Dr. Duane Brown serves as Senior Director of Church Ministry at TMS Global. His duties include leading the church ministry team to activate churches in North America in mission through training, coaching and resourcing, and managing the growing network of mission partners that are engaged in promoting the work of TMS Global. Duane received the PhD in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2009. Prior to joining the staff at TMS Global, Duane served with the Wesleyan Church of Canada as pastor and church planter. He does leadership coaching, church planter assessment, and is an adjunct professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. Duane is married to Patty, and father to Eric, Kathryn, and Elizabeth.
REV. DR. JUDY CHUNG
The Rev. Dr. Judy Y. Chung, an ordained elder of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Missionary Service at the General Board of Global Ministries in Atlanta, GA, a mission agency of the United Methodist Church. In this role, Rev. Chung leads the process of recruitment, training, commissioning, and on-going support of 350 missionaries and over 100 individual mission volunteers from everywhere to everywhere with an emphasis on expanding the young adult mission service program. Rev. Chung who is bi-lingual and bi-cultural is an experienced bridge-builder of different cultures and generations and is passionate about inviting and accompanying people of all ages to participate in God’s mission.
Sabrina Rodgers is the US Health Program Manager in the Global Health Unit of the General Board of Global Ministries. She is a registered nurse with several years of experience in community and public health. She’s responsible for equipping and empowering churches to nurture spirit, mind, and body in holistic ways as well as building the capacity of the faith community in implementing health programs aimed at transforming congregations and communities. She is passionate about improving health and leads US component of the UMC’s Abundant Health Initiative.
DR. DAN SLAGLE
Dan Slagle, a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, grew up in Atlanta, GA. He has been on the Faithbridge Church in Houston, TX staff for 15 years and currently serves as the Care and Missions Pastor. Dan is particularly passionate about raising up indigenous leaders and enjoys training pastors around the world. Outside of church Dan can be found working out, painting, or reading something by or about JRR Tolkien. Dan and his better half, Becky, have four daughters–Georgia, Erica, Adeline, and Vivian.
DR. WES GRIFFIN
Dr. Wes Griffin is a dreamer, visionary, activist, husband, dad, fisherman, and most of all a follower of Christ. His passion is seeing lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. Twenty years ago, God called Wes, his wife Joy, and a team of leaders from around the world to change history by equipping leaders and accelerating the spread of the Gospel. Today, there are over 220,000 ILI alumni in more than 120 nations who are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. For more information and to subscribe to Wes’ weekly e-devotion called Dare to Ask God, visit ILITeam.org. You can also follow Wes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Jonathan is a native of Kansas City and at least a 6th generation Methodist, who spent his teenage years living in Germany and is passionate about helping people and churches live out their faith in the world. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and doing just about anything with his wife Angie and their six children – Josh, Noah, Addison, Jackson, Christian and Brendan. Jonathan joined the Church of the Resurrection staff in 2001 as Director of Mission Ministries. He has served across the Church and around the world, and he is now supporting Resurrection’s network of Partner Churches, their collaboration with Saint Paul School of Theology, and their commitment to sharing practical ministry resources for the renewal of the Church on ShareChurch.com.
Rhonda serves with The Mission Society Global as Director of Church Partnerships for the Southeast United States. Prior to serving with TMS Global, Rhonda served as Director of Missions for Asbury UMC, a large mission oriented church in Madison, Alabama. Along with her husband, she planted a mission-focused small church in Harvest, Alabama.
REV. GASTON WARNER
Rev. Gaston Warner is United Methodist minister having led congregations from Chicago to Bristol, England, served as staff for Habitat for Humanity, Duke Divinity School, Duke University Chapel, and a number of non-profit boards. Gaston joined ZOE’s board of directors in 2007 and currently serves as chief executive officer. Gaston holds a BA from Brown University; a MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a MBA from The University of Durham, England. He lives near Abbot, TX (population: 356) with his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner, who teaches at Duke University Divinity School, their daughter Clare, and various pets and livestock.
Dr. Amy Valdez Barker
Amy is the Executive Director of Global Mission Connections at the General Board of Global Ministries. She previously served as the Chief Connectional Ministries Officer at the Connectional Table from 2012 to present. Amy has fulfilled increasingly expanding and diverse ministerial roles throughout The United Methodist Church since 1988. From serving as the conference youth coordinator for the Wisconsin Annual Conference to fulfilling a call to minister to families with youth for Athens First United Methodist Church in Athens, Georgia, and becoming an ordained deacon in the North Georgia Conference, Valdez Barker’s expertise extends across the United Methodist connection.
Adam Hartnett serves as the Director of Neighborhood Ministries at St. Luke’s UMC in Orlando where he connects two groups of very different people to work toward a common goal: ending poverty and its effects on folks with a low income. Through Asset-Based Community Development he works with community residents to create positive neighborhood change with the support of volunteers from the Church. Before his work at St. Luke’s Adam studied and served in many ways that helped him develop a deeper understanding of people from diverse backgrounds. These included studying at the Florida State University and receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a focus in Social Policy and Program Administration; serving as a research assistant with the Institute for family Violence Studies at FSU; working in youth development; serving as a case manager and volunteer coordinator for a large transitional housing program for families and individuals experiencing homelessness; and serving as a missionary in Chontala, Quiche, Guatemala. In his free time, he enjoys reading, riding his bike, practicing yoga, playing volleyball, and traveling.
Tom Bassford is the founder and Executive Director of Significant Matters, Inc. He pastored for 30-plus years before starting Significant Matters in 2005. He brings a unique combination of church, not-for-profit, and executive insight in his role. His experience has been in both US and international fields and he has helped churches, businesses, city governments and various other organizations move their charitable work and missional efforts toward more sustainable solutions.
REV. GREGORY HAN
A pastor and an educator, the Rev. Gregory Han is a “half-Asian, Midwestern-raised, Jesuit-educated, Harvard-trained, Texas-residing, Presbyterian Minister.” Since moving to Houston in 1998, Greg worked for a year as a hospital chaplain before spending eight years pastoring Presbyterian congregations. For six years he was on the faculty at St. John’s School in Houston where he taught electives in the study of religion, English courses at the 9th and 12th level, and directed the chapel program. Since summer 2014 he has directed the interfaith and interreligious dialogue, education, and engagement efforts at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston as Director of Interfaith Relations. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and Harvard Divinity School.
I am the Community Engagement Coordinator in the Refugee Services Department at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston. I previously worked as a resettlement case worker and I utilize my field experience to create a strong volunteer engagement and community support program at IM. My passion for serving the refugee community is fueled by my experience as an immigrant and someone who is familiar with challenges one faces when moving to a completely different environment. I connect refugees to the local community as I believe that this connection is instrumental in helping refugees make Houston their home and in building a stronger community. I was born in Moscow, Russia and raised in Coimbra, Portugal. I hold a BA in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from Lamar University.
REV. GREGG TAYLOR
An ordained United Methodist minister with over 30 years’ experience as a pastor and leader in churches, university campuses, and non-profit organizations, Gregg is recognized and sought out as a national leader. As a pastor and community architect with Houston: reVision, he shapes the spiritual and communal infrastructure of this innovative organization which connects the city’s most disconnected youth with caring adults, positive peer relationships, and life-changing resources.
Before reVision, Gregg was the pastor of Mercy Street, a diverse community of faith in Houston which creates a safe harbor of radical grace and hospitality for those who feel on the outside looking in when it comes to all things “God” and “church.” He co-hosts the podcast, Reclaimed: Dialogues on Justice and Kinship and writes regularly at Meditate-This.org. He is the board president of the National Association for Christian Recovery and a Fellow with Project CURATE (Center for Urban Reconciliation and Theological Education).
Dan Crain is a connector, equipper and consultant to the body of Christ pointing them to dignified interdependent relationships with those on the margins. He's a seasoned trainer in the Dignity Serves curriculum, has spoken in over forty different churches around the nation, developed a resource called "Loving Freely" in order to equip ministry leaders struggling with compassion fatigue to love the vulnerable well, and is a wonderful connector within the body of Christ in Atlanta, GA. He is married to his amazing wife, Adrienne for thirteen years and they have four children, Landon, Karis, Eden and Isaac. He is a farm boy from Bumpville, PA (true place), holds a Biblical Studies degree from Liberty University and a Masters of Intercultural Ministries from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Dan has over twelve years of ministry experience loving others cross-culturally, racially and socio-economically. He speaks and writes on topics such as; poverty, holistic gospel, dignified interdependent relationships, racial conciliation, and loving freely.
Marilyn Lee. After years of seemingly disparate experiences, God brought everything together for Marilyn in her current role as the Executive Director of Loving Houston. She has education, corporate, nonprofit, and ministry experience, and a BA in Economics and Asian Studies from Rice University. She also received an MBA from the University of San Francisco with a focus in nonprofit management and development economics because of a desire to mobilize churches around community transformation.
Haley Reiser started with SpringSpirit Baseball 4 years ago as the Director of Youth Ministry. As programs across the areas of mind, body and soul developed, she was given the opportunity to manage the program planning, metrics and reporting for each of those areas for over 800 kids and family members and now serves as the Director of Operations. Her background includes work in education, sports management and summer camp leadership. Originally from Dallas, after graduating from Texas A&M she moved to Houston, has now lived here for ten years and feels right at home! The mission SpringSpirit Baseball is to provide safe pathways for youth to realize life opportunities through sports, education and mentoring programs based on Christian principles. We accomplish our mission through four distinct, yet interconnected, pathways: (1) providing programs, combined with teaching of the Gospel, designed to grow the mind, body and soul, (2) delivering a first-class sports training and education complex in the heart of the North Spring Branch community, (3) pairing compassionate and caring mentors with our youth, and (4) finding life opportunities that can help participants contribute to their community and society and act as stewards for others.
Ms. Macris has a background in nursing with a BSN from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in religion from Smith College. She is a 34-year non-profit veteran and has 20 years of experience as an executive director in Texas and Delaware. After moving to Houston in 1997, she worked as a consultant with several churches in the greater Houston area. Ms. Macris was hired as MAM's first Executive Director in 2005 and guided the organization's transition into a professionally-managed nonprofit. She was also the first Executive Director of the Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries. Under her guidance, MAM has grown exponentially in order to yearly help more than 25,000 Houstonians stay in their homes, become rehoused, find jobs, learn English, and begin to build assets. Under her guidance, MAM's operating budget increased fourfold, the volunteer corps increased by 46% and partnerships have grown from three to eighteen. Ms. Macris is a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Center for Literacy and she is a graduate of the American Leadership Forum. During Ms. Macris’ leadership, MAM became the first non-profit to be awarded Hall of Fame status by the West Houston Chamber of Commerce, is a three-time recipient of their STAR Award and was named the number one fiscally responsible non-profit in Houston by Charity Navigator.
REV. DR. WESLEY DE SOUZA
L. Wesley de Souza, a Luso-American born in São Paulo, Brazil, is Arthur J. Moore Associate Professor of Evangelism and Director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute (WMEI) at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and an elder in full connection of the North Georgia Conference of the UMC. His research focuses on contextualization of the Gospel, renewal and revitalization of the church, and on Latin-American classical Pentecostalism and Pan-Wesleyan movements.
He is an accomplished teacher, preacher, and practitioner of evangelism. He has distinguished himself in many ways in service to Candler, including the greater impact of his work in evangelism and mission. When he’s not teaching, researching, writing, or serving Candler directly, Wesley is busy with ministry in the community. In 2011, he and his wife, Vanice, along with a few friends, were instrumental in starting Communitàs, a new vibrant UMC congregation in the Metro Atlanta area for Lusophones, particularly Brazilians of the diaspora. The community consists of people who live in Alpharetta, Cumming, Marietta, Milton, Roswell (where they meet regularly), Suwanee, and Woodstock. Under his mentorship, Wesley reports that, “Experiencing a full measure of missional enthusiasm, Communitàs has developed and practiced creative approaches and forms of ministries to serve participants, new comers and the community at large, making ‘disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,’ helping them find as immigrants (both documented and undocumented) their common humanity in God, who was in Christ reconciling the world to Godself.”
Melinda Hunt joined Solar Under the Sun as Executive Director in May 2017. Prior to joining SUS, she spent almost 14 years as Director of Development and Ministry Services at Texas Presbyterian Foundation. Ms. Hunt belongs to Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church in Richardson, TX, where she serves as a Ruling Elder. Melinda will represent Grace Presbytery (North TX) as a Commissioner to the 223rd General Assembly (National Meeting) this summer, and will vice-moderate one of the 13 standing committees. Melinda holds the Certificate in Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and was commissioned by Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery as Commissioned Ruling Elder to serve as part-time pastor to First Presbyterian Church in Broken Bow, OK. In her spare time, she and her husband enjoy traveling and hiking, especially in our national parks.
Matt Crum is a Solutions Architect with the Global Communications Technology team at United Methodist Communications. He’s passionate about understanding and utilizing appropriate technology to enable more choice, particularly the underserved. Matt holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science from West Virginia University and a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Before United Methodist Communications, Matt was a member of the San Francisco-based technology for global development startup, Inveneo, and prior to that, he spent several years with World Vision.
Mariam Mengistie is the Executive Director of Missions at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Orlando, Florida. She has been on staff at St. Luke's since 2008. Originally from Ethiopia, Mariam has diverse work experience in the field of international development aid. She worked for international and regional non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, mainly building networks of local, regional, international non-profit organizations, UN and government agencies working in relief, rehabilitation and development programs. After obtaining a Master of Arts degree in Politics of Development Policies from the Institute of Social Studies in The Netherlands, she worked as an Advocate and Development Aid Policy Adviser to members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium until she and her family moved to Florida in 2000. She feels incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to continue working against poverty and social injustice now through a Church, and appreciate the critical layer faith adds to development work. Mariam lives in Orlando with her husband, Nick, and their two daughters - Amber and Abygail. She feels lucky to have a family so passionate about social justice issues! Mariam enjoys "discovering" new music, watching movies, traveling and learning about different cultures with her husband and daughters.