UMAC 2019 Plenary and Workshop Speakers
As chief executive of United Methodist Communications, Dan Krause leads the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church in telling the story of God’s love through research, technology and strategic communication. Named to the position in June 2015, he is responsible for overseeing the denomination’s marketing, advertising, media and public relations, Web and social media, news, production and more. The agency works around the world, whether to equip local churches for communications ministry, raise awareness of the mission and ministries of the church, or develop technology infrastructure in underserved areas. Dan was previously Vice-President of Marketing and Customer Experience for Frontier Airlines, where he was responsible for managing all corporate branding, marketing, advertising, social media and corporate communications strategy. He also directed consumer messaging and managed the day-to-day operation of Frontier’s Reservations Call Centers and the Customer Relations and Customer Experience teams.
Jennifer Rodia is the chief communications officer at United Methodist Communications. She oversees communication strategy, training, production and The United Methodist Church’s national advertising messages for “Rethink Church.” She joined UMCOM about eight years ago as director of advertising. She earned a master’s of fine arts degree in writing and began working in the film industry. That evolved into more work in film and then television, commercial production and eventually advertising. For more than four years, she was a producer for NFL Films and produced kick-off, Thanksgiving and playoff campaigns for the National Football League. Two of the spots aired during Super Bowls. Her other clients included Nike, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Harley-Davidson and Partnership for a Drug-free America. Jennifer believes deeply that God has a message of hope for our broken and hurting world. As a young child, she dreamed of one day becoming a writer who would create stories that would help people understand God’s love for them. She also volunteers at Providence United Methodist Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, where she serves with middle school youth.
Rt. Rev. George
The Rt. Rev. George Wayne Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, has not only the perspective of pastoral response in the judicatory, but was the co-chair of the denomination’s Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music, the committee which addressed rites for the same-sex marriage blessing. Bishop Smith was born in Abilene, Texas. He was raised a Baptist and converted to the Episcopal Church while a student at Baylor University. Smith received his seminary education at Nashotah House in Milwaukee. Smith was ordained as a deacon in 1981 followed by ordination to the priesthood in 1982. Smith served congregations in both Texas and Michigan before becoming the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He was consecrated on March 6, 2002 as Bishop Coadjutor to Bishop Hays Rockwell and subsequently succeeded him on June 6, 2002. Bishop Smith is the 975th Bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Dr. Dan Handschy has served as the rector of Church of the Advent since November of 1992. In the late 1990s, the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, the Rt. Rev. Hays Rockwell, encouraged the formation of a network of congregations in the diocese explicit in their welcome of the LGBT community. Handschy served on the first board of the Oasis Missouri. Several congregations in the diocese were already “friendly” to the community, and they quickly went through the training and adopted the Oasis “Affirmation of Welcome.” The board thought it would be a powerful witness if a suburban parish would join the Oasis, and Church of the Advent is a pastoral-sized, typical suburban parish. Handschy encouraged the Vestry and the congregation to go through the Oasis training just before his first sabbatical in 2000. The decision remained on the table for four years, until the election and consecration of Gene Robinson, and all that followed in the wake of General Convention’s approval of his election. The Vestry voted by roll call at a 2004 meeting so that the vote would be clear in the record. The Vestry adopted the “Affirmation of Welcome” by a vote of 11 to 1. A small number of families left the congregation after the vote, but by and large, the congregation is grateful that it adopted the “Affirmation of Welcome.” Handschy is still the rector of Church of the Advent.
Sharon K. Youngs has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a number of capacities for more than 35 years. She became a pastor in West Virginia after receiving her masters’s of divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. After moving to Louisville, Kentucky, she earned a M.S.S.W. degree from the University of Louisville and worked as a family therapist. She was a member of The Presbyterian Hymnal committee and has written and edited numerous articles, study guides, and educational program resources for PC(USA) General Assembly entities. She served as communications coordinator for the PC(USA) Office of the General Assembly for a decade before accepting her current call as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where she has served since 2012.
Central Conference Communicators
Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that The United Methodist Church is a worldwide denomination. We’ll hear perspectives from communicators from our central conferences visiting the United States for the special session of General Conference.
Betty Kazadi Musau has served as the North Katanga Conference communicator since 2006. She is secretary of the Central Congo Conference of The United Methodist Church and health board chair of the North Katanga Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rev. Dr. Kazadi holds bachelor’s degrees in Divinity from Africa University-Zimbabwe, and in English and African Culture from Lubumbashi Teacher’s College. She holds a master’s in gender and development from Université Catholique de Louvain-Belgium and a Doctor of Ministry on Children and Poverty in the Globalized World from Saint Paul School of Theology in Overland Park, Kansas.
Gladys P. Mangiduyos is a deaconess from the Philippines Central Conference, writes for the United Methodist News Service. She has more than two decades of experience as an educator, serving on the faculty at Wesley Divinity Seminary and Wesleyan University-Philippines. She started a small John Wesley Academy program for laity in her annual conference in partnership with the university. The program, which focuses on social holiness and critical thinking cultivation, has grown to include learners beyond the university and throughout the Philippines. Mangiduyos believes in the powerful role of curriculum and instruction to emancipate consciousness from, and cultivate criticality on, any divisive way of looking at certain groups and issues.
Karl Anders Ellingsen is head of communications for The United Methodist Church in Norway. He is passionate about sharing the stories of the church. As the editor of Brobyggeren (Bridge Builder), the magazine of The United Methodist Church in Norway, he travels around the country listening to the stories of United Methodist congregations, leaders, and members.
Rev. Gary Graves
The Rev. Gary Graves is the new secretary of the General Conference after years of helping sort through the many pieces of legislation filed for consideration at the once-a-quadrennium meeting of the worldwide church. He’ll share some insights with us as he prepares for this historic special session of General Conference in St. Louis.
Post-General Conference Analysis Session
The morning after the close of General Conference, we’ll gather for an analysis session featuring four key leaders in our denomination. Our panel discussion will be moderated by United Methodist Communications, followed by a time for breakout table discussions, all meant to help prepare you for doing the important job of communicating what transpired and where the church goes from here.
The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai is the chief connectional ministries officer for the Connection Table of the denomination. She has been a member of the Connectional Table since 2012. She served on the executive committee and the Worldwide Nature working group, working collaboratively with partners such as the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and the Commission on the General Conference to provide leadership on vital Connectional Table initiatives.
Rev. Dr. Maidstone
Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga serves as the director of communications for the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. He previously served in the dual role as the assistant to the bishop and director of connectional ministries in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. In that role, he was the steward of the vision of the BWC, where he provided leadership to 34 distinct ministry and mission teams.
The Rev. Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the largest-membership church in the denomination. He is known for his passion for helping Christians grow in their faith, understanding of the Bible, and Christian living. He has written 13 books and several small group studies on topics as diverse as forgiveness, simple living, love and marriage, morality, politics, God’s will, and world religions.
The Rev. Junius Dotson is general secretary of Discipleship Ministries. A nationally recognized leader, speaker, and author on evangelism and church revitalization, He launched “See All The People,” the church-wide initiative that helps church leaders concentrate on intentional discipleship, while learning new behaviors around engaging their surrounding community. He is the author of two discipleship books.