National Youth Conference

2014 Speakers

The speakers for NYC 2014 have been announced! Get to know each of the speakers who will share with us during worship.

Saturday PM

Samuel Kefas Sarpiya is currently a Church Planter and Pastor for Rockford Community Church of the Brethren in Rockford, Illinois,where he lives with his wife and three girls. Samuel is a Community Organizer in Rockford, where he organizes the community to addresses issues of poverty, education, violence and racism, through creative Community leadership.

Samuel previously served as a missionary with Youth With A Mission (YWAM/University of the Nations) and Urban Frontiers Mission. In YWAM he served as Course Facilitator, Community Development Program Coordinator, Computer System Administrator, and Delegate to the United Nations' Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as well as the United Nations Council on Indigenous Peoples Affairs, New York.

With Urban Frontiers Mission, Samuel served as Evangelism & Missions Director, helping to pioneer different Urban Ministries all over West Africa. Samuel is a Nigerian-born South African national.

NYC Foot and Dove

Sunday AM

Youth Speech Contest Winners
We look forward to hearing from the three Youth Speech Contest winners during Sunday morning worship. They will each share a reflection on the NYC theme.

Alison enjoys music, art, and aspires to be a teacher or possibly a missionary in Africa one day.

Katelyn enjoys playing many sports, especially pole vaulting and field hockey. When not on her feet, she can be found watching movies, reading, or trying to cram in AP homework.

Laura enjoys playing basketball and volleyball, taking part in the FFA (student agricultural organization), and playing flute and piano.

Sunday PM

Rodger Nishioka holds the Benton Family chair in Christian education as an associate professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. While he teaches in the area of Christian education and practical theology, he specializes in ministry with youth and young adults and has completed a research project comparing the participation of young adults in mainline Protestant congregations and non-denominational independent Christian movements.

Prior to his joining the faculty at Columbia, Rodger served for 12 years as denominational staff in youth & young adult ministry for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rodger received his undergraduate degree from Seattle Pacific University, his master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, a Doctor of Divinity degree from Austin College and his Ph.D. from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

He has published several articles, chapters, and books largely focused on ministry with youth and young adults and the educational ministry of the church as spiritual formation.

Rodger is the son of an honorably retired Presbyterian pastor and is evidence that you can be a pastor’s kid and still love Jesus.

Monday AM

Ted & Co. Ted Swartz is a theologian of a different sort. Both theater and seminary trained, Ted has found a unique and entertaining discovery; at the intersection of humor and biblical story is often a greater understanding of the text. Or, at the very least, a different understanding. Call it “comedic exegesis.”

Ted has written or co-written more than 14 shows and the book “Laughter is Sacred Space”. He lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Along with writing and acting, his loves include his wife, Sue; three sons, Eliot, Ian and Derek; daughters-in-law, Katrina, Hannah and Chelsea; his granddaughters Mona and Hattie… oh, and baseball.

You can learn more about Ted Swartz's ministry at the Ted & Co. website.

Monday PM

Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, a mission center and Christian community in North Denver dedicated to helping hungry and hurting people find faith, hope and dignity alongside each other. She is also a spiritual director, advocate, and writer and author of several books, including Down We Go: Living into the Wild Ways of Jesus. She is passionate about healing community, equality, justice, and change in the church. A Pepperdine University graduate, she also holds an M.A. in Management and a Certificate in Evangelical Spiritual Guidance from Denver Seminary. She writes regularly about church, life, and faith at www.kathyescobar.com and lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband and 5 children.

Jennifer Quijano

Tuesday AM

Jenn Quijano is currently a student at Bethany Theological Seminary. She too was an NYC participant…back in 2002! She is from Brooklyn, New York where she was raised by her parents with her younger sister, Kimberly. She is a teacher, a minister-in-training and a lover of all things music. She now serves at Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren in Ohio as a Youth and Worship Director and she is excited to see where God will lead next!

Katie Shaw Thompson

Tuesday PM

Katie Shaw Thompson has always loved people, spirituality, and the nerdly pursuits of reading and writing. As a co-pastor at the Ivester Church of the Brethren, she has finally found a job that will pay her to focus on all those things! Along with her husband, Parker, toddler, Noam, and dog, Jasmine, Katie likes to explore the woods around her home at Camp Pine Lake in north central Iowa. When she grows up Katie dreams of becoming a yoga instructor or a folk singer.

As a high school student, Katie experienced God most often in nature and in music, although she had a lot of questions about God. She flitted at the edges of church life until she found a very special group of church folks who encouraged her curiosity and her passion. Following her questions led Katie on a trip across the continent, studying at two very different seminaries, living in five different states, driving nearly all of Interstate 80, and dipping her toes in two different oceans. For Katie, “living a life worthy of the calling to which [she] has been called” has meant following Jesus by following the questions. Katie continues to love a good adventure, a good question, and a good story. She looks forward to hearing yours!

Wednesday AM

Leah J. Hileman is an independent recording artist, freelance writer, and is serving as the interim pastor of Lake View Christian Fellowship in the Southern PA District. She has served the denomination as Annual Conference pianist (2008), Music Coordinator (2010), and Standing Committee representative for Atlantic Southeast District. She has been involved in Christian Citizenship Seminar, Intercultural Consultation, and the Church Planting Network. She has also served in Outdoor Ministry in each district in which she has been a pastor: Camp Inspiration Hills, Camp Eder, Camp Ithiel, and Camp Harmony.

Leah has traveled worldwide with her music. She is a member of Bittersweet Gospel Band, and has performed music with them and various other musical groups in Great Britain, North America, Latin America, New Zealand and Australia. When she's home, she knits and crochets for a Healing Prayer Afghan ministry, writes on www.Squidoo.com, and enjoys her three cats; Francis, Clare, and Julian.

Wednesday PM

Jarrod McKenna is amazed by grace. Richard Rohr has said, “It’s amazing that we should need to tell Christians that Jesus taught and surely lived a nonviolent life. And almost as amazing –and wonderful- that Jarrod McKenna should be able to teach it so well in our time and culture.”

He’s a teaching pastor at Westcity Church and with his amazing wife Teresa & son Tyson he lives with 17 recently arrived refugees at First Home Project; an innovative community modelling Christian hospitality as an alternative to Australia’s cruel policies of detention. Jarrod works full time as World Vision Australia’s National Advisor for Youth, Faith and Activism, is a regular commentator in the media and internationally sought after speaker and activist trainer with his peace award winning work engaging over 20,000 people on 4 continents in 9 countries last year alone.

Thursday AM

Jeff Carter was called to serve Bethany as president in 2013. He earned degrees from Bridgewater College (BA), Bethany Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Princeton Theological Seminary (DMin). Prior to coming to Bethany, he served the Manassas Church of the Brethren and the Florin Church of the Brethren, as well as served in the Church of the Brethren Washington Office on Capitol Hill. He is a past member of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Standing Committee and Church of the Brethren Representative to the World Council of Churches. Jeff and his wife, Kim, live in Richmond, Indiana, and are the parents of three girls.