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GA 2018 LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

The EPC endeavors to create a culture that supports leadership development for all ministries of the church, and our fourth annual Leadership Institute is designed to encourage you and offer practical ways to further that mission.

This year’s GA theme reinforces our awareness on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that something bigger is happening in Memphis and beyond in our culture in 2018 than just what God is doing in and through the EPC. Our plenary speakers—Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, and Jennifer Ross—will take an intentional look beyond our denomination at deep hurts that can help us minister the gospel more effectively.

This year, 14 seminars are available on Tuesday, June 19, across a greater variety of time slots than in previous years, allowing you to participate in multiple leadership development opportunities. All pastors, elders, church staff, and church members are encouraged to attend!

Track A: 9:00–11:45 a.m.
Track B: 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Track C: 1:00–2:30 p.m.
Track D: 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Track E: 1:00–5:00 p.m. (Bus Tour)
Plenary Speakers: Wednesday, June 20

TRACK A

RELIGIOUS SUPPORT AND PROTECTING FREE EXERCISE

Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 230
Facilitator: Daniel Blomberg

Daniel Blomberg, Senior Counsel for Becket Law, is the guest speaker for the annual EPC Chaplain’s Workshop, and all GA attendees are welcome to attend his presentation from 9:00–11:45 a.m. He will discuss the legal challenges for chaplains, ministers, and churches in today’s perplexing world, providing insight, tools, and encouragement. We also will have an extended time for Q-and-A.

Becket Law is a leading religious liberty law firm, and defends the free exercise of all faiths. The firm’s attorneys have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, and Hosanna-Tabor Church and School cases.

Blomberg has represented an international order of nuns, the world’s largest religious media organization, synagogues, members of the U.S. military, religious healthcare ministries, peaceful protestors, halfway houses, religious colleges, state legislators, homeless shelters, religious business owners, an art gallery, and churches. He also has represented a wide variety of faith groups, including Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Hindus, Hutterites, Jews, Lutherans, Mennonites, Muslims, Presbyterians, Russian Orthodox, and Sikhs. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, CBS Evening News, and NPR.

Daniel Blomberg

Senior Counsel
Becket Law

Washington, D.C.

TRACK B

PLANTING MULTI-ETHNIC CHURCHES

Time: 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Location: Clayborn Temple, Downtown Memphis
Facilitators: Léonce Crump Jr. and Richard Rieves

This seminar will be held at the historic Clayborn Temple—home of the EPC church plant Downtown Church—in the heart of downtown Memphis. Rev. Léonce Crump Jr. will speak from his experience of planting and leading Renovation Church in downtown Atlanta for the past 12 years. Describing Renovation Church as “transcultural,” Crump will take us through the biblical mandate for God’s church to be diverse, weaving the story of planting Renovation Church into the fabric of his teaching. The pastoral team of Downtown Church will then tell the story of planting their multi-ethnic/multi-class church. Prior to the seminar, participants will take a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum (beginning at 9:30 a.m.), and the “I Am A Man Plaza” adjacent to Clayborn Temple, followed by lunch (additional cost applies).

Léonce Crump Jr. is an author, international speaker, and the founder and lead pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta. In 2006, he began the process of planting Renovation Church. Crump was an All-American wrestler and defensive end for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, and went on to play professional football for the New Orleans Saints. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee and Resurgence Theological Training Center. He is currently a Master of Divinity student at Reformed Theological Seminary and a member of the Acts 29 church planting network. He and his wife, Breanna, have two daughters and one son.

Richard Rieves serves as Pastor of the EPC’s Downtown Church, which meets in the historic Clayborn Temple in Memphis.

Léonce Crump Jr.

Pastor
Renovation Church

Atlanta, Georgia

Richard Rieves

Pastor
Downtown Church

Memphis, Tennessee

TRACK C

BEING A PUBLIC, MEDIA-FRIENDLY EVANGELICAL IN THE TRUMP ERA

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 238
Facilitator: Carmen LaBerge

Wondering how to advance a positive evangelical Christian voice in the current conversations of the day? Want to know how to answer media inquiries which may at first appear to be hostile? Want to know how to use social media effectively and guard against its misuse? Want to be equipped to rectify things you, your church, or evangelicals in general are represented as in the press? If so, this workshop is for you!

Carmen LaBerge is a writer, speaker, and Christian talk radio host. She has hosted the daily Christian radio talk show The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge since 2016, which was relaunched this year as Connecting Faith with Carmen LaBerge through the Faith Radio Network. She is also in her ninth year serving as the President of the Reformation Press (formerly the Presbyterian Lay Committee), a ministry that’s been working to equip Christians for faithful witness for more than 50 years. She is author of Speak the Truth: Bring God back into the Conversationpublished in September 2017 by Regnery Faith.

Carmen LaBerge

President
Reformation Press
(formerly Presbyterian Lay Committee)

Nashville, Tennessee

BUILDING BLOCKS OF A MISSIONAL CHURCH, PART 1

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 222
Facilitator: Randy H

This workshop is geared to both ignite your church to missional living and help build a missional DNA within your congregation. God’s heart is for the nations, and we are all given the opportunity to participate in this work using our many different talents. We are excited to share with you some of the available tools and resources that can help you work towards tangible action steps in establishing your church as active partners in the Great Commission.

Randy H is a global worker serving through EPC World Outreach and serves in a location that is undisclosed for security reasons.

Randy H

Global Worker
EPC World Outreach

Unpublished Location

DISCERNING THE SPIRITS

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 226
Facilitator: Sharon Beekmann

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

Most Christians have a rudimentary understanding of how to test the source of supernatural experiences and spiritual practices—if it inspires and brings peace, it must be of God; if it is dark and menacing, it must be evil (perhaps even Satan). This workshop looks at traditional and biblical teachings on what demons can and cannot do, given the gospel of Jesus Christ. It offers ways to test the source of intuitions, visions, and dreams. Other topics include demonization, deliverance, mental illness, and the risks of participating in Yoga, eastern meditation, and energy therapies such as acupressure and reflexology.

Sharon Beekmann is author of Rescued and Redeemed: How to Discern Demons from the Divine and Silencing Satan: Handbook of Biblical Demonology. An Associate Professor at Denver Theological Seminary, she teaches on biblical demonology and has counseled many spiritually oppressed people. Sharon serves the EPC’s Presbytery of the West as Director of Discovery Workshops, which prepares candidates and pastors for oral and written ordination exams. She also chairs the EPC Women’s Resource Council and served on the National Leadership Team from 2014-17.

Sharon Beekmann

Chair
EPC Women’s Resource Council

Denver, Colorado

MAKING DISCIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES

Time: 1:00 p.m
Location: Chapel
Facilitator: Doug Resler

The Great Commission calls us all to go into the world and make disciples. But how exactly do we do this? Many pastors and church leaders feel like they are constantly missing the mark when it comes to this all-important task. Join Doug Resler as he leads an interactive time where leaders will reflect on the discipleship model of Jesus, evaluate their current practices, and be introduced to field-tested methods that are applicable to any church context.

Doug Resler serves as Senior Pastor for Parker EPC in Parker, Colorado, and Adjunct Professor at Denver Theological Seminary where he teaches courses on evangelism, missions, and pastoral leadership. He has more than 20 years of ministry experience, 15 of which as a Lead Pastor. Under his leadership, Parker EPC has grown significantly and more than doubled their budget in eight years. He has written for Christianity Today on the subject of leadership, particularly how to persevere through the successes and failures of ministry. Doug is a member of the international board for the Petros Network, a church planting and leadership training ministry in Ethiopia. He has traveled to the eastern African nation 7 times to train church planters.

Doug Resler

Senior Pastor
Parker EPC

Parker, Colorado

THE BEAUTY OF REFORMED WORSHIP

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 234
Facilitator: Zach Hopkins

In part 1 of the Westminster Society’s 4-part series this year, Zach Hopkins will focus on the means of grace in the Reformed tradition of the Christian faith. “The Beauty of Reformed Worship” will consider and celebrate the distinctiveness of Reformed worship, with special emphasis given to discussion around the themes of covenantal, dialogic, and biblical foundations for our worship practices on the Lord’s Day. The only mention of the so-called “worship wars” here will be with regard to the victory that our God has won to gather worshippers for Himself according to His pleasure and for His glory.

Zach Hopkins serves as Pastor of Edgington EPC in Taylor Ridge, Illinois. He is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Zach has served Edgington EPC in various capacities since 2009, and was fully ordained as Teaching Elder in 2014.

Zach Hopkins

Pastor
Edgington EPC

Taylor Ridge, Illinois

THE GOSPEL IN DARK PLACES: MINISTRY TO EXPLOITED AND TRAFFICKED WOMEN

Time: 1:00 p.m
Location: Room 236
Facilitators: Bonnie Gatchell and Tricia Grant

Join TE Bonnie Gatchell and survivor/leader Tricia Grant as they unpack the myths and reality of women sexually exploited and trafficked here in the United States, including strip clubs. Tricia is an American-born woman who was trafficked in and around Auburn, Maine. She will share parts of her story and give specific advice to pastors and lay leaders who long to reach and care for women (and men) who have left the world of trafficking and exploitation. This issue reaches all economic lines and every community—suburban, urban, and rural alike. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of women exploited and trafficked through the commercial sex industry, as well as learn unique evangelism skills for reaching people in dark places. 

Bonnie Gatchell is the Founder and Director of Route One Ministry, a program that reaches women exploited by entering strip clubs. Bonnie came to Boston in 2006 to pursue M.Div. and Th.M. degrees at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In 2009, she won the distinguished Donald Wells Award for justice in preaching. In 2010, she was awakened to the horrors of trafficking—both globally and domestically—and founded Route One Ministry, the first outreach of its kind in New England. Bonnie seeks to equip Christian leaders with the resources needed to address trafficking in their community. She has conducted team training seminars as well as large group lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Boston Rescue Mission, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and TEDx Wellesley.

Tricia Grant lives in Lewiston, Maine, and is a survivor of sex trafficking who now educates youth and adults in large group and one-on-one settings about the dangers and realities of human trafficking. Having been trafficked at a popular restaurant in Auburn, Maine, when she was 15 and living on her own with her little boy, Tricia has been able to connect deeply with at-risk youth and encourage victims of trafficking and sexual abuse as they move forward in their healing process. She shares her story with the hope that it will help others understand that trafficking can happen to anyone anywhere, and prevent victims from waiting 16 years to talk about it, as she did.

Bonnie Gatchell

Director
Route One Ministry

Boston, Massachusetts

Tricia Grant

Sex Trafficking Survivor
Educator and Speaker

Lewiston, Maine

THE LORD’S SUPPER IN THE REFORMED TRADITION

Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 234
Facilitator: Stephen Hess

In part 2 of the Westminster Society’s 4-part series this year, Stephen Hess will explore the theology of the Lord’s Supper and how the Reformed view differs from other traditions. He also will discuss some of the most common practical questions related to the Lord’s Supper in the life of the church today.

Stephen Hess serves as Pastor of Highview EPC in Dousman, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Whitworth College. He and wife, Meagan, have two children, Silas and Evangeline.

Stephen Hess

Pastor
Highview EPC

Dousman, Wisconsin

THE REFORMATION OF PREACHING

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Cry Room
Facilitator: David Swanson

This seminar will look at the historical marks of Reformed preaching and how those characteristics are what can renew and reinvigorate preaching in the church today. We need pastor/theologians who not only can exegete well, but who can communicate and inspire their people with that information.

David Swanson serves as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He is the author of four books: Everlasting LifeVital Signs: Discovering the Keys to Abundant Christian LivingLearning to Be You: How Our True Identity in Christ Sets Us Free, and The Essentials, a primer on the fundamentals of faith. An active community leader, Swanson serves on the Board of Trustees for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; on the Board of Advisors for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Jacksonville; as Vice-Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness; on the board of The Downtown Orlando Partnership; and on the board of The Camaraderie Foundation. He and his wife, Leigh, have three children: John David, Alex, and Kaylee.

David Swanson

Senior Pastor
First Presbyterian Church

Orlando, Florida

TRACK D

BEING A PUBLIC, MEDIA-FRIENDLY EVANGELICAL IN THE TRUMP ERA

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 238
Facilitator: Carmen LaBerge

Wondering how to advance a positive evangelical Christian voice in the current conversations of the day? Want to know how to answer media inquiries which may at first appear to be hostile? Want to know how to use social media effectively and guard against its misuse? Want to be equipped to rectify things you, your church, or evangelicals in general are represented as in the press? If so, this workshop is for you!

Carmen LaBerge is a writer, speaker, and Christian talk radio host. She has hosted the daily Christian radio talk show The Reconnect with Carmen LaBerge since 2016, which was relaunched this year as Connecting Faith with Carmen LaBerge through the Faith Radio Network. She is also in her ninth year serving as the President of the Reformation Press (formerly the Presbyterian Lay Committee), a ministry that’s been working to equip Christians for faithful witness for more than 50 years. She is author of Speak the Truth: Bring God back into the Conversationpublished in September 2017 by Regnery Faith.

Carmen LaBerge

President
Reformation Press
(formerly Presbyterian Lay Committee)

Nashville, Tennessee

BUILDING BLOCKS OF A MISSIONAL CHURCH, PART 2

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 222
Facilitator: Randy H

This workshop is geared to both ignite your church to missional living and help build a missional DNA within your congregation. God’s heart is for the nations, and we are all given the opportunity to participate in this work using our many different talents. We are excited to share with you some of the available tools and resources that can help you work towards tangible action steps in establishing your church as active partners in the Great Commission.

Randy H is a global worker serving through EPC World Outreach and serves in a location that is undisclosed for security reasons.

Randy H

Global Worker
EPC World Outreach

Unpublished Location

DISCERNING THE SPIRITS

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 226
Facilitator: Sharon Beekmann

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

Most Christians have a rudimentary understanding of how to test the source of supernatural experiences and spiritual practices—if it inspires and brings peace, it must be of God; if it is dark and menacing, it must be evil (perhaps even Satan). This workshop looks at traditional and biblical teachings on what demons can and cannot do, given the gospel of Jesus Christ. It offers ways to test the source of intuitions, visions, and dreams; and ways to respond when demons, angels, or the dead appear. Other topics include demonization, deliverance, mental illness, and the risks of participating in Yoga, eastern meditation, and energy therapies such as acupressure and reflexology.

Sharon Beekmann is author of Rescued and Redeemed: How to Discern Demons from the Divine and Silencing Satan: Handbook of Biblical Demonology. An Associate Professor at Denver Theological Seminary, she teaches on biblical demonology and has counseled many spiritually oppressed people. Sharon serves the EPC’s Presbytery of the West as Director of Discovery Workshops, which prepares candidates and pastors for oral and written ordination exams. She also chairs the EPC Women’s Resource Council and served on the National Leadership Team from 2014-17.

Sharon Beekmann

Chair
EPC Women’s Resource Council

Denver, Colorado

DISCIPLESHIP IN STUDENT MINISTRY

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 223
Facilitator: Mike and Meg DeHaven

Join Mike and Meg DeHaven as they discuss proven, effective methods of developing strategies and utilizing technology in order to disciple students .

Meg DeHaven serves as Director of Children and Youth for Bethany EPC in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

Mike DeHaven is Assistant Director of Youth for Bethany EPC and also oversees the church’s Information Technology.

Meg DeHaven

Director of Children and Youth
Bethany EPC

Havertown, Pennsylvania

Mike DeHaven

Assistant Director of Youth
Bethany EPC

Havertown, Pennsylvania

MAKING DISCIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES

Time: 3:00 p.m
Location: Chapel
Facilitator: Doug Resler

The Great Commission calls us all to go into the world and make disciples. But how exactly do we do this? Many pastors and church leaders feel like they are constantly missing the mark when it comes to this all-important task. Join Doug Resler as he leads an interactive time where leaders will reflect on the discipleship model of Jesus, evaluate their current practices, and be introduced to field-tested methods that are applicable to any church context.

Doug Resler serves as Senior Pastor for Parker EPC in Parker, Colorado, and Adjunct Professor at Denver Theological Seminary where he teaches courses on evangelism, missions, and pastoral leadership. He has more than 20 years of ministry experience, 15 of which as a Lead Pastor. Under his leadership, Parker EPC has grown significantly and more than doubled their budget in eight years. He has written for Christianity Today on the subject of leadership, particularly how to persevere through the successes and failures of ministry. Doug is a member of the international board for the Petros Network, a church planting and leadership training ministry in Ethiopia. He has traveled to the eastern African nation 7 times to train church planters.

Doug Resler

Senior Pastor
Parker EPC

Parker, Colorado

PUTTING BAPTISM TO USE

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Room 234
Facilitator: Mike Glodo

In part 3 of the Westminster Society’s 4-part series this year, Mike Glodo will address the practical implications of the Reformed view of baptism for gospel ministry.

Mike Glodo serves as Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, where he teaches Old Testament, New Testament, pastoral theology, and preaching. He has served in college, singles, outreach, assimilation, and general pastoral ministry in churches from small to large, as well as in interim ministries, church transition and search consulting, and as Stated Clerk of the EPC from 2000-2006. He has been published in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Reformation and Revival, and The Challenge of Postmodernism: An Evangelical Engagement. Glodo is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Covenant Theological Seminary. He currently is a Ph.D. Candidate at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Vicki, have two children.

Mike Glodo

Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Dean of the Chapel
Reformed Theological Seminary

Orlando, Florida

THE MEANS OF GRACE IN THE SCRIPTURES PROCLAIMED

Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Room 234
Facilitator: JT Holderman

In part 4 of the Westminster Society’s 4-part series this year, JT Holderman presents “The Means of Grace in the Scriptures Proclaimed: How the Authority of God’s Word Empowers Our Preaching.” He will explore the Word of God as a primary means of grace for God’s people. In particular, how God has ordained His revealed Word to be proclaimed—preached to His people—as well as exploring how the authority of this Word encourages and empowers preachers to boldly declare its truth for our world today.

A founding member of Westminster Society, JT Holderman has served at Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Gap, Pennsylvania, since 2013. He was installed as the congregation’s 22nd Pastor in September 2016. He has contributed articles for the Westminster Society Journal and A Collection of Essays on Jonathan Edwards published by the Jonathan Edwards Society. He is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Th.M., 2013), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2012), and Whitworth University (B.A., 2007). He and wife, Kimberly, are the parents of two daughters.

JT Holderman

Pastor
Bellevue Presbyterian Church

Gap, Pennsylvania

THE REFORMATION OF PREACHING

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Cry Room
Facilitator: David Swanson

This seminar will look at the historical marks of Reformed preaching and how those characteristics are what can renew and reinvigorate preaching in the church today. We need pastor/theologians who not only can exegete well, but who can communicate and inspire their people with that information.

David Swanson serves as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He is the author of four books: Everlasting LifeVital Signs: Discovering the Keys to Abundant Christian LivingLearning to Be You: How Our True Identity in Christ Sets Us Free, and The Essentials, a primer on the fundamentals of faith. An active community leader, Swanson serves on the Board of Trustees for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; on the Board of Advisors for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Jacksonville; as Vice-Chair of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness; on the board of The Downtown Orlando Partnership; and on the board of The Camaraderie Foundation. He and his wife, Leigh, have three children: John David, Alex, and Kaylee.

David Swanson

Senior Pastor
First Presbyterian Church

Orlando, Florida

TRACK E

EMBRACING GOD’S CITIES: BUS TOUR OF MEMPHIS

Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Bus Tour of Memphis (Depart from Hope Church, Entrance 1)
Facilitators: Larry Lloyd and Eli Morris

Join Hope Church’s Urban Ministry Pastors Eli Morris and Larry Lloyd from 1:00–4:00 p.m. for a bus tour of locations around Memphis that will expose what God is doing and has done in the city, including such Civil Rights landmarks as the Lorraine Motel and Clayborn Temple. We will hear firsthand accounts of how ministries are doing their outreach, gain a new perspective amid heart-changing experiences on urban ministry in a historically rich context, and learn a biblical perspective on how God views the city.

A lifelong resident of Memphis, Eli Morris serves as Senior Associate Pastor and Urban Ministry Pastor for Hope Church. He is passionate about meeting the needs of the underprivileged, and serves on the boards of STREETS Ministry, Oasis of Hope, Luke 4:18 Ministries, and MIFA Emergency Services. He also is Chaplain with the FBI Memphis Division. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis (B.A.), Memphis Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Fuller Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He and his wife, Patty, have three adult children.

Larry Lloyd has extensive urban ministry experience, and is the founder and president of the Memphis Leadership Foundation (MLF). MLF has created more than 30 inner-city ministries over the years, including Neighborhood Housing Opportunities, Urban Youth Initiative, Christ Community Health Services, Memphis Athletic Ministries, For the Kingdom Camp and Retreat Center, STREETS, and the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies. In 1997, Lloyd and several local business leaders began the Hope Christian Community Foundation, which now manages more than $150 million in donor-advised funds from Memphis area philanthropists. More than $200 million has been contributed through Hope to Christian ministries all over the world, with the majority of those funds going to Memphis-area churches and ministries.

Larry Lloyd

President
Memphis Leadership Foundation

Memphis, Tennessee

Eli Morris

Senior Associate Pastor
Hope Church
Cordova, Tennessee

PLENARY SPEAKERS

IMMACULÉE ILIBAGIZA 

Wednesday, June 23
Time: 8:45–10:15 a.m.
Location: Sanctuary

Immaculée Ilibagiza was born and raised in a small village in Rwanda, Africa. While home from college in April 1994, the Rwandan President’s plane was shot down over the capital city of Kigali. This assassination of the president—a member of the Hutu tribe—sparked months of massacres of Tutsi tribe members. Rural communities were not spared from the house-by-house slaughter of men, women and children. To protect his only daughter, Immaculée’s father told her to run to a local pastor’s house for protection. The pastor quickly sheltered her and seven other women in a hidden 3x4-foot bathroom. The women huddled silently for more than three months while genocide raged.

While in hiding, Immaculée turned to prayer. In addition to finding faith, peace, and hope during those three months of hiding, she taught herself English using only a Bible and a dictionary. After 91 days, she emerged from that small bathroom weighing just 65 pounds. She discovered her entire family had been murdered, except for one brother who was studying abroad. Nearly one million of her fellow Rwandans had been massacred, including extended family, friends, and neighbors. After the genocide, she came face-to-face with the man who killed her mother and one of her brothers yet was able say, “I forgive you.”

In 1998, Immaculée emigrated to the United States. Her first of seven books, Left to Tell; Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust was released in March 2006 and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 17 languages and has sold more than two million copies. Villanova University selected Left to Tell for is “One Book Program,” making it mandatory reading for the school’s 6,000 students.

She has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, CBS Evening News, The Al Jazeera Network, as well as in The New York TimesUSA TodayNewsday, and many other publications. She has been received numerous humanitarian awards, including The Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace and the 2015 National Speaker’s Association “Master of Influence Award.”

Today, Immaculée is regarded as one of world’s leading speakers on faith, hope, and forgiveness. A movie about her story is scheduled for international release in 2018. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013.

Immaculée Ilibagiza

Author
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

GREG THOMPSON 

Wednesday, June 23
Time: 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Location: Sanctuary

The topic for Plenary Session 2 is “Inhabiting a Common Story,” based on Ephesians 1:1-14.

Greg Thompson is the Director of Research and Strategy at Clayborn Reborn, a historic Civil Rights site in Memphis, Tennessee. Before joining Clayborn, he served as CEO of the Thriving Cities Group; Executive Director of New City Commons; Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia; and Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thompson is active in national conversations surrounding race and equity in America, and recently created and produced a musical based on the Memphis Sanitation Worker’s Strike of 1968. He is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he wrote his dissertation on Martin Luther King Jr.

Greg Thompson

Director of Research and Strategy
Clayborn Reborn
Memphis, Tennessee

JENNIFER ROSS 

Wednesday, June 23
Time: 1:15–2:45 p.m.
Location: Sanctuary

In “Holding a Banquet and Welcoming All of God’s Children,” Jennifer Ross will explore why churches should offer programs for individuals with special needs. She also will provide relevant data and biblical applications.

Jennifer Ross has served as Director of Matthew’s Ministry, the Special Needs Ministry of the Church of the Resurrection, for 15 years. Church of the Resurrection, a United Methodist congregation with four campuses in the Kansas City area, is devoted to renewing mainline churches. Matthew’s Ministry offers a comprehensive special needs ministry, which includes one-on-one Sunday school assistance, family respite nights, Scout Troops, a handbell choir, an employment training program, and a weekday learning program for adults with intellectual disabilities. The weekday learning program also runs the Sonflower Bakery, known for selling delicious baked goods. She also serves as Education Chairperson for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, and serves on the board of Inclusion Connections—a non-profit organization in Kansas City that provides day services and operates a dog treat business. Jennifer has degree in special education and 30 years of experience working with individuals with special needs in schools, state facilities, colleges, and churches. Her next dream is to build a boating facility and provide a nautical experience for people with special needs and their families.

Jennifer Ross

Director, Matthew’s Ministry
Church of the Resurrection
Kansas City

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