Dr. Ronnie Kent

Dr. Ronnie Kent, M.D.- Founder and Medical Director of Connections in Hattiesburg, MS. Dr. Kent is an expert in the treatment of adolescent behavioral and learning issues and a frequent lecturer on family dynamics and health.

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Drexel Gilbert

Drexel Gilbert has more than 40 years of experience as a television journalist and public speaker. A life-long Christian who says she’s an unabashed “Jesus Freak”, Drexel is a sought-after speaker in both the faith-based and corporate worlds. Her high-energy presentations often have the audience out of their seats and moving their feet! Her messages, books and bible studies tackle tough subjects with a light touch and with practical advice for living a better life and doing so with enthusiasm! In her journalism work, Drexel focuses on stories of overcomers and encouragers and the lessons they can teach us all. Drexel is married to the Rev. Dr. Wesley Wachob and is mother to two grown daughters.

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Bill Arnold

Dr. Bill T. Arnold joined the faculty of the Old Testament Department at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1995, and became the Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation in 2007. During his time at Asbury, he has taught scores of pastors, missionaries, and teachers, and has published seventeen books, most recently the edited volume The Cambridge Companion to Genesis (Cambridge University Press, 2021). His research and writing cover several aspects of biblical interpretation, including the history of ancient Israel and the Hebrew language. His publications include commentaries on Genesis, Deuteronomy, and 1 & 2 Samuel, as well as a grammar of Biblical Hebrew and introductory textbooks.

Arnold served as an editor for the Old Testament notes in The Wesley Study Bible (Abingdon, 2009), and contributed its study notes on Genesis. He also served as co-translator of Genesis for the Common English Bible (Abingdon, 2011). He is an Ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church (1984), and has been a delegate to four General Conferences.

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Rachel Billups

Rachel Billups is a visionary, leader, speaker and author. Currently she serves as Senior Pastor at Ginghamsburg Church multi-campus ministry in Tipp City/Dayton Ohio. Rachel draws on her love of people and passion to explore new venues for ministry and mission.

Rachel is an ordained Elder within the United Methodist Church and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible/Religion and History from Anderson University and a Master of Divinity Degree from Duke Divinity School.

Most days you can find Rachel reaching out – praying online, hosting Open Table gatherings in her home or enjoying moments with husband Jon and their four loves: Adeline, Christopher, David and Sarah. She also might be cheering for those Duke Blue Devils and The OSU Buckeyes.

Rachel is a popular speaker for national gatherings and has recently authored BE BOLD: finding your fierce as well as co-authoring Down to Earth: Hopes and Fears of all the Year Are Met in Thee Tonight and Sent: Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas – all by Abingdon Press. You can find her on social media at: @rlbillups.

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Bishop Ken Carter

Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. is resident bishop of the Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church which is made up of over 800 congregations, fresh expressions of church, campus ministries and outreach initiatives. He came to the Florida Conference in 2012, following a ministry of almost thirty years in Western North Carolina, twenty-nine as a local church pastor.

Bishop Carter served as the president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church from 2018-2020, and he was one of three moderators of The Commission on a Way Forward, from 2016 to 2018.   In addition to his responsibilities with the Florida Conference, he serves as bishop-in-residence and a consulting faculty member at Duke University Divinity School.

Bishop Carter is author of fifteen books, most recently Fresh Expressions:  A New Kind of Methodist Church (with Audrey Warren; Abingdon Press, 2017); Embracing The Wideness of God’s Mercy: The Shared Convictions of United Methodists (Abingdon Press, 2018); A Beginner’s Guide to Practicing Scriptural Imagination (Upper Room, 2019); and Fresh Expressions of People Over Property (with Audrey Warren; Abingdon Press, 2020).  His editorials have appeared in the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, and the Orlando Sentinel,  and his commentary on Christianity in the United States has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and on National Public Radio.

His great hope for the church is that she will rediscover an orthodox Christian faith which offers the radically inclusive grace of God to all people, and at the same time calls every follower of Jesus to inner holiness, missional compassion, justice rooted in the gospel and hopeful witness. He travels extensively across the state, preaching in local churches and encouraging lay and clergy leaders.  

Bishop Carter and his wife, Pam have been married for over forty years.  Pam has served as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, most recently in disaster recovery.  They are blessed with two adult daughters and two grandchildren.

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Ginger Gaines-Cirelli

Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli is Senior Pastor of historic Foundry UMC in Washington, DC, the first woman to hold this leadership position. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, she contributed to and served as a general editor for The CEB Women’s Bible and authored Sacred Resistance: A Practical Guide to Christian Witness and Dissent. Ginger is a sought-after preacher, teacher, and facilitator at local, regional, and international events.

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Glenn J. Corbett

Glenn J. Corbett is Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review magazine and a specialist in the archaeology of the lands of the Bible, with more than two decades of excavation and field experience working on projects in Jordan, Turkey, and Israel. Prior to joining BAR, Glenn was Associate Director of the American Center of Research in Amman, Jordan, where he directed the award-winning Temple of the Winged Lions project in Petra.  In addition, while working as Program Director for the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, he spearheaded efforts to help preserve threatened archaeological sites and museums in Yemen and other countries ravaged by conflict. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2010, specializing in the archaeology and epigraphy of pre-Islamic Arabia.

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Dr. David deSilva

A popular speaker on several of our cruises, Dr. deSilva is the Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary. He has written over twenty-five books, including Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity: Unlocking the New Testament, (2000), Introducing the Apocrypha (2nd ed., 2018), and commentaries on Galatians, Hebrews, Jude, and 4 Maccabees. He is also a frequent contributor to journals, reference books, adult Bible curriculum, and study Bibles. David's new novella, A Week in the Life of Ephesus, was recently published, Spring 2020.

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