Speakers & Presenters

Monday Keynote Speaker:

Diana Butler Bass

Diana Butler Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. 

She holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the author of nine books, including Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution (HarperOne, 2015) and the widely influential Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening (HarperOne, 2012). Her other books include A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story (HarperOne, 2009), nominated for a Library of Virginia literary award, and the best-selling Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (2006) which was named as one of the best religion books of the year by Publishers Weekly and was featured in a cover story in USA TODAY.

Additionally, Dr. Butler Bass has taught at Westmont College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Macalester College, Rhodes College, and the Virginia Theological Seminary in subjects ranging from church history, American religious history, history of Christian thought, to religion and politics, religion and race, and congregational studies.


Worship & Bible Study Leaders

For a printable listing of all Worship and Bible Study Leaders, click here.

Monday, October 10th – Worship at Benton Chapel, Vanderbilt University

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The Rev. Judi Hoffman

Judi Hoffman graduated from University of Denver with a B.A. in 1971 and from the Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity in 1991. An ordained Elder in the Tennessee Conference, Judi has served Crossville First, West End, Bethlehem, Edgehill, and is finishing her 4th year at East End UMC. Wife and mother of two terrific daughters, Judi loves antiquing, sharing a meal with friends, and being a grandmother to her two grand boys.

Wednesday, Oct 12- Morning Bible Study at Scarritt-Bennett Center

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The Rev. Dr. Vance P. Ross

Dr. Ross currently serves Discipleship Ministries as the Director of Annual Conference Relationships. In this role he connects the agency with other denominational entities for the purpose of congregations’ vitality through making disciples of Jesus. Previous responsibilities with this board include the ministries of evangelism and administration as both an Associate and Deputy General Secretary. Dr. Ross has exception local church experience in both the Baltimore-Washington and Tennessee Annual Conferences. He is a dynamic speaker and leader.

Vance is the husband of the Rev. Bridgette D. Young Ross, Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life at Emory University, Atlanta, GA. He has three adult children: Kristina, Alyssa and Bryant. He has two grandchildren: Christopher Bryant and Jaylie Alyssa.

Wednesday and Thursday, Oct 12-13 Worship at Wightman Chapel,
Scarritt-Bennett Center

The Rev. Dr. O. Wesley Allen

Dr. Allen is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology, as well as the president-elect of the Academy of Homiletics. An ordained elder in the Indiana Annual Conference, he has served in local churches, in campus ministry, and Dean of the Chapel at DePauw University. His teaching career has taken him to Georgia Tech, DePauw, Lexington Theological Seminary, and Drew Theological School, and Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

He is the author and editor of numerous books on homiletics and interpretation of the New Testament, as well as many scholarly articles and published sermons.


Worship Leader

Chuck bell
Mr. Chuck Bell

Chuck Bell has served in United Methodist churches full time as a music director and worship designer since 1996, and served in worship ministries in other denominations since 1988. Currently serving as an independent consultant, he is nationally known as a clinician, arranger and musician. He has partnered with churches from the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, as well as in other states, assisting worship and arts ministries with planning, organizing and the redesigning of traditional and contemporary services and the exploration of new opportunities in a wide variety of denominational and nondenominational churches. You can find his musical arrangements, original music and consulting information at www.chuckbellmusic.com or at chuck@chuckbellmusic.com

Tuesday Workshop Leaders:

Session 1:
Promoting With Pizazz, Lynley Jones
Starting Intergenerational Ministry, Melissa Cooper
Organic Student Ministry, Stephen Ingram
Using Technology & Social Media to Build Christian Community, Shane Raynor
Living Well in Body/Mind/Spirit, Barbara Bruce
Taking Stock, Margaret Ann Crain
Bridging Church & Community: Missio Dei in Your Context, Scott Parrish
Spiritual Disciplines in the Midst of a Hectic Life, Carmen Gaud

Session 2:
Stop, Drop, and Roll Planning Method, Lynley Jones
Intergenerational Ministry from a Youth Perspective, Melissa Cooper
Family Ministry in the Mainline Church, Stephen Ingram
Using Technology & Social Media to Build Christian Community, Shane Raynor
Help God! We’ve Got Issues, Barbara Bruce
Taking Stock, Margaret Ann Crain
Bridging Church & Community: Missio Dei in Your Context, Scott Parrish
Spiritual Disciplines in the Midst of a Hectic Life, Carmen Gaud

For workshop descriptions and leader bios, click here to view our Workshops Page, or here to download a printable version.