two creative and  humorous young adults, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon. 

Rev. Tim Seery

Rev. Tim Seery (he/him) is the pastor of the Congregational Church of La Jolla, United Church of Christ located in a coastal suburb of San Diego, California. He’s previously served in pastoral capacities at two Boston-area congregations as well as a chaplain at an assisted living community. Ordained in 2017 by the Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference (acting as an Association) of the United Church of Christ, Tim holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and bachelor’s in comparative religion from Harvard University. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry candidate at the UCC-affiliated Pacific School of Religion where he is studying the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of the Congregational Way of church governance. Passionate about the radical inclusion and vision of the UCC, Tim serves the wider church as chair of his Association’s Committee on Ministry, as an ethics response team member, and as Vice Chair of the Southern California Nevada Conference Board of Directors. He is also proud to be a member of Cohort 11 of the UCC Pension Board’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative.

Do you know where your money is sleeping at night?

You might not have realized that your money, the money you deposit into a bank account, 401K, or other investment account is doing anything. Much less sleeping! And of course, money doesn’t actually sleep, but it certainly does do things.  

In church contexts we sometimes worry that saved money is “just sitting there.” We wonder if it wouldn’t be better, or more faithful, to use these monies for some new ministry or donation. 

It is always important to ask if we are being faithful with our budgets, but the reality is that most money is not just sitting at the bank. Money is doing something while it is in a bank or investment account. It’s certainly not sitting idle. It may be buying stock in a corporation, or purchasing government bonds, or a myriad of other things. This is what is meant by investing. It is the process of investing that allows you to earn a return. Whether that’s a smaller return like a savings account, or a riskier, but potentially larger return, in an investment account. 

While interest rates are high right now, and you have many options to earn a good rate of return, not all investing is created equal. There are many prominent financial institutions out there who are paying a decent rate of return, but they’re also likely investing your dollars in companies with which you do not share missional alignment. Think Big Oil, Big Pharma, Guns etc. Do you know what your current investments are doing?

At the Cornerstone Fund, every dollar invested goes toward supporting the Church and other faith-based nonprofits, in the form of low cost, low fee loans. Our loan specialists support and guide projects ranging from food pantries, to solar panels, to new roofs for local congregations.  If you are interested in fighting climate change, supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, increasing access to affordable housing, or funding myriad other community building projects, then Cornerstone Fund’s Investing Program is a way that you can put your money to work for something you really care about

Perhaps you or your congregation are particularly interested in Climate Change or support of LGBTQIA+? Cornerstone Fund has specific investing programs in those areas. If racial justice is one of the priorities for your church, then you might be interested to learn that 49% of our loan funding is currently going to African American congregations. 

Cornerstone Fund’s Investing Program offers an incredible opportunity to both know exactly where your money is sleeping at night and to feel really good about what it is doing during the day. And the best part is that this is not a donation. Your money can contribute to positive initiatives, help to drive positive change, while also earning a competitive fixed rate return. 

Our Investing Program offers both individuals and congregations a unique opportunity to take part in transformative Kin-Dom building, discipleship growing, and community development programs. 

How can we do all this good, while also taking such good care of your money? At Cornerstone Fund we like to call it God Math. 

Starting on December 7th we will be offering a four-part webinar series called “God Math,” which will highlight our Lending Program, Investing Program, The Cornerstone Fund Difference, Congregational Vitality and Community Development projects, and the God Math that ties it all together. 

God Math - Webinar Series - Part 1 of 4


  • Date & Time: December 7, 2023 01:00 PM EST
  • Description: A four-part webinar series presented by the Cornerstone Fund. Join us for a four-part conversation with leaders from across the UCC, highlighting the Cornerstone Fund Lending Program, Investing Program, Congregational Vitality and Community Development, Investing Basics, and the God Math that ties it all together


Rev. Dr. Courtney Stange-Tregear
Chief Relationship Officer, Cornerstone Fund

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Rev. Darrell L. Goodwin
Member, Board of Directors, Cornerstone Fund

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Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
Senior Pastor
Trinity UCC Chicago

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Rev. Tim Seery
Pastor and Southern California Nevada Conference Board Member

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Betsey Saffar, Vice President & CFO

Saffar brings extensive non-profit and private-sector financial experience and an entrepreneurial spirit to Cornerstone Fund. She previously served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Achievement Centers for Children, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit that provides an array of services to children and adults with disabilities. Prior to that, Saffar was an accountant at Ernst & Young and also ran her own catering company. After earning a Bachelors Degree from The Ohio State University, Saffar studied Accounting at the Masters level at Cleveland State University and earned an MBA in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University

Cornerstone Fund Announces Betsey Saffar as New Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Cleveland, Ohio (October 13, 2023) – Cornerstone Fund is pleased to announce Betsey Saffar as its new Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective September 18, 2023. In this Executive Leadership team role, Saffar will lead the Finance and Accounting team, prepare the Fund’s annual Offering Circular, and interact with the Board of Directors regarding the Budget and fiscal matters.

“I could not be more thrilled to have someone of Betsey’s professional caliber and personal compassions join and help lead our team,” Cornerstone Fund President and CEO Maria Coyne said of Saffar.

Saffar brings extensive non-profit and private-sector financial experience and an entrepreneurial spirit to Cornerstone Fund. She previously served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Achievement Centers for Children, a Cleveland, Ohio based non-profit that provides an array of services to children and adults with disabilities. Prior to that, Saffar was an accountant at Ernst & Young and also ran her own catering company.

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity put my financial expertise towards advancing Cornerstone Fund’s mission,” Saffar said. “I’m excited to be a part of a faith-based team that’s committed to investing in and building community.”

After earning a Bachelors Degree from The Ohio State University, Saffar studied Accounting at the Masters level at Cleveland State University and earned an MBA in Applied Management from Indiana Wesleyan University

About Cornerstone Fund

Founded in 1993, the United Church of Christ Cornerstone Fund (Cornerstone Fund) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and leading financial organization that provides transformative financial solutions to support and empower faith-based communities. Through strategic, financial investments and partnerships, Cornerstone Fund helps churches and faith-based non-profits achieve their financial goals while fostering community development and economic justice.



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The UCC Church Building & Loan Fund (CB&LF) assists new and renewing United Church of Christ congregations and other Christian congregations regardless of sect or denominational affiliation, that are planning to buy a first church building or land site, or who want to construct, renovate or develop a church building, school, parsonage or other church-owned real property that advances the mission of the Church.

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Jubilee Impact Fund


Jubilee Impact Fund, Inc. is a non-profit ministry organization that directs faith impact investment to Christian community development by establishing impact investment fund and enterprise program models. Jubilee’s biblical vision is to rebuild, restore and renew cities of hope and human flourishing around the United States. By partnering with local investors, churches, and faith-based organizations, Jubilee directs capital into business and real estate ventures in at-risk neighborhoods that employ women, youth, and minorities supported by Christ-centered ministries. Jubilee is raising Christian community development impact investment funds in metropolitan areas nationwide.

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Neighborhood Development Ministries, Inc. (ND Ministries) serves neighbors by helping the local church foster great neighborhoods. ND Ministries partners with and support churches and ministries in local communities to help them create neighborhood-based opportunities for service and outreach. By fostering these supportive, inclusive, and sustainable neighborhoods, ND Ministries envision the neighborhood’s flourishing by living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission through innovative community and economic development models.

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