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Thursday, May 18
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
  • Session I: Introduction to Escaping the Church Growth Graveyard – Ryan Braught
  • Humility’s Trajectory – Dennis Edwards
  • Learning to Wash Feet: Discipleship Across the Brethren – Josh Brockway and Andy Hamilton – 1st session
  • ROCK(#ministrywithyouth) HARD PLACE – Becky Ullom Naugle
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Session II – Mission: What’s Keeping us Stuck? – Ryan Braught
  • What Should We be Measuring for our Church? – Jessie Cruickshank, workshop #1
  • What Do We Mean By Called? How Can Laity See the Value of Their Call? – Nate Polzin
  • Planting a church from start to flourishing – Rigo & Margie Beruman, and Russ Matteson
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Session III – Context: How Should We Go? – Ryan Braught
  • Church as a Neighbor: The Geography, Biology, and Theology of Presence – Shannan Martin
  • Building Trust in Congregations – Carol Yeazell
  • Discernment – Paying Attention to Consolation and Desolation – Connie Burkholder
Friday, May 19
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
  • Session IV: Community: What holds us together? – Ryan Braught
  • Learning to Wash Feet: Discipleship Across the Brethren – Josh Brockway and Andy Hamilton – 2nd session
  • Liderazgo Ministerial; estilos y manejo de conflictos (Ministerial Leadership; Styles and conflict management) – José Calleja Otero
  • Who is My Neighbor? Discovering Your Congregation’s Neighborhood – Audrey Hollenberg Duffy
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Session V: Formation: How Are We Shaped? – Ryan Braught
  • When We Become Love: A No-Strings Approach to Sharing Jesus With the Community – Martin Hutchison
  • Relaunching Decentralized Churches – Jessie Cruickshank, workshop #2
  • A Nonviolence Method of Transforming Trauma – Samuel Sarpiya
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Session VI – Practice: Where Do We Go From Here? – Ryan Braught
  • Meeting the Needs of Christ and His People – Founa Augustin Badet
  • Effectively Board – Eder Financial – Nevin Dulabaum

Presenter Bios

Jessie Cruickshank

Keynote Speaker

JESSIE CRUICKSHANK is an ordained Foursquare minister and nationally recognized expert in the fields of discipleship and neuroeducation. She has spent over two decades applying neuroscience research to spiritual formation, ministry training, and organization development. She is respected globally as a missiological thought-leader and neuro-ecclesiologist.

Jessie serves the body of Christ as a church and denominational consultant. She is the Founder of Who-ology, which seeks to equip all people to be disciplemakers, and the Co-Founder of 5Q, which focuses on training teams around Ephesians 4.

Jessie holds a Master’s from Harvard in Mind, Brain, and Education. She is a published academic, author, and serves on multiple boards internationally. She currently lives in Colorado, enjoying the rivers with her family.

You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @yourbrainbyjess
Websites are WHOology and yourbrainbyjess

Lexi Aligarbes

Lexi Aligarbes (she/her) is a Co-Pastor at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren. Originally from New Mexico, Lexi relocated to serve with her congregation in the neighborhood of South Allison Hill, in Harrisburg, PA. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a B.A. in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College. With an ecumenical background, having worked in ministry with Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Quakers, just to name a few, Lexi is excited to have found a home within the Church of the Brethren. As part of her involvement in the denomination, Lexi serves as chair of the Atlantic Northeast District’s Commission on Church Development and has enjoyed preaching at various Brethren gatherings. She is passionate about intercultural ministries, cultivating contemplative spiritual practices in community, and building up leaders in Christ. When she’s not at the church you can find Lexi exploring one of her favorite thrift stores, hiking a new trail, or enjoying a home-cooked meal with friends and family.

Founa I. Augustin Badet

Founa I. Augustin Badet serves as Director of Haitian Ministries, part of the District Executive Leadership Team at the Atlantic Southeast District Church of the Brethren. She is invested in tangible ways within her community as the pastor of Jesus Lounge Ministry, and is the president and founder of Women of Impossibilities. Currently, Founa also serves as Palm Beach County Council PTA, VP of Leadership.

Born and raised in Haiti, Founa migrated to the U.S. 24 years ago and owns a thriving translation business, Founa’s, Inc. Founa is wife to Herman and mother to Valencia, Josias and Loudyn.

Margie and Rigo Beruman

Rigo and Margie Berumen are the founding pastors of Centro Ágape en Acción, a Church of the Brethren fellowship, in Los Banos, California. They are licensed ministers and participate in EPMC through the Brethren Academy for their ministry training.

Ryan Braught

Ryan Braught is the Pastor/Church Planter of Veritas. Along with his wife and kids he founded Veritas in 2009. He is the husband of Kim, and father to Kaiden and Trinity. Ryan has a BS in Telecommunications from Kutztown University and a Master of Arts in Religion from Evangelical Theological Seminary. Besides his work with Veritas, Ryan loves to read, listen to music, snowboard, and spend time with his family.

Joshua Brockway

Joshua Brockway has served as the Director for spiritual formation for the Church of the Brethren since 2010. His work includes oversight for the Spiritual Directors Network and the Ethics for Congregations polity. He writes frequently for a range of denominational publications and leads workshops and renewal events on prayer, discipleship, and Brethren identity.

Joshua received his Master of Arts from Bethany Theological Seminary and completed his Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology. He finished his PhD in Church History at The Catholic University of America having written on the intersections of prayer, liturgy, and asceticism in the writings of John Cassian.

Connie R. Burkholder

Connie has pastored congregations in Ohio, Kansas, and Virginia. She also served as District Executive in Northern Plains District. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College, a Master’s of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary, and completed a graduate level certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats from Creighton University. She has led spiritual retreats and workshops and enjoys walking with others in the ministry of spiritual direction in addition to playing piano, crocheting, knitting, and sewing. She currently serves as the chair of the Set Apart Ministry Team in Western Plains District and also writes for Brethren Press from time to time.

Nevin Dulabaum

Nevin Dulabaum has served as president of Eder Financial, which until May 2022 was known as Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust, since 2008. He is passionate about helping pastors, church workers, and congregations know how to better manage their retirement plans, their health-based insurances, and their organizational funds so that they can go about their ministries without worry. As a former newspaper reporter and church board member, he also believes in strong governance of organizations, which means how best they should conduct themselves as a business to avoid conflict of interests, to ensure everyone is headed in the same strategic direction, and that business is conducted fairly and openly. This includes congregations! Simply Board is a workshop Nevin has developed and presented many times at Annual Conference to discuss good church board governance.

Nevin is a life-long member of the Church of the Brethren and he lives in Elgin, Ill. Outside of Eder work, he frequently serves as the video and YouTube technician on Sundays at Highland Ave. Church of the Brethren. He is an avid bicyclist, loves photography and home renovation, and enjoys spending time with his wife and their three daughters, their dog, and their extended family.

Dennis Edwards

Dr. Dennis Edwards has long been inspired with a hunger to understand scripture. Growing up in New York City, Edwards attended a storefront church whose pastor was an earnest, faithful, and dedicated spiritual leader. This example continued to inspire Edwards throughout college. Even after attending seminary, his desire to better understand scripture continued. Edwards says, “I pursued my PhD largely in an effort to quench my thirst for enlightenment and understanding of God’s Word.”

Ordained through the Evangelical Covenant Church, Edwards brings a deep understanding of spiritual leadership to North Park University. He also shares his diverse experiences as a church planter and pastor in Brooklyn, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. with his students.

Dr. Edwards currently serves as Vice President for Church Relations and Dean of North Park Theological Seminary.

Dr. Edwards was our speaker at the 2017 Discipleship Ministries Dinner, and is the author of several books, including:

  • Might from the Margins – The Gospel’s Power to Turn the Tables on Injustice
  • What is the Bible and how Do We Understand it?
  • The Story of God Bible Commentary – 1 Peter

Read Dr. Dennis Edwards’ full bio here

Andy Hamilton

Andy Hamilton serves as District Executive Minister for the Southeastern District Church of the Brethren. He is the husband of Laura Hamilton, to whom he has been married for more than 35 years and has two adult children. Andy has been an ordained Church of the Brethren pastor for more than 20 years during which time he has served in leadership at both the district (Southeastern, Atlantic Northeast & Northern Ohio) and the denominational levels (Mission and Ministry Board). He and Laura are co-founders of Tender Shepherd: A Ministry of Soul-care. Andy holds degrees from Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Oh (M.Div., 1998), the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (M.Phil., 2003) and Evangelical Theological Seminary, Myerstown, Pa (Th.D., 2022,).

Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey

Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey is a co-pastor with her spouse, Tim, at the Oakton Church of the Brethren (VA) and serves as the Coordinator of English Language Ministry Training Programs for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. She will graduate with her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Church Leadership Excellence this May. She is the mother of two beautiful children and three furbabies.

Martin Hutchison

Martin Hutchison has been the pastor at Community of Joy church in Salisbury Md since 1999. He is the founder of the Camden Community Garden and is the city of Salisbury’s Secretary of Community Gardens. He serves as one of the founding Commissioners of the city’s Kindness Commission. He works part time for United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore as the Community Impact Associate. He has worked with unsheltered people for 16 years and has served as a mentor to numerous young boys. He is a 2022 Jefferson Award winner. The 2021 Salisbury Independent Person of the year. He has been married to Sharon for 34 years and they have two grown daughters. In his spare time, he loves to garden raise chickens and bees, and do woodworking.

Carolina Izquierdo

Carolina Elizabeth Izquierdo was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and came to the USA – to Florida in 1997. She moved to Lancaster, PA where she accepted Christ as her savior in the Maranatha Fellowship / Lancaster Church of the Brethren. There she was called to be a licensed minister and took part in ministry classes through the ACTs program. In 2016, Carolina was called to pastor Un Nuevo Renacer Mountville. She also works as a drug and alcohol counselor at an inpatient facility in SACA – Spanish American Civic Association. Carolina is the mother of 3 children – Odett, 24, Gabriella 22 and Lucas 12.

One of her favorite bible verses is: Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”

Shannan Martin

Shannan is a mom, wife, and neighbor living in Goshen, Indiana. She is a voracious reader, a wannabe-gardener, a news-geek, a thrift store-stalker, a justice-fighter, and an aficionado of not-too-spicy salsa. Shannan is author of Start with Hello, The Ministry of Ordinary Places, and Falling Free. She is a cook at a local non-profit dedicated to feeding her community and falls asleep most nights thinking about breakfast.

Russ Matteson

Russ Matteson is the executive minister of the Pacific Southwest District and is blessed by the opportunity to work with several Spanish language church projects.

José Calleja Otero

José is an ordained minister of the Church of the Brethren in Puerto Rico. During his ministry journey at an early age, he served as a youth leader, preacher, bible school teacher, evangelism coordinator, and co-pastor at the Morovis Church of the Brethren. Jose has worked in substance abuse rehabilitation programs; he has been invited by the Department of Corrections in Puerto Rico to serve as a preacher and a workshop facilitator in woman’s correction facilities. As Pastor of the Church of the Brethren in Vega Baja he has helped and shaped district leadership to pursue ministry goals for the kingdom of God.

At district and denomination level he is the current Executive District Minister for the COB Puerto Rico and he has served as an Annual Conference preacher, different denomination commissions or task teams as they come along.

Juan Pablo y Adriana Plaza

Soy Juan Pablo, y junto con mi esposa Adriana nacimos en Colombia y ambos hemos servido en la iglesia participando activamente en diferentes ministerios, como consejería bíblica, el instituto bíblico y como pastores de jóvenes. En la formación profesional como ingeniero de sistemas, trabajé como director comercial en el sector financiero por más de 14 años.

En el año 2016 vinimos a Estados Unidos para completar nuestros estudios teológicos en una Maestría en Divinidad en el Seminario Teológico Fuller. Actualmente nos encontramos plantando una iglesia hispana llamada Conexión Pasadena, junto a un maravilloso equipo pastoral. Nuestro desafío es pensar contextualmente tanto como teólogos, como misiólogos. Por eso, estamos comprometidos a desarrollar estrategias eclesiales que involucran experiencias y conversaciones en comunidad; sobre la vida real, en nuestro mundo global.

I am Juan Pablo, and together with my wife Adriana, were born in Colombia and have both served in the church actively participating in different ministries, such as biblical counseling, the Bible institute, and as youth pastors. In professional training as a systems engineer, I worked as a commercial director in the financial sector for more than 14 years.

In 2016 we came to the United States to complete our theological studies for a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. We are currently planting a Hispanic church called Conexión Pasadena, along with a wonderful pastoral team. Our challenge is to think contextually as both theologians and missiologists. For this reason, we are committed to developing ecclesial strategies that involve experiences and conversations in community, about real life, in our global world.

Nathan Polzin

Nathan Polzin was recently hired as the Executive Director of Discipleship and Leadership Formation for the Church of the Brethren. Nathan will begin that job on April 10, 2023.

From 2009-2017 Nathan served as the Michigan District’s executive minister. From 2007 to present, he has been instrumental in planting and pastoring The Church in Drive, a congregation serving Saginaw, Michigan, and Saginaw Valley State University students. He also currently serves as the pastor of the Midland (Mich.) Church of the Brethren. In the past, he has served congregations in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and Hagerstown, Indiana. He also provides individual and group coaching, team building, training, and consulting services through Polzin Coaching and Consulting.

Nathan is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, and of Bethany Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity.

Samuel Sarpiya

Samuel Sarpiya is the Executive Director at the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation in Rockford, Illinois. Previously he served as Moderator of the Church of the Brethren. He is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Sarpiya regularly engages in peacemaking around the globe. He trained Nigerian Security Agencies to use peaceful strategies to engage with the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, trained religious and political leaders in South Africa in nonviolent methods, and the police department in Chicagoland and Ohio on community transformation techniques to address the challenges of racial profiling within police departments. Dr. Sarpiya is available for mediation training and conflict transformation consultation services, and nonviolence training.

Becky Ullom Naugle

Becky Ullom Naugle, Director of Youth/Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, has been journeying with the faithful and talented youth, young adults, and those who minister with those youth/young adults for almost 15 years. Although Becky graduated from McPherson College and Bethany Theological Seminary, her current educational focus involves intensive, immersive training in nurturing small humans. Becky and Patrick are parents of two amazing kids: Ethan (4) and Jackson (7).

Carol Yeazell

A call from God to connect with Spanish speaking people had Carol Yeazell living over four years in Puerto Rico, later involved in projects in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Spain numerous times.

Carol was the Administrator of a mission near Tampa, FL, helping Mexican farm workers. She was on staff with the CLT for 12 years, and anytime there was a need to assist Spanish churches she was assigned.

Carol and her husband began Jesu Cristo El Camino in Hendersonville, North Carolina and she later served as an Associate Pastor for 12 years.

Un llamado de Dios para conectarme con personas de habla hispana me hizo vivir más de cuatro años en Puerto Rico, luego involucrado en proyectos en México, Guatemala, Honduras, República Dominicana y España en numerosas ocasiones.

Yo era el administrador de una misión cerca de Tampa, FL que ayudaba a los trabajadores agrícolas mexicanos.

En el personal del CLT durante 12 años y cada vez que había una necesidad de ayudar a las iglesias españolas, me asignaban.

Mi esposo y yo comenzamos Jesu Cristo El Camino en Hendersonville, Carolina del Norte y luego servimos como pastor asociado durante 12 años.