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Guest Speaker Bios - 2012/13

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April 14: Stephen Kaziimba, Bishop of the Mityana Diocese in Uganda

Stephen Kaziimba


Rev. Stephen Kaziimba was from Mukono, where he served as Canon and Provost for a number of years. He was consecrated 5th bishop of Mityana in October 2008. He presides over about half a million Anglicans in 80 parishes which include 509 churches and 450 schools. Bishop Stephen Kaziimba is urging aggressive action to build the diocese both spiritually and physically, emphasizing discipleship, evangelism and revitalization. The Church of Uganda is a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled Anglican Church engaged in the mission of Jesus Christ in today's world.  





April 17: Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners

Lisa Sharon HarperLisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners’ director of mobilizing, was the founding executive director of New York Faith & Justice—an organization at the hub of a new ecumenical movement to end poverty in New York City. She also helped establish Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice.

She is the author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican...or Democrat, and Left, Right & Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics. Ms. Harper was celebrated on Rich Warrens' website as one of the inaugural "Take Action Heroes," and was recently named fifth among the "13 Religious Women to Watch in 2012" by the Center for American Progress. Her full bio is here.



Previous Speakers

April 5: Reverend Alexia Salvatierra

Alexia Rev. Alexia Salvatierra is an ordained Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with over 30 years of experience in ecumenical, multi-faith and community ministry, community organizing and legislative advocacy. She is the Director of Justice for the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a consultant for World Vision and Intervarsity (and a variety of other national/international ministries) as well as adjunct faculty for New York Theological Seminary and Biola University.  For over eleven years, she was the Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice—beginning as the director of CLUE in Los Angeles and then as the first CLUE-CA director. CLUE-CA is a statewide alliance of organizations of religious leaders who come together to respond to the crisis of working poverty by joining low-wage workers in their struggle for a living wage, health insurance, fair working conditions and a voice in the decisions that affect them. CLUE-CA’s mission is to build a faith-rooted movement for economic justice throughout California, utilizing an original “faith-rooted” organizing model which integrates insights from the civil rights movement, Latin America and the Philippines to equip faith leaders to contribute their unique gifts and resources to larger movements for economic and social justice.

Under Alexia’s leadership, CLUE-CA became known for its leadership development program for young leaders of all faith traditions and its work with immigrant evangelical congregations.  In the understanding that low-wage workers face barriers to full participation in the workplace and civic arena, CLUE-CA works on issues of immigrant and civil rights. CLUE-CA was the initial lead agency for the New Sanctuary Movement, in which congregations in 37 cities around the country accompany and support immigrant workers and their families facing deportation. CLUE-CA also coordinates the “Our Children”/Loving the Stranger project which engages immigrant and non-immigrant evangelical congregations in joint ministry to immigrant youth facing deportation, carries out congregational education about immigration and organizes pastoral and congregational dialogues. Alexia just wrote a book to be published by Intervarsity Press in November 2013.

March 6: Chris Dorsey, Western Theological Seminary

ChrisProfessor Bernard "Chris" Dorsey first came to Western as the 2011-12 Faculty Fellow, teaching in the areas of theology and urban ministry. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he holds a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and a Graduate Certificate in African Studies from Northwestern University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in theology at the University of Chicago where he is completing his dissertation on traditional medicine in Senegal with a focus on exploring the hermeneutics of healing.

Professor Dorsey has served in a variety of ministerial capacities including: VP of Development and Marketing a Chicago Theological Seminary; University Chaplain at Clark Atlanta University; Senior Pastor of Woodlawn United Methodist Church, Youth Pastor at Park Manor Christian Church and Lead Chaplain for a Cook County clinic servicing patients affected by HIV/AIDS. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Dominican University, McCormick Theological Seminary, and Clark Atlanta University. His teaching experiences have included Theology, History of Christianity African American Religion, Homiletics, Religion & Medicine, African Studies and Intro to World Religions, to name a few.

March 4: Anne Jackson, Author of Mad Chruch Disease

AnneAnne Jackson is a writer, speaker, and social change activist who lives in the Grand Rapids, MI area. She is currently working on her degree in Clinical Psychology at Hope College.

Her book, Mad Church Disease – Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic (Zondervan) released in February 2009. Her latest book, Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession and Grace (Thomas Nelson) released in August 2010 with critical acclaim.

Anne speaks at conferences both large and small, retreats, churches, college and student gatherings, as well as chapels on issues such as social justice, sexuality, health, addiction, and general Biblical themes of grace and restoration.

Februarty 27: Father Ezra Sullivan, St. Gertrude Parish

Father EzraFather Ezra Sullivan, O.P., serves as assistant pastor at St. Gertrude parish in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was raised in a Baptist household and attended a Seventh-Day Adventist high school. A convert to Catholicism, he studied the Great Books of Western Civilization and received a B.A. from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. After graduating, he entered the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans, a Roman Catholic religious order founded in 1216 and dedicated to preaching the Gospel. As a Dominican friar, he received the M. Div. degree from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception (Dominican House of Studies) in Washington, DC.

Sullivan has experience working with inmates at the Ohio State Penitentiary and serving impoverished cancer patients in New York City. He has published articles in both scholarly and popular journals, including Nova et Vetera and Logos Journal. In the media, he has recorded different series of talks for Catholic Radio and has been an occasional guest on talk shows. When he is not serving at the parish, Father Ezra likes to give retreats and spiritual reflections around the country.

February 15: Andy Soper, Manasseh Project, Wedgwood

soperAfter earning a Master’s Degree in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University, Andy Soper taught at BGSU and Cornerstone University before beginning work with abused and neglected children in both Residential and Community Programs at Wedgwood Christian Services. Having founded the Manasseh Project, he currently develop programming to address the commercial sexual exploitation of minors and a spectrum of services for the community.



February 13: Father Charlie Brown, St. Francis de Sales

brownFather Charlie Brown is the Pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Holland.  He has served there since July, 2003.  Fr. Charlie loves the special connection that exists between St. Francis de Sales Parish and Hope College.  The parish is enriched by the presence of so many students and faculty that make St. Francis their home.  Fr. Charlie also enjoys the active and energetic faith life, outreach and worship of the large multicultural congregation at St. Francis.  He feels that it is a special gift to be able to be part of a parish where diversity is not seen as an obstacle to be overcome but rather as a gift from God to be celebrated.  Fr. Charlie was ordained in 1993 after completing his Master of Divinity at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.


January 28: Matthew Soerens, World Relief

okMatthew Soerens serves as the US Church Training Specialist for World Relief, which is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals.  In that role, he helps evangelical churches to understand the realities of immigration and to respond in ways guided by biblical values.  Matthew previously served as a Board of Immigration Appeals-accredited legal counselor at World Relief’s local office in Wheaton, Illinois and, before that, with World Relief’s partner organization in Managua, Nicaragua.  Matthew earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Wheaton College and his Master’s Degree from DePaul University’s School of Public Service.  He is the co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2009).  Originally from Neenah, Wisconsin, Matthew lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with his wife, Diana. 



January 21: Dr. Robert (Rik) Stevenson, Jr.

aBio: Dr. Stevenson serves as the Senior Pastor of City Hope Ministries in Grand Rapids MI.  He also serves as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University as well as Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in African American Studies and African American Church History respectively.  In addition, to his pastoral responsibilities in Los Angeles, Dr. Stevenson was the founder and Director of Research for the Los Angeles Black Church History Project, a collaborative research effort between the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and Fuller Theological Seminary.  He is also the former Assistant Director of African-American Ministries at Fuller Theological Seminary and was a member of the adjunct faculty at Fuller Seminary from 1991 until his move to Grand Rapids, in 2001.  Finally, Dr. Stevenson was the Director of Doctoral Research Projects at the Southern California School of Ministry in Inglewood, California.  He is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in African American and African Studies at Michigan State University.


January 11: Dr. Andrew White, St George’s Anglican Church 

Canon andrew whiteBio:
The Reverend Canon Dr Andrew White is the Chaplain of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. He has led St George’s Church, in the heart of Baghdad, since 1998 and divides his time between Iraq and the UK.  Canon Andrew is also the President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East which exists to support his unique work at St George’s and in reconciliation. When not in Baghdad or travelling, Andrew’s home base is in Hampshire with his wife Caroline and his two sons Jacob and Josiah.

Andrew White studied at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London qualifying as an Operating Department Practitioner in 1985. Following St. Thomas’, he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge University, and also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Andrew served as a Curate at St. Mark’s, Battersea Rise in London, after which he became Vicar of the Church of Ascension, Balham Hill, also in London. While vicar, Andrew entered into politics, performing duties as a Wandsworth Borough Counsellor acting as Deputy Chairman of Social Services – the only Conservative politician who was also an Anglican priest at that time.

In 1998, Andrew was installed as the Director of International Ministry for the Diocese and Cathedral of Coventry. During this time, Andrew became actively involved in the Middle East helping to lead the negotiations during the Siege of the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and helping draft the First Alexandria Declaration of the Religious Leaders of the Holy Land and the Baghdad Religious Accord, both of which were instrumental in bringing together key religious leaders of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.

November 14: Jeremy Begbie, World Christian Lecture Series

Click HERE for bio regarding Jeremy Begbie

November 12: Megan Hodgin, Fellowship Reformed Church

Contact info :

November 9: Allan Boesak

The Rev. Dr. Allan Aubrey Boesak is one of the heroes of the anti-apartheid freedom struggle in South Africa. He and Archbishop Desmond Tutu led the United Democratic Front (UDF)–the equivalent to the civil rights movement in the US. Bringing together over 700 organizations from all communities, the UDF became the first genuinely non-racial movement and the main force behind the anti-apartheid activities in the country during the decisive decade of the 1980s.
Allan Boesak is a pastor in the Uniting Reformed Church and has served the church in many local, national, and international posts including the South African Council of Churches. At thirty-six years of age he was elected the president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches; the youngest ever, and the first African and person from the developing world to hold that position.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called Allan Boesak the most powerful orator ever produced by South Africa. Allan Boesak is the author or editor of nearly 20 books. His most recent book, Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism , is co-written with Curtiss Paul DeYoung, professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University.

Curtiss DeYoung

The Rev. Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung is professor of Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University. With degrees from Anderson University, Howard University and the University of St. Thomas, Prior to his current position, DeYoung served for 17 years in urban multicultural settings in Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota as the president of the Twin Cities Urban Reconciliation Network (TURN), the executive director of the City Gate Project, and the senior pastor at a multiracial congregation. He also served congregations in Washington, D.C, and New York City, and worked at the Covenant House Times Square shelter for homeless and runaway youth in New York City. He is an ordained minister in the Church of God (headquarters in Anderson, Indiana)

Curtiss DeYoung has spent his life working both nationally and internationally to develop networks for reconciliation, peace, justice and human rights. He has traveled to South Africa on nine occasions speaking on reconciliation and the multiculturalism of the Bible. DeYoung is an author or of over a dozen books on the topic of reconciliation and social justice, including United by Faith: The Multracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race, Reconciliation: Our Greatest Challenge --Our Only Hope, andRadical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism, co-written with Allan Boesak. 

October 12 : Chris Klein, USSAAC

Contact info:
President of USSAAC
email -

Chris is a graduate of Hope College and has studied at Western Theological Seminary.  This education has allowed him to speak at churches, conferences, retreats, and schools. Chris has been published in Christianity Today, which led him towrite Lessons from the Big Toe, a book about his faith journey that provides unique insights regarding God, people, and the importance of community. It challenges the reader to see those concepts from a different perspective and to examine them in their walks of faith. 

Chris Klein is a voice to those that have none and helping hand to those with disabilities, even though he was born with cerebral palsy and uses augmentative communication to help him interact with the rest of the world. He is president of USSAAC (United States Society of Augmentative Alternative Communication) and recent founder of BeCOME AAC, Building Connections with Others through Mentoring and Education about AAC.


October 1: Raju Asirvadam, Hope School of India

Contact info:
Chairman of Mission Partners India
Email -






September 19: David Beckmann, Bread For the World

Contact info:
President of Bread For The World
Email -

World Food Prize laureate David Beckmann is one of the foremost U.S. advocates for  hungry and poor people. He has been president of Bread for the World since 1991, leading large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to overcome hunger and poverty in the country and globally.

Beckmann is also president of Bread for the World Institute, which provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. He founded and serves as president of the Alliance to End Hunger, which engages diverse U.S. institutions—Muslim and Jewish groups, corporations, unions, and universities—in building the political will to end hunger.

September 5:  Jon Brown, Pillar Church

Contact info:
Pastor Jon Brown
Office Phone: 616-392-8686 ext 4
twitter: @rooster5710