Meet the ISBCE Fellows

"We believe that the collective Black Christian Experience has much to share with the Global Church" 


Matthew Brima

Born in Sierra Leone to Roman Catholic parents, Matthew Brima came to the Faith during the Civil War in his country by way of a United Nations soldier from Nigeria.

Brima studied Economics and Education at the University of Sierra Leone and upon graduation in 2005, went into full-time ministry. Brima came to Gordon-Conwell with prior experience in ministry as The National Director for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Student (IFES) and Executive of the Evangelical Fellowship for nine years. Listening to the direction of the Lord, Brima resigned and three months later was offered a full scholarship to study at Gordon-Conwell as a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) student.

Matthew desires to return to Sierra Leone immediately after his studies to plant “the Living Light,” a ministry helping the church with the intersection of Faith, Work, and Economics. Matthew is Married to Francess, and they are blessed with Meroma (5+) and Matthew Sahr.

Zoë Towler

My role as a Fellow at the ISBCE is to be a resource to the Institute, first and foremost. One of the main ways I hope to do this is by bringing my experience as a bi-racial (Black and White) woman who grew up in Evangelicalism to help build bridges between the communities on campus. After undergrad, I went on to work for a (White) Evangelical organization for 5 years where I learned a lot about Evangelical culture and normativity, if you will. My research at ISBCE is to create and develop a short curriculum/training program for white scholars at GCTS who are interested in pursuing anti-racist and multi-ethnic ministry, starting first in their development and seminary career. Now, you might be asking, so why with the ISBCE if your work is tailored to white folk?! Well, I believe developing our white counterparts to have the proper skills, emotional awareness, understanding and self compassion/love are essential to their development and success working across cultures, specifically Black people (from across the diaspora). As someone called to reconciliation, specifically this is one of the many ways I get to live this out! 

Fellows Alumni

Chris Nichols

With three decades in campus ministry, Chris Nichols has returned to Gordon-Conwell to pursue an MA in Religion with a concentration in the Black Christian Experience.

Chris has a diverse academic background, having done post-graduate work in theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC and completed an MA in European History at the University of California, San Diego. He is focusing his current research on Black Millennial Men and their relationship to the church. The Institute’s vision to invest and learn from the rich tradition and experiences of the Black Church drew him to the program.

Nichols believes the Black Christian experience is a model for that transformation and has much to teach the global church.

Charis McHead

Charis McHead is a graduate of Empire State College, with a BA in International History.

After working five years in an inner-city library system, she was called to domestic missions.  In order to better prepare for the missions field, Charis is pursuing her MA in Community outreach, focusing on Islamic studies and the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is currently working on a final project entitled “Domestic Missions: Foster Care and the Call to Act.”

Upon graduation, Charis hopes to open a therapy farm, and work with foster children by becoming a foster parent and offering respite care for existing foster parents.