Featured Speakers

Meet our featured guests...

Lynne Hybels In 1975, Lynne & Bill Hybels started Willow Creek Community Church. For the last 15 years Ms. Hybels has engaged in ministry partnerships in under-resourced communities in Latin America and Africa. More recently she has been involved in Willow’s Spanish-speaking congregation, Casa de Luz, and actively supports Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In 2010 Lynne established a personal fundraising initiative, Ten For Congo, to support the thousands of women and girls brutally raped during the last decade of civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In her personal ministry, she has also traveled extensively in the Middle East and actively advocates for peace with justice in the Holy Land.

Wisam Salsaa Palestinian Christian Wisam Salsaa is a master carver, the co-ower of the family-owned business Grotto Arts, and an experienced tour guide within Israel-Palestine, using his extensive knowledge and firsthand experience to educate visitors on the land's history; geography; and political, ethnic and religious context. He, his wife and three young children live in Beit Sahur just east of Bethlehem.

Nora Carmi Born in Jerusalem a few months before the establishment of the State of Israel, Nora Carmi was displaced from her home and moved from the west to the occupied eastern part of the city along with her family in 1948. She has stayed true to the city of her birth and remains strongly connected to the civil society of Jerusalem. Ms. Carmi recently retired after 17 years of faithful service from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Before joining Sabeel, she served the Jerusalem YWCA for 15 years, traversing the globe with her work for justice and peace. Nora is currently working with Kairos Palestine, helping engage communities and civil society in understanding the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Zoughbi Zoughbi Zoughbi is the founder and director of the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem, Palestine. Started in 1995, Wi’am (“cordial relations” in Arabic) combines traditional Palestinian mediation methods with western conflict resolution training to transform conflicts within the community and promote equal rights and justice for all.

Grace Al-Zoughbi A Christian Palestinian from Bethlehem, Grace Al-Zoughbi serves as a teacher at Bethlehem Bible College. She was an undergraduate student at the college and finished her M.A. in the Theology of Transformation: Church, Scripture and World from the London School of Theology in 2010. Al-Zoughbi has recently finished writing an exposition on Genesis and is a frequent blogger for WAZALA (SAT-7 UK). She joined the staff of Bethlehem Bible College in 2011, and she is currently the head of the biblical studies department.

Rev. Alex Awad Alex Awad is pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church. He and wife Brenda have been missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church since 1989. He is Dean of Students at Bethlehem Bible College, Director of the Shepherd Society and a board member of the Council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land. His second book, Palestinian Memories: the Story of a Palestinian Mother and Her People, was published in 2008.

Rev. Mike Slaughter Pastor Mike Slaughter is in his fourth decade of being the chief dreamer of Ginghamsburg Church. His life-long passion to reach the lost and set the oppressed free has made him a tireless and leading advocate for the children, women and men of Darfur, Sudan, named by the U.N. as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Mike’s call to afflict the comfortable challenges Christians to wrestle with God and their God-destinies. His books, Change the World - recovering the message and mission of Jesus (Abingdon Press, 2010) and Christmas is Not Your Birthday (Abingdon Press, 2012) embody what it means to take the church into the world rather than simply coaxing the world into the church.

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer Bishop Palmer has served as Episcopal Leader of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church since September 2012. Bishop Palmer received his undergraduate degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and Master’s of Divinity degree from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, N.C. Ordained a deacon and probationary member in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference in 1977, Palmer was ordained an elder in full connection in the East Ohio Conference in 1981. He served as pastor at six United Methodist churches as well as a district superintendent before being elected Bishop of the Iowa Conference in 2000. Bishop Palmer served as president of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry from 2004 to 2008 and president of the Council of Bishops from April 2008 to May 2010.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward Hope Morgan Ward is the Episcopal Leader of the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and the president of the General Board of Global Ministries. Her home church, Parkers United Methodist Church, is a three-point charge. She obtained her degrees from Duke University and Duke Divinity School and has served as a youth director, Christian educator, pastor, Director of Connectional Ministries and district superintendent within the North Carolina Conference. She was elected to the Episcopacy in July 2004 and assigned to the Mississippi Conference in 2004 and 2008.

Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams is the fourth person and first South African to serve as General Secretary of the World Methodist Council. He began his tenure in 2012 after a period of transition commencing at the close of the World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa. From 2003-2012, Bishop Abrahams served as Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa–one of the largest Christian denominations in Southern Africa.  During his tenure he provided prophetic leadership and direction. His capstone achievement was the formation and successful completion of the multimillion rand legacy project, the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary.

Barbara Boigegrain Barbara Bolgegrain has served as the chief executive of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits since 1994. As general secretary, she oversees all fiduciary services and administrative operations. Prior to joining the General Board, Boigegrain spent 11 years with Towers Perrin. Earlier in her career, she held positions with Dart Industries in the group insurance
benefits function and with KPMG Peat Marwick tax practice. Boigegrain received her B.S. from Trinity University and completed graduate coursework at the University of Chicago and UCLA.

Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe is the general secretary of the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) of the United Methodist Church. Prior to joining GBCS in 2014, Henry-Crowe was dean of the Chapel and Religious Life at Emory University for 22 years, conducting a ministry to and with a diverse constituency of 12,000 students and 2,400 faculty members. For 16 years, Henry-Crowe served as a member of the United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s “Supreme Court.” She is the first woman elected president of the Judicial Council, serving in that role from 2008-2012. Henry-Crowe was ordained an elder and continues to be a member of the South Carolina Annual Conference.

Thomas Kemper Thomas Kemper is the general secretary and top executive of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, responsible for personnel, projects and mission partnerships in more than 130 countries.  A native of Germany, Kemper is the first person from outside the United States elected to lead a United Methodist agency.  Prior to his position as general secretary, he was mission leader for the German Central Conference of The United Methodist Church and was Director of Ecumenical Learning at the Lippische Landeskirche, a regional church of the Association of Protestant Churches in Germany.  Kemper spent 8 years in Brazil as a missionary from 1986 to 1994, where he taught in the Brazilian Theological Seminary in Sao Paulo and engaged in ministry with the poor and new church development.

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Robbins Rev. Bruce Robbins recently retired from his service as Senior Minister of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church of the Minnesota Conference.  Prior to that work he was appointed for seventeen years to the General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns of the UMC.  He was General Secretary for thirteen years and carried the portfolio of Christian-Jewish Relations as well as other ecumenical and interfaith matters. Robbins received his Ph.D. in ecumenical and mission history from Southern Methodist University.

The Rev. Dr. Wendy J. Deichmann Dr. Wendy Deichmann serves as President and CEO of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Previously, she served United as Academic Dean and Vice President, a tenured member of the faculty, and Director of United’s former extension program in Buffalo, New York. She received a bachelor’s degree in education at The State University of New York at Geneseo, her Master of Divinity at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and her Ph.D. from Drew University in theological and religious studies with an emphasis in American Church History.  Deichmann has also taught at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in New York and Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio. Deichmann is an ordained elder and trustee of the Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served congregations in pastoral ministry in New York, New Jersey and Ohio.

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