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Ron Crandall

Ron Crandall is a Professor Emeritus and retired Dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Currently, he is the Executive Director of ABIDE, a church renewal ministry for smaller congregations. He has served as Local Church Evangelism Director for the General Board of Discipleship, President of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education, and authored several books, including the 25-week small group resources WITNESS: Learning to Share Your Christian Faith. His extensive travel includes tours across Europe with his wife, Bonnie, performing with the Lexington Singers.

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Fr. Thomas Reese

Fr. Thomas J. Reese is senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter writing a popular weekly column. Previously he was the editor-in- chief of America magazine and a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center. In 2014 Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan, federal government commission. In October 2015 he will be attending the Bishops Synod on the Family. His presentations on the cruise will reflect on Pope Francis’ vision for the family, the Church, and the world. 

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Becca Stevens

Becca  is an Episcopal priest, entrepreneur, author and social justice activist. She is the founder of Thistle Farms, a community of women who have survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction. She has been featured by National media including CNN, ABC World News NPR, PBS and others. Her recent honors include being named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America and being Conferred and honorary doctorate by Sewanee: The University of the South. 

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Craig Grammer

Craig Grammer is Senior Pastor at First Christian Church, Springfield, Ohio. Craig has served at the church in various capacities since 1992, helping it grow to the more than 2200 members it has today.

Craig's passion in life is helping people connect with God’s amazing grace. He loves all of God’s word but has been drawn lately to Philippians 1:6, “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns”.

First Christian exists to reach lost people for Jesus and to help disciples of Jesus grow deeper in their walk with the Lord. First Christian places a high value on mission work, supporting 15 overseas missions, as well as launching Good Samaritan Outreach Center which serves inner city Springfield.

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Davis Chappell

Dr. Davis Chappell is a native of Nashville. He graduated from Overton High School in 1978. Davis holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology at Martin Methodist College and Lambuth College in Tennessee. He is a graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, where he
earned a Masters of Divinity degree. Davis completed his Doctorate of Divinity, in the areas of evangelism and church renewal, at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

Davis has been married for 30 years to the former Sherre Hufman, of Tifton, Georgia. They have two grown children: Andrew, a graduate student at Candler School of Theology, and Hailey, a senior at Georgia Southern University.

For 30 years, Davis served churches in the Atlanta area. He joined Brentwood United Methodist Church as Senior Pastor in July, 2013.

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Bishop Mike Watson

Benjamin Michael Watson has been the resident bishop of The United Methodist Church’s  North Georgia Episcopal Area since 2008. The North Georgia Conference has over 362,000 members, 950 congregations, and 1,400 clergy. In 1949, he was born into an active Methodist family in Dothan, Alabama. After graduating from Dothan High School, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and real estate from The University of Alabama, a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Vanderbilt University. In 1972 he was ordained deacon by Bishop W. Kenneth Goodson, and in 1976 he was ordained elder by Bishop Carl J. Sanders. Bishop Watson was elected to the episcopacy by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2000 and was assigned to the South Georgia Area where he served until 2008.  Bishop Watson is currently the president of World Methodist Evangelism, chair of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, and on the Steering Committee of the World Methodist Council. He is the secretary of the Council of Bishops Leadership Team on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Emory University, Gammon Theological Seminary, the Moscow Theological Seminary, Clark Atlanta University, LaGrange College, Paine College, Reinhardt University, Wesleyan College, Young Harris College, UM Children’s Home, Georgia UM Foundation, Camp Glisson, Simpsonwood Conference & Retreat Center, the Methodist Foundation for Retired Ministers, and the William I. H. and Lula E. Pitts Foundation. Bishop Watson is a past president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops. He is the immediate past chairperson of the Board of Directors of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (the largest denominational pension fund in the world, with over $18 billion in assets and 74,000 participants), and he served as vice-chairperson of the General Commission on United Methodist Men.                        As a member of the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, Mike Watson received the Denman Evangelism Award in 1990.  He served from 1975-1977 as pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Molino, Florida, and from 1977-1979 as pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Milton, Florida. He was appointed to start a new congregation in his hometown, where he served as founding pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church from 1979-1990. From 1990 until his election to the episcopacy by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2000, he served as the pastor of Dauphin Way United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Bishop Watson also served as president of the Mobile County School Board, which is the largest school system in the state of Alabama with more than 66,000 students, nearly 8,000 employees, 100 schools and a $450,000,000 annual budget. He served as chairperson of his conference Board of Ordained Ministry, chairperson of the conference Three-year Covenant Community for Spiritual Formation, chairperson of the steering committee of the Southeastern Jurisdiction's larger church consultation, a member of the Emmaus Community, a trustee of several colleges, a member of Emory University's Clergy Advisory Council, president of the Mobile Rotary Club, president of The University of Alabama alumni chapter, president of the ministerial union, board member of the United Way, Boys Club, Girl Scouts, Red Cross, and Inner City Mission.  He had also served as the president of the Dothan Kiwanis Club. Bishop Watson has written for the Adult Bible Series, The Living Pulpit and The Upper Room.  He has traveled and spoken extensively in over sixty countries around the world. He was a delegate to World Methodist Conferences in Singapore (1991), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1996), Bristol, England (2001), Seoul, Korea (2006), and Durban, South Africa (2011), and has been a part of every General Conference of The United Methodist Church since 1996 in Denver, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Fort Worth, and Tampa. Bishop Watson is married to the former Margaret Lee and has two children, Ben Watson and Elizabeth Watson Riddle. He is also the proud grandfather of Alex and Andrew Watson, and Camilla, Watson and Emmaline Riddle.

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Rev. Keith Loesch

Rev. Keith Loesch is the founder and past director of the Wittenberg English Ministry in Germany – a cross‐denomination ministry that serves hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Wittenberg annually. Keith is a Lutheran pastor, of German heritage with ancestral roots to the towns of Rochlitz and Glauchau in Saxony. He has a passion for the life and ministry of Martin Luther and also for serving people today. 

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Dr. David Buegler

Dr. David Buegler has extensive ministry experience serving parishes in Ohio and Michigan, as Superintendent of the Lutheran schools in Cleveland, Ohio District President, and 2 terms as a Vice-President for the LCMS. He is known for his leadership skills and motivational speaking. Dr. Buegler is currently serving part-time in his retirement at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Westlake, Ohio. 

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Marcus Hummon

Marcus is a Grammy-winning Song writer as well as recording artist, producer and studio musician, playwright and author. His songs have been recorded in Pop, R&B, Gospel and Most Notably in Country Music. He has had multiple #1 hits and in 2005, "Bless the Broken Road" won the Grammy for Best Country Song. He performs around the world for a wide range of events and concerts including churches Fund Raisers and special events with Thistle Farms. 

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Dr. Bob Westin

Dr. Bob Westin has degrees in Art History and 40 years teaching experience at the University of Florida and Arizona State Universities. He has led Study Abroad programs throughout Europe and cruised throughout the world. Dr. Westin has worked in the Secret Archives at the Vatican and was a consultant to Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. Bob is a dynamic speaker and believes travel should be fun. He is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainseville, FL. 

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Bishop Mike Lowry, Dr. John McKellar, & Dr. Todd Renner

Study the life of the Apostle Paul with Bishop Mike Lowry, Dr. John McKellar, & Dr. Todd Renner.

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Dr. Jim Harnish & Becca Stevens

Rev. Dr. Jim Harnish has served the UMC in Florida since 1972. He was the founding Pastor at St. Luke's UMC which he led for 13 years. He served as Hyde Park UMC's Senior Pastor from 1992 to 2014 when he retired from full-time ministry.

He has authored many books, Bible studies and articles. Some of Jim Harnish's works are "A Disciple's Path" (Abingdon 2012), "Simple Rules for Money: John Welsey on Earning, Saving and Giving" (Abingdon 2010), "Strength for Broken Places" (Abingdon 2009) and "365 Meditations for Men” (Abingdon 2008). He was also a contributer for the "Wesley Study Bible" (Abingdon 2009), and a consulting editor for the "New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible" (Abingdon 2006).

Becca is an Episcopal priest, entrepreneur, author and social justice activist. She is the founder of Thistle Farms, a community of women who have survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction. She has been featured by National media including CNN, ABC World News NPR, PBS and others. Her recent honors include being named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America and being Conferred and honorary doctorate by Sewanee: The University of the South.

 

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Dr. Michael Williams

Dr. Michael Williams was educated at Vanderbilt University, Garrett‐Evangelical Theological Seminary, and earned a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Michael has served churches in the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and taught courses for Garrett Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Candler School of Theology, and the Doctor of Ministry programs of Drew and Wesley Theological Seminaries. He is the author of numerous articles, stories, poems, plays and books. He has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival and has taught at the National Institutes of Storytelling. 

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Roger J. Green & Jonathan S. Raymond

Dr. Roger J. Green taught biblical and theological studies at Asbury College for three years, and at Barrington College/Gordon College for 43 years. He retired in August of 2016. While at Gordon College he held the Terrelle B. Crum Chair of Humanities, and was the chair of the Department of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries for 26 years. He was a contributor to the Wesley Bible and the Reflecting God Study Bible. He is a noted author of three books and travels internationally teaching and preaching at conferences and retreats for both ministers and laity. Roger and his wife, Karen, have traveled to Israel 13 times.

Dr. Jonathan S. Raymond is a professor, author, and lecturer on cross‐cultural social psychology (Asbury University and the University of Kentucky) and Wesleyan thought. He is presently the President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Trinity Western University and Seminary, Langley, British Columbia (Canada). He has served on the faculties of Arizona State University and the University of Hawaii, an administrator at Gordon College and Greenville College, and President and Vice Chancellor at Booth University College (1999‐2006) Winnipeg, Manitoba, and President and Vice Chancellor at Trinity Western University (2006‐ 2013). He has led several study tours to the Holy Land, and in demand as a conference speaker.

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Dr. John Harnish

Dr. John Harnish is a retired United Methodist pastor and former Associate General Secretary with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For 12 years he was a member of the Board of Trustees at the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary in Tallinn, Estonia. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and holds a Doctor of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Dr. Harnish is a native of Pennsylvania and served most of his ministry in the Detroit Annual Conference. His most recent publication is Do Not Be Afraid: Bishops and Young Clergy Share Words of Resurrection and Signs of Hope, published by Cass Community Publishing House in the inner city of Detroit. 

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Rev. Dr. Gary Mason

Gary Mason is the Director of Journey Towards Healing, a psychologically informed approach to confilct transformation in local, national and international contexts. Previously, he was a methodist clergy in Belfast and played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. In 2007, he was made a member of the Order of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth for this work in the peace process. Gary played a key role in establishing the Skainos project. The largest faith-based redevelopment project in western Europe. He has lectured around the world in political and academic forums and has been interviewed by various media organizations.

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Bruce Birch

Bruce Birch is Dean Emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary where he served 38 years as Professor of Old Testament and 11 years as Academic Dean. His books and articles range from scholarly works to publications aimed at enriching the life of the church for clergy and laity. His PhD was earned at Yale University in 1970, and he is ordained in the United Methodist Church. He continues to write for popular and scholarly audiences from his home in Frederick, MD.

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Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer

It will be a holy privilege to help promote a Women's Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2018 through EO. I anticipate that we will have a unique opportunity to experience the Holy Land through the lens of women of Scripture. We will learn what it meant for them to navigate their world and culture. We will see how coming to believe in Jesus of Nazareth transformed their lives and gave them a new future. We will be invited to learn from these women, our sisters in the Christian faith. We will gain new insights and courage to live with boldness in our time.

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Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby is a teacher, author of 10 books, radio commentator and world traveler. He speaks extensively across the south to church and civic organizations as well as corporate functions. He is known for his down home humor and unique reflections on life in the South "the way it was, the way it used to be, and the way it ought to be."

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Heather Gilion & Holly Snell

Heather Gilion is a speaker, worship leader, author, and stay-at-home mommy. She and her husband, Dallas, serve at LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO. They have two boys: Noah and Zachariah. 

Holly Snell and her husband, Aaron, are pastors at The Parks Church in McKinney, Texas. They have three children: Emma, Malachi, and Ava. She is a speaker, worship leader, and writer.

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Barbara Roose

Barb Roose is a conference speaker and author who is passionate about helping people apply the truth of God's Word and grow in faithfulness to Him. Previously she was the Executive Director of Ministry at CedarCreek church in Perrysburg, Ohio. While on staff, Barb co‐lead the Annual Fabulous Women's Conference that reached more than 10,000 women in five years. Barb is the author of Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty and a Bible study titled, Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God's Perspective on Beauty. Connect with Barb on social media at Facebook.com/barbararoose.

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Deacon Hank Babin

Hank Babin is a Deacon and also Executive Secretary for the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education. He is a great speaker that combines a strong spiritual message with homespun southern humor.

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Troy Schmidt

Troy Schmidt is an author and television writer with credits at Disney, ABC, Nickelodeon, Thomas Nelson and Lifeway. He has written for Max Lucado's "Hermie and Friends" series and was a writer/producer on "The American Bible Challenge" with Jeff Foxworthy for the Game Show Network. He has written numerous other books for adults and teens. Troy is a Campus Pastor at First Baptist Church Windermere, Florida.

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Melissa & Sean Spoelstra

Melissa and Sean Spoelstra are a wife/husband team who are first Christ-followers and then parents to four teenagers. They both have degrees in Bible Theology; Melissa speaks to groups around the country and is author of three Bible studies on Jeremiah, Joseph and First Corinthians. Sean is the church planter and pastor of Encounter Church. Previously he served as Pastor of Family Ministries for Grace Church in Powell, OH.

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David Faust

David Faust is currently Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church and focuses on biblical teaching, leadership development and pastoral care. He was senior minister at E91 from 1999 - 2002 and then president of Cincinnati Christian University for 12 years. He has planted churches, written 15 books and writes a weekly column for THE LOOKOUT magazine. 

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Daron Adkison & Mindy Ferguson

Daron Adkison is a believer, husband, father, friend, and pastor. Now executive Pastor, he has served on staff at fairfield Baptist Church since 1996. Recovering fast food Junkie, backpacker & fantasy footballer, Daron loves life and doing life with those he loves. He is married to Julie and they have three sons, Cade, Reid, and Cooper.

Mindy Ferguson is an author, speaker, and passionate Bible teacher. She inspires God's people to apply the truths of Scripture to the events of their everyday lives and urges them to abide daily in His Word. Her warm, encouraging style and in-depth teaching will engage your mind and stir your heart.

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Rev. Dr. Donald Fishburne

The Rev. Dr. Donald Fishburne is an Episcopal priest and travel writer who serves as a consultant to clergy and congregations in several denominations in leadership, stewardship ministries, outreach, and in planning mission trips, pilgrimages, sabbatical travel and leisure trips. He and Sarah have enjoyed time in the UK and Europe including Germany, Paris and Rome. They have made three Rhine and Danube River cruises as well as several EO Holy Land Pilgrimages, an EO cruise to Cuba with educational and religious elements, and cruises to the Caribbean and Alaska. For fifteen summers they have enjoyed the coast of Maine, “Way Up Down East.” See: www.DonaldFishburne.net

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Bishop Richard Wills

Richard "Dick" Wills was born in Texas, graduated from Florida Southern University with a B.S. in psychology and received his M. Div. from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He was granted honorary doctorates from both Bethune‐Cookman College and Florida Southern College. Dick accepted Christ and felt the call to be a pastor while in the seventh grade in South Houston, Texas. His family moved to Miami, and Dick was ordained in the Florida Annual Conference as a deacon and as an elder. For 18 years he served as senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was while serving there a friend suggested he attend the World Methodist Evangelism Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was the beginning of a spiritual renewal in his life that deeply affected his life and leadership in the church. In 2000 Dick authored the book, Waking to God's Dream: Spiritual Leadership & Church Renewal. From 2004 – 2011 he served as Bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area. He has since retired to Florida with his wife of 51 years, Eileen.

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Dr. Shane Stanford

~~Shane Stanford is the Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, a 6,000-member congregation in Memphis, TN. Stanford is the author of numerous books including The Seven Next Words of Christ, Mosaic, You Can’t Do Everything… So Do Something, The CURE for the Chronic Life, Making Life Matter, The Five Stones, and What the Prayers of Jesus Tell Us About the Heart of God —all published by Abingdon Press. He also wrote A Positive Life (Zondervan 2010) and When God Disappears (Regal 2008), both detailing his journey as an HIV-positive and HepC-positive (both contracted through blood transfusions used to treat his hemophilia) minister, father and husband.
Stanford travels extensively sharing a story of hope and courage grounded in his faith in Jesus Christ. He has spoken at several national venues including the 2006 Saddleback Global AIDS Summit where he shared the agenda with such notables as, then-Senator Barack Obama, Franklin Graham, and John Ortberg. He has appeared on various media outlets including ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, Canada’s Harvest TV, Fox & Friends, and Life Today.
Stanford is also the co-host (with Dr. Maxie Dunnam) of We Believe in Memphis and the teacher/host of You Matter, two television programs airing in the Memphis metro area. For four years, Stanford hosted The United Methodist Hour, a radio and television ministry which aired in more than 30 million homes. Stanford is currently the co-host of a nationally distributed DVD/media Bible study series entitled Covenant, published by the United Methodist Publishing House.
Stanford is a graduate of the Honors College of the University of Southern Mississippi (B.A), Duke University (M.Div.) and was awarded a honorary doctorate (D.D.) from Asbury Theological Seminary. He also has extended training in Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling.
Stanford is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Dr. Pokey Stanford, and they are the parents of three daughters, Sarai Grace (20), Juli Anna (17), and Emma Leigh (13).

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Jason Moore

Jason Moore works to change the world through deep, meaningful, creative worship. An author of nine books, Jason has designed worship alongside leaders Adam Hamilton, Mike Slaughter, Tony Campolo, Leonard Sweet and others. His ministry began at Ginghamsburg Church and then he co-founded Midnight Oil Productions. He speaks and consults with Churches, denomination offices and ministries across the country. 

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Jeremy Hearn

Jeremy Hearn has a passion for worship ministry done well. He is currently practicing this as the Eleven20 Worship Leader at First United Methodist Church of Lakeland, FL. Previously he served as church planter/worship leader for a church in Austin, TX. Jeremy also worked in the Christian and Country music industries in Nashville with major record labels and artists including Martina McBride, Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp and others. 

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Karoline Lewis

Karoline Lewis is Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching and The Marbury E. Anderson Chair of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She received a Doctor of Philosophy in New Testament from Emory University. Karoline is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and served as an associate pastor before teaching full-time. She speaks to congregations, leads retreats and presents at conferences throughout the country and is the author of numerous books and articles. 

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Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson, the author of Quiet Spaces, spent many years as a professional motivational speaker and has worked in pastoral and palliative care. She writes on a variety of subjects including inspirational themes, coping with change and short mystery stories. Her other books include When You Come Unglued…Stick Close to Godand Freedom from Worry

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Jane Herring

Jane Herring is a Presbyterian pastor who has also taught college literature courses. She leads contemplative retreats on prayer, meditation and using writing in prayer and spiritual formation. Jane is author of One Day I Wrote Back.

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Hilda R. Davis

Hilda R. Davis believes women are sacred beings, beloved of God, who deserve healthy lives full of joy and purpose. As an integrative health therapist, coach and counselor, she aims to be a guide on the wellness journey for all women. She uses art, meditation, storytelling and music as therapy tools. Hilda is the author of Live Healthy and Be Well

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Linda Furtado

Linda Furtado is a woman on a mission to express her creativity in daily life through writing, photography, music and art. She is a wife, mother and seminary student. Linda is on staff at The Upper Room.

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J. Dana Trent

J. Dana Trent graduated from Duke Divinity School and has worked in higher education administration, nonprofit fundraising and hospital chaplaincy. She is now a full-time writer, speaker and teacher. She is the author of Saffron Cross and an upcoming book on keeping the sabbath.

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Kristen E. Vincent

Kristen E. Vincent is a retreat leader and author of A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginners Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads and two related prayer bead books. She is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation.

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Bishop Gregory Palmer

Bishop Gregory Palmer is a long time friend of and traveler with EO Tours. He is a dynamic and engaging speaker that will inspire you in your Christian walk. He has served in United Methodist congregations and Conference appointments from Iowa to North Carolina. He was president of the General Board of Higher Education and from 2008-2010 was president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. Since 2012 he has led the Ohio West Area of The United Methodist Church. He has been married to Cynthia for over 40 years and they have 2 children. They enjoy cruising and look forward to being with us on the Celebration Cruise. 

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Paul Saik

Paul is an accomplished vocalist and pianist. He has performed on some of the biggest stages in the world in opera, Broadway and Christian music. His passion is leading people in worship. He has served in churches since the age of 13 and is currently Director of Music Ministries at Centenary United Methodist Church in New Bern, NC. He also leads worship for special events and performs concerts around the country.

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Adam Hamilton

Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, one of the fastest growing, most highly visible churches in the country. The Church Report named Hamilton’s congregation the most influential mainline church in America and PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly identified him as one of the “Ten People to Watch.” In 2013, Adam was invited to deliver the sermon at the National Prayer Service in Washington’s National Cathedral as part of the presidential inauguration festivities. A master at explaining questions of faith in a down-to earth fashion, he is the author of many booksThe Journey, The Way, 24 Hours that Changed the World, Enough, Why: Making Sense of God’s Will, When Christians Get it Wrong, and Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, all published by Abingdon Press.

Adam has been married 30 years to LaVon. They have two grown daughters.

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Dr. Paul Maier

Dr. Maier is The Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and a much-published author of both scholarly and popular works. His novels include two historical documentaries: Pontius Pilate and The Flames of Rome, as well as a theological thriller that became #1 national bestseller in religious fiction: A Skeleton in God's Closet. A sequel, More Than a Skeleton, appeared in 2003 and The Constantine Codex in 2011. His non-fiction works include In the Fullness of Time, a book that correlates secular evidence from the ancient world impinging on Jesus and early Christianity; Josephus - The Essential Works, a new translation/commentary on writings of the first-century Jewish historian; and Eusebius -- The Church History, a similar book on the first Christian historian. More than five million Maier books are now in print in twenty languages, as well as over 250 scholarly articles and reviews in professional journals. Dr. Maier lectures widely, appears frequently in national radio, television, and newspaper interviews, and has received numerous awards. He has also penned seven children's books, and produced four four-hour video series dealing with Jesus, St. Paul, the early church, and current Christianity.

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Joan Chittister

Joan, a member of the Benedictine Sisters, Erie, PA, and executive director of Benetvision, has been a passionate advocate for peace, human rights, women’s issues and church renewal for over 40 years. She is a best-selling and award-winning author and a noted international lecturer. She writes for the National Catholic Reporter and Huffington Post and has been a guest on radio and TV programs including Meet the Press, 60 Minutes, Now with Bill Moyers and many others.

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Dr. Maxie Dunnam

Dr. Dunnam Served as the World Editor for the Upper Room for many years. He is the former Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, TN. He is an au- thor of several dozen books and a highly sought after speaker.

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Bishop Larry Goodpaster

Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster serves as resident bishop for the Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte, NC) of The United Methodist Church. He has taught in a variety of settings and published in various denominational publications. His book, "There's Power in the Connection," was published in 2008 by Abingdon Press. From 2010 through 2012, Goodpaster served as president of The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops. Goodpaster earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Millsaps College, Jackson, MS and both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, Ga. He has also received honorary degrees (Doctor of Divinity) from Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, AL), Huntingdon College (Montgomery, AL), and Millsaps College (Jackson, MS). 

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Justo L. González

Justo L. González, a retired member of the Río Grande Conference of the United Methodist Church, went to college and seminary in Cuba before receiving postgraduate degrees from Yale University. He taught at the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He played a key part in the founding of the Asociación para la Educación Teológica Hispana and of the Hispanic Summer Program. He was also the first executive director of the Hispanic Theological Initiative. Justo has published more than one hundred books, as well as hundreds of articles, and edited the journal Apuntes for twenty years. 

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Peter W. Marty

Peter W. Marty serves as senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church, a 3500-member congregation in Davenport, Iowa. Peter is also the newly named publisher of The Christian Century magazine. He is a frequent preacher and speaker at colleges, churches, and conferences across the country. Peter has preached in some of America’s more notable pulpits including Washington National Cathedral, Duke Chapel, and Yale University. Since 2010, he has been the lead columnist for The Lutheran magazine. Author of numerous articles on leadership, preaching, and parish renewal in America, Marty is also the author of The Anatomy of Grace (Augsburg Fortress, 2008). From 2004-2009, he served as host of the national radio broadcast, Grace Matters, speaking to more than a million listeners through the program’s weekly airing. In 2010, the Academy of Parish Clergy named him “Parish Pastor of the Year." Presently he chairs the board of The Christian Century magazine. Other writings of his include contributions to several multi- volume works on preaching, and chapters in different books on congregational life and theology. He has served as narrator for different faith broadcast documentaries on the Hallmark channel. 

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Bishop Lindsey Davis

Bishop Davis spent most of his life in Kentucky and holds degrees from Union College, University of Kentucky, Lexington Theological Seminary, and Kentucky Wesleyan College. Bishop Davis has served on the General Council on Ministries (1996- 2000). He served as Director of the General Board of Global Ministries, and President of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) (2000-2004). He is currently President of the General Council on Finance and Administration. He also serves as the Vice President of Emory University Board of Trustees, a member of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Board of Emory University, and as a member of PATH1, our denominational new-church-planting emphasis.

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Dr. David deSilva

Dr. deSilva is the Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary. He has published over twenty-five books, including "Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity: Unlocking the New Testament," "Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation's Warning," and "Transformation: The Heart of Paul's Gospel." He has also contributed articles to numerous journals, reference works, and study Bibles. As a popular speaker on several EO cruises, he has taken on the complex subject of the book of Revelation and received high praise.

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Dr. Mike Slaughter

Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church, is the three-decade dreamer of Ginghamsburg and the spiritual entrepreneur of ministry innovations. His lifelong passion to reach the lost and set the oppressed free has now made him a tireless and leading advocate for the children, women and men of Darfur, Sudan. Mike’s call to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted will challenge attendees to wrestle with God and their God-destinies.

In 2007, The Church Report listed Mike as one of the top 50 most influential Christians in America. As a mentor, Mike travels globally to speak and use his “gift of irritation” to equip ministry leaders to minimize brick and maximize mission so that they may fully deploy the mission of Jesus into the world. He was named the Foundation for Evangelism’s “Distinguished Evangelist” in 2003 and has twice received the Denman Evangelism Award in recognition of demonstrated leadership in promoting the United Methodist Church’s historic commitment to evangelism. In 2007, Olivet Nazarene University granted Mike the Reed Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, given in recognition of outstanding leadership.

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Bishop John Hopkins

Bishop Hopkins is the presiding Bishop of the East Ohio Conference. He serves on the General Board of Church and Society and as chair of The Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church. He was instrumental in the creation and launch of Operation Classroom in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as leading mission work teams to Mexico, Korea, Japan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

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Bishop James E. Swanson

James E. Swanson, Sr. is a native of Houston, Texas. Swanson has a Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministries from Southern Bible College in Houston; a Master of Divinity from C. H. Mason Seminary, Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a Doctorate of Humanities from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Swanson is an ordained elder of the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church where he served as a pastor from 1981 to 2001. From June 1987 to June 2001, Swanson was the senior pastor at St. Mary’s Road United Methodist Church in Columbus, Georgia. This fruitful ministry saw the average attendance grow from 12 to over 550 under Swanson’s tenure. Also during this appointment, Swanson chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Activity, served as the chair of the board of commissioners of the Housing Authority of Columbus and was a founding chair of the board of directors of the South Columbus Community Health Center. Swanson led the St. Mary’s Road congregation in the construction of a new sanctuary and administrative complex. He was also the driving force behind the church’s renovation of the educational building and fellowship hall. In June 2001, Swanson was appointed as the district superintendent of the Savannah District.

Swanson was elected a bishop in The United Methodist Church and assigned to the Knoxville Episcopal Area in June 2004. He became resident bishop of the Mississippi Area September 1, 2012. Bishop Swanson is currently serving as the president of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He is also a member of the Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church, the Path One Advisory Board and the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities.

He is married to Delphine Yvonne Ramsey Swanson. They are the proud parents of six children- Karen Swanson Jenkins, James, Jr., Shondell, Carlton, JaNae’ and Joshua. The Swansons also have ten grandchildren.

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Bishop Will Willimon

Bishop Willimon is the most read author among United Methodist pastors. He is a Professor at Duke Divinity School and former Dean at Duke Chapel. His works include books on the Methodist Reformation, Revitalization of the Local Church, Evangelism of young adults and missions.

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Dr. Monte Luker

Monte Luker is Professor of Hebrew Scriptures in the School of Theology of Lenoir-Rhyne University at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He has lived, studied, and taught in the Holy Land for the past 30 years. In addition to the Land, his primary interests are in the literary and theological analysis of Scripture, and he has contributed numerous articles to Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, Anchor Bible Dictionary, New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, as well as scholarly and church-related journals. 

Dr. Luker’s books include Doom and Hope in Micah; Passion, Vitality, and Foment: The Dynamics of Second Temple Judaism; and An Illustrated Guide to the Holy Land For Tour Groups, Students, and Pilgrims (Abing- don, fall 2013 see www.AbingdonAcademic.com/HolyLand). Dr. Luker has been Adjunct Professor of Bible at the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies since 1997. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Biblical Archaeology Society, and the National Association of Professors of Hebrew.

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