2018 Symposium

January 25–27, 2018 • Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

a growing list of confirmed presenters

Cameron Anderson is executive director of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), an artist and writer. His new book is The Faithful Artist: A Vision for Evangelicalism and the Arts (InterVarsity Press, 2016).

Jeff Barker is professor of theatre at Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa, and author of The Storytelling Church: Adventures of Reclaiming the Role of Story in Church (Webber Institute Books, 2011). Jeff also teaches in the doctoral program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.

Cheryl Bear is Nadleh Whut'en from the Dakelh Nation and Dumdenyoo Clan (Bear). An artist, pastor and educator, Cheryl has helped build bridges of understanding between Christian and First Nation communities through her music, storytelling and humor. 

Kathleen A. Cahalan is professor of practical theology at Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota, and director of the Collegeville Institute Seminars, a collaborative research project focusing on vocation as it relates to the lifespan, the professions and interreligious perspectives.

Erik W. Carter is a professor special education at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and a member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. He is the author of Including People with Disabilities in Faith Communities.

Carlos Colón is a composer, liturgist, and native of El Salvador; coordinator for worship initiatives at Baylor University; and resident scholar at Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion, Waco, Texas.

Mika Edmondson is the pastor of New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and recently completed his Ph.D. from Calvin Theological Seminary on the theology of suffering in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons.

Christopher Flesoras is the pastor of Saint Anna Greek Orthodox Church in Roseville, California, a chaplain with the California Air National Guard (195th Wing), adjunct professor at William Jessup University, and adjunct assistant professor of historical theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Nate Glasper is conductor of the Calvin College Gospel Choir and a member of Grace for the Nations Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves as executive assistant and worship leader.

Jonghun Joo is affiliate professor of Christian worship at Fuller Theological Seminary. Also, he has been serving as a missionary to Kenya and Ukraine. His recent book is Matthew Henry: Pastoral Liturgy in Challenging Times (Pickwick Publications, 2014).

Laura Keeley is co-director of children’s ministries at Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan, and a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church.

Jan Kraybill is the executive director of The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada, whose mission is to encourage, promote, and enliven congregational singing. She also serves as organ conservator at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, and organist-in-residence at the international denominational headquarters of Community of Christ in Independence, Missouri. She is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the power of music to change lives for the better.

Paul C.H. Lim is a professor of the history of Christianity at Vanderbilt Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee. He is an award-wining historian of the Reformation and the post-Reformation Europe.

Anne Masters is director of Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities for the Archdiocese of Newark and a member of the Council on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for the National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities. She presents widely on inclusive catechetical and pastoral practices; has written and consulted with Our Sunday Visitor on adaptive learning strategies and wrote Pastoral Ministry WITH Persons WITH Disabilities Parish Resource Guide (Advocate Publishing Corp., 2013).

Gerardo Martí is L. Richardson King Professor of Sociology at Davidson College and co-director of the Latino Protestant Congregations Project. His recent book is Latino Protestants in America: Growing and Diverse (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).

Jennifer Powell McNutt is associate professor of theology and history of Christianity at Wheaton College. She is engaged in research, writing, and speaking on the history of the Bible during the Reformation period. Her recent book (co-edited) is The People’s Book: The Bible and the Reformation (InterVarsity Press, 2017).

Elizabeth Tamez Méndez is an ordained minister, artist and executive director of New Gereration3, an international organization dedicated to training leaders, conducting research, and providing consulting services. She is a specialist in multicultural youth development and strategic planning, and will soon conclude her Ph.D. in leadership. 

Mark T. Mulder is professor of sociology at Calvin College and co-director of the Latino Protestant Congregations Project. He is author of Shades of White Flight: Evangelical Congregations and Urban Departure and co-author of Latino Protestants in America: Growing and Diverse.

Ellen Phillips is a portrait artist and figurative sculptor from Georgia and North Carolina. She delights in her calling as an artist and leader working with churches creating liturgical art and encouraging the formation of liturgical art programs. Her website is

Matt Plescher is a painter, illustrator, calligrapher and book designer. He is represented by Water Street Gallery in Douglas, Michigan.

Emmett G. Price III is the professor of worship, church and culture; dean of the chapel; and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He also serves as the founding pastor of Community of Love Christian Fellowship in Allston, Massachusetts.

Lester Ruth is a historian of Christian worship with particular interests in the early church and the last 250 years. He is passionate about enriching the worship life of current congregations, regardless of style. His recent book is Worshiping with the Anaheim Vineyard: The Emergence of Contemporary Worship (Eerdmans, 2017).

John Swinton is professor of practical theology and pastoral care at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He is founder of the university's Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability. He is also an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland. His new book is Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentle Discipleship (Baylor University Press, 2016).  

Martin Tel is the C.F. Seabrook Director of Music at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. He is interested in congregational singing, and his courses cover musical resources for the congregation and the philosophy of church music. He co-edited Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship (Faith Alive Resources, 2011).

Marianne Meye Thompson is the George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California. Her recent book is John: A Commentary (New Testament Library, 2015).

La Verne Tolbert is vice president for editorial for Urban Ministries, Inc (UMI), based in Chicago. UMI is the largest company serving churches and consumers in the African American community with curriculum for Bible study, Sunday school, vacation Bible school and many other resources. She is the author of Teaching Like Jesus (Zondervan, 2000).

Leanne Van Dyk is the tenth president of Columbia Theological Seminary near Atlanta, Georgia, after serving for many years as the dean at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan. She is editor of the best-selling A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony (Eerdmans, 2005).

Lisa M. Weaver is a preacher, lecturer, teacher and emerging scholar, passionate about all things liturgical. She is ordained clergy of American Baptist Churches U.S.A., a Ph.D. candidate at The Catholic University of America, and a Vital Worship Grants Program advisory board member.

Raymond Wise is a professor of practice in the African American African Diaspora Studies department, an associate director of the African American Arts Institute, and the director of the African American Choral Ensemble at Indiana University. He is a singer, pianist, composer, and frequent lecturer and conductor at events around the world. He has penned more than 600 compositions and served as a church musician for more than 30 years.

Jenny Yang is the vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief where she provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions, representing the organization’s advocacy priorities to the U.S. government and mobilizing churches on advocacy campaigns. She is author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (IVP, 2009).