Conference Speakers
 

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah
Author, speaker, and educator



Featured Speaker

BIO
Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL. Author of several books, including Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for the Changing Church (Mood Press, 2010) and the upcoming Commentary on the Book of Lamentations (IVP Books, 2015).

Dr. Rah is formerly the founding senior pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church, a multi-ethnic church focused on urban ministry and living out the values of racial reconciliation.

He currently serves on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association, Evangelicals 4 Justice and the Catalyst Leadership Center.

Dr. Rah received his B.A. in Political Science and History/Sociology from Columbia University; his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; his Th.M. from Harvard University; his D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and is currently working towards his Th.D. at Duke University.

Dr. Rah and his wife, Sue, who teaches special education, live in Chicago with their two children Annah and Elijah.

The Myopia of Color-Blindness:
Living out an Authentic Faith Vision in a post-Ferguson world

We live in a world that often fails to recognize the value of diversity and our multi-cultural reality. We also fail to recognize the stronghold of our racial history. Often, these gaps in our knowledge and experience lead to a failure of the church to address serious societal issues such as the events that recently unfolded in Ferguson, MO. Through a theological engagement with Scripture, we will attempt to seek out how living out our faith in the world will require a new faith vision and imagination for the sake of the gospel.

 

Michelle Ayala-Rivera
Wife, mother, international speaker, and author



Speaker, Panel Member

BIO
Michelle Ayala-Rivera is a wife, mother, international motivational speaker, and author of Letters To You, My Friend, and Nuyorican from the Bronx. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. Michelle decided to leave a successful career in engineering to pursue her passion speaking and inspiring others to “Find what you’re passionate about and make somebody pay you to do it.”. She and her husband, Ariel, are currently the leaders of Iron Sharpens Iron, the young adult ministry at Lighthouse Family Community Church as well as the directors of The Sabbath House in Lansdowne, PA, where they live with their son, Ezekiel.

Diversity Discussions:
Does It Even Matter Anymore?

In the age of America's first biracial President, the first Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court, Affirmative Action, and the like, are discussions about diversity even necessary? Are they even significant? Join us as we explore answers to these questions and more.

 

Rev. Wayne Younger
Pastor, Cityview Covenant Church



Speaker, Panel Member

BIO
Wayne and Leeann Younger live on Pittsburgh's Northside along with their three children. They are the founding co-pastors of Cityview Covenant Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic church in the Spring Garden section of the city. Wayne has been on the pastoral staff of several multi-ethnic churches and has also worked in leadership at various para-church ministries. He attended Asbury University and is currently enrolled at Trinity School for Ministry seeking a Master's of Divinity.

Pastoring Multi-Ethnic Movements for Christ:
The Challenge and the Glory

Multi-ethnic church sounds good. We all love each other. We are committed to each other's best interests. We all want to see our neighbors impacted by the gospel. And yet worship in diversity is still not a reality for most American Christians. In this session we will discuss today's challenges to multi-ethnic Christian community. We will explore solutions to these challenges and identify the Best Practices of multi-ethnic leaders. We will also take time to explore the special opportunities that multi-ethnic communities experience in a divided culture that doesn't realize the depths of the divisions it lives with.

 

Ricardo Tavárez
Director of Outreach for Madison Square Church



Speaker

BIO
Ricardo is the Director of Outreach for Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, MI. and often travels as a workshop facilitator, preacher and speaker. With a passion for developing urban leaders, Ricardo speaks on topics related to cross-cultural ministry. He has served and continues to serve in various ministry roles, which include that of a community organizer, leadership trainer, mentor, youth ministry leader. He is an emerging cohort leader with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and serves on the board of Home Missions for the Christian Reformed Church. He is a graduate of Kuyper College where he studied Bible and International Business. .

Transformational Ministry: Urban Community Development
The urban setting is fraught with challenges including poverty, racism, and hyper individualism. Yet, the church is called to go, not inward, but outward. Authentic urban ministry requires a movement from a church that lives within its wall to the church that lives in life together with its community. Christian community development is a key for transformation and witness to the power of Jesus Christ. What happens when the church dares to live outside its walls? In this workshop participants will overview a Biblical and theological framework for mission, learn 8 practical principles for Christian community development, and what it means for the Christian living here and now.

 

Kathy Y. Kinzer-Downs
Director of Multicultural Student Services at Geneva College



Speaker

BIO
Kathy Kinzer- Downs, was born in San Diego, but is a native to Calvert County, MD. Kathy came to faith at the age of 16. She has earned degrees from Edinboro University of PA and Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. It was during Kathy's time at Edinboro where she became a part of a CCO ministry and began to really learn how her faith is a part of every aspect of her life. With a heart for young people, especially young women, Kathy has strong convictions in ministry toward reconciliation, justice and young people understanding their calling, their value and their identity in Christ. She knows her purpose is to be a change agent for this cause unto God's glory. Currently she has the privilege to share in ministry alongside her husband, Lamont Downs. Together, they work for the CCO in partnership with Geneva College as they seek to bring diversity and unity to Geneva, as well as be a beacon of light to its students. Kathy and Lamont currently reside in Beaver Falls, PA.

A Letter from a Birmingham Jail of Today:
A Call to the Leaders of the 21st Century

 

Marc de Jeu
Pastor of The SOMA Gathering



Panel Member

BIO
Marc de Jeu is the planting Pastor of The SOMA Gathering, a missional church community in Beaver Falls, PA. He has also served as an Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Beaver, PA, since July of 2009. Before coming to the Beaver County area, he served as a pastor in Franklin, PA. Marc was born in Columbus, OH, and has lived in the Cleveland area; Indianapolis, IN; and most recently here in western PA.

Marc attended Grove City College and the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He is married to Emily, and they live in downtown Beaver Falls with their three children: Joey, Will and Katie.

 

Rev. Dr. Roger Woodworth
Lead Pastor, New City Church



Panel Member

BIO
Dr. Woodworth has been married to Wende, his college sweetheart for 44 years. He is a father of two, a grandfather of seven, was the founding pastor to hundreds at an interracial church called New Hope, an Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the North Side of Pittsburgh and founded New Hope’s community development corporation. Rodger is presently the Lead Pastor for New City Church, a church plant in downtown Pittsburgh. He writes a blog called cross-cultural convergence, is an adjunct seminary professor at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) with a Doctorate of Ministry in Complex Urban Settings and serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry. Rodger’s greatest passion however is for the gospel of grace that saves broken people like him and broken people different than him and makes us all equal at the foot of the cross.

 

Kerri Landes Clauser
Operations and Program Manager, Bible Center Church



Panel Member

BIO
Kerri Landes Clauser, LSW, serves as the Operations and Program Manager for the Bible Center Church in the Homewood neighbood of Pittsburgh. Kerri is an associate staff member at the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), serving on the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Kerri is passionate about urban ministry and the ongoing investment of the local church in the lives of children and families, particularly in marginalized and forgotten communities. She and her husband moved to Homewood to focus on urban ministry, creating the Bible Center Ministry House in 2010.


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