Verge LA 2009 – The Schedule and Bio’s of Speakers
Verge LA kicks off tonight at the Fountain Room. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the Live Video Stream is planned to begin at 7 p.m. PST for those who live outside of LA and wanted to join us. You can tune in over at the Ecclesia Network Site. In order to be a little more green we are posting the schedule for everyone on-line instead of printing them out on paper. So here is the schedule for Verge LA 2009, followed by a bio of the speakers. This event is hosted by the Ecclesia Network.
JUST ADDED: Tonight was awesome! We start live tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. With Andy Bleyer then Jim Belcher and others. Check the schedule below.
SPEAKER BIO’S (In order of their speaking)
John Chandler is a husband, a father of three, and the pastor of Austin Mustard Seed, a church start-up in Austin. He helps pay the bills as a freelance web designer and blogs at Some Strange Ideas. He is a graduate of Mars Hill Grad School and Hope International University, but he still thinks some of the most important theology he ever learned came from Dr. Seuss.
Scott Arany is the artist and pastoral intern for worship and art at the Hollywood Adventist Church. He is pursuing an MA in Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary and has just one class and a project left! His master’s thesis and project is the creation of a vespers service integrating worship and mission through civic intercession, inspired by the writings of St. Ephrem of Syria.
Jan Johnson is the author of nineteen books and hundreds of articles and Bible studies. Focusing on spiritual formation and social justice, her articles have appeared in Conversations, World Vision, Christianity Today, and Prism (Evangelicals for Social Action). Also a spiritual director and retreat leader, Jan holds a D. Min. in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. You can learn more at her website.
Jason Coker is a husband, father and non-profit leadership professional. He and his wife Jenell had been in paid Christian ministry for 12 years when, in January of 2008, they started Twoshirts.org in Columbus, Ohio to cultivate an alternative gift-economy in their community. It has since grown to over 3000 members in 35 states. He is currently working to establish a non-profit interactive media agency that provides affordable world-class web development, search marketing, and media solutions to Kingdom-driven organizations while he and Jenell work to develop Ikon Community, a new mission-driven network in North County San Diego.
AJ Swoboda and his wife are church planters in the Hawthorne district of Portland, Oregon. AJ is a professor of Biblical Studies, Theology, and Church History at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, LIFE Pacific College, and Eugene Bible College. His PhD (Birmingham, UK) is in the intersection of Pentecostal theology and ecology. It will be the first of its kind. AJ is a writer, guitar player, avid Risk fan, Office watcher, and lover of all things Portland.
Deb Hirsch is an Aussie living in America. She serves as part of the leadership of Tribe of L.A. an eclectic, experimental church in downtown L.A. & is on the leadership team of Christian Associates, a church planting organization into Europe & beyond.
Andrew Bleyer is an equipper in the Kairos LA Network of Churches. With his brothers and sisters, he is attempting to walk in God’s mission on the border of Venice and Santa Monica. He is trying to love his enemies even in LA traffic.
Jim Belcher (M.A., Fuller; Ph.D., Georgetown) is founding church planter and lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. He is the author of the new book, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional. He is coproducer of the docudrama “From Earth to Heaven: The Life and Art of Vincent Van Gogh.” He is the cofounder of the Restoring Community Conference: Integrating Social Interaction, Sacred Space and Beauty in the 21st Century, an annual conference for city officials, planners, builders and architects. He has been published in Leadership Journal and re:generation quarterly, and he and his wife and four children live in Costa Mesa, California.
Del Black is a coach and team builder who works primarily with nonprofits. She is 1 class away from earning her Master of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary. Until 2008, she worked for major corporations in training and organizational development, then started Deep Roots Consulting, a company focused on team and individual effectiveness and a labor of love. She serves as Elder for Small Group Ministry at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Los Alamitos, CA., loves music, art, and cooking, and lives with her daughter Rachel and cat Gracie.
Brandon Cook is the pastor of Long Beach Christian Fellowship. A native Alabamian, he wandered far and wide before studying history in college and later earning a Master of Studies in Ancient Hellenistic Philosophy. On a Friday night, he can be found enjoying a date with his lovely wife Becca, or perhaps watching The Office (or Gilmore Girls if Becca has had her way), reading a Father Brown murder mystery, or writing.
Rob Merrill is a church planter in Stockton, California. Ecclesia, a missional community in the heart of downtown, was birthed 8 months ago with a desire to be a community that goes where most churches have abandoned and offer themselves.
AJ Sherrill has served as Teaching Pastor of Origins Church, a church plant of Long Beach. He and his wife are currently in the process of relocating to Atlanta, GA. In addition, he coaches churches leaning into the emerging generations. Check out his website for info on existing projects.
Dave Kludt and Don Chesworth are Equippers in the Kairos Hollywood community. They practice communal living in East Hollywood and desire to serve both the congregation and neighborhood faithfully. Don has served the church in Baltimore, Camden, Jamaica and Chile and has a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He feels a life-long calling to both the city and the poor. Dave is fulfilling his final requirement for a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary through service as a hospital chaplain in East Hollywood. With his wife and community, he loves providing hospitable space for others and wrestling through the gray areas of life. Dave and Don use Macs, enjoy backpacking, and ride road bikes.
Lena Giron seeks to live and work from the inside out in Hollywood with her four children, modeling the life of Jesus from a heart of love. Lena is living out her calling to church planting with a network of leaders who call themselves ViaCordis. A simplified model for church gatherings frees their time and resources to be the church in the community, join God where he is working and see groups of Jesus followers multiply organically. Combining a background in business and a passion for the arts, Lena works as a life coach/business coach for artists and entrepreneurs. She helps facilitate parenting and anger management classes at a women’s transition home in Arcadia and is partnering with others to start a parenting group in her community. Lena is a singer/songwriter who shares the truth in everyday language and is working on her first professional recording.
Kevin Doi is the founding pastor of Epic Church, a multi-cultural expression of Jesus Christ through community, justice, and healing in downtown Fullerton, CA. Kevin is co-founder of JOYA Scholars, a non-profit inspiring and preparing students from low-income communities in Fullerton toward higher education. He also serves on the boards of Solidarity (Fullerton) and Oasis USA, community development organizations addressing issues of poverty and human trafficking. He blogs here at Life in Progress.
Greg and Julie Christman live in South Los Angeles, as co-missionaries: Greg as a Church planter, Organization Consultant, USC Staff Mentor, and marathon coach; Julie, as a High School Math teacher, Mentor, Marathon Coach, and foodie. Greg works with Great Commission Ministries through the church, Kairos South LA, with a background in Architecture, Communication, and recently finished his Masters of Organizational Development (Pepperdine University) with a focus on Forgiveness and Small Groups as the place of transformation. Greg is a futball fan, and enjoys surfing and the outdoors every chance he can get.
James Mathew was born and raised in the western state of India called Gujarat (Birthplace of Mr. Gandhi). His parents are involved in the ministry in India. After finishing his Masters in Biochemistry he worked with health care industry as a product manager for almost seven years. He felt God’s call in his life and became involved in church planting in India. He graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with Master in Christian leadership and is currently working with youth ministries in Los Angeles. His wife Annie is doing her doctoral studies in psychology and they are blessed with two daughters Saakshi (8) and Namrata (7).
Geoff Holsclaw is a co-pastor (with two others) at Life on the Vine in northwest Chicagoland, responsible for facilitating pastor vision, and overseeing worship and youth. He is also a Ph.d student at Marquette University studying the intersection of theology and society, specifically between liturgy and politics. Geoff is married to Cyd, and dad to two boys, Soren and Tennyson.