Fall Fest 2019 Keynote and Faculty Bios
Jessica Tate is the Director of NEXT Church, a network of Presbyterians who are discerning how to be the faithful church in the 21st century. Prior to coming on board with NEXT Church, she served as Associate Pastor of Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Northern Virginia. Jessica is a lifelong Presbyterian, in fact, a joyful preacher’s kid. Upon graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jessica served as a Young Adult Intern for the PC(USA) at the denomination’s Washington Office. From there she went on to seminary at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, where she received a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Christian Education. Jessica and her husband John live in Washington, DC with their son Huw, who regularly keeps them humble with his gregarious affection and his toddler independent streak.
Incarnating a Welcoming Community: Making Space for the Other
Ruling Elder Megan D. Acedo is the Coordinator of Student Ministries & Service Learning at Eastern University where she directs the service learning program for first-year students, advises and supports campus ministries, and directs their domestic and international mission programs. Megan also teaches in First-Year Programs, the summer EQUIP program, and the Social Work department. She is a founding member of and serves as the Clerk of Session at Beacon Church. A California transplant, she lives in the Kensington neighborhood with her lively family.
The Rev. Dr. Baron Mullis serves as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He pastored churches in Charlotte and Atlanta, and along the way he developed a keen interest in what it means for the church to be truly inclusive. He lives in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia with his spouse and two mouthy beagle-mix dogs.
Session and Its Committees: Organized for Service and Mutual Accountability
Rev. Wonjae Choi is a professional Transitional Pastor currently serving Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church and was Moderator of the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 2014. She received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and currently serves on the Committee on Personnel for the Presbytery.
Ruling Elder Vijay Aggarwal is from Wayne Presbyterian Church, where he and spouse Susan have worshiped for twenty years. Vijay serves as Vice Moderator of the Philadelphia Presbytery, Regional Moderator on the Commission on Ministry, and Treasurer of Wayne Presbyterian Church. Susan and Vijay were co-chairs of the celebration marking the 300th anniversary of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Vijay is an executive in the healthcare industry and serves on the boards of several healthcare companies and local non-profit organizations. He also is affiliated with several healthcare investment banks.
Who Is Your Neighbor: Neighborhood Exegesis and Community Mapping
Rev. Sarah A. Colwill has served as Church on the Mall pastor since 2015. Previously, she led the United Methodist-based campus ministry, Open Door Christian Community, at Drexel University. Prior to that she was the Associate Pastor at The First Presbyterian Church in Flourtown. Sarah’s passion for community outreach helped her congregation (with assistance from the presbytery’s Covenant Fund Grants) begin First Fridays, a free monthly community dinner, and Church on the Bend, an outreach to young adults in Conshohocken.
Kearni Nichelle Warren, a member of T.M. Thomas, was born in Chester, PA and has always felt a natural compassion for humanity that has taken her to areas devastated by natural disasters. Her greatest accomplishment is being awarded a fellowship grant and becoming a resident for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Combined with a partnership with the Philadelphia Presbytery, she created The Caregiver Society, an affirming and intentional community that supports the spiritual, mental, and physical needs of caregivers.
Worship as Wellspring for Witness: Life-Long Discipleship: Formation Across Generations
Rev. Eustacia Marshall serves as the pastor to the West Philadelphia Presbyterian Partnership, a marriage of three historic congregations that are being guided by the Spirit into a new thing in West Philadelphia. Her ministry spans many avenues, including service as a minister of music, an associate pastor for youth and young adult ministry, and organizing pastor of Faith Point Fellowship, a 1001 new worshipping community in Greensboro, NC. She earned her B.A. at Stanford University and Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and currently serves the denomination as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Presbyterian Foundation.
Rev. François Lacroix is pastor of the Wallingford Presbyterian Church and was born in a small village on the Belgian and French border. As the church is often at the geographic center of European villages so it was at the center of our life as a family. After immigrating to the U.S., he developed a healthy appreciation for liberal thinking, the need for spiritual expression, and an acceptance of religion as a vehicle to Grace, wholeness, and peace. He served in the United States Navy Chaplain Corp and with congregations in Geneseo, NY and in San Antonio, TX. Francois has been married to Cyndi Lacroix for over 33 years. Together they have four grown children and numerous grandchildren.
Designing and Dreaming for Ministry: Leveraging Who We Are and What We Have for Creative Possibilities
Rev. Ashley Rossi is an ordained minister of Word and Sacrament who recently journeyed from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to the PC(USA). After serving as a solo pastor in north-central Pennsylvania, she joined the staff of Carmel Presbyterian Church in Glenside as the Associate Pastor in charge of education, youth ministry, and mission. In her past life, she was a CPA, and she still appreciates a detailed pie chart or a complex Excel formula. Ashley currently lives in Glenside with her husband, three human children, and pit bull.
Rev. Adan A. Mairena, Pastor of the West Kensington Ministry and Yeadon Presbyterian Church, resides in West Kensington. Adan works with individuals, agencies large and small, elected officials of all levels, business people, academic institutions and others who wish to positively impact the community. He is involved in immigration reform, strengthening community-police relations, and the creation of small business opportunities that lead to job training and job creation. Adan is a member of the City of Philadelphia’s Special Committee on Criminal Justice Reform and serves the local and national church at many levels, including his denominations’ National Urban Ministry Team. He is passionate about the arts and providing youth with opportunities to grow into agents of change who contribute to the common good.
“Dreaming Dreams and Embracing God’s Vision”
Life-Long Discipleship: Formation across Generations
Rev. Ethelyn Taylor has served Oxford Presbyterian Church’s congregation and community for 25 years. Ethelyn is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI and received her Master of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992. She has also had the pleasure of training 18 seminary interns from Princeton, Lutheran, and Palmer Seminaries. Prior to her ordination in the P.C. (USA), Ethelyn taught school for 25 years and 11 years part time at the University of Pennsylvania.
Rev. Dr. John M. Willingham has been pastor of the Doylestown Presbyterian Church since 2003. His previous pastorates were at the Matthews Presbyterian Church of Matthews, NC (1992-2003) and First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Sterling, KY (1987-1992). A graduate of Davidson College, Princeton Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary, he currently serves on the Personnel Committee of Presbytery. His wife, Lori, is a school nurse in the Central Bucks School District and together are the proud parents of two adult children and two grandchildren.
Ruling Elder Contina Lundy has worshipped and served at The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown (FPCG) for more than 30 years in many capacities. She is currently the Moderator of The Rachel Circle of Presbyterian Women at First Germantown and Program Director of FPCG Freedom School. Recently a Commissioner to the 223rd General Assembly, Contina now serves as the Co-Moderator of Family Leave Task Force. She is also the Assistant Director of Grace Afterschool Program at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown and serves on the Board of Securing Her Experience (SHE) Academy, a program that encourages young women through education and reading. She has a passion for The Lord’s work in the urban church, especially with young people and families.
Christian Encounter with Contemporary Challenges: Hunger and Homelessness, Race and Religion, Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
Rev. Laura Colee serves as Head Pastor at Broad Street Ministry, a non-profit social service organization and worshipping community in Center City Philadelphia. BSM offers its guests vital services such as meals, mailing addresses, medical care, clothing, reentry support, pastoral care, and more. Laura completed her undergraduate at Northwestern University where she double-majored in History and Religious Studies. She completed her Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary where she also received a certificate in Women’s Studies. She currently teaches a section of the Bible 101 course at Eastern University. Laura is a lover of all things Hebrew Bible, social justice, and Philadelphia. She and her husband Eric live in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia with their beloved dog, Frankie.
Rev. Todd Stavrakos has been at Gladwyne Presbyterian Church (GPC) since 2006. Todd hales from Philadelphia and has lived in the suburbs of Chicago, Washington DC, and Princeton, NJ. Before entering into ministry, he spent ten years working in the political world, serving on Congressional staff in Washington, DC, and working on legislative issues and political campaigns in Pennsylvania. He received his undergraduate degree at Villanova University and his Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. An active participant in the Presbytery of Philadelphia, he is a member of the Presbytery Leadership Collegium and the moderator of the Self Development of People. Todd also helped to create POWER Metro, the suburban chapter of POWER Philadelphia, an interfaith movement that works toward a more just world. In addition, he has been active in Whites Confronting Racism, a group that explores white privilege and ways to dismantle structural and institutional racism. He lives with his wife Jennifer and their two children, Sam and Lydia, in Havertown, PA.
Rev. Kris Schondelmeyer is lucky to be the husband of Abby, and the “daddy” of Alexander and Karrick. Pastor/Head-of-Staff of the Presbyterian Church of Deep Run, Kris holds an M.Div. from Eden Seminary (St. Louis), and Graduate Certificates in Executive Leadership, Engaged Compassion, and Public Management from McCormick Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, respectively. Currently a doctoral student at Palmer Seminary of Eastern University, Kris is studying Contextual Leadership with a concentration in Religion and Public Policy.
Collaborating for the Gospel: Creative Ministry Partnerships
Rev. Christopher J Holland, II serves as pastor of New Spirit Community Church (PC(USA)) and the convening pastor of the Common Place, a non-profit in the Southwest section of Philadelphia. He is an entrepreneur and the Co-founder/COO of Connexus Technology, a leading edge technology-consulting firm in Philadelphia since 2003. A native Philadelphian, he holds a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree in Computer Science from Drexel University. He obtained his Master of Divinity from Palmer Theological Seminary. As a member of the Common Place leadership team, Pastor Chris brings his gifts of strategic planning, pastoral care, community engagement and passion for family advocacy to fulfill the mission of the Common Place and uplift the Southwest Philadelphia Community. He is happily married to Ime Holland and blessed to be parents of six children.
Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick is Associate Pastor for Mission and Adult Education at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Prior to moving to Bryn Mawr in 2015, she and her husband served as Mission Co-Workers for the P.C. (USA) teaching at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo Egypt. Rebecca also served as an Associate Pastor for Education and Mission at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, IN for ten years after graduating from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.