Reverend Dr. Tom Long
Bandy Professor of Preaching Emeritus at Candler School of Theology, Emory University

The Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Long is the Bandy Professor of Preaching Emeritus at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, and the author of numerous books on preaching and worship. In 2010, Preaching magazine named The Witness of Preaching one of the 25 most influential books in preaching for the last 25 years. He served as the senior homiletics editor of The New Interpreter’s Bible, and he is associate editor of Journal for Preachers and editor-at-large for the Christian Century.

Dr. Long received his BA and M.Div. from Erskine Seminary and his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1980. He began his career as a preacher at McElroy Presbyterian Church near Atlanta, GA and since that time has taught at a number of seminaries, including Princeton, Columbia, and Candler.

In 1996, Dr. Long was named one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world by Baylor University, along with the likes of Fred Craddock, Billy Graham, James Forbes, Barbara Brown Taylor and William Willimon. He was ordained by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and currently his ordination is held by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Dr. Willie Jennings
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale Divinity School

Dr. Jennings teaches in the areas of systematic theology and black church and cultural studies. The author of numerous articles, his research interests include these areas as well as liberation theologies, cultural identities, and anthropology.

An ordained Baptist minister, Professor Jennings has served as interim pastor of several North Carolina churches and continues to be an active teaching and preaching minister in the local church. He is the winner of the 2015 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion.

Dr. Jennings is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon
Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at the Divinity School, Duke University

The Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at the Divinity School, Duke University. He served eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, where he led the 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors in North Alabama. For twenty years prior to the episcopacy, he was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Willimon is a graduate of Wofford College (B.A., 1968), Yale Divinity School (M.Div., 1971) and Emory University (S.T.D., 1973). He has served as pastor of churches in Georgia and South Carolina. For four years, beginning in 1976, he served as Assistant Professor of Liturgy and Worship at Duke Divinity School, teaching courses in liturgics and homiletics and served as Director of the Ministerial Course of Study School at Duke, and Presiding Minister in the Divinity School Chapel. When he returned to the parish ministry in 1980, he was Visiting Associate Professor of Liturgy and Worship at Duke for three years. He has been awarded honorary degrees from a dozen colleges and universities including Wofford College, Lehigh University, Colgate University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Moravian Theological Seminary. In 1992, he was named as the first Distinguished Alumnus of Yale Divinity School. He has served on the faculties of Birmingham-Southern College.

He is the author of sixty books. His Worship as Pastoral Care was selected as one of the ten most useful books for pastors in 1979 by the Academy of Parish Clergy. Over a million copies of his books have been sold. In 1996, an international survey conducted by Baylor University named him one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world.

Bill Sturtevant
Specialist, Major and Deferred Gifts and Planning

Bill Sturtevant was Senior Principal Gifts Consultant at the University of Illinois Foundation, a position which guided relationships with individuals and families capable of gifts at a level of $5 million and above, until his retirement in 2013 after 33 years of service. He now devotes his time to his fundraising consulting and training practice. From 1980 until 2004 he served as Vice President for Planned Giving and Trust Relations at the Foundation and built what is considered by many to be one of the nation’s preeminent gift planning programs. Mr. Sturtevant arrived at the University of Illinois at the onset of its first fund drive. He was responsible for the strategy for and the solicitation of a significant number of major gifts in that campaign. He also played a central role in the University’s next campaigns which raised over $1.5 billion and $2.2 billion respectively.

Bill Sturtevant is a nationally recognized specialist in major and deferred gifts and planning and solicitation strategies. He earned the Certified Financial Planner designation in 1984 and regularly assists a variety of charitable organizations with complicated or unusual gift situations.  His seminars and presentations are extremely popular and he is a frequent speaker before development professionals, hospital groups and civic organizations. He is author of the best-selling book The Artful Journey: Cultivating and Soliciting the Major Gift which was published in 1997 and revised and expanded in 2004. He is co-author of the Moves Management Manual which was published in 2012.

Pastor Adam M. Mixon
Zion Spring Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL

Adam Mixon is the pastor of Zion Spring Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.  He is a licensed and ordained Baptist minister who is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was educated at the University of Cincinnati, and Samford University, and Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, AL. He serves in various positions within New Era Progressive Baptist State Convention of Alabama, and within his local district association.  Adam encourages and pursues not only sound doctrine but emphasizes the practicality of our faith in the demonstration of the Gospel. 

He has been married to Adrienne A. Mixon, also an Ohio native, for twenty-two years and they have three beautiful children – Benjamin, Rachel, and Ariel.  Adrienne is a mental health counselor with a specific passion for at-risk youths and families in underserved communities.  They have been serving the ministry at Zion Spring for 16 years.

Adam loves spending time with his family, and in his free time he enjoys music, art, poetry, working out, and Ohio State football!

Reverend Kristy Farber
Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, Mercer Island, WA

Kristy loves the creative, day-to-day work of ministry with her congregation and colleagues. Currently serving as the Senior Pastor at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, in Mercer Island, WA.  Kristy previously served a congregation in Asheville, North Carolina, worked in campus ministry in Tacoma, Washington, and taught high school English Literature. Kristy falls asleep reading memoirs most nights, pays for a YMCA membership that she wishes she used more, and is learning to speak Spanish from her children.

She is a graduate of the University of Washington, has a Master in Teaching from Seattle University and a Master in Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Reverend Dr. Steve Eason
Interim Pastor, First Presbyterian Church Richmond

Steve Eason has a variety of experiences from over 40 years in ministry. He has been a solo pastor of a small church, a pastoral counselor, and associate pastor, senior pastor of large churches, an author, consultant and now a Transitional Pastor. Steve’s book, Making Disciples, Making Leaders (Geneva 2016), is the result of 24 years of building, training and nurturing leadership teams.

Dr. Eason is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and is a Presbyterian (PCUSA). He has written for Feasting on the Word and Feasting on the Gospels (WJK). Steve has preached and taught across the country with humor, passion, commitment and love for the Church. The Eason’s have a home in Brevard, North Carolina.

Reverend John Cantelow
Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL

Reverend John Cantelow returned to Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in August of 2011. Reverend Cantelow is a dynamic preacher of the Gospel and biblical scholar. His ministry is based on Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Peter 2:9; and John 13:35. With this biblical framework, Pastor Cantelow serves God by shepherding a congregation of believers and ministering to the total community.

Pastor Cantelow grew up in Birmingham, AL and completed his undergraduate studies in 1991 at the University of Alabama where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies. In 1994, he completed his Master of Divinity Degree at the Beeson Divinity School of Samford University. He also received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Beeson in 2016.

In 1990, Pastor Cantelow began his work in the ministry at Sixth Avenue Baptist, serving as assistant to the pastor, under the leadership of Dr. John Thomas Porter. In 1994, he became an associate pastor at Sixth Avenue and continued serving in that capacity until 1999 when he was called to pastor the Greenwood Missionary Baptist Church in Tuskegee, Alabama. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.

Pastor Cantelow is married to Rhonda Hammonds Cantelow. The couple has three children – Carmen, Elijah and Sophia.

Reverend Karl Travis
First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth, TX

Karl Travis is Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a frequent conference speaker, preacher, and writer, particularly in the areas of Christian generosity and generations theory. Locally, Travis is very active in homelessness issues serving on the Board of Fort Worth’s Presbyterian Night Shelter which provides emergency accommodation to 600 persons every night. Also, he serves on the boards of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the James L. West Alzheimer’s Center, and Trinity Terrace Retirement Community. Active across the Presbyterian Church (USA), he has served at the presbytery, synod, and General Assembly levels.

Previously Rev. Travis served congregations in Scotland, New Mexico, and Detroit. Travis is a magna cum laude graduate of Trinity University and New College, the University of Edinburgh. He received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Austin College. Travis is also a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.

Together with Jaci, he parents five children; one in graduate school, two in college, one in high school, and one in middle school. Three of them are in education debt; two soon will be. He adores all of them, most of the time.

Reverend Pat Bacon
Calvary Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC

Pat Bacon was born in the red clay hills of Macon, Georgia – the home of writer John O. Killens, soul singer Otis Redding and sweet tea.

She has vivid memories of family members and friends gathered on front porches on Sunday evenings telling stories – stories of families moving to the north; stories of the Brown Bomber (Joe Lewis); stories about their work in the fields and in factories. They told stories of their struggles and joys. These were sacred times and no matter what, they always ended with them talking about the goodness of God. And if I listen closely, I can still hear my mother saying, “… and I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey.” I know now that she was preparing me for the road.

Our stories connect us all in spirit and they connect us all to the heart of God.

Pat has been the pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC of more than 25 years. In addition to listening to music and reading, she cherishes sharing stories, particularly those that would otherwise be lost.

Reverend Mark Ramsey
Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, Austin, TX

Mark Ramsey has served as senior pastor of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas since 2015. He moved there after nine years at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. He has also served churches in the Chicago area, Denver, Michigan and the Washington D.C. area. He has served as an adjunct instructor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and been a preacher for Montreat Conference Center’s summer worship series. He has led part of the NEXT Church conference and Presbytery retreats in Montana and Iowa on behalf of Macedonian Ministry. He just completed three very meaningful years as a participant in the Asheville Macedonian group.

Mark an Associate Editor and frequent contributor to Journal for Preachers and has written selections for Feasting on the Gospels. A special passion right now is working with a group of scholars and pastors, funded by the Louisville Institute, on the challenges of race, church, and theological practice. Mark finds this time in church life exhilarating and challenging all at the same time.

A native of Central Illinois, he is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, and also received an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.