Evangelism Matters Speakers
Bishop Deon K. Johnson moved to St. Louis from Brighton, Mich. in March 2020 after being elected at the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri’s 180th Convention in November 2019. Originally from Barbados, he moved to New York as a teenager and went on to study at Case Western Reserve University and General Theological Seminary. As an Episcopal priest, Johnson has deep experience in social justice issues and ministry to LGBTQIA+ communities. On June 13, 2020, he was ordained as the 11th bishop of Missouri. He and his husband, Jhovanny Osorio-Vazquez, are the proud parents of two children. He enjoys cooking, photography, hiking, and being an armchair movie critic.
The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn is executive director of Forward Movement, a ministry of The Episcopal Church that inspires disciples and empowers evangelists. Known widely for Forward Day by Day, the ministry also publishes books, hosts conferences, creates curricula, and offers digital resources. Gunn travels across the church regularly as a preacher, teacher, and retreat leader. His latest book is The Way of Love: A Practical Guide to Following Jesus. Before serving at Forward Movement, Gunn was a parish priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. He blogs at www.sevenwholedays.org and you can find him on Twitter (@scottagunn).
Ms. Miriam McKenney walks in faith led by the Spirit as mom, spouse, sister, friend, and colleague. She serves as director of development and mission engagement at Forward Movement and as youth minister at Calvary Episcopal Church. McKenney works to dismantle racism in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio by serving on the Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team and Commission on Ministry. As a writer, consultant, dreamer, and librarian, she notes that her latest passion involves using picture books to teach adults about Black history and racial reconciliation.
The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers serves as the Presiding Bishop’s staff officer for church planting. She planted an Episcopal coffee shop ministry and worshiping community called The Abbey, located in Birmingham, Ala. Prior to that, she served small and large, rural and urban parishes in Alabama. Rengers received her M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2011 and a bachelor of music from Northwestern University in 2007. She and her husband, Josiah (also a priest), spend their spare time taking care of their two daughters and learning Tang Soo Do!
The Rev. Marcus George Halley serves the Episcopal Church in Connecticut as the dean of formation. He joined the church in October 2019 after serving as rector of Saint Paul’s Church on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis and missioner for evangelism for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Halley also serves as missional priest-in-charge of Church of the Holy Spirit in West Haven, Conn., and is on the Council of Advice for Evangelism for The Episcopal Church. He is the author of Proclaim: Sharing Words, Living Examples, Changing Lives (Church Publishing, 2019) and enjoys baking pies on his days off.
Ms. Jerusalem Greer is the staff officer for evangelism for The Episcopal Church in the Office of the Presiding Bishop and a member of the Way of Love creation and leadership team. She lives with her husband and two teenage sons on a hobby farm in rural Arkansas. Greer also serves on the Council of Advice for Episcopal Relief & Development and is the author of At Home in this Life: Finding Peace at the Crossroads of Unraveled Dreams and Beautiful Surprises (Paraclete Press, 2015), and A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together (Paraclete Press, 2013), as well as several curricula. She enjoys binge-watching campfires on her days off.
The Rev. Bao Moua joined The Episcopal Church in fall of 2004. She was ordained a transitional deacon in June 2015 and a priest in June 2016. She is the associate priest on the shared ministry leadership team at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minn, the first Hmong majority congregation in the U.S. The church’s shared ministry leadership team has four priests, two deacons, and six lay leaders. Moua says she is grateful to have a wonderful team, where “all are sharing our gifts to help build up the body of Christ and to equip others for ministry in our congregation and in the world.”
Ms. Rebecca Hall has worked for years at the intersection of discipleship, spiritual practices, small group ministry, and evangelism. She is a spiritual director and leads the team at The Abbey at St. David’s, an online spirituality center where small groups have flourished during the pandemic. She is also the director of spiritual formation and discipleship at the Iona Center at Seminary of the Southwest. Hall has a master’s in spiritual formation, two teenage sons, and loves to garden.
The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright is the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which covers north and middle Georgia and embraces 110 worshiping communities. At the time of his election in June 2012, he had served 10 years as rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was a school chaplain and on the staff of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City.
The Rev. Dr. Melissa M. Hartley is the senior associate university chaplain at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. She is a graduate of the college and has been happily working for her alma mater for nine years. Hartley is a priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She went to General Seminary in New York City for a master of divinity and was ordained in 1998. She returned to General six years later for a master’s in sacred theology. From there, Hartley went on to Drew University in New Jersey and completed her doctorate in liturgical studies in 2012. She has served a number of parishes in the dioceses of Atlanta, New York, Newark, and New Jersey. At Sewanee, Hartley oversees worship in the university chapel, leads the catechumenate (adult Christian formation process), teaches in the ACTS (Alternative Clergy Training in Sewanee) program at the School of Theology, and works with both college students and seminarians. She has a cat and spends almost all of her free time riding her horse.
The Rt. Rev. Rafael Morales is the bishop diocesan of Puerto Rico. He was consecrated in 2017 following successful pastoral work as deacon and priest in Puerto Rico. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and management and doctoral studies in ministry. Morales designed a development plan for clergy and laity of all ages with the motto, “We are a dynamic, missionary and evangelistic church,” which provides three pillars for the development of the diocese. Morales is the president of Episcopal Health Services, Inc., which includes a medical center in the southern part of Puerto Rico and the largest home care and hospice service on the island. These organizations are renowned for the quality of the health services and pastoral care provided. Morales’ leadership and determination were crucial during the response to several natural disasters that affected Puerto Rico in recent years. He also serves as president of the Episcopal Media Group and Episcopal Funeral Services, two new diocesan branches for promotion and service, and as the president of Province IX.
Ms. Tracey Herzer Huston is a creative, enthusiastic writer/presenter, who believes passionately in lifelong Christian formation, the vital role of children and teens in church, and the significance of prayer. She helped develop Journey to Adulthood (J2A) youth program and wrote WorkshopCycles, a multidimensional children’s curriculum, as well as the book Godparenting: Nurturing the Next Generation. She was president of the national Episcopal educators group and executive director of LeaderResources. She now lives in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington (Kentucky) with her family and is on the mutual ministry team at a small rural church where she preaches and coordinates pastoral care.
The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers serves as the Presiding Bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation, helping Episcopalians to follow Jesus’ Way of Love and to grow loving, life-giving and liberating relationships with God, each other and the earth. The author of The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for Beloved Community, Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation – as well as The Episcopal Way and Companions on the Episcopal Way (with Eric Law) – she has directed mission and evangelism work at General Theological Seminary and as a canon in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island; founded The Crossing, a ground-breaking church within St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston; and led numerous church-wide renewal efforts. A native of Frankfort, Ky., and a graduate of both Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard Divinity School, she makes her home in New York’s Harlem neighborhood.
The Rev. Debbie Phillips is rector of Grace Church in Salem, Mass. Following service as a Peace Corps volunteer, she was a mathematics teacher in a diverse urban public school before ordination. Always loving stories, Phillips is drawn to those who relate their tales of sacred encounters. She has served parishes in Newton Lower Falls, Marion, and Wilmington, Mass., and been on numerous councils and committees for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She is co-chair of the Evangelism Network.
Ms. Jane Cisluycis is the canon to the ordinary for operations and administration in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan. Cisluycis also holds elected posts within The Episcopal Church. She is the vice president of Province V, lay representative from Province V to the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. On the Executive Council, she chairs the joint standing committee on governance and operations. She has served on various interim bodies and is a four-time deputy to General Convention. Cisluycis is active in her community as a music festival producer, and she hosts and produces radio programs on the local NPR affiliate. In her spare time, she is outdoors, biking, hiking, swimming or snowshoeing.
Dean Lisa Kimball is the James Maxwell Professor of Christian Formation and associate dean of lifelong learning at Virginia Theological Seminary. She is a fierce advocate for baptismal theology at the heart of the church’s mission, noting thatwhat we renounce and affirm at baptism changes us forever. Kimball’s teaching, research, writing, and public witness challenge the church beyond comfort and survival toward contagious hope and thriving.
The Rev. Kerlin Richter is the rector at Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church in Portland, Ore. Previously she was a church planter in Brooklyn N.Y. She is seriously in love with Jesus and pretty much all of the dogs.
The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry is the presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church. He is the chief pastor and serves as president and chief executive officer, and as chair of the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. He lives in North Carolina with his family.