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JANUARY 14-15, 2014 

 

                                                 Preachers and Speakers Remind & Renew 2015

 

The Rev. Marlin Lavanhar

Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma 

 

Lavanhar grew up as a Unitarian Universalist in Illinois.  After receiving his bachelor's degree in Sociology from Tulane, he taught English and American Culture in Kyoto, Japan for two years. He followed that with a three year around the world bicycle trip, studying Buddhism in Asia, Hinduism in India, Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions in Israel, and cycling through much of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North America.  Along the way visiting and writing about Unitarian communities on the Island of Negros in the Philippines, in the Khasi Hills of Northeast India, and in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Rumania. The experience helped him recognize the Unitarian ministry was his calling, and he enrolled at Harvard Divinity School.

  

At Harvard, he was selected to assist the Unitarian Universalist Association at interfaith and international relations, and was invited to present a message to the Triennial World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom in Korea. After graduating, he served as Minister of Outreach at the historic First and Second Church in Boston. He became widely recognized within the denomination for his development of the "Soulful Sundown Service" program in Boston, which reaches out to unchurched young people. His success demonstrated by wide distribution of a manual he wrote on how to bring young people into church.

 

All Souls called him in 2000 at age 32, making him the youngest senior minister of a major congregation in the denomination. Since coming to All Souls, Lavanhar has overseen exponential growth in the membership and attendance of the church.  In 2008, All Souls in Tulsa became the largest church in the Unitarian Universalist Association with almost 1,800 adult members.

 

Lavanahar was presented with an honorary Doctor of Ministry degree from Phillips Theological Seminary in May 2014.

 

Dr. Melanie Ross 

 

Ross is an assistant professor of liturgical studies at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music.

 

Prior to coming to Yale, she was Professor of Worship Leadership at Huntington University.  Ross pursues research that facilitates the intersection of popular American evangelicalism and academic liturgical theology.  Her articles have been published in the journals Worship, Pro Ecclesia, Liturgy, and Scottish Journal of Theology.  In 2010, with Simon Jones, she edited The Serious Business of Worship: Essays in Honour of Bryan D. Spinks (Continuum Books).  Her first authored book, Evangelical vs. Liturgical? Defying a Dichotomy was recently published by Eerdmans Press. In 2014, she was awarded a Luce Fellowship by the Association of Theological Schools and a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers by the Louisville Institute in Louisville, Kentucky. These grants will enable her to work on an ethnographic study entitled "Varieties of Evangelical Worship: An American Mosaic."  Ross holds a Master's Degree from Yale Divinity School and Institute of Sacred Music, and a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame.

 
The Rev. Dr. Ruth Duck           

 

Ruth Duck is Professor of Worship at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. She has written many books and articles about Christian worship, most recently, Worship for the Whole People of God: Vital Worship for the 21st Century (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013). Her hymn texts have been published in the hymnals and supplements of many denominations as well as three single-author collections, including "Welcome God's Tomorrow" (G.I.A. Publications, 2005). She is ordained in the United Church of Christ and has served urban, rural, and suburban churches in Wisconsin and Massachusetts. She received the Doctor of Theology degree in Worship and Theology from Boston University School of Theology in 1989.

 

Duck is the featured Wednesday evening guest speaker.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ray Owens

Pastor, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

  

Owens leads a multifaceted life as husband, father, pastor-scholar, and public intellectual. He has served as Assistant Pastor and Youth Minister at Union Baptist Church of Trenton, N.J., Public School Teacher in South Central Los Angeles, Ca., and Fund Development Director for Teach for America in New York City.

 

Since Rev. Owens’ tenure began, Metropolitan Baptist Church has more than tripled its membership base, weekly attendance, and annual budget.  Owens has a particular passion for issues related to youth and education. His doctoral dissertation, which is currently being revised for publication, seeks to address the contemporary crisis in black education by mining the resources of African American religion.
 

Owens earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1998. In spring 2005, he received the cum laude distinction for his doctoral dissertation and earned the Doctor of Philosophy in Religion and Society from Princeton Theological Seminary.

 

Owens has taught religious studies courses at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Texas Christian University.  He is currently an Affiliate Professor of Christian Social Ethics & Black Church Studies at Phillips Theological Seminary.

        

 

The Rev. Trey Flowers

Minister of Youth and "The Bridge" 

Woodmont Christian Church, Nashville, Tennessee

 

Born in Memphis, Flowers is one of four children and considers his family to be the most important part of his spiritual formation. After joining Lindenwood Christian Church in Memphis when he was in fifth grade, he became an active part of the church youth group and leadership opportunities. Flowers was a counselor at Bethany Hills camps, a volunteer youth sponsor, host of Vacation Bible School, and a member of the statewide Tennessee Christian Youth Fellowship Cabinet.

 

During his time at Texas Christian University, Flowers became active in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and TCU student government.  He also studied in Washington, D.C. in the spring semester of 2005, where he worked on Capitol Hill in the United States Senate.  Each summer he returned home to direct the Lindenwood Life Center Summer Day Camp, where he introduced daily devotionals, weekly worship services, and regular prayer breakfasts featuring spiritual leaders like Rev. Clay Stauffer.

 

In December 2010, Flowers completed his Master of Divinity degree at Vanderbilt University, and in May 2012 he completed a Master of Public Policy from Vanderbilt.

 

Since August 2007, Flowers has served on the ministerial staff at Woodmont, previously as the Children's Minister and now as Minister for Youth and The Bridge. Flowers has grown spiritually at this church and considers it both a family and a home. He was ordained at Woodmont on January 16, 2011.


The Rev. Deborah Phelps
Senior Pastor
DisciplesNet Church (www.disciplesnet.org)

 

DisciplesNet Church exists to share God's love with people who are not able to be part of a physical brick and mortar church. Its vision is to be a living network, crossing barriers and boundaries to connect the world with the Good News of God's redeeming love, revealed in Jesus Christ.  DisciplesNet is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

    

Worship Leader

The Rev. Emily Bowen-Marler

Associate Minister, Brentwood Christian Church

Springfield, Missouri

           

Bowen-Marler will return to PTS for a fifth year to lead the worship on both days of Re-Mind & Re-New. 

 

Services she designed and led at the 2012 and 2013 events were among the most dynamic anyone can remember at this Phillips annual gathering.  

 

She has served at Brentwood Christian Church since October of 2001. Her primary responsibilities include the  cultivation of vibrant, rich expressions of worship, music, and the arts, as well as offering oversight to children’s ministries and assisting with congregational care. An accomplished singer and musician, Bowen-Marler has led worship at the Disciples of Christ General Assembly and was the music director for the 2010 Disciple Women’s Ministries event Quadrennial. She holds degrees from Phillips Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Christian Theological Seminary (M.A.), and Chapman University (B.A.). She is the co-author with Phil Snider of Toward a Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church is Good News for Mainline Congregations (Pilgrim Press, 2010).

                      



           

           

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