Mark Babb -- Mark has been in pastoral ministry since 1984, and in music ministry since 1980. Ordained an elder in 1993, he transitioned to Deacon in 2002 after having served churches in West Ohio as a pastor. He is certified in music by the UMC. He has served churches in Ohio, MIchigan and Illinois as a Director of Music. Mark has additional training in spiritual formation, having completed the Academy for Spiritual Formation, and completed many of the courses for certification in spiritual formation. Mark currently is an instructor for Axia College (UOP) and Baker College, directs the adult choir at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jackson MI, and coordinates the spiritual formation activities at Westminster and First UMC in Jackson.
Claudia Barnes --Claudia taught New Testament Greek at Wesley Theological Seminary for many years before retiring in 2008. Her educational background consists of intensive study of Greek at Bryn Mawr College where she received a Master's in Greek and graduate courses in Biblical Greek and Hebrew and Theology at The Catholic University of America. At St. Columba's Church in Washington, D.C. she co-wrote a course for small groups, "Listening for Call" and helped to facilitate small group studies. She credits classes at the Servant Leadership School (part of the Church of the Savior in Washington) as having had a significant influence on the way she has learned and taught in small groups. She lives in Olney, MD, with her younger daughter and worships at the Interfaith Chapel in Leisure World.
Peter Beering -- Peter is an internationally recognized expert in emergency preparedness, planning, response, counter terrorism, arson, and bombings. A principal in the Indianapolis Terrorism Response Group, and Organizational Strategic Solutions, he delivers strategic risk management, threat assessment, emergency response planning, crisis communications, and training services.
Involved in antiterrorism efforts for almost two decades, Mr. Beering has served on numerous advisory panels including the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness, a joint initiative of Harvard University and the United States Department of Justice. This appointment placed him among the twenty leading experts on terrorism in the United States who studied the topic and published various policy recommendations to industry, government, and the public. Mr. Beering is the lead author of, “Winning Plays: Essential Guidance From the Terrorism Line of Scrimmage” which was publicly released March 11, 2002 by the Executive Session. Used extensively by the Department of Homeland Security, “Winning Plays” has been entered into the Congressional Record three times since its release. Beering also wrote a chapter on Infrastructure Vulnerability in First To Arrive: The State and Local Response To Terrorism published by MIT Press November 2003. Mr. Beering is one of ten experts who trained mayors and senior officials throughout the United States in terrorism preparation and response on behalf of the Department of Defense. Mr. Beering has designed and conducted training exercises across the United States for organizations ranging from the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, The District of Columbia Department of Health, Indianapolis metropolitan public safety, public health, and human service agencies, the senior staffs of some of the country’s largest cities, and numerous utilities, private companies and organizations, including the NCAA, NBA, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the Self Storage Association, the Abu Dhabi Water and Electric Authority, and a number of sensitive facilities that can not be identified.
Daniel Benedict -- Dan lives on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. He is a clergy member of the California Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and is officially retired, though he remains active in ministries of teaching, consulting and writing in the areas of worship and liturgical spirituality.
From 1993 to 2005 Dan served as Worship Resources Director in the Center for Worship Resourcing for The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. A liturgy specialist and teacher, he served for nearly thirty years as a pastor of congregations in New York and California before taking the General Board of Discipleship post. He has taught online courses on the role and skills of presiding in worship (particularly Holy Communion), how liturgy shapes our lives, and the basics of worship space. He looks forward to teaching additional courses on pastoral understandings and practices in baptism and Christian initiation, the calendar and lectionary as gift and guide for planning worship and preaching, revamping toward being an incarnational church, and a basic introduction to Christian worship (read a testimony from a past participant).
He has written numerous articles for the Sacramental Life, Worship Arts, Liturgy (published by the Liturgical Conference), Covenant Discipleship Quarterly, Catechumenate, and other periodicals. With Craig Kennet Miller, he has authored Contemporary Worship for the 21st Century: Worship or Evangelism? He is author of, Come to the Waters: Baptism and Our Ministry of Welcoming Seekers and Making Disciples, a pastoral and sacramental invitation to recover the ancient church's way of making disciples. His most recent book is Patterned by Grace: How Liturgy Shapes Us (Upper Room Books, 2007)
He served on the United Methodist Baptism Study Committee that developed By Water and the Spirit: A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism, and was a member of the United Methodist Holy Communion Study Committee mandated by the 2000 General Conference that resulted in This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion. From 1996 to 2004 he convened a working group responsible for revising Services for the Ordering of Ministry in The United Methodist Church, which was adopted by the 2004 General Conference. At the request of the Council of Bishops, Dan assisted their General Conference Worship Committee in planning and directing worship for the 1996, 2000, and 2004 General Conferences.
Dan was born and grew up in central New York State. He took a BA degree at Syracuse University (1966), majoring in religion and classical history, and a Master of Divinity Degree from the American Baptist Seminary of the West (1969). He did further study at the Claremont School of Theology. In 2003 he completed a certificate program in Digital Culture Ministry through Perkins School of Theology and Lumicon Digital Productions.
He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and participates in the academy's Christian Initiation Seminar. He represented the United Methodist Church as a member of the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), a North American consortium of denominational worship directors and scholars who developed the Revised Common Lectionary. He served as the CCT's secretary for five years. In 1997 he represented CCT at the English Language Liturgical Consultation in Turku, Finland.
He is an active member of the Order of Saint Luke, a liturgical and sacramental community in diaspora, and is long time member of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts. He was awarded the Fellowship's Roger Deschner Award for life time achievement in the areas liturgy, music and worship arts at its St. Louis convocation in 2007.
He is also active in the North American Association for the Catechumenate whose mission is to foster and support contemporary implementation of the catechumenal process in the churches. Dan has led pastor's schools, regional meetings, workshops and retreats across the US, and in Singapore and Australia. In recent years he has served as faculty for the Upper Room's Spiritual Formation Academy, teaching the course on "Liturgy and Spirituality."
Dan's ongoing interests are ordering the life of the congregation around the means of grace, crafting liturgy, liturgical space design and presiding in worship. He has a strong sense of vocation to encourage and lead clergy and congregations to richer and more frequent celebration of the Eucharist as normative Christian worship. He is married to Mary O, father of two grown children and grandfather to five boys and a granddaughter. In addition to loving worship as a professional pursuit, he enjoys monastic retreats, gardening, walking the beaches, cooking, and reading poetry and good novels.
Jonathan Brink -- Jonathan is an author, coach, speaker, and consultant. He is the author of Discovering the God Imagination: Reconstructing A Whole New Christianity. Jonathan currently serves as Managing Director for Thrive Ministries, focusing on the missional discipleship process and exploring what it means to really follow Jesus in his mission of restoration and reconciliation.
Jonathan also serves on the leadership team for Transform, a missional community transformation network. The purpose of Transform is to bring together men and women who are on the verge of starting new communities (i.e., community catalysts) or are already cultivating new communities and to give them the encouragement and resources they need to get started and be sustainable
Jonathan lives in Folsom, Ca, with one beautiful wife and amazing three children. He holds a BA in Bible from William Jessup University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. Jonathan blogs daily at http://jonathanbrink.com.
Katherine Brown -- Katherine is a United Methodist deacon and writer married to a scientist and with him raising two daughters to live the relationships of faith and fact, story and truth. Katherine received her M. Div. from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2006, ministered in a local church (writing and teaching classes for all ages), and continues to work for the Seminary and Wesley Ministry Network.
Lisa Buffum -- Lisa is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Discipleship overseeing the ministries of BeADisciple.com. Lisa completed a Masters degree in Christian Ministry from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, in May of 2006. She is the mother of three children and her family is very active as lay members at First UMC, Winfield. Lisa teaches IFD100 How to Provide Your Workshop Online and other workshops as needed, and provides technical assistance for instructors and participants in every IFD workshop.
Alonzo Campbell -- Prior to 2008, Alonzo served as a local church Pastor in the Louisiana Conference. During his tenure as a local church pastor, God gave Alonzo the notion of celebrating Christmas via Christmas Gift to Jesus in a local church setting. Currently, Alonzo teaches classes in the Interdenominational Theological Center of Atlanta, Certificate in Theology classes in Baton Rouge,LA, Wesley United Methodist Church, and New Rocky Baptist Church near the campus of Grambling State University in Grambling, LA. These classes are attended by Clergy and laity.
Alonzo and his wife, Jackie, recently celebrated their 40th Wedding anniversary. They are the parents of one son, Kevin, who serves in the US Army. Kevin is married to Christine. Alonzo and Jackie have their first grandchild, Anisa, who just turned one. They currently live in Baton Rouge.
Joseph Conte -- Joe currently serves as the Director of Church Relations and Instructional Technology at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is an Elder in the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served under pastoral appointment for sixteen years. Joe received a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and holds a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry in Ecumenism from Wesley Theological Seminary. He also teaches courses in technology for ministry and ecumenism at Wesley.
Before entering the ordained ministry, Joe practiced as a licensed Electrical Engineer and eventually owned and operated his own engineering firm. He has always enjoyed the study and development of new technologies and has a keen interest in the application of technology to the ministry of the church. Joe and his family currently live in Baltimore where they are active in a local United Methodist Church serving the diverse communities of the city.
Pamela Deck -- Pamela loves helping churches, other groups, and individuals equip disciples and connect faith to real life through Christian education ministries! Based in the Western North Carolina Conference, her educational background includes a B. S. from Clemson University, Certificate in Business Administration from Isothermal Community College, and graduate work at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, for the Certified Associate in Christian Education in the United Methodist Church 1996. With over 25 years experience in education ministry, she served as Staff Children and Youth Ministries Coordinator at Spindale United Methodist Church for eight years. Later, Pamela contracted with the United Methodist Publishing House for six years as: Cokesbury Action Team Conference Leader and Marion District Representative (training and managing a team of thirteen); FaithHome for Parents Consultant; and National Workshop Presenter. Ongoing training includes Safe Sanctuaries (WNCC), Transitions (WNCC) Coaching (GBOD), Liturgical Dance (SEJ and Long’s Chapel), and Equipping Ministry (Group). Pamela's website is: www.freewebs.com/pdeckconsulting and Facebook page: pdeckconsulting.
Pamela enjoys being actively involved at Spindale United Methodist Church as adult sunday school teacher, Safe Sanctuaries committee chair, Praise in Motion dance leader, lay leadership committee, and Annual Conference lay district delegate. She is a member of the WNCC Christian Educator’s Fellowship and Board Member at KidSenses Children’s Museum. Some favorite hobbies are travel, baking, reading, fashion and sewing, guitar, piano, and dance. Pamela lives with her husband and black lab mix puppy, Jetta. They have a young adult son and daughter. She looks forward to learning with you soon!
Debra Dickerson -- Debra is a member of the Holston Annual Conference, Chattanooga District, and has been a Lay Speaker since 1988. She took a course in July 2010 to become a Certified Lay Speaking Ministries Instructor. She has a MA in Spanish from SUNY Stony Brook and a Certificate in Christian Studies from the EXL online program at Asbury Theological Seminary. She taught languages for 24 years and has online teaching experience. She is currently working toward the M. Div. through Asbury.
Lisa Elliott Diehl -- Lisa is the director of communication for the Kansas East and Kansas West annual conferences of the United Methodist Church. Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Kansas State University. She was director of communications for the Kansas West Conference from March 2001 until July 2006, when she became area director of communications for both the Kansas East and Kansas West conferences. She and her husband live near Wichita, Kansas. She attends the Valley Center United Methodist Church.
Jean K. Dudek -- Jean received her Master of Theological Studies degree, with a concentration in Biblical Interpretation, from Wesley Theological Seminary in May, 2009. Her Master's thesis was about a pair of Victorian-era twin sisters who traveled, learned foreign languages and discovered some important Biblical manuscripts. Jean has taught numerous adult Sunday school classes, including several Wesley Ministry Network courses, at her home church, Bethesda Presbyterian Church, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Trey Everett, MA -- Trey has been involved in study and practice of spiritual formation for over 20 years. He has instructed others in spiritual formation and leadership as a college instructor, pastor, youth minister, and retreat leader. Trey and his wife Corene were part of an eccumenical mission community in China for four years where they taught, served, and experienced the life of faith. Currently Trey serves as co-director of MICAH, Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing, were he assists in developing and leading retreats and events on the spiritual life, leadership, and health and healing. As an artist Trey uses a blend of pen and ink drawing, humor, and candid spiritual observations to creatively challenge others to deeper spiritual development and insight. He is the author of Holy Doodles, Cartoons to Contemplate and holds art exhibits to encourage dialogue about the spiritual life. Trey and Corene and their three young children Madeline, Zoe, and Jack live in Crookston MN.
David E. Flavell -- David has been a Methodist Minister for 18 years, in Peterlee, Liverpool and Hexham. Married to Martha, he has two daughters and a Golden Labrador. He has led three regular Disciple Groups in England and this year will be leading one hosted by a church member and another online.
Beth Galbreath -- Rev. Beth Galbreath is a United Methodist deacon whose specialty is "digital culture ministry." She is passionate about Scripture, biblical storytelling, spiritual formation, Wesleyan theology and heritage, technology and worship design (including frequent, joyous and passionate celebration of the sacraments). She is the author of The Story and the Feast, a digital resource of Communion liturgy tied to the stories and texts of the Revised Common Lectionary. Rev. Galbreath is vice president of the Network of Biblical Storytellers International and coordinator of the associated Chicago-area Prairie Wind Guild: Tellers of sacred stories. She tells Scripture, teaches biblical storytelling online and in person, leads retreats, and consults with churches about creating video and using media well in worship and education. She is active in Kairos Prison Ministries International and serves on staff at Woodridge United Methodist Church in Northern Illinois Conference.
Naomi Garcia -- Naomi García began her professional ministry in 1978. In 1989 she began her tenure on the staff of the West Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church bringing ministry experience from a variety of settings. She and her colleagues on the conference staff resource more than 400 congregations and 50 areas of connectional ministry in their region. Naomi’s work in congregations has spanned from responsibilities specific to teaching ministries in United Methodist and ecumenical community settings to general ministry consulting to addressing conflict and mediation. Building on the foundation of her Master of Arts Degree in Christian Education, Naomi’s experience includes a medium-sized inner city congregation, a 2,000 member congregation in the suburbs and a cooperative parish of six rural congregations ranging in average attendance from 6 to 300. Naomi may be reached most readily by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carl Thomas Stroud Gladstone -- Carl is an ordained Deacon in the Detroit Annual Conference and serves as the Director of the Young Leaders Initiative. YLI is a program dedicated to nurturing youth, engaging young adults, and resourcing adult young people's ministries workers as leaders for the transformation of the church and the world. YLI is funded by the United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit and is in partnership with the Detroit East and West UMC Districts. Carl also is a singer/songwriter seeking to write, record, and perform 'music on the prophetic edge.' You can catch more info on YLI, it's ministries, and Carl's music at: youngleadersinitiative.org, emergedetroit.org, and carlthomasgladstone.com.
Jack Hansen -- Jack is mostly retired from a career in research and research leadership. He still consults part time for the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and the NASA Ames Research Center. He became particularly interested in the personal dimensions of retirement when a participant in the Academy for Spiritual Formation and in the process of making the transition from full time work to part time consulting about five years ago. He and his wife, Pat, reside in Greenville, SC.
Jerry Haas -- Jerry is a United Methodist pastor from Arizona, appointed to Upper Room Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee. His interest in this project comes from his background in pastoral ministry and spiritual formation. He met Jack while serving as Director of the Academy for Spiritual Formation, and together they began collaborating on this project involving ongoing research, writing and teaching related to retirement matters. Jerry and his wife Donna anticipate retiring in a few years; she is a psychotherapist in practice.
Charles Harrison -- Charles currently serves as CEO and Executive Director of The Center for Youth Ministry Excellence (CYMX) and The Youthworker Movement. He is actively working to bring on-line training to folks in Youthwork through www.BeADisciple.com and is helped to launch Youth Disciple Online in the fall of 2012.
Charles is in demand for: training Youthworkers, preaching/teaching at Youth Events. He has a special capacity to especially reach Junior High Youth. He can also be found lecturing on College Campuses around the country focusing on a Wesleyan Model of Youthwork. And often he is recruited to preach in “big” church services on Sundays focusing on reaching Young People with the Gospel and joining God’s Mission to Save the World. Charles has been actively involved in Ministry since 1988.
Andrea Harvey -- Andrea lives in Gray, Maine with her teenage son and their two Maine Coon cats. She graduated from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 2000 with a Masters degree in Christian Education and a concentration in Youth Ministry. Andrea is an Ordained Deacon in full connection in the United Methodist Church and is currently appointed to the Good Shepherd UMC in Gray, Maine. She has been involved in Youth Ministry at local churches since 1980 and on the Conference level since 1993. Andrea is currently working on her doctorate in Ministering to the Post Modern Generations at Gordon Conwell. She is researching youth and worship in this post-modern era and will be offering courses for those interested in exploring methods of teaching young people God's Word and how to live by it in our pluralistic world. Andrea's workshops will be offered in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement.
Andrea's website, www.elyireh.org is a co-op for discussion and the exchange of ideas for hands on youth ministry.
Steve Heyduck -- Steve is the Chaplain at the Methodist Children's Home in Waco, Texas. He is an Elder in the Central Texas Conference. He has a B.A. in Christian Education (Southwestern University, 1984) and an MDiv with a focus on Historical Theology (Asbury Seminary, 1989). He is married to Rachel and has one daughter who is 19. Steve enjoys photography, sports, movies, cooking, and reading. You can keep up with his reading and musings at his blog, everyday theology. His main interests in teaching are in the area of the history and theology behind, surrounding, and empowering youth ministry.
Steve will be leading workshops in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement
Mark C. Hicks -- Mark was appointed founding director of Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries by Bishop Charlene Kammerer in June of 1999. A pioneer and architect of the Disciple Prison Ministry Initiative, Hicks first served as chairperson of the DISCIPLE Prison Ministry Task Force in 1998. While serving in this capacity he drafted a proposal for a new comprehensive ministry of DISCIPLE Bible Study in North Carolina. Once accepted by the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church, this proposal provided the pattern for Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of North Carolina.
Mark holds an AB Degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a Master of Divinity Degree from Duke University and a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Faith-Based and Government Ministry from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Mark is an ordained Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the UMC and prior to his appointment as Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries founding Director, held pastorates in the High Point, Charlotte and Greensboro NC Districts.
In 2002, Mark was invited by the NC Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to create a new Bible study curriculum for youth in the department's system of care. The result of this collaboration is the RINGS OF FELLOWSHIP Youth bible study where Hicks guided the creative process and authored of the RINGS Student Manual. RINGS is now being taught in juvenile justice facilities and churches throughout the country.
In 2004, Hicks was named to the Criminal Justice Task Force of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC. This Task Force works to promote criminal justice ministry throughout the denomination. Hicks is a general editor and contributing author of a new book on UMC Criminal Justice Ministries due out later this year entitled: "I was in Prison: United Methodist Perspectives on Criminal Justice Ministries."
Hicks is married to Laura, his wife of 20 years. Together they have two daughters. The Hicks family resides in North Carolina where they are active in both church and community.
Valerie K. Isenhower -- Valerie, owner of V. Isenhower Photography, specializes in meditative photography. Val offers workshops on “Spirituality and Photography” across the country. She has written articles on spirituality and photography and her book on the subject was just released as an ePublication by Upper Room. Val's work has been displayed in galleries; published in 3 issues of Alive Now magazine and the Baylor University Journal for Family and Community Ministries and is on the cover of four books. Fifty-four of her photos appear in Journeying Through the Days, 2013. Her work appeared in "Insight" an all womens photo exhibit in Albuquerque. Three of Val's photos were selected (one as an honorable mention) for the First Annual International Hot Air Balloon Photo Contest; the exhibit is in Longview, TX (July - Sept. 2012) and coincides with the National Hot Air Balloon Race. She won Best in Category at the Red River Fine Art and Wine Festival, 2005.
Val has co-authored two books on spiritual discernment with Judith A. Todd -- Living into the Answers: A Workbook for Personal Spiritual Discernment (Upper Room 2008) and Listen for God's Leading: A Workbook for Corporate Spiritual Discenment (Upper Room, 2009). She is one of the founders of Water in the Desert Ministries. Val has led spiritual formation retreats and taught classes in spiritual formation across the country. She specializes in facilitating discernment processes for groups and using photography / visual arts in spirituality. Val earned an M.Div. from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, is an ordained American Baptist Minister and lives in Albuquerque, NM.
Becky Jackson -- Becky Jackson, lives in Lampasas, Texas serving at First United Methodist Church. She is a certified youth pastor through the UM certification program for youth ministry of Perkins School of Theology at SMU. She is currently working on a masters degree in Youth Ministry. She has directed various MidWinter Camps, as well as summer camps and retreats for the SouthWest Texas United Methodist Conference for the past three years, as well as various speaking and teaching engagements, both at youth camps, as well as adult classes. She has 13 years of experience in 3 churches: Oklahoma, Georgia and currently Texas.
She has led at a mega church, small church and rural church and loves the rural church atmosphere as it offers her a chance for relationships with students throughout the community. Becky's ministry focuses not only on church students but on those that society has deemed "unreachable". Becky has led a campus Bible Study at the high school for 2 years now, beginning with 3 students and growing to over 40 in weekly attendance. She has managed to combine a unique combination of skaters and unchurched youth, with church youth.
Becky has managed to grow a group of youth volunteers from 0 to 15, complete with training, enabling relational ministry to take place for all that are involved. Becky has developed a Family Ministry at her church which allows her to help parents develop Christian children at the age of 0, preparing them for a rich youth experience. This ministry grew out of a concern for the upcoming generations, and their parents. She has been able to provide a well rounded family ministry, complete with interactive adult Sunday school, which also helps parents not only with their own faith journey but also provide them with the tools for help their children with their faith journey. This ministry is complete with fellowship - both with and without children in attendance - family retreats, service and mission projects. This is a new and unique ministry for the church and is growing with a new adult Sunday school class being added this spring.
Becky has experience leading and directing VBS, youth camps and retreats, as well as developing and implementing a Children's After School Program, Children's Church and Sunday program, and community wide mission projects - both for adults and youth. Becky has recently developed and put together a local youth pastors group - in which, youth pastors from the community forget about denominational lines and come together monthly for prayers, fellowship and community events development. Loving the outdoors, she can often be found with youth on extreme camping trips, white water rafting, mountain climbing and rappelling and a number of other fun and challenging activities that push students to rely on God.
Becky is a published author for the Journal of Student Ministry: Family, Friends, Rest, and Other Balancing Acts, January 2008. She continues to write curriculum for friends in ministry as well as for use in her own church. She also led a workshop at Youth Specialties, 2006 in Atlanta : Raising your own RugRats in the Rat Race of Youth Ministry. As a mother of 3 generational children (21, 13 & 6), mother-in-law, grandmother of 1 and spouse and biggest supporter of her husband of 19 years, she has had to work through all the issues involved in balancing the family, the ministry and self. Not always getting it right, has given her the opportunity to seek new ways of bringing a christian family up while ministering to other students. In January of 2007, she co-taught a workshop with Rev. Rusty Freeman at Perkins School of Youth Ministry: Teaching the Spiritual Disciplines to Youth.
Becky will be teaching workshops in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement.
Dorothy Kropf -- Dorothy is a doctoral student of Educational Technology. Her passion is to keep curriculum more impressionable and less bland. As a doctoral student, she would like to see individuals in poverty-stricken communities receive affordable college education through portable technological systems. She is a curriculum writer and a "Life-Skills" online class instructor for NetMarket Professional Development. Her class prepares individuals who are recovering from certain addictions, immerse back into the workforce.
David Kueker -- David lives in Caseyville, Illinois, a small town 9 miles east of the Arch in St. Louis. Nestled in between the materialistic suburbs and the inner city problems of East St. Louis, it is more like a rural village than a part of a city of three million. David is the pastor of the Caseyville United Methodist Church, a small congregation that does a lot of creative things. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University (BA/French) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, KY (M.Div), Dave has served as a United Methodist local church pastor in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference since 1980.
In 2008 he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California; David's research focuses on evangelism, church growth and overcoming systemic resistance to change. His DMin project on disciple making and overcoming resistance to change is online at www.disciplewalk.com.
Dave also works with district lay speakers, serves as Community Spiritual Director for Illinois Prairieland Walk to Emmaus, chairs the Evangelism Committee for his conference and is currently revising a novel which demonstrates his system of disciple making. He is interested in bringing an Organic Church Planting Greenhouse event to the St. Louis area sometime (www.GreenhouseSTL.org).
Bill Lewis -- After experiencing being battered by words and also, sorry to say, battering others with words Bill is learning how important what we say and how we say it is. Lately, one of Bill's favorite phrases which catches people off guard is "Listening others into the Kingdom of God." Since coming back to a living faith in Jesus Bill has been able to glean from many important Christian traditions. Renovare material has helped Bill understand how all the streams fit into a life with God.
Bill's credentials include completing an MBA, having a Masters degree in Christian Spiritual Formation and currently practicing Spiritual Direction. In addition to various other endeavors, he serves on the Spiritual Formation committee at a Presbyterian church and is involved with the Florida Methodist Conference Spiritual Formation team. More information about Bill Lewis may be found at www.formedinchrist.org.
Derek Maul -- Derek divides his time - unevenly - between newspaper writing, penning magazine features, authoring inspirational books, public speaking, volunteering in his church and enjoying an amazing life with his wife, Rebekah. He writes a number of weekly columns for the Tampa Tribune (as well as other Florida news outlets) and a monthly commentary for The Presbyterian Outlook. His commentary and features have appeared in Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, and many other print and online publications.
Derek's first book, "GET REAL: a spiritual journey for men" was released in 2007; his second book, In My Heart I Carry A Star" debuted in the fall of 2008; his latest work - "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian " was released in September of 2009.
Derek is married to Rebekah, a Presbyterian pastor. They have two grown children: Andrew - who works in Bahrain, and Naomi - who lives in Connecticut with her husband, Craig. Their dog, Scout Labradoodle and their cat, Darth Maul, still live at home. Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, small-group ministry, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.
Greg McGarvey -- Greg is a United Methodist pastor serving Carmel UMC on the north side of Indianapolis, IN. He has been a United Methodist pastor for over 35 years, serving CUMC the past 9 years. Greg has been teaching on the issue of healing and the Christian faith for over 25 years. Greg believes that God's desire is for every person to experience the wholeness for which God has created us. Greg, and members of his family, have personally experienced the healing grace of Jesus Christ in their lives. He believes that God heals in 5 specific ways: through the miracle of creation (God created the human body such that its own systems naturally work toward wholeness and healing) medical science and technology, divine intervention, the grace to cope, and death (the ultimate healing, through which God releases the human spirit from the confines of a body that is susceptible to illness and brokenness).
Martha Myre -- Dr. Martha Myre is an ordained elder in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. She pastors the First United Methodist Church of Bowie, Texas. Her undergraduate education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University, a Master of Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology from SMU and a PhD in Religious Studies (with a concentration in Hebrew Bible) from SMU. Martha is constantly reading and learning and loves to teach Bible Studies, Wesleyan studies, Evangelism, and other things to children, youth, and adults. She basically loves facilitating a life of learning and discipleship in others. A life-long interest has been to open the door between academics and the church, so that the two sides of her brain can work together. The most common comment that she hears after her sermons is: "I've never thought about it that way before!!"
Besides reading, Martha loves music, playing with her cats, chilling with her family and watching really stupid tv.
Gary Olsen -- Gary currently serves as Lead Pastor of Rolling Hills Community Church, Lago Vista, TX, a union church fully chartered in four denominations: the United Methodist Church; the Presbyterian Church USA; the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and the United Church of Christ. He is an Equipper for the ChristCare small-group ministry system, having trained in St. Louis with Stephen Ministry. Utilizing ChristCare for the first time ever in the design of an academic research project, Pastor Gary earned his Doctor of Ministry degree May 2007 at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY. In 2002, Gary and his wife Joyce each earned the Certificate of Advanced Church Leadership from the Beeson Institute of Asbury Theological Seminary. A native of southern California, he has earned: a B.A. from the UCLA; an M. Div. from Nashotah House Episcopal Theological Seminary in WI; and C.P E. units through Interfaith Healthcare Ministries, Providence, R. I.
In his 25th year of pastoral ministry, Rev. Olsen possesses ordination standing in the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). BeADisicple.com workshop leadership has covered a "Theater and Theology" installment that takes a closer look at concerts, plays, film previews, and classic movie screenings, and then plans ministry events for the participant's ministry settings; the latest edition is the 2008 Disney film "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." Future topics planned include: equipping Christians for ministry and church leadership; in-depth Bible study skills using online resources; exploring the option of a Doctor of Ministry degree; and research from his dissertation on spiritual formation small-group leadership training for ministry team leaders.
When asked about interests and hobbies, Gary lists his wife, their two children and their spouses, and their two grand-children!
Beth Perry -- Beth is United Methodist clergy and a member of the Susquehanna Conference, now residing in Astoria, Queens in the New York Annual Conference. She graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1994 and has a Bachelor's degree in Business from Elizabethtown College. In addition to 20 years of pastoral and chaplaincy experience, she has taught religion and philosophy courses in Pennsylvania - and currently teaches religion, humanities, and general education courses for the University of Phoenix in New Jersey. She is also the Safe Sanctuary trainer for NYAC and has been leading Safe Sanctuary trainings at BeADisciple.com for the past two years. Between the in-person trainings and online workshops, she has worked with more than one hundred congregations to reduce the risk of child abuse in the church.
Jenny Phillips -- Rev. Jenny Phillips is Executive Director of Creation Change, a ministry that equips people of faith for dynamic responses to our changing environment. Her work helps people of faith see their own encounters with God in nature reflected through Scripture. In doing so, they discover the ways in which stewardship is intertwined with discipleship.
Jenny had developed resources and curriculum in collaboration with The American Bible Society, The National Council of Churches, The American Camp Association, GreenFaith, New Earth Christian Resources for the Outdoors, Seasons of the Spirit and other organizations. In addition, she preaches and teaches at churches, outdoor ministry conferences, and eco-justice conferences throughout the United States. Jenny is a 2007 National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Fellow. She is one of 135 faith leaders nationwide to be trained by Al Gore to teach about climate change.
Jenny has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She is a provisional elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church and she lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. To learn more about Creation Change, please visit http://www.creationchange.org.
Stephen W. Rankin -- Steve is Chaplain and Minister to the University at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Previously he served at Southwestern College in Kansas as professor and campus minister.
Steve is a lifelong United Methodist and grew up in the parsonage as a "preacher's kid." In the middle of seminary, Steve and his wife, Joni served an expatriate congregation near Rome, Italy. Returning to Kansas to finish seminary, he began serving United Methodist congregations in rural Kansas before going to work in higher education. He enjoys following (mostly) college sports and physical exercise and loves to read widely, especially works of theology, philosophy and cultural analysis. He has an abiding passion to help young people - especially students - pursue their relationship with God and their calling to serve in God's kingdom in whatever capacity.
Steve earned his undergraduate degree from Kansas State University, the M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology, the M.Th. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Steve has a lifelong passion for bridging the gap between the academy and the church and to help Christians benefit from the deep resources of the Church. He is a contributor to academic and popular periodicals. "Aiming at Maturity" is his first book. He and his wife, Joni, live in Dallas. They have 4 grown children (Luke, Leah, Abram, and Aaron) and two grandchildren.
Beth Richardson -- Beth is an ordained deacon in the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church, and currently serves as editor of Alive Now magazine and as deacon at Edgehill United Methodist Church. Beth received her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee. She grew up in Oklahoma and enjoys liturgy, music, and photography. Beth has written two Advent books — Child of the Light (Upper Room, 2006) and The Uncluttered Heart (Upper Room, 2009). Her writing may also be found in various places, including Alive Now magazine, The Upper Room Disciplines, two volumes of The Storyteller’s Companions to the Bible, and upperroom.org.
Helen Stucky Risdon -- Helen is a Parish Nurse and graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University and the former Asbury Hospital School of Nursing in Salina, Kansas. She believes that taking care of our health is a stewardship issue and that the church must mentor and model and provide servant leadership to nurture, equip, and send forth empowered disciples. Her background as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, wellcoach, and humorous health promotion skills presenter qualifies her to provide creative health promotion online classes tailored to your individual or church's needs. She is a married member of the triple-decker sandwich generation and lives in rural Marshall County Kansas.
Scharmel Roussel -- Scharmel graduated from Parkview High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, earned a B.A. in English from Hendrix College in Conway, and later earned a M.A. in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She has worked in the communications field for more than 30 years and previously taught part-time at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the 1990s.
Scharmel likes to read and enjoys Bible studies and book studies; she has completed Disciple 2. She enjoyed Rev. Harriet Akins-Banman's "Spiritual Pilgrimage to France" in May 2007, when a group visited cathedrals and labyrinths. In September 2008, she is joining another spiritual group traveling to Italy.
Among her favorite scriptures is "Nothing can separate us from the love of God . . . " from Paul's letter to the Romans. Scharmel's goal in ministry is to spread that message of God's loving presence - through print, radio, television and the world wide web. As communications director at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock since 1996, her purpose has been to increase awareness among church members and the public of worship services, events, activities, and opportunities for mission.
Cindy Foster Serio -- Cindy is an ordained deacon in the Texas Annual Conference appointed beyond the local congregation to MOSAIC Spiritual Formation Ministry … creating beauty from the broken pieces of life. Through MOSAIC, Cindy offers spiritual direction, contemplative retreats, labyrinth prayer events, days of prayer, and classes which emphasize contemplation and creativity. She maintains an office at Mission Bend United Methodist Church in Houston, where she serves in the areas of contemplative worship and spiritual formation. Cindy serves on the board and faculty of the Charis Spiritual Director Training Program in the Texas Annual Conference and as a Small Group Supervisor in the the Louisiana Annual Conference Path of Spiritual Direction. She has an MA in Spiritual Formation and Evangelism from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, is professionally certified by the United Methodist Church in Spiritual Formation, and is a Veriditas-trained labyrinth facilitator.
Ann Schechter -- Ann received her undergraduate degree in French from Miami University (Ohio) and her MA in religious studies from Indiana University. Her MA thesis is a literary analysis of the Lausiac History of Palladius of Helenopolis. She has taught classes in New Testament and early church history in a variety of churches and helped write the participant manuals for three Wesley Ministry Network courses, including Serious Answers to Hard Questions. She and her husband, a pediatrician, live in Bloomington, IN. They have three grown children including a daughter who is a recent graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary. Their favorite recreational activity is backpacking in the Grand Canyon. Ann attends First Presbyterian Church.
Jack Shitama – Jack is the Executive Director of Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries where he has served since 2000. He is an ordained elder in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served as pastor of churches in Port Deposit, MD and Chesapeake City, MD. He also serves on the Conference CARE Team, Vision Team and as a mentor for the Dover District Provisional Member Covenant Group,
Jack enjoys leading workshops and retreats. His previous experience includes camp & retreat events, church leadership retreats, Lay Leadership School, Lenten School, and denominational workshops. Topics have included visioning, lay speaking, using technology in the church, discovering spiritual gifts, the 21st century church, family systems, ministry to the hurting, effective lay ministry, sexual ethics, leading worship and hospital visitation. He has also been a Spiritual Director on numerous Emmaus and Chrysalis weekends.
Jack and his wife of 29 years, Jodi, have four children: Megan, 27; Erin, 24; Kieron, 23; and Kellan, 19. Jack enjoys playing his guitar, all kinds of sports, cooking, reading, travelling and, most of all, seeing people experience spiritual growth.
Rebekah Simon-Peter -- Rebekah, an ordained United Methodist elder in the Rocky Mountain Conference with a degree in Environmental Studies, worked as an acid rain researcher and volunteer naturalist before receiving her call to ministry. After more than a decade of pastoring churches in Colorado and Wyoming, she now writes, coaches, consults, and teaches. She is the author of many books including "Green Church: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice!", "Seven Simple Steps to Green Your Church" and the soon to be released, "The Jew Named Jesus," (Abingdon Press, September 2013) An avid hiker, enthusiastic recycler, and beginning gardener, she lives in Casper, Wyoming with her husband Jerry, 7 recycling tubs, and 1 blue hybrid vehicle. She is the director of BridgeWorks, a ministry that creates healthy, vibrant churches by building bridges of understanding.
Matt Smith -- Matt has served as the associate pastor of Cashiers United Methodist Church, a medium-sized church (330 members) in the mountains of North Carolina since June 2008. His primary areas of responsibility include children, youth, mission, and communications. In 2006, Matt earned my Masters of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary, and he worked for the Wesley Ministry Network for over a year. Matt is a Commissioned Elder and a Provisional Member of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. While Matt has served in three churches for nearly ten years, Cashiers is his first appointment. Matt is married to Joanna, and they have a 2 ½ year old son named Simon.
Andy Stoker -- Dr. Andy Stoker is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He serves as Associate Pastor for Christian Education at First United Methodist Church in Denton, Texas. He holds a doctorate in family studies and seeks to synthesize family development with the church's development. Dr. Stoker graduated from Perkins School of Theology in 2001 and has been in ministry for over 12 years.
Topics of interest are family systems, youth ministry, thinking theologically with young people, Wesley studies and race, gender, class issues. Dr. Stoker has led seminars around the country on these topics and many more. He will be leading workshops in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement. Please visit www.andystoker.com for more information.
Jan Sullivan -- Jan Sullivan lives and serves in Lexington, Kentucky at First United Methodist Church as Interim Youth Pastor. She has a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from the University of Evansville and a Masters of Arts in Youth Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary. Jan has a background in Child and Adolescent Psychology and twelve years of experience in doing youth ministry full time. Over the years Jan has developed a passion for creative worship experiences which engage students to be active participants in worship. She also loves discipling and teaching by storytelling. Topics offered will be Storytelling, Creative Worship Experiences, Relational Ministry, and Discipleship. Jan will be instructing in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement.
Mike Thurman -- Mike lives in Acworth, GA, and is the Youth Minister at Northbrook Church in Roswell, GA. He has a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, and he started 'helping out' (great volunteer recruitment words) in youth ministry in 1994 and immediately feel in love with it. He has 14 years of experience (6 years as a volunteer and 8 years as paid staff). His passion is discipleship and teaching others youth ministry. Mike will be instructing in conjunction with the YouthWorker Movement.
Judith A. Todd -- Judith is co-author of two books on spiritual discernment Living into the Answers: A Workbook for Personal Spiritual Discernment and Listen for God's Leading: A Workbook for Corporate Spiritual Discernment. She is one of the founders of Water in the Desert Ministries: A Center for Christian Spiritual Renewal in Albuquerque, NM. Judith is a gifted teacher and has years of experience in adult education and spirituality. She has led ecumenical spirituality retreats across the country. Judith taught Old and New Testament at Central Baptist Theological Seminary and now teaches courses at the Ecumenical Institute for Ministry in Albuquerque. She is adjunct faculty in the Religious Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. Judith has a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, is an ordained Presbyterian minister and lives in Albuquerque, NM.
Todd Vick -- Todd (B.S. in Youth Ministries John Brown University) is in his 13th year of student ministry with experience working with jr. high to college age students in the local church, denominational, and Para-church settings. He is the Associate Pastor for Youth Ministries at St. Paul UMC in Fort Smith, AR. Todd is currently a student at Asbury Theological Seminary where he is working on his Master of Divinity degree. Todd and his wife Carrie reside in Fort Smith, AR with their two wonderful boys. Todd’s passion is for the grace of God to invade and radically change the lives of others. He believes this is done best through one-on-one discipleship in the context of a caring and loving missional community. You can read Todd's blog at www.asowerslife.net.
Julie Wilke -- Julie lives in Winfield, KS, and attends Southwestern College. She is working towards a Masters of Science in Leadership. Julie also works as the Graduate Fellow for the Leadership Service Learning Team at SC. The project is an outreach of this Leadership team. Julie is a member of the Kansas West Conference and attends FUMC in Winfield.
Joy Wilson -- Joy Wilson is the author of “Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice of Wrestling With God” and a contributor to “Not Alone” (both Civitas Press, 2011). She and her husband, Bud, are two life-long hippies. They live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, three dogs, and no TV. She is has a passion for prison ministry and helping people discover an honest, intimate relationship with God. Also, Joy is an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. Joy’s website is joyleewilson.org and you may contact her at email@example.com.
Kevin Witt -- Kevin is National Staff for United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries with the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) where he has served since 1996. He is an ordained elder in the Oregon Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church. He has served in many capacities within Camp and Retreat Ministries from summer staff, to site director, to conference executive director along with providing leadership on the National Camp and Retreat Committee of the UMC. Ecumenical involvement and collaboration with many organizations is a natural aspect of how Kevin leads. In addition, he has served as a local church pastor and also a chaplain for residents in a low income housing setting with the YMCA.
Kevin has a deep calling in the areas of Christian faith formation and developing persons for spiritual leadership. He is often called upon to lead workshops, to teach academic classes, to keynote, to facilitate visioning and strategic planning, to lead board training, etc. He is the co-author of two books on youth ministry and camp and retreat ministry along with many articles and resources. Kevin enjoys fly fishing and all kinds of outdoor adventures, including time spent with family.
Daniel Wolpert, MDiv -- Daniel worked as a research scientist, psychologist and spiritual director, a farmer, a teacher, and a construction worker before earning his Masters of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS). Over the past twenty five years he has taught in the fields of psychology and spiritual formation and led retreats in such settings as the Art of Spiritual Direction Program at SFTS, the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, national ministry conferences, UCLA, UND medical school, Luther Seminary, and numerous churches. Daniel currently serves as the church pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Crookston, MN and is a co-founder of the Minnesota Institute for Contemplation and Healing (MICAH, www.micahprays.org). He is also the author of “Leading a Life with God, the practice of spiritual leadership (Upper Room 2006), “Creating a Life with God: the call of ancient prayer practices”(Upper Room 2003), and co-author of “Meeting God in Virtual Reality: using spiritual practices with media” (Abingdon 2004). Dan is currently doing Doctoral work in Science and Theology. He is married to Dr. Debra Bell and they have two sons, Sam and Max.
Julie Yarbrough -- Julie Yarbrough is a native of Dallas, Texas, a mgna cum laude graduate of Texas Christian University (B.M., B.M.E., M.M.). Following the death of her husband Dr. Leighton Farrell, a United Methodist minister, she established a support group for widows and widowers. Inside the Broken Heart: Grief Understanding for Widows and Widowers was written specifically for the spiritual and emotional needs of those who have lost a spouse to death. Inspired by the author's personal experience and the need expressed by group participants, the book offers timely words to live by on the journey through grief. She believes that those who seek comfort and inspiration in grief best identify with an authentic point of view.
Julie is a member of the board of directors of Methodist Health System and chair of Golden Cross, a division of Methodist Health System Foundation. She also serves on the board of directors of the North Texas Food Bank. She writes for the United Methodist Reporter, Grief Digest, Living with Loss, and Mature Years. She is an active member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, and the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church
John Zimmerman -- Rev. John Zimmerman grew up in the rural community of Stoystown, Pennsylvania which is just a few miles from the terrorist crash site of USAir flight 93 on September 11, 2001. He heard the call into the ministry just after graduation from high school and attended the University of Pittsburgh for hisundergraduate degree and obtained his master’s degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.
Pastor John is nearing 25 years of pastoral ministry in local church settings. He has always recognized the spiritual gifts of preaching, healing, and evangelism in his Christian life. God has allowed these gifts to be used in a variety of local church settings which include rural, suburban, and city. He is currently the senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Corry, Pennsylvania.
Pastor John describes his ministry as one that desires to lift up Jesus and move in the power of the Holy Spirit. He enjoys hunting, camping and opportunities
to enjoy his family. His wife, Christine, holds a K-6 grade teaching certificate and is the reading specialist in the local school district. Chris is finishing her
Master’s Degree at Edinboro University. She is a great asset to Pastor John’s ministry and loves serving the Lord with him. The Zimmerman’s are blessed with four wonderful boys ranging in age from 12—21 years old.