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The Rev. Riley Short is the youngest son of Bishop and Mrs. Roy H. Short and has been a pastor in the United Methodist Church for over 66 years. His last full-time appointment was First United Methodist Church of Lakeland, Florida. Since retirement he has served twelve interim pastorates. He also served as a professor of Homiletics at Asbury Theological School, Orlando Campus.
Rev. Short started his ministry as a student pastor in North Georgia, was ordained in the Holston Conference, served in the Tennessee Conference and then moved to the Florida Conference. He has preached camp meetings in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and New Jersey and for years was a featured speaker at Ocean City New Jersey Tabernacle.
After graduating from seminary, Riley married the former, Claire Malone of Coral Gables, Fla. After she passed away he married Patricia Fouts. He is the father of four children and has fourteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
In 2015 Riley wrote a book, “They Gave Their Future” – the account of 34 young men from Lakeland High School that were killed in World War II. He has been asked to share their stories with civic clubs, school groups and book clubs. He is proud of what these young men did for their country and the free world. Rev. Short is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Candler School of Theology at Emory University and holds honorary degrees from Florida Southern College and Bethune-Cookman College.
Michael is currently the Director of the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Theological Seminary. Director of Fresh Expressions Florida, and Director of Fresh Expressions for The United Methodist Church. He serves as the co-pastor of Wildwood UMC and St Marks UMC with his wife Jill, where they direct addiction recovery programs, a jail ministry, a food pantry, an interracial unity movement, and house a faith-based inpatient treatment center. Wildwood and St Marks are traditional congregations and a network of thirteen fresh expressions that gather in tattoo parlors, dog parks, salons, running tracks, community centers, burrito joints, and digital spaces.
Michael guides leaders in an individual, regional, statewide, and national capacity. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at several educational institutions. He coaches entrepreneurs across the theological spectrum and has consulted with hundreds of churches, districts, denominations, networks, and dioceses. As an active ministry practitioner, he has started and developed businesses and planted missional communities most of his life. Michael has done this for over a decade while pastoring in the local church. His coaching and consulting work are not theoretical only, but experiential. He believes in maintaining a practitioner’s ethos: “I eat my own cooking and share experimental recipes.”
Beck earned a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Semiotics and Future Studies at Portland Seminary. He’s the author of ten books, including Deep Roots, Wild Branches: Revitalizing the Church in the Blended Ecology; Deep & Wild: Remissioning Your Church from the Outside In, A Field Guide to Methodist Fresh Expressions; , and co-author of Contextual Intelligence: Unlocking the Ancient Secret to Mission on the Front Lines with Leonard Sweet, Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age: How the Church Can Prepare for a Post-Pandemic World with Rosario Picardo, as well as The 21st Century Christian: Following Jesus Where Life Happens with Michael Moynagh. His most recent books include Painting With Ashes, Fresh Expressions of the Rural Church, and The Five Congregational Personality Types: An Ancient Pathway to Congregational Renewal in the 21st Century.
Jack Shitama is an author, teacher, speaker and coach. His family systems approach to leadership helps congregational and nonprofit leaders achieve their best spiritually, physically and professionally. He is an avid learner with a passion for taking the most recent secular learnings and applying them to spiritual leadership.
Jack is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Executive Director at Pecometh Camp & Retreat Ministries in Centreville, MD. He is also the Director for the Center for Vital Leadership. He was President of the International Association of Conference Center Administrators from 2003-2007 and served on the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries Association Board from 2007-2015, including as Vice-Chair (2011-2013) and Chair (2013-2015).
Jack is the author of Anxious Church, Anxious People: How to Lead Change in an Age of Anxiety, One New Habit, One Big Goal: Change Your Life in 10 Weeks and If You Met My Family You’d Understand: A Family Systems Primer.
Jack and his wife of 41 years, Jodi, have four adult children and five grandchildren. Jack is an avid runner and has completed the Baltimore Marathon three times. He plays guitar and bass in the Jacob’s Well Band, his church’s worship band. He enjoys all kinds of sports, cooking, reading, traveling and, most of all, seeing people experience spiritual growth.
Internationally known for her work on Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History, Rev. Dr. Sandra Richter brings the Old Testament to life by exploring the real people and real places from which it comes.
Richter is a graduate of Valley Forge University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and earned her doctorate from the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department of Harvard University in Hebrew Bible. A veteran of many years of leading student groups in archaeological excavation and historical geography classes in Israel, she has taught at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wesley Biblical Seminary and Wheaton College. She is recognized among the laity for her The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament and is currently working on a second in that series The Fifth Gospel: A Christian Entry into the Book of Isaiah (IVP Academic). Her current research involves a forthcoming commentary on Deuteronomy with Eerdmans. She is also the author of several adult Bible Curriculums with Seedbed and Harper Collins. Richter is a sought-after speaker in both academic and lay settings.
Professor Tinoco Ruiz is a practical theologian whose work centers on the intersection of homiletics, pastoral care, and evangelism. Throughout her ministry, she has witnessed that most preachers are poorly equipped to respond to the traumatic injuries marginalized and oppressed communities experience. In contrast, she sees in the sermons of Saint Óscar Romero a profound response to the traumatic injuries the marginalized and oppressed people of El Salvador were experiencing during the years he was the archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980). Influenced by Saint Romero’s preaching, Professor Tinoco Ruiz is exploring how preachers can effectively address the trauma experienced by marginalized and oppressed communities, particularly the community of undocumented immigrants from Latin America in the United States. She completed her Th.D. thesis on “Óscar Romero’s Theological, Hermeneutical, and Pastoral Framework for Preaching to Traumatized Communities.” Her publications include essays in the International Journal of Homiletics, Predicación con Impacto: Preparación y Presentación de Mensajes Bíblicos, The Christian Century, and Duke Divinity School’s DIVINITY magazine. Professor Tinoco Ruiz was awarded the Denman Fellow of the Foundation for Evangelism (FFE) in 2016, the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) Doctoral Fellowship in 2019, and the Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI)/Lilly fellowship in 2020. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.
Jasmine Rose Smothers loves to inspire.create.encourage. with the people of God. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and currently serves as Lead Pastor of the historic Atlanta First United Methodist Church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Pastor Jasmine is a sought-after preacher, teacher, workshop leader, church consultant, leadership coach, Birkman Certified Consultant, author, community advocate, self-proclaimed technology geek, creative, and amateur shutterbug who is committed to transformational community ministry!
Pastor Jasmine is co-author of “Not Safe For Church: Ten Commandments of Reaching New Generations” and “Blank Slate: Write Your Own Rules for a 22nd-Century Church Movement.”
Alongside Atlanta First UMC, Pastor Jasmine’s current focus is developing affordable and attainable housing in downtown Atlanta.
Jimmy Atkins has a background in music and leading worship for over two decades. With his love of leading others in song, he strives to show people the Christ that gives him and others the freedom to live a God-centered life.
Peacemaker. Clergyman. Entrepreneur. Missional Artist. D’Andre R. Ash serves as a community builder and part-time pastor at two congregations in Western North Carolina.
As pastor, he serves Snow UMC & Iotla UMC, a cross-racial appointment. D’Andre says it is a privilege to lead these rural congregations through this dramatic era of social re-setting with preaching, pastoral care, and administrative oversight of vital committees.
As community advocate he serves as co-chair of the Smoky Mountain District’s Justice and Reconciliation Team, planning and hosting the Smoky Mountain District’s annual JUNETEENTH Celebration in partnership with Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. My role includes team leadership, developing partnerships, and grant writing.
Wayne Kerr started in full-time music ministry in 1995. For the next 16 years, God allowed Wayne to travel and share his message and music at roughly 180-200 dates per year, all over the US and abroad. He shares his heart through music and speaking, often with his band, often solo. Wayne has been featured at events like Resurrection with over 12,000 students, Student Life Camps, Youth15 National Event, and many more. Wayne will tell you that some of his favorite events were ones that had 12 kids in attendance.
These days, Wayne splits his time between leading worship at Grace Fellowship Church in Katy, Tx. and doing art shows. Wayne’s degree was in Visual Art, and in the last few years, his works have appeared in art shows across the west… Including Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Texas.
In 2021, Wayne released his book “Braving- the Art of pursuing what makes you come alive.” Wayne believes what makes us truly come alive is walking with Christ in His plans and purposes for our lives.
Wayne and his wife Kelly have two little girls, and a great Pyrenees named Bruce… and a cat that he still can’t seem to figure out.
In her sought-after role as an internationally recognized Performance Artist and Creative Flow Strategist, Rev. Iyana “YaNi” Davis, is helping a broad range of humans across the globe to not only tap into their innate greatness, which is what most coaches’ chant, but to unleash their sacred creative savvy. With this unique proposition, YaNi has built a brand that is steeped in community, compassion, creativity, and collaboration. Affectionately known as the PeacePastor, she is the mastermind behind the Peace People’s Movement, which seeks to bring people together using hip-hop, healing, and wholeness as instruments of activation. YaNi has traveled the world as a teaching artist, motivational speaker, poet/musician and educator. As a performer, she has headlined for music powerhouses like Janelle Monae, PJ Morton, Jars of Clay, Bone Crusher, Jay Holiday, and Dwele, to name a few.
She is the founder of My SupaNatural Life (MSNL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wholistic and communal care for persons living with chronic and mental health conditions. On the horizon is her newest wave of inspiration made manifest, The SupaNatural Way, a guide and system aiming to redefine industry standards on providing mindful coaching and spiritual care. This offering is a result of hundreds of hours of dedicated coaching internationally and extensive research on the connection between the physical body, the emotional body, the spirit and the power of interpersonal and intrapersonal development.
Her academic portfolio includes a Masters of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology, a Bachelors in English from Spelman College,and a stream of spiritual and literary certifications from Columbia Business School, University of Southern California, The Compassion Institute, The Christian Church Disciples of Christ and San Francisco School of Theology, to name a few. YaNi is completing her second masters in Business and Art Design via Maryland Institute College of Art. YaNi currently resides in Los Angeles, California, but continues to call Atlanta, Georgia, and Queens, New York home.
Chuck Bell has served in Methodist churches full-time as a Music Director and Worship Designer since 1996, but has also served in worship ministries in other denominations since 1988. Over the last 18 years, he has actively planned and produced over 3,500 corporate worship services in varying worship styles. He served as the Coordinator of Musicians for the 2012 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he assisted Dr. Marcia McFee in planning and musically directing and executing 27 worship services in 10 days.
Currently serving as an independent consultant through his company Chuck Bell Music, he is nationally known as a clinician, arranger and musician. He has worked with churches from the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, as well as in other states, assisting Worship and Arts Ministries with planning, organizing and the redesigning of traditional and contemporary services and the exploration of new opportunities in a wide variety of denominational and non-denominational churches. He has organized and led worship bands for local and national retreats and conferences.
He is often quoted with these words “The opportunity to play alongside others for a ‘greater’ purpose has been a driving force for my passion. I am in a pursuit for God though music, and invite others, on a regular basis to join me on that journey. It is at those moments when I feel like I’m doing what God created me to do.”
James “Slice” Penny grew up in the Methodist church and in a traditional Christian home. After graduating from Myers Park High School in Charlotte, N.C. in 2012, he went to Florida State University. Although Slice Penny has always known about Jesus, he has not always lived for Him. Slice began drifting away from the church and the Christian roots that were instilled in him. While accruing accolades at FSU, Slice continued to drift and his worldliness continued to grow. His secret alcoholism and drug addictions were brought to light when he was arrested by the DEA for drug trafficking. It was in this time of destruction and despair that Slice was finally humbled to his knees and brought back to Jesus. In the years since his 2015 arrest, Slice has been reborn and begun a new life. Although he was sentenced to and served 3 years in prison for his crimes, he has emerged a new man with a new mission. He was released October 16, 2019. Slice’s goal in life is to lead others to Jesus and to show our youth how to make a life of serving the Lord fun, enjoyable, and even cool.
Slice believes that he is called to be a pastor to the people who feel they do not deserve a seat in the pew of a sanctuary. To minister to those who feel unworthy and undeserving. To offer hope to the hopeless. To show love to those who cannot love themselves. To lead the physically homeless to their eternal home through Christ Jesus. To lead alcoholics and drug addicts to recovery through Christ Jesus. To help prisoners find spiritual freedom despite their physical imprisonment through Christ Jesus. Simply put, Slice believes that God has called him to minister to the person that he used to be. The Holy Spirit has given him the heart, and he believes that Duke Divinity School is giving him the knowledge that he needs to answer this call and bring God glory.
Ginger Wyrick, conductor, author, clinician, lecturer, teacher, and performer, serves on the music faculty at UNC Charlotte. Ms. Wyrick is a life-long musician, established professionally in piano, flute, organ, harpsichord, and voice. The author of 16 books and numerous periodicals on music and curriculum development, Ms. Wyrick frequently leads workshops and lectures on music education; serves as an adjudicator for piano, voice, harp, and choral/band/orchestra; and appears as guest conductor for honor choirs and festivals. Performance engagements include events in 17 states, the District of Columbia, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and Nigeria. Ms. Wyrick leads training events for all ages and has appeared at national symposiums presenting her research on the changing role of music in the United States and the local church. She is active in the local church as a liturgical arts consultant, choir director, and organist. Ms. Wyrick regularly appears as the invited guest conductor at the Charlotte Music Club’s annual performance of Messiah with community chorus and orchestra. She is former chorus master and a performer with Augusta Opera. Ms. Wyrick holds leadership positions in several professional organizations and is the former president of the North Carolina American Choral Directors Association. Ms. Wyrick earned music degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Southern Methodist University. Honors include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda and Mu Phi Epsilon. Ms. Wyrick is the recipient of the Lara Hoggard Award for distinguished service in choral music.
Hilda Ryan has a Bible degree from Columbia International University and a Bachelor and Masters in Piano Pedagogy/performance emphasis from USC Columbia. She served as church pianist, music director, accompanist for choir concerts and solo artists, soloed w/church orchestra, and taught piano in Charlotte for many years. She now lives at beautiful Lake Junaluska and is active playing in area churches, at Lake Junaluska and in an annual 4-piano concert. She has authored 7 books for piano teachers and piano students and enjoys mentoring piano teachers with a social media weekly video “Quick Tips for Piano Teachers.” Her new CD “Finding Him Faithful,” a compilation of her favorite hymn arrangements, is also on streaming platforms.
Timothy G. Bushong is a composer with choral pieces published by Hinshaw Music, Shawnee Press/GlorySound and Choristers Guild. His award-winning advertising jingles have aired on radio & television stations from Alaska to Maine and he has also composed the score for numerous marketing/educational videos, independent films and a television show. As a music educator, he has taught in both public and private schools in Texas and now in Tennessee.
Rev. Jackson Henry is a deacon in full connection who has served in church music ministry for over 25 years, having experience in churches of all sizes, campus ministry, and also in denominational leadership at Discipleship Ministries (formerly The General Board of Discipleship). In addition to his ministry appointment in the local church, Jackson is active as a performer, composer, and arranger, and he has performed extensively with musical artists in Murfreesboro and around the middle Tennessee area. He is a graduate of the Master of Sacred Music program from Perkins School of Theology/Southern Methodist University, and received a Bachelor of Music in Performance (Piano) from Tennessee Technological University. Jackson and his family have lived in Murfreesboro since 2003 and think of this area as home. He is honored to serve First United Methodist Church and the greater Murfreesboro community.
Diana Sanchez-Bushong grew up in San Antonio, Texas singing from the age of 5 at Browning United Methodist Church. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in Music in Choral Conducting from Southern Methodist University, a Master of Sacred Music degree from Perkins School of Theology at SMU, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from UT Austin. She has served in churches and at the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, where she worked with the Hymnal Revision Committee to develop the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal. In addition, Sanchez- Bushong helped develop the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship, and Mil Voces para Celebrar, an official UM hymnal for Spanish-speaking churches. She edited The Hymns of the United Methodist Hymnal (Abingdon, 1989) and authored Your Ministry of Planning and Leading Hymn Festivals (Discipleship Resources, 1990). She has written extensively on hymnody and music in worship, including the article ‘Latin American Hymnody, USA’ in the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. She also teaches the course “Culto de Adoracion y los Sacramentos” for the Course of Study Program and is an adjunct professor at Belmont University in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry.
Amy Martin is a Deacon in the UMC and serves as the Minister of Music and Discipleship at Reidland UMC in Paducah, Kentucky. Since 1986 she has been directing vocal and handbell choirs in small, medium, and large churches. In addition to church ministry work, Amy has taught piano and voice lessons, early childhood music classes, and served as Director of The Dixie Children’s Chorus in Huntingdon, Tennessee. Amy loves music, children, hiking, and tofu.
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The Rev. Blair Boyd Zant serves as director of the North Georgia Conference Center for Congregational Excellence. Learn more.
Olujimi (Olu) Brown is the father of Daya Elom Brown and Langston Wesley Brown. Olu is a native of Lufkin, Texas. He graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
He served as the Lead Pastor of Impact Church, a young congregation in the East Point community of Metropolitan Atlanta (impactdcd.org). With Olu’s vision and leadership, since its founding in 2007, Impact grew from a core team of 25 people to more than 5,000 online viewers with a $4M budget and listed at No. 5 in the 25 Fastest Growing Large United Methodist Churches, 2018 Edition.
While at Impact, Olu strongly believed in an active church, one that makes a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals and communities. Impact is a multicultural community committed to Doing Church Differently. Impact DCD redefines the church experience through inclusiveness, relatable messages, energetic weekly gatherings, unique events and activities, relevant youth programs and community outreach. The people of Impact are therefore compelled to help bring healing, justice and compassion to the world.
On May 16, 2021, Olu announced his retirement from the local church effective June 2022. For his retirement, Olu is using the phrase, Normalizing Next, which is the concept about how to best prepare for the future, especially churches that experience any kind of change or transition. Normalizing Next®️ is when you are no longer afraid to do your best to prepare for and strategize so that one can be fully successful.
Olu is looking forward to his ‘next,’ as he has begun a new season and has transitioned from Impact to where he is coaching business leaders, church leaders and church teams.
Olu is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC Level) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
Jennifer Pagnard is excited to return to Lake Junaluska, having sung with the Junaluska Singers way back in 1991. She grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and attended Cokesbury United Methodist Church. While earning her Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the University of Tennessee, she was a scholarship singer at Church Street United Methodist Church, singing with the Youth and Adult Choirs. After graduation, she taught elementary school music for one year in Prince Georges County, Maryland. In 1992, she won an alto vocalist position with The United States Air Force Singing Sergeants. During her Air Force career, she performed as a soloist and in ensembles, and as a concert announcer, for military and civilian events, including 32 national concert tours throughout 48 states, as well as 28 recording projects. While in the Air Force, she also completed a Master of Arts in Music from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. After retiring from the Air Force in 2015, Jennifer continued to perform as an actor, singer and concert emcee in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. In 2022, her husband, Christian, also retired from The U.S. Air Force Band after winning the position of principal trumpet with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. This past August, Jennifer and her family relocated to her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Recently, they transferred their membership from Burke United Methodist in Burke, Virginia, to Concord United Methodist Church in Knoxville where she and her daughter, Corinna, regularly volunteer for the Children’s Ministry.
In 1956, The U.S. Army Chorus was established as the vocal counterpart of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” From its inception, The U.S. Army Chorus has established and maintained a reputation of musical excellence. Beyond the traditional military music and patriotic standards, the repertoire of the Army Chorus covers a broad spectrum which includes pop, Broadway, folk, and classical music. The Army Chorus performs frequently at the White House, the Vice President’s Residence, the U.S. Capitol and the State Department. In 2007, the group was featured at the State Dinner held in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2008 at the State Arrival Ceremony for Pope Benedict XVI held on the south lawn of the White House. When in Washington, DC, foreign dignitaries and military counterparts visiting our nation’s senior leadership are greeted by songs performed in their native tongues, as the Army Chorus has performed in more than 40 languages and dialects. The Army Chorus was personally requested to perform for the private interment services of former President Ronald Wilson Reagan in 2004, and President Gerald R. and Mrs. Betty Ford in early 2007 and 2011, respectively. In late 2018, the Chorus was honored to help the Bush family lay to rest its patriarch and our 41st President, George H.W. Bush in a private interment ceremony in Texas. In 2021, the ensemble celebrated 65 years of service to the U.S. Army, its senior leaders, and the American people.
Linda Clayman Lay grew up in Clayman Valley, a tiny community named after her family outside of Bristol, Tennessee. She grew up surrounded by music in a family that treasured tunes, from old-time and bluegrass to gospel and traditional country. Her father, mandolinist Jack Clayman, formed a family band with Linda and his family, taking them to the places where the local musicians gathered, jammed, and performed. Linda later founded and led Appalachian Trail, an innovative bluegrass band that performed for more than 20 years. In Appalachian Trail, Linda truly found her voice, becoming not just the band’s lead singer but one of the most beloved singers in bluegrass. During her years touring with Appalachian Trail, she met the gifted guitar player and singer—and her future husband—David Lay. David Lay grew up listening to his father sing in quartets and preach, as a Methodist pastor, and was fortunate to be able to attend a lot of the all night singing conventions where he heard some of the greats in Southern Gospel. David played bass for a gospel group when he met Linda. He switched to guitar and after a brief courtship they married and he was performing in front of thousands of listeners. David is a very solid, versatile rhythm player and is able to adapt to the diverse styles of music with ease. David encouraged Linda to venture out to tour with other musicians, and today when she plays he is always beside her.
Jon Foulk is native of Atlanta, Georgia, who spent his formative years in East Tennessee. His debut EP “A New Song,” produced by Grammy-nominated and award-winning producer Travis Wyrick, was released in July of 2021. The record takes listeners on Jon’s personal journey through the struggles of addiction; followed by the hope through Christ presented in recovery. Foulk has released four subsequent (open, honest & organic) singles: I’m Sorry, The Drifter, Gone Too Far, and I Was Wrong. He currently resides just outside of Maryville, Tennessee, where he is a solo artist, session musician and keyboardist for the acclaimed southern rock band The Dirty Gospel.
Justin Terry was born and raised in a musical family. He began his professional singing career in 2006 when he joined a touring gospel quartet, Cross4Crowns. He saw success with the quartet including several nationally charting radio singles, national award nominations, as well as being regarded as one of the top bass singers in gospel music. In 2012, Justin left Cross4Crowns to embark on a solo career. Even with a successful solo career in full swing, Justin made time to tour with some legendary artists, including The Blackwood Quartet, The Stamps Quartet, Aaron Tippin, and Gary Puckett and The Union Gap. Although performing in such venues as Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, and Anderson Music Hall, Justin still finds time to come back to his roots and lead worship at many churches across America. We are grateful to have Justin Terry worshipping with us on this, his second visit to The Lake Junaluska Assembly.
John Overholt is a tenor hailing from Newport, Tennessee. He completed his graduate studies at the prestigious University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and his undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University. John’s versatility and passion for music have led him to perform in a variety of genres, from gospel to opera. In addition to his opera career, John has sung around the world with several gospel groups and has been a featured soloist in numerous church services across America. He has also performed with the Cincinnati Opera Chorus for several years, showcasing his vocal range and artistry. John gained national attention for his performance as Justice Antonin Scalia in the world premiere of Derrick Wang’s Scalia/Ginsburg at the Castleton Festival in 2015, which was featured on National Public Radio. His commitment to excellence in his craft has earned him numerous accolades and opportunities to perform throughout the United States and the world.
Michael and Chelsae began performing on guitar and flute together as students of the Bryan College Music Department in 2013. Over a decade later, the Tennessee native duo is married, has two beautiful children, and still enjoys playing music together as often as they can. Michael is the music director at Wayside Presbyterian Church and Chelsae teaches music lessons out of their home on Signal Mountain in East Tennessee. Each has enjoyed the occasional studio project, and they dream of one day recording their own feature album together. Michael and Chelsae are passionate about passing on a love of worship music to the next generation.
Bass, K.C. Armstrong has sung on national and international concert stages as a former member of The U.S. Army Chorus and former member of The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants. He just recently retired from The U.S. Army with over 20 years of collective service. As a member of these ensembles, he had the opportunity to sing for the last four presidents and for the funerals of Presidents Reagan, Ford and Bush. A featured soloist on choir tours throughout the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Netherlands and Romania, he is also a highly sought-after soloist for choral works/oratorios. He worked with teachers Dr. Robert Holquist, Dr. Noelle Woods and Dr. Thomas Jenrette during his studies at Western Carolina University and East Tennessee State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. While in college, K.C. was a Junaluska Singer the summers of ’96, ’97, and ’98! He is currently a freelance musician and sings with professional groups such as Poet Voices, King’s Cadence, Brethren, Voci Virili and many other vocal ensembles. Originally from Mt. Holly, North Carolina, K.C. resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife, Chara, daughter Adaline, and sons Brogan and Calvin.
The Rev. Dr. Amy Valdez Barker is visiting associate professor of religious education and mission innovation in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and former executive director of global mission connections at the General Board of Global Ministries. Learn more.
The Rev. Magrey deVega has served as senior pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa, Florida, since July 2015 and is former pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cherokee, Iowa. Learn more.
The Rev. Dr. James Howell has served as senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte since 2003 and is author of 17 books including “Yours are the Hands of Christ,” “Worshipful” and “Weak Enough to Lead.” Learn more.
The Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery is dean of Duke Chapel and an associate professor of homiletics at Duke University Divinity School, and former Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. Learn more.
Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner serves as the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies and Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement at Duke University Divinity School where she has taught for over twenty years. Dr. Warner teaches courses in United Methodist Studies, evangelism, mission, and women’s ministry.
As an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, Dr. Warner also serves the denomination in a number of capacities such as an elected delegate from the Texas Conference to General and Jurisdictional Conference and. She has also served as a previous member of the Council of Bishops’ Ministry Study, University Senate, Council of Bishops’ Task Force on Leadership Formation and Theological Education, as well as the Board of Ordained Ministry in the Texas Conference.
She is the author of several books including:
Saving Women: Retrieving Evangelistic Theology and Practice (Baylor University Press, 2007), which was rated an “Outstanding book” for 2008 by the University Press Books Committee.
Dr. Warner’s The Method of Our Mission: United Methodist Polity and Organization, published by Abingdon Press in 2014, is a widely used and recognized textbook among United Methodist seminary students.
In 2018 she co-authored with her husband From Relief to Empowerment: How Your Church Can Cultivate Sustainable Mission with Foundery Books.
She was also a contributing editor to the Wesley Study Bible
Dr. Warner lives outside Hillsborough, North Carolina, on a small farm with her husband and daughter where they care for a variety of creatures and grow flowers to share with the local community.
The Rev. Meredith Martin serves as Vice President of Programs at Crossnore Communities for Children where she leads the agency’s child welfare service lines, compliance, and learning and development initiatives across western North Carolina. During her tenure with Crossnore, Meredith has also been the project manager on the launch of several new service lines for the organization, and has led the implementation of The Sanctuary Model, Crossnore’s trauma-informed model of care. She has past professional experience working for organizations that serve children and families who are involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, who are experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual assault, and who are struggling with mental illness. Meredith is professionally trained as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She holds master’s degrees from Duke Divinity School and UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work and is an ordained deacon in Western NC Conference of The United Methodist Church. Meredith is married to Rev. Duncan Martin, senior pastor of Hawthorne Lane UMC in Charlotte. The couple has twin 9-year-old daughters.
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Photo courtesy Anslee Davidson
Anslee Davidson is a small-town girl from Greensboro, Georgia, who writes songs inspired by life and art. Anslee began playing guitar and writing songs with her dad as a young teen. At 16 she received a Golden Ticket on American Idol before testing positive for COVID and having to leave the show, but this only served to fuel her passion for music. Mixing Classic Country, Americana, Pop and R&B with a voice described by Katy Perry as “Timeless,” Anslee has compiled an impressive catalog of songs she performs throughout the Southeast wowing audiences large and small with her engaging personality and authentic style. Inspired by the legends of country and rock music, she has become a regular artist at the iconic Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, and Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta, Georgia.
Anslee signed with artist development and label services company, Oconee Music Foundry in 2021, and has been co-writing with some of Nashville’s best and brightest and has shared the stage with her friends Eric Dodd, Chuck Cannon, Rivers Rutherford, Kristian Bush from Sugarland, Drew & Ellie Holcomb, Rhett Akins, Restless Road, Deana Carter, and many more. Anslee released her debut single, “I’ll Wait For You,” in September of 2021 which immediately received playlisting by Spotify’s editorial team. Anslee’s songs are regularly on Spotify’s playlists, “New Music Friday Country” and “Fresh Finds Country,” and her song “Trouble With Georgia” was listed on “Fresh Finds Country: Best of 2022.” 2023 is off to an amazing start as her most recent single, “Forget Me Not” landed on Spotify’s “Next From Nashville.” Anslee released her first official music video for “Forget Me Not” in February, which can be found at CMT.com. With new music and shows planned throughout 2023, Anslee Davidson is only getting started and is a name to remember!
The Lake Junaluska landscaping team uses blooms from across the grounds when they create beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets for Lake Junaluska events. Learn more at Lake Junaluska Florals.
Rev. Bill Gattis has over 50 years of service as a minister in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. He’s served churches in rural settings, small towns, suburbs, and next door to a major university (University UMC, Chapel Hill) for 18 years. In addition to his local church ministry, he has served on the North Carolina Conference staff as conference director of youth & young adult ministry, been a district superintendent for eight years, and concluded 50 years as the Executive Director of the Academy for Leadership Excellence. Rev. Gattis is a Certified Professional Co-active Coach and an associate of the International Coach Federation. In 2017 he was endorsed as a Life/Leadership Coach by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the UMC. Bill and his wife, Irene, have been seasonal residents of Lake Junaluska since 1994.
As Director of Youth Ministry at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, Genevieve Brooks provides vision, oversight, and leadership for youth ministry programs, including Sunday evening programming, retreats, domestic mission trips, and small group ministries. After serving as Director of Middle School Ministry at White Memorial for three years, Genevieve accepted the call to become Director of Youth Ministry. Prior to joining the White Memorial staff, Genevieve had considerable youth experience, including launching a Young Life program in Craven County, working as the Summer Camp Coordinator at United Methodist Camp Don Lee and serving as Associate Youth Director at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh.
Genevieve was baptized, raised and confirmed at Starmount Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. In the fall of 2013, she moved to Raleigh to marry her camp sweetheart, Alex. She loves Jesus, coffee, sailing, games and cat videos.
Rev. Dr. Latricia Edwards Scriven is the Pastor of New Life United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida, and Pastor/Director of the IMPACT@FAMU Wesley Foundation at Florida A&M University. Pastor Scriven absolutely loves being called to ministry! Latricia is passionate about empowering women, strengthening marriages, and supporting marginalized and vulnerable populations. She has lived into her passion by engaging in social justice advocacy; by serving on the Board of Directors of Wisdom’s Wellspring, a residential community whose mission is “to equip women with wisdom to responsibly transform their lives and community”; and by partnering with her husband to lead Safe Conversations© workshops for couples and small groups. As an educator and leader, Dr. Scriven strives to create spaces that are energetic, interactive, thoughtful and engaging. She is the author of the children’s books, “When Jesus Laughs,” “When Jesus Rests,” and “Laughter Is My Superpower,” and contributing author of Bloom (Vol. 1): “Stories For Women to Nurture Your Growth and Water Your Soul.”
Latricia has an undergraduate degree and Mathematics, as well as Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University in Mathematics Education and Educational Administration, respectively. Dr. Scriven attended Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, where she earned a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. She has held faculty positions at Wilberforce University in Ohio, Baton Rouge Community College, Southern University in Louisiana, Brenau University in Georgia, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Religion at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, where she was also an Assistant Professor of Mathematics for several years.
Latricia is married to her phenomenal husband, Dr. Darryl Scriven, and they have three wonderfully talented children, Destini, Faith, and Samuel Scriven. Latricia loves traveling the world, playing Uno and Sorry with her family, sharing life with her students and congregation, and laughing uncontrollably with friends.
Bishop Charlene Payne Kammerer is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church. She was born in Orlando, Florida and grew up in Winter Garden where her home church was First United Methodist. She graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, with a B.A. degree in Religion and philosophy. She continued her preparation for Christian ministry by obtaining the Master of Christian Education and Master of Divinity degrees from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was ordained deacon and elder in the Florida Conference. She received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Charlene P. Kammerer was elected to the episcopacy in 1996, and assigned to the Western North Carolina Conference of the Charlotte Area. She served there until 2004, when she was assigned to the Virginia Conference.
Charlene’s service in the church has included equal years in parish ministries and connectional ministries, including service as a campus minister at Duke University and a District Superintendent of the Tallahassee District, Florida Conference. Her long-time interests in ministry include higher education, mission involvement, and the spirituality of administration. She has served as a director of the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and as director of the General Board of Global Ministries, including Chairperson of the United Methodist Committee on Relief from 1992-1996. She has received the Outstanding Alumnae Award from both Wesleyan College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Florida in 1989. She has led Disciple Bible study groups, retreats and taught in Schools of Mission.
Charlene was married to Leigh Kammerer on August 29, 1970. They have one son, Christopher Hal. Charlene and Leigh have been partners in ministry since being students together at seminary.
The Rev. Billy Michael Honor is a public scholar and community organizer whose progressive and compelling insights have made him a sought-after speaker, social commentator and writer. Currently, he is the founding scholar of Truth on the Loose LLC., a thought leadership company working at the intersection of faith, human rights, intellectual health, politics and civic organizing. Previously, he was the Director of Faith and Civic Organizing for the New Georgia Project. In this position, he organized non-partisan voter mobilization and social justice campaigns that have been widely celebrated and brought thousands of souls to the polls. He also travels extensively speaking in colleges, congregations, conferences and civic gatherings. The Center for American Progress named Billy one of the 15 Faith Leaders to watch in 2020 and the Atlanta Magazine listed him as one of the 500 most powerful people in Atlanta for 2021. He also was the Racial Justice and Religion fellow with Aspen Institute’s Inclusive America Project. His writings and work have been featured and published by numerous media outlets including the Huffington Post, USA Today, The Nation, Mother Jones, NPR and Sojourners.
Abbye West Pates is a worship leader from Memphis, Tennessee. Originally from south Mississippi, she spent her summers at Lake Junaluska with her youth group. She’s excited to be here leading others in worship, with her husband, Jeff. Abbye and Jeff live in community, where they grow their own food, cook lots of meals, and find joy in opening their home for their friends and neighbors. Learn more at abbyewestpates.com.
Known as “the funniest man in youth ministry,” the Rev. Andy Lambert is a native of Pfafftown, NC. He received a B.A. in sociology from Appalachian State University and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Lambert has proclaimed the Gospel at comedy clubs, churches and colleges, traveling throughout the United States, Mexico, Wales and England. Andy is currently enjoying retirement in Winston-Salem, NC.
Nairobi O. Smith has been a musician all her life. From a very early age, she was harmonizing with the church choir and organ at the church her father pastored. She has spent time performing with The Young Americans, traveling across the World teaching kids about character building and music. Nairobi’s passion for worship ministry grew over her 20 years at Casowasco Camp Conference and Retreat Center planning and leading worship and music programming. When she is not making music professionally, she is doing it for fun in bands and with friends. Nairobi has mastered guitar, drums and vocals and loves collaborating with other musicians. She lives with her wife, Liz, and their dog Charlie in Auburn, NY.
The Rev. Melissa Cooper is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. Prior to serving at St. Luke’s, Melissa served as Program Coordinator for the Life Enrichment Center and Warren Willis Camp. Before receiving her MTS in 2009, Melissa earned a B.A. in English from Middle Tennessee State University. She is originally from Tennessee, but began her full-time ministry in the North Carolina Annual Conference at Camp Don Lee, where she served as the Faith Formation and Retreat Ministries Coordinator. From 2011 to 2017, Melissa built a ground-up program ministry at the Life Enrichment Center, at which she was the first program staff member. Building on her previous experience with intergenerational camps and retreats, she developed LECFamily, the intergenerational program ministry of the LEC. Melissa has spoken at various regional and national gatherings for the UMC, the UCC and the ELCA on the topic of intergenerational ministry and cross-generational communication. Since 2010, she has written youth and children’s curriculum for sparkhouse, an ecumenical publishing house. She also serves as an Associate with Vibrant Faith, an ecumenical organization providing coaching, training and consulting to churches seeking to go deeper with adaptive leadership and intergenerational ministry. In the Florida Conference, Melissa has served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, as a Multicultural Resource Facilitator for Cross-Cultural Communication, as a reserve delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, and as co-chair of the Children’s Ministry Table. Melissa is married to Will, and they are the parents to the cutest poodle you’ll ever meet.
Junaluska (Cherokee: Tsunu’lahun’ski) (c.1775 – October 20, 1868) was a Cherokee leader who resided in western North Carolina. Though few details are known about his early life, historians often refer to key moments of leadership in the early 1800s, including saving General Andrew Jackson’s life at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Junaluska was known for his bravery and advocating for his beloved homeland. To learn more about Junaluska and the Cherokee people, visit cherokeehistorical.org.
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The Rev. Dr. James A. Harnish (Jim) retired after 43 years of pastoral ministry in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was the founding pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando and served for 22 years as the Senior Pastor of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa.
Jim is the author of more than 20 books and Bible studies including “A Disciple’s Path” and “Extraordinary Ministry in Ordinary Time.” His most recent book is “Finding Your Bearings: How Words that Guided Jesus Through Crisis Can Guide Us.” He was a Consulting Editor for “The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible” and a contributor to “The Wesley Study Bible.”
He served on the General Board of Discipleship and the General Commission on General Conference, and as a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences and to World Methodist Conferences in England, Brazil, Kenya and South Africa. He is a facilitator for the Florida Conference Institute of Preaching and a member of the Board of Visitors at Duke Divinity School.
He and his wife, Martha, live in Longwood, Florida. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren in Florida and South Carolina. He blogs at www.jimharnish.org.
The Rev. Zack Christy pastors First United Methodist Church in Cherryville, N.C. He is married to Crystal, and they have two children.
The Reverend Dr. Sally Campbell-Evans was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1988. She refers to herself as a “Meth-o-terian” because she has ‘dual-citizenship’ in the PC (USA) and the Florida Conference of the UMC, and has been dancing in both worlds for over 30 years.
During her ministry, she has served as a missionary, directed hurricane relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew, worked with the Young Adult Volunteer Program, and served local churches. For the past nine years, however, she has served as the Pastor for Congregational Care at Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa and loves being there.
She is married to the Rev. Clarke Campbell-Evans, Director of Missional Engagement for the Florida Annual Conference. They have three children, one son-in-law and a grandbaby “on the way.”
1983 – BA, Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC
1988 – M.Div, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA
2005 – D.Min, Florida Center for Theological Studies, Miami, FL
The Reverend Dr. Elaine’s vocational journey includes having served as Dean of the Divinity School at Duke University, and the McCreless Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology. She is a pioneer in new forms of theological education. In that capacity, Heath is co-founder and President of Neighborhood Seminary. The author of 12 books, Heath is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and served in pastoral ministry prior to her academic ministry. She lives with her husband at Spring Forest, an intentional Christian Community and farm in rural North Carolina where she serves as Abbess.
An advocate for older adults, Missy Buchanan is an internationally-recognized author and speaker on issues of aging faithfully, drawing from her personal experience as a caregiver for her own aging parents. She has appeared twice on Good Morning America with co-anchor Robin Roberts who describes Missy as “the rare soul that understands, truly understands, older adults: their fears, struggles and hopes.”
With thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, Missy provides daily insight and encouragement for the journey of aging. Her first book, Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body, remains a top-seller in addition to nine other titles which are often found on beside tables in senior living communities and in church libraries. Her book Beach Calling: A Devotional Journal for the Middle Years and Beyond was launched in June 2019 and achieved #1 New Release Christian Devotional on Amazon. Missy’s newest book, Dry Bones to Living Hope, released in the fall of 2021 and was endorsed by the Rev. Adam Hamilton of UM Church of the Resurrection.
Missy has been a speaker at hundreds of churches, senior living communities and aging conferences including the National Boomer Ministry Conference, the Festival of Wisdom and Grace, and the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network National Conference. She has delivered messages about caregiving and faithful aging to churches of many denominations, including the largest United Methodist Church in the United States– UM Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS. She has also been a featured speaker aboard cruises for Educational Opportunities Tours.
A resident of Rockwall, Texas, Missy enjoys regular visits to senior living communities in her area to see her older adult friends, being a greeter at her local church and basking in her favorite role of all: grandmother.
The Rev. David McEntire is a native of Atlanta, Ga. and has lived in Europe, the Far East and throughout the United States. David has pastored churches in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church for more than 41 years having graduated from Florida State University and attended seminary at Duke University. He has been a delegate to both South East Jurisdictional and General Conferences. David has served on several Florida Conference Boards and agencies including the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Conference Council on Ministries, the Florida UM Children’s Home (chair), Florida Southern College Board of Trustees, The Florida Conference Board of Trustees (chair), and the Florida Conference Board of Camps and Retreat Ministries (chair). David is married to Nancy. They have three children; Katie, Andy and Molly, and 2 grandchildren, Crosley and Jude. David’s greatest joy is knowing that a person has come to know the love of Christ in a personal way.
Michael and Joy Mays, and their children Jacob, Natalie, Elena, and Caroline. Michael earned his master’s degree in vocal performance from Southwestern Seminary in 2004, and his bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1995; Joy graduated from Tennessee Temple University in 1996 with a degree in piano performance. Like their parents, the Mays children have developed into talented singers and songwriters. Kingdom Come’s genre is eclectic in style, employing folk, adult contemporary, praise and worship, traditional hymns, and other styles in their own composed scores and lyrics. They currently reside in Chickamauga, Georgia, with their two younger children, Jonathan and Chloe.
Nathan Prisk, Bass Vocalist, has been a professional singer for over 20 years. He received a full performance scholarship for piano performance at Clayton State University. Nathan teaches voice and piano in the south metro Atlanta area and is the Fine Arts Director at Creekside Christian Academy, McDonough, Georgia. He wants to build singers and performers, worship leaders and worshipers. Nathan toured extensively for 15 years as a professional vocalist with many ensembles, including Poet Voices! He now travels as a soloist, vocal/choral clinician, pianist, vocal coach, piano teacher, and emcee. Nathan’s debut solo album was released on July 27, 2012.
Phil Cross began his songwriting journey in 1980 and is one of the most highly acclaimed songwriters in Gospel Music. His compositions are well known and well loved. Phil tours with Poet Voices and is also available for solo concerts, choir revivals, worship leading, and songwriting seminars. A few of Phil’s most known songs include Champion Of Love (Cathedral Quartet), When I Get Carried Away (Gold City), Saved To The Uttermost (The Speers), Miracle In Me (The Greenes), Yes I Am (The Hoppers), I Am Redeemed (Poet Voices), and Jesus Built A Bridge (Poet Voices).
Jonathan D. Williams has previously served for three and half years as Organist/Accompanist at Ardmore Baptist Church – Winston-Salem, NC where he chaired Arts at Ardmore, a visual and performing arts series, and organized and performed in the biennial Keyboards at Christmas. Jonathan studied organ performance with Faythe Freese at the University of Alabama where he won the AFMC – Sarah Caldwell Lee Organ Competition at Samford University and the Clarence Dickinson Organ Festival Competition at William Carey University. Jonathan also works in the Forsyth County Tax Administration office and is married to Catherine (Cady) née King. They are blessed with a lovely and rambunctious 1.5-year-old son named Archibald James (Archie). FUN FACT: Archie’s namesake, Archibald Theodore King, was a Moravian Minister in the Virgin Islands during the early 20th century.
Christopher Plaas has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe. He earned his BM in Vocal Performance at East Tennessee State University and his MM in Vocal Performance at Appalachian State University. Christopher has been featured as a young artist with Indianapolis Opera, Opera on the James, and Teatro Nuovo and has had recent appearances with Knoxville Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, Barn Opera, and Asheville Lyric Opera. He is currently in his 4th year as an adjunct professor of voice at East Tennessee State University.
The Reverend Jennifer Forrester is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church Hickory.
The Reverend Paul Christy was born in Avery County and is the son of a United Methodist preacher. He grew up in a parsonage family and has one sister who is a United Methodist preacher and two brothers who likewise are United Methodist preachers. Paul holds degrees from Brevard College, Pfeiffer University and Duke University. Paul has been in the active United Methodist ministry since 1988 and has served appointments in Statesville, Providence and Cool Spring UMC, and North Morganton UMC in Morganton, NC, at First UMC Sylva, at Highlands UMC, and now is at First UMC in Hickory, and Reeps Grove and Macedonia.
He is married to Jamye Cartner Christy and they have two children: Zack is married to Crystal and they are the proud parents of Paul and Jamye’s grandchildren, Elijah and Ella Ann. Zack is a United Methodist Minister in Cherryville, N.C. at First United Methodist Church. Their other child. Caroline. was recently married and she and her husband reside outside Charlotte, N.C. Paul enjoys spending time with his family and fly fishing and playing golf. Paul is an avid runner who has run several half marathons. He will admit that he is not fast but enjoys running with others in the church. Paul has served the United Methodist Church in different capacities over the years, not only as a local church Pastor but in the Conference as well, as the Director of Lay Speaking Ministries for the Smoky Mountain District, on the District Board of Superintendents, and on the Conference Board for Equitable Salaries.
One of Paul’s greatest joys is being a part of Foreign missions. He has been to Bolivia, Haiti, Jamaica, and Bosnia on several occasions teaching and building either churches or barns in these countries.
The Reverend Dr. Audrey Warren is the Senior Pastor of First UMC of Miami Florida appointed in July of 2015. A native Floridian, Audrey did not venture far from her hometown of Naples. Audrey holds degrees from Florida Southern College (BA), Duke Divinity School (MDiv), and Wesley Theological Seminary (Doctorate of Ministry). Audrey has a passion for outreach and mission and has used these gifts to lead Fresh Expressions movements in Florida. She has most recently co-authored “Fresh Expressions: A New Kind of Methodist Church for People Not in Church” and “People over Property: Scripture, Stories, and Strategies to Help People of Faith reimagine Their Space,” both authored with Bishop Kenneth Carter. Audrey is a dynamic preacher, educator, courageous leader and motivator while bringing diverse people together to carry out the work of Christ in the community.
The Reverend Dr. Mark Teasdale is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Teasdale joined the faculty at Garrett-Evangelical in 2008 and served as the director of the doctor of ministry program from 2009-2018. Within the faculty, he has chaired multiple committees and been a part of redesigning courses and degree programs. In the classroom, Teasdale has excelled in traditional lecture formats and in creating innovative online classroom engagement.
Teasdale also is president of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education, associate editor of Missiology: An International Review, and served for six years as the editor of Witness: The Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education. He was also named one of the first Fellows of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. Teasdale has published many articles and book chapters, and is the author of Methodist Evangelism, American Salvation: The Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1860-1920 (Pickwick, 2014), Evangelism for Non-Evangelists: Sharing the Gospel Authentically (InterVarsity Press, 2016), and Go! How to Become A Great Commission Church (Wesley’s Foundry Books, 2017). Among his research interests, Teasdale hopes to expand on his signature “evangelism equation” by publishing on the intersection of salvation and working for the public good.
Active in the church, Teasdale is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of The United Methodist Church. He is a highly sought keynote speaker and has led numerous workshops on evangelism. Teasdale has also been a consultant with several local churches and denominational bodies, including the cabinet of the Methodist Church (Lower Myanmar) and the Connectional Table of the UMC. For the past several years, Teasdale has offered a popular online “Evangelism for Non-Evangelists” course through Garrett-Evangelical’s Connectional Learning program, offering both clergy and laity the opportunity grow in their understanding and practice of evangelism within their local context. He is also a faculty member for the United Methodist Course of Study programs at Garrett-Evangelical and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Edgardo Colón-Emeric is dean of Duke Divinity School, Irene and William McCutchen Associate Professor of Reconciliation and Theology, and director of the Center for Reconciliation.
Colón-Emeric’s work explores the intersection of Methodist and Catholic theologies, and Wesleyan and Latin American experiences. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Colón-Emeric was the first Latino to be ordained as an elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and was founding pastor of Cristo Vive UMC in Durham, N.C. He became founding director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School in 2007 and joined the Divinity School faculty in 2008. Since 2010, he has served as the director of Central American Methodist Course of Study, which trains Methodist pastors who have not earned a formal Master of Divinity degree in such places as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. He is also director of the Duke-Peru Theological Initiative, a partnership between the Methodist Church of Peru and Duke Divinity School.
He became director of the Center for Reconciliation in 2018. He serves on the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order and on both national and international Methodist-Catholic dialogues. In October 2017, he met with Pope Francis as part of a delegation from the Methodist-Catholic Dialogue and presented the pope with a Spanish translation he created of the dialogue’s bilateral statement.
Colón-Emeric is the author of Wesley, Aquinas, and Christian Perfection: An Ecumenical Dialogue (Baylor University Press, 2009) which received the 2008 “Aquinas Dissertation Prize Winner” from the Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University and Óscar Romero’s Theological Vision: Liberation and the Transfiguration of the Poor (Notre Dame University Press, 2018), which received first place in the 2019 Catholic Press Association award for books about newly canonized saints.
Reverend Moore is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, a graduate of Greensboro College (BA Religion), Duke Divinity School (Master of Divinity), and Drew University (Doctor of Ministry Degree). Sam and his wife Marva have served numerous churches while Sam has also served on the Board of Ordained Ministry, Board of Trustees, Black Methodist for Church Renewal Committee of the WNCUMC, and has offered community service with the NAACP, and board memberships at Bennett College for Women, Pfeiffer University, and Greensboro College. Sam is from Reidsville and he and Marva share a blended family of five children, thirteen grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Matthew Sleeth, MD, a former emergency room physician and chief of the hospital medical staff, resigned from his position to teach, preach, and write about faith and health. Dr. Sleeth has spoken at more than 1,000 churches, campuses, and events, including serving as a monthly guest preacher at the Washington National Cathedral. Recognized by Newsweek as one of the nation’s most influential Christian leaders, Dr. Sleeth is the executive director of Blessed Earth and author of numerous articles and books, including Reforesting Faith and 24/6.
His most recent book, Hope Always: How to be a force for life in a culture of suicide, released in May 2021. Dr. Sleeth lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with Nancy, his wife of 40 years. Their grown children serve with their families in full-time ministry and as medical missionaries in Africa.
Dr. Sleeth will bring our Keynote Addresses and will speak on “10 Ways to Maintain Mental Health.”
Bishop Kenneth Carder was elected to the episcopacy in 1992 by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference of the U.M. Church. At the time he was the pastor of the Church Street U.M.C. in Knoxville. He was assigned to the Nashville Episcopal Area, effective 1 September 1992. He was assigned to the Mississippi Area in 2000, where he served until retiring in 2004 and joining the faculty of Duke University Divinity School. Currently, Bishop Carder serves as the Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry Duke Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of five books and numerous articles.
Bishop Carder was with us in 2021 and is back in 2022 to be our Preacher for the Festival of Wisdom and Grace.
Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee serves as the Smoky Mountain District Superintendent of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church. Most recently, Jae has served as pastor of Calvary UMC in Charlotte since 2013. Previously, he was pastor of Wesley UMC and Thrift UMC, both in Charlotte, and associate pastor at First UMC in Brevard. Born and raised in South Korea, Jae completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at Hanyang University in Seoul. Coming to the US in 1997, he earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and a Doctor of Ministry at Duke Divinity School.
Jae is married to Kim, a registered pharmacist in North and South Carolinas, and they have three adult children. Jae loves Western North Carolina’s mountains and enjoys walking and hiking.
Amber (RYT – 500) is a Yoga & Mindfulness Mentor whose passion is helping women reconnect with themselves through movement, meditation, and the practice of setting sacred boundaries. She is driven by her own transformation that yoga and mindfulness helped unfold when she stepped onto her mat in 2013 after being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease.
When joining her for a Slow Flow or Restorative Yoga class, you’ll be invited to explore the infinite possibilities that good self-care can provide both on and off the mat. Amber is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor who brings her silly sense of humor, creative sequencing, and everyone-is-welcome attitude into her classes for a refreshing experience from head to toe.