2011 Members

Kerry L. Bender is the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is married to Stacy and has two children, Elizabeth (15) and Josiah (14).  He has been interested in the conversation between science and faith for some time, but his interest has intensified in the last few years with his own children entering middle-school and high school. Their questions were a catalyst for Pastor Kerry’s renewed interest in this topic, and he is currently working on a book project with a friend to provide solid exegetical and scientific information for young people within the church. He has also been a contributor to the BioLogos blog at www.biologos.org. Rev. Bender received his bachelor’s degree in religion/philosophy and history from Jamestown College, his Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and his Master of Theology from the University of Edinburgh.

Richard Dahlstrom is Senior Pastor of Bethany Community Church, a nearly one hundred year old congregation in Seattle that is inter-denominational, mostly college educated, and heavily weighted in the 18-35 demographic.  His second book, “The Colors of Hope” will be released May 1, 2011, and his blog “Fibonacci Faith” covers a wide range of subjects.  He also teaches for Torchbearers, a consortium of one year Bible programs scattered around the world, and his subject include Genesis and Apologetics, just two of the reasons he’s thrilled to be in the cohort.  Married for 31 years, and the father of three grown children, he wears skis in the winter and rock climbing gear in the summer, as often possible.  Check out his website: www.richarddahlstrom.com

Greg Ellis is honored to be one of the pastors at First & Calvary Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Missouri.  Springfield, “the Queen of the Ozarks,” boasts two large hospital systems and several colleges and universities.  The church at which Greg serves sits right in the middle of the Missouri State University campus.  The congregation, not surprisingly, includes many physicians, nurses, university faculty and staff members, and other educators, as well as business leaders.

Greg is the son of a physician and a teacher.  One of his brothers is also a physician and his other two brothers are in business.   Although Greg’s vocational life began in business, and continued with ten years of law practice, he has now found his lifelong calling in pastoral ministry.

Greg is a bit of a science-phobe in the wake of some early experiences with beakers and Bunsen burners, but is quite eager to participate in the 2011 Pastoral Science Cohort, where he hopes to increase his ability to engage more deeply on matters of science and faith with those around him at church and in his community.

Rob Hagan serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Kennewick, WA. Kennewick is located in southeastern Washington State and is located adjacent to the Department of Energy’s Hanford Reservation. A journalism major from the University of Kansas, Rob received his Master of Divinity Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

The congregation he serves has a large number of research scientists who are continually challenging and questioning the spiritual and the scientific. It is with these dialogs and expectations that a great deal of thought goes into guiding the members of the congregation as they relate to ethics, values, and faith in their everyday lives.

In addition to his pastoral duties, he is also active in the Presbytery of Central Washington on the Committee on Ministry, served as a delegate to the 217th Presbyterian General Assembly, and participates in various civic organizations.

Rob and his wife, Jan, have three grown children.

David Hyman is currently the planting priest of Holy Trinity – Chatham and serving as Associate Rector of All Saints Church – Chapel Hill Durham. I am interested in this project because it is such an important issue for many of our parishioners and for those in our community who are puzzled about the relationship between science and faith. In October of 2010, our church held a weekend symposium entitled “God, Science, and Truth” (lectures and notes found here). During the weekend, a number of parishioners who work in the sciences shared how they have wrestled with important topics like evolution, genetics, and engaging with their coworkers in the lab as Christians. It was well attended by a number of churches in our community and we plan to make this event an annual one to ensure this important conversation continues in our community.

Rev. Stephanie McLellan was raised in Southern Ontario, went to the University of Guelph for her undergraduate degree, and then moved to Vancouver, BC for studies at Regent College and Vancouver School of Theology leading to her Master of Divinity degree. She is now an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada in Newfoundland, Canada, one of the most beautiful places on earth! She loves seeing seals, polar bears and moose play outside her living room window and is in awe of God’s creativity and Creation!

Throughout her studies at the university level, she worked as an Advisor with students, staff and faculty with disabilities, helping to reduce barriers and integrate into the University setting.

Since high school she has been actively involved in providing all-inclusive programming for children, youth and adults as she develops and implements curriculums and activities, uses and teaches basic Sign Language and serves as an accessibility consultant for churches and communities.

In 1999 and 2001, Stephanie hand cycled 9018 kms across Canada to bring her message about the “abilities of people with disabilities” to communities large and small and people of all ages during a tour called “On Wings Like Eagles”. Her interactive workshop and helpful tips were appreciated by all those who were able to be part of this dream which eventually led to one of Steph’s proudest accomplishments – being inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame. Stephanie firmly believes that if we all work together we can soar above the barriers of this world as we “hope in the Lord and rise on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40: 31).

Barbara Elizabeth Nixon has been ordained in the Anglican/Episcopal Church since 1987 and has served churches and Episcopal schools in New England, Ottawa, British Columbia, Virginia and Ireland.  Presently she is serving as Priest-in-charge of St. Luke’s Church in Galt, Ca.  A lover of the arts she has been involved in music, theater and many kinds of dance including liturgical dance for several decades. The science of health and integrative healing, spiritual direction and overseas mission are areas of interest to Barbara.  Barbara has served on a short term mission team to Uganda and has been involved in ministry with international students.  She earned her BA in dance and religion, a MA in student personnel administration at Columbia in NYC and studied at Regent, Trinity School for Ministry and Yale Divinity School where she earned her M. Div.

Karen Reed is an ordained minister with PAOC/AOG serving in Vancouver, Canada. A pastor for 21 years at Broadway Church, Karen then served as CEO of More Than Gold, a network of the Christian community that organized in response to the 2010 Olympics/Paralympics. She is currently pioneering (ie: experimenting!) as an Urban Missionary in the hub of the city, seeking to shape an indigenous missional community in a neighborhood that is generally hostile to the church. She has served on numerous boards (Alpha Canada for 10 years, currently on World Vision
executive board, Linwood House Ministries and CityGate Leadership Foundation). A dual citizen of both the US and Canada, Karen enjoys snorkeling, swimming, sailing, camping, gardening, reading, and good coffee.

Phil Reinders is convinced you best know someone through their loves so here are a few of his: I love being a husband to Betty and dad to my kids.  I love the gospel and God.  I love fine wine, good movies, great coffee and even better books.  I love words and the process of writing, seeing the way well chosen words combine into sentences that shine and carry the freight of truth.  I love music, anything that gets me into the mountains, photography and the “aha” moments of seeing things in a new way.

For the past 20 years, Phil has served as pastor in two Western Canadian Christian Reformed congregations, Burnaby CRC in Burnaby B.C. and River Park CRC in Calgary, AB.  He has a ThM (Regent College), an MDiv (Calvin Seminary) and a BA (Calvin College).  Phil published a book last year – Seeking God’s Face – which is a daily prayer book modeled after the Christian practice of praying the daily office.

The Rev. Canon James Robinson is a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada.  He is in his 25th year of ordained ministry and has served as Rector of St. Augustine’s, a lively parish church in Lethbridge, Alberta for the past fourteen years.  James’ background is in the arts, as he originally studied theatre and worked in the professional theatre in Canada and the UK.  He continues to have some connection with that world through his wife, Judith, who works as an actress in both film and theatre.  In addition to his background in the arts, he has nurtured an interest in the sciences throughout the years, particularly (because he loves looking at the night sky) in the area of astronomy.  This has proven helpful in serving his parish: a congregation which includes several professional scientists.  Lethbridge, a small city which contains a university, a college and an agricultural research centre is also considered to be a “Bible Belt” community, so the role of scientists within the faith community can be complex.  For several years James has co-led an annual study series with Dr. Rene Boere, who is the chair of the Dept. of Chemistry and Bio-chemistry at the University of Lethbridge.  This has presented a wonderful opportunity to discuss issues of science and Christian theology in the context of a church community.  James is excited to be able to pursue these issues and interests in a deeper way as part of this year’s cohort.

Dan Roukema is married to Andrea, and they have three boys (ages 7, 5, 3).  They live in Calgary, AB and pastor a mid-sized Christian Reformed Church, where his primary responsibilities include preaching and pastoral visiting.  Dan has a heart and passion for engaging culture, and being relevant by addressing the questions that people ask.

Keith Shields is a church planter and lead minister of LifeHouse Christian Church (www.LifeHouseCC.ca) in Vancouver. He also serves as an interim congregational leader to the Willoughby congregation of Southside Community Church (www.Southside.ca). He planted a network of house churches in Calgary, Alberta named Connections Christian Church and has volunteered with Church Planting Canada and Forge Canada. Prior to church planting, Keith worked as a Lab Scientist in the Molecular Diagnostic Lab of the Alberta Children’s Hospital for thirteen years. Keith has a Bachelor of Religious Education from Alberta Bible College, a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary, and has been working way too long on a Master of Christian Studies degree from Regent College.

Keith has articles published in Christian magazines such as the Christian Standard and in scientific journals such as the American Journal of Medical Genetics and Diseases of the Colon and Rectum. He has also presented at national church conferences and at international genetics conferences. His blog (www.hungerandthirst4.blogspot.com) is one place where Keith expresses his passion for re-faithing science and re-sciencing faith.

Swimming, cycling, and running prepare Keith for triathlons. Keith is thankful for his wife, Maureen, to whom he has been married since 1981 and for his three daughters. Recently, all three daughters were married within sixteen months and they welcomed three new sons-in-law into the family!

Rev John Smed has a passion for seeing Canada reached and transformed through prayer evangelism and church planting movements. He loves mobilizing leaders and church planters. He planted Grace Vancouver Westside PCA in 2000, where he currently pastors with his wife Caron. He founded and currently directs The Grace Project, a strategy that aims to start city churches. John also has a heart for urban prayer and has trained hundreds of church planters and lay leaders and dozens of churches through Prayer Training for Urban Mission workshops. John also served 7 years as the Church Planting Coordinator for Mission to North America for the PCA where he also directed dozens of Church Planting Leader Assessments. Prior to that he planted Woodgreen PCA in Calgary. John and Caron have four daughters and a son – Teresa, Elisa, Matthew, Erica and Jenn – all whom are actively living out a missional love for the city. Pertaining to this retreat, John is an avid (but amatuer) student in cosmology and media studies.

Ben Sonquist is a teacher at STARBASE Minnesota, an educational non-profit in St. Paul Minnesota. Themmission of STARBASE is to inspire young people to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a BA in both Biology and Education. Ben serves at his church (Faith Baptist Church) as the co-chair of the Christian Education Board and teaches Sunday school classes for adults and youth on a regular basis. For two school years, from 2005-2006, he and his wife Amy led the youth group at Faith Baptist as the interim minister of youth. Ben is currently working with his pastor on a book project. The project is geared toward teens and seeks to communicate the cohesiveness of Biblical and scientific world views. Ben and his wife Amy live in Minneapolis with their three boys.

Samuel Voo serves as English pastor at New Life Lutheran  in Vancouver, Canada. He’s been at New Life since 2004, and serves the English-speaking community of that church (the church is also comprised of Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking ministries). Some of his pastoral responsibilities include discipling, preaching, and teaching. Samuel graduated from Regent College in 2001, and also did some  theological studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He graduated with a B.Sc. (Biochemistry) from UBC in 1997, and continues to have an interest in science, and specifically the interface between science and faith. Samuel is married and has a three-year old son. One of his theological interests is in historical theology, particularly modern theology and Reformation theology.