UMAC Plenary and Workshop Speakers

First Plenary Speaker

Dan Krause

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.


Panel Discussion: Communicating Change Through Advocacy

Rev. David Brown

The Rev. David Brown is a skilled professional whose career includes success in the communications arena as an entrepreneur and business owner. He has started or managed five advertising/public relations organizations. He is also committed to making an impact through mission-focused work as an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and has led nonprofit organizations in various capacities from executive director to board president to passionate volunteer. Rev. Brown also is an assistant professor of instruction in the School of Strategic Media and Communication at Temple University.

Rev. Hector Burgos

The Rev. Hector A. Burgos works with the bishop, cabinet and elected leaders of the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey to serve as the steward of the conference’s vision and mission, lead a continuous process of transformation and renewal, ensure alignment of conference resources with the vision, and ensure connections among local churches, regions, the conference and the general church. He also assists in communications for MARCHA, an organization dedicated to advocacy and support for Hispanic/Latino Americans.

Susan Greer Burton

Susan Greer Burton is the director of women’s and children’s advocacy for the General Board of Church and Society. In that role, she educates, encourages and equips people of faith to stand up for the health, safety and rights of women and girls around the world. Burton came to GBCS from higher education, where she worked with faculty to integrate service learning and cultural competency into the curriculum. She grew up in North Carolina in the midst of school desegregation and believes that increasing her own self-awareness and changing her attitudes and behaviors in order to live justly are essential parts of a life-giving journey.

Rev. Robin Hynicka

The Rev. Robin Hynicka is a United Methodist elder and lead pastor at Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. Under Rev. Hynicka’s leadership, Arch Street UMC has either continued or launched ministries aimed at assisting immigrants, including serving as a sanctuary location; assisting the poor and homeless; standing up for rights for the LGBTQ community; prevention of proliferation of casinos; bolstering the family; and standing up for racial equality.

Bishop Peggy Johnson

Bishop Peggy A. Johnson serves as the episcopal leader of the Philadelphia Area of the United Methodist Church, which includes the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference and the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference. Prior to her election to the episcopacy in 2008 she served as a pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference since 1980. Her churches included a 4-point rural circuit in Frederick, MD, a suburban Baltimore congregation, a campus ministry at Gallaudet University, and for 20 years she was the pastor of the Christ UMC of the Deaf. Bishop Johnson has a particular passion for ministry with people with disabilities. During her tenure as a bishop she has served as a board member on the Commission on the Status and Role of Women and on the General Board of Church and Society.

Thursday Afternoon Keynote Speaker

Len Wilson

Len Wilson is an expert in communications and creativity in church life. He is known for his pioneering work in visual storytelling, and has taught and consulted with organizations and ministries across the country. His life mission is to use oral, written and visual communication with equal effectiveness in sharing Jesus Christ and advancing God’s kingdom. Len is the author or co-author of ten books, has been featured in dozens of articles for major religious periodicals, and has acquired leadership books for Abingdon Press, a division of the United Methodist Publishing House. He currently serves as Creative and Communications Director at St. Andrew, a large church in Plano, Texas. Len holds a MA in Religious Communication from United Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Semiotics and Future Studies from Portland Seminary. Follow Len at or on Twitter at @Len_Wilson.


Thursday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Participants can choose from four offered breakout sessions meant to give communicators a deeper understanding of trends, innovations and concepts related to our ministry.

Rev. Deborah Coble

Deborah is the director of communications for the West Virginia Conference. She loves serving alongside others and believes gathering in community is both a verb and a noun and that the primary task of disciples is to share our stories. Deborah’s first career was in television and radio marketing and promotion, but she left the glamour of TV to attend seminary in 2003.  She was ordained in the Iowa Annual Conference in 2009 where she served as an associate pastor and a county-seat pastor before serving in extension ministry in the West Virginia conference.

Rev. Wil Ranney

Wil, an ordained deacon in The United Methodist Church who specializes in technology ministry, will share how In the next couple of months, WordPress will launch Gutenberg, the page builder to end all page builders. Since nearly 30 percent of the world’s Websites run on WordPress, Gutenberg will become the new standard in web pages. You’ll get a sneak peek at this tool and learn how your organizations can use it to make content rich pages that your readers will love. We’ll spend the rest of our time covering other notable trends in web design and development.

Nate Smith

Nate Smith works for the Susquehanna Conference handling all of its information technology needs. Before working for the conference he was a systems and security specialist. When he isn’t at work, he enjoys family time, testing out any of the new electronic gadgets or dressing up for Comic Con.


Len Wilson

Our keynote speaker will talk about concepts behind running the local church like Pixar. His workshop will share tips on how to build a world-class creative environment that fosters the making of disciples for Jesus Christ. Among the characteristics Len says the church can borrow from Pixar: Be technically outstanding, understand what makes a story compelling, play to an audience of all ages, innovate in multiple areas, and invite everyone to take part.

Friday Morning Innovation Talks Speakers

Technology and communications strategies are always evolving. To help you stay up on the latest trends, we’ve invited three professionals with organizations known for innovation to address how they go about their business.

J. Edward Cambron

J. Edward Cambron has more than 30 years of experience in arts management. Currently the executive vice president for the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where he oversees all aspects of programming, marketing, public relations and communications, education, and the center’s role with Ticket Philadelphia. Prior to this position, he served as the executive director of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) and as vice president of marketing and public relations for The Philadelphia Orchestra Association. He has served on national research advisory committees for several foundations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Magic of Music initiative, and has been an active participant in the arts research community. He has also served on various committees of the League of American Orchestras and has acted as marketing chairperson for the national conference.

Matt Smith

Matt is a Philadelphia transplant who grew up in South Jersey. He studied journalism at New Jersey City University, where he got his feet wet working for the sports information director. Upon graduation, Matt’s first Philadelphia job was as a social media and graphic design assistant. After the fast-paced atmosphere of the papal visit, Matt moved into his current role at Visit Philadelphia, where he has been for two years. Working closely with the director of social media, Matt helps craft social media campaigns and diligently works to engage with fans and followers on a daily basis.

Rev. Adam Weber

Adam is one of the pastors at a church called Embrace, a 10-year-old church that has grown to six campuses and more than 4,000 people in weekly attendance, and it is still growing. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Embrace was listed as one of the fastest-growing churches in America according to Outreach Magazine. Adam was recognized as one of youngest lead pastors. Adam will share about his church’s journey and how communications plays a big role in outreach.

Friday Morning Keynote Speakers

With the 2019 special session of General Conference looming on the horizon, our leadership team believed it to be important to gain perspective from officials in the church in key positions.

Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai

Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai is the Chief Connectional Ministries Officer for the United Methodist Connectional Table. This group is tasked with discerning and articulating the vision for the church, stewarding the mission, ministries and resources, as determined by the General Conference in consultation with the Council of Bishops. Prior to her current role, she served as the Lansing District superintendent of the Michigan Conference. She earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in sociology from Harvard University and a master’s of divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Before ordination, she served as director of the District Peace with Justice Community of Grand Rapids, Michigan. From 2006-2013 she served as pastor of churches in Kalamazoo and East Lansing, Michigan. Bigham-Tsai has served as a member of the Connectional Table since 2012. She has also served in a wide range of local, state, national and international United Methodist leadership roles.



Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

The Rev.  Dr. 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. He also oversaw the resourcing of the conference’s 640 churches, four campus ministries, and three camping and retreat facilities. An avid believer in the power of the global church, Mulenga also fostered the conference’s partnerships in Zimbabwe, Eurasia, South Korea and Puerto Rico. As an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, he has served as pastor in several churches in the then Western New York Conference and as director of communications in the Upper New York Conference. Before answering a call to ordained ministry, Mulenga worked at several newspapers in Michigan and New York as editor of various departments and at various levels, including as Managing Editor. At the 2016 General Conference, Mulenga served as secretary of the Committee on Correlation and Editorial Revision, the committee that edits the Book of Discipline.

Honoring Our History / Leading Through Change

Our panel will talk about the historical significance of Tindley Temple United Methodist Church and will offer insights into how we can embrace our history while leading people in changing times.

Rev. Alfred Day III

Alfred Day III serves as the general secretary of the General Commission on Archives and History for The United Methodist Church. He is a clergy member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. He also serves as editor of Methodist History. Prior to his present appointment, Day served local churches in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference including a term as district superintendent and most recently as pastor of Historic St. George’s Church, a United Methodist Heritage Landmark. He earned his master’s of divinity degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in 1975, his bachelor’s degree from Houghton College in 1972 and did graduate work at Drew and Temple universities.

Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe

The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe is the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church. She has served as the social justice agency’s top executive since 2014 after 22 years at Emory University. As dean of the chapel & religious life at Emory, inter-religious ministry with a highly diverse constituency of 12,000 students and 2,400 faculty members with Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, B’Hai communities was the heart of her work. Additionally, mentoring and vocational formation of a new generation for social-justice advocates highlighted the work of the office. For 16 years, Henry-Crowe served as a member of the United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s “Supreme Court.” She is the first woman elected president of the Judicial Council, serving in that role from 2008 to 2012. Ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church, she continues to be a member of the South Carolina Annual Conference, where she served in three pastoral appointments, and as associate director and then director of the Conference Council on Ministries. Recipient of a master’s of divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory, she also holds doctorate of divinity degrees from Wofford College and LaGrange College. She has served on the boards of trust for Claflin University, Columbia College and Santiago College.

Rev. Robert L. Johnson

The Rev. Robert L. Johnson serves as senior pastor of historic Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. He also has served as the senior pastor at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, which under his leadership grew to its highest Sunday morning attendance and started a feeding ministry, as well a strong partnership with Temple University. He has a passion for preaching and teaching the word of God. He is a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Bok Technical High School in South Philadelphia.  He earned an associate’s of arts degree from Morristown College in Morristown, Tennessee, in 1988, a bachelor’s of arts degree from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1991 and then his master’s of divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Ohio in 1995. Johnson is a member of Black United Methodist Preachers, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, The Lupus Foundation, The Black Empowerment Group, the NAACP, The Interdenominational Pastors Alliance and a host of other civic organizations.

Bishop John Schol

Bishop John R. Schol grew up in Philadelphia. After earning a master’s of divinity degree at Boston University School of Theology, he became executive director of the Frankford Group Ministry, a cooperative parish ministry in Philadelphia. While there, he led the church and community to address spiritual, social, and economic issues that included the rehabilitation of six crack houses and the building of a 50-unit senior citizen apartment building and 24 townhouses. He later earned a doctorate of ministry degree from Boston University School of Theology and served on numerous boards and committees in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and the Philadelphia area. Today he serves on the boards of American University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Sibley Hospital, the Board of Child Care, International Shalom Initiative Chairperson, Vice Chairperson of United Methodist Archives and History, and Chairperson of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Multi Ethnic Center. He directed the Office of Urban Ministries at the General Board of Global Ministries, in New York City. There, he led the development of two major initiatives: a holistic urban ministry training program known as the Holy Boldness Urban Academy and the innovative, collaborative community development program known as Communities of Shalom. The latter ministry has trained more than 4,000 people and engaged over 500 churches and communities in creative ministry in urban and rural communities across the United States and in Africa.

History of Tindley Temple

The history of The United Methodist Church oftentimes overlaps the history of the United States. One church in Philadelphia is on the national historic register because of its architecture. But Tindley Temple was really made famous because of the dynamic pastor who drew huge crowds in the 1920s and composed the lyrics of a very familiar song. Learn more in this video from United Methodist Communications.