Speakers, Preachers, & More



Joan Garry


Joan Garry began her career in 1981 as part of the management team that launched MTV. She followed this successful eight-year tenure with another successful run as an executive at Showtime Networks. Then, in 1997 while either having a midlife crisis or avoiding one, Garry was named the executive director of GLAAD, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the U.S. She is currently Principal of Joan Garry Consulting, a boutique firm that helps nonprofits across a wide variety of sectors to untangle strategic knots enabling them to have a clearer path in pursuit of their missions. Her blog at www.joangarry.com for board and staff leaders of nonprofits reaches 100,000 unique leaders monthly from over 150 countries and her podcast Nonprofits Are Messy is frequently the #1 nonprofit / podcast on iTunes. Lastly, she is the founder of The Nonprofit Leadership Lab, a monthly online membership site for board and staff leaders of small nonprofits who can afford neither coaching nor consulting. Her book, Joan Garry’s Guide To Nonprofit Leadership (John Wiley and Sons) was published in early 2017. Joan lives in NJ with her wife of 34 years. Joan and Eileen were plaintiffs in a 1993 landmark NJ court case granting a lesbian couple a second parent adoption. Their three grown children all legally have two mothers (whether they like it or not).

Barbara Brown Taylor

Barbara Brown Taylor


Sermon: "Wild Beasts and Angels- Spirit-Driven Encounters in the Wilderness" - Mark 1:9-13

Barbara Brown Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest. Her first memoir, Leaving Church (2006), won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association. Her last book, Learning to Walk in the Dark (2014), was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. She has served on the faculties of Piedmont College, Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, and the Certificate in Theological Studies program at Arrendale State Prison for Women in Alto, Georgia. In 2014 TIME included her on its annual list of Most Influential People; in 2015 she was named Georgia Woman of the Year; in 2016 she received The President’s Medal at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Mercer University and is working on her fourteenth book, Holy Envy, coming from HarperOne in April 2019. Her work has been translated into five languages. More can be found at www.barbarabrowntaylor.com/about.



Shane Claiborne

Keynoter- What If Jesus Meant The Stuff He Said

Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. Shane worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia. He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane is a champion for grace which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and Afghanistan to stand against war. And now grace fuels his passion to end the death penalty. Shane’s books include Jesus for President, Red Letter Revolution, Common Prayer, Follow Me to Freedom, Jesus, Bombs and Ice Cream, Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers, Executing Grace, his classic The Irresistible Revolution, and his newest book, Beating Guns (2018, forthcoming). He has been featured in a number of films including "Another World Is Possible" and "Ordinary Radicals." His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Shane speaks over one hundred times a year, nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been on everything from Fox News and Al Jazeera to CNN and NPR. He’s given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame. Shane speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe.



Reverend Dr. Luke Powery


Sermon: "The Spirit's Body"- Corinthians 12:12-31

Dr. Powery is the dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School. A national leader in the theological study of the art of preaching, Powery regularly delivers sermons at Duke Chapel as well as at churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His teaching and research interests are located at the intersection of preaching, worship, pneumatology, and culture, particularly expressions of the African diaspora. He has written three books: Spirit Speech: Lament and Celebration in Preaching; Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope; and his latest book Rise Up, Shepherd! Advent Reflections on the Spirituals. Powery was ordained by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and has served in an ecumenical capacity in churches throughout Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S. He is a member of the Academy of Homiletics; the American Academy of Religion; and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Powery served as a member of the executive lectionary team for The African-American Lectionary and is the recipient of numerous scholastic fellowships and awards. In 2008, the African-American Pulpit named him one of 20 outstanding black ministers under the age of 40 who are helping shape the future direction of the church. More recently, in 2014, he was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College for his ethical and spiritual leadership in the academy, church, and broader society. Prior to his appointment at Duke, he served as the Perry and Georgia Engle Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his B.A. in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Stanford University, his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto. He is married to Gail Powery, and the couple has two children.

Other Conference Leaders


Ken Medema

Event Musician

For four decades, Ken Medema has inspired people through storytelling and music. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind. His ability to capture spirit in word and song is unparalleled. One of the most creative and authentic artists performing today, Ken custom designs every musical moment of his performance with brilliant improvisation that defies description. With an ever-growing circle of friends around the world, Ken's vocal and piano artistry and imagination have reached audiences of 50 to 50,000 people in 49 United States and in more than 15 countries on four continents.


Jim Cain

Community Builder

Dr. Jim Cain is the author of 16 adventure-based teambuilding texts, including the award winning book Teamwork & Teamplay, which received the Karl Rohnke Creativity Award presented by the Association for Experiential Education, The Book on Raccoon Circles, A Teachable Moment,Teambuilding Puzzles, and Essential Staff Training Activities. He is a former Executive Director for the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and the creative force behind his training company, Teamwork & Teamplay. He holds four college degrees, including a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester. Dr. Cain frequently serves as a visiting professor on subjects ranging from teambuilding and experiential education using adventure-based activities to corporate culture and leadership. He is the innovator of more than three dozen teambuilding activities and props, and has presented more than 1500 programs in 50 states and 31 countries in the past decade. His train-the-trainer programs are legendary and his conference keynotes/playnotes are active, engaging and tremendously fun. With regard to Jim's group facilitation skills, Tom Leahy of NCCPS remarked, "Jim, you are a Jedi Master!" In addition to his adventure-based activities, Jim is also an accomplished square dance caller, guitarist, boomerang maker, engineer, researcher, author and generally has more books in his library than many developing nations.


Lisle Gwynn Garrity

Artist in Residence

Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity is an artist, ordained Presbyterian (USA) pastor, retreat leader, and creative entrepreneur. As founder of A Sanctified Art, a collaborative arts collective creating multimedia resources for churches, Lisle and her team resource worshiping congregations all across the globe. In addition to her work with A Sanctified Art, Lisle travels frequently to serve churches as a retreat leader and artist-in-residence. She believes in the prophetic and freeing power of art to connect us more deeply to God and one another. Based in the beautiful rolling hills of Black Mountain, NC, with her husband Paul, Lisle can often be found running with her wiggly pups, Max and Maven, drinking matcha tea lattes she makes herself, or tending to her ever-growing indoor and outdoor plant babies. Learn more about her work by visiting lislegwynngarrity.com and sanctifiedart.org.