LEADERSHIP

PREACHERS

Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner

Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner

Preacher

Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner is the senior pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in Waco, Texas as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and an elementary school teacher. Shannon stayed in Texas for college and graduated in 1994 from Trinity University in San Antonio. In 1996, she began her theological training at Columbia Theological Seminary and received her Masters of Divinity degree in 1999. She has been involved in leadership for NEXT Church and served on its strategy team for nine years. Shannon is married to Greg, whom she met in high school at a Presbyterian summer conference at Mo-Ranch. They have been married for 26 years and are the parents of 19 year old Hannah and 16 year old Ryan.

Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr.

Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr.

Preacher

Rev. Dr. Ozzie E. Smith, Jr., currently pastor of Covenant United Church of Christ, Holland, Illinois, is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Langston University, a Master of Education in Music degree from the University of Memphis, a Master of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary, Dayton OH. Dr. Smith is known for his phenomenal and heart-provoking saxophone playing and is an equally gifted preacher. He has the unique ability to combine his music and invigorating interpretation of the gospel message to bring hope and encouragement to God’s people everywhere. More important than all of these, Dr. Smith was a loving husband to his late devoted wife and partner in ministry, Barbara Westbrooks-Smith, and is father to Lauran, Dr. Ozzie III, and Brian and grandfather to grandsons, Westbrook and Alden.

Rev. Dr. Lis Valle

Rev. Dr. Lis Valle

Preacher

Rev. Dr. Lis Valle-Ruiz is assistant professor of homiletics and worship and director of community worship life at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her PhD in homiletics and liturgics from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, where she also studied gender and sexuality. Her dissertation, “As One Among Many: Affirming a Multitude of Embodied Preaching Practices,” analyzes pulpit preaching through public speech, street preaching through symbolic action, and preaching through theater, and proposes that these are three paradigms among many others in the repertoire of embodied Christian preaching practices among which preachers may choose. Rev. Valle received a ThM in homiletics from Princeton Theological Seminary and an MDiv from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She also holds a JD and a BA in education from the University of Puerto Rico. Theater is her life-long passion. Lis has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since 2013.
Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka

Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka

Preacher

Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka serves as senior associate and director of adult educational ministries at Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, Kansas. Born in Honolulu and raised in Seattle at the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Rodger is the son of a retired Presbyterian minister. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in social and cultural foundations in education from Georgia State University, his Master of Arts in theological studies with an emphasis in biblical studies and theology from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history and a teaching certificate for secondary education. Prior to coming to Village Church, Rodger taught at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta for 15 years, served as the national coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and taught English and social studies at Curtis Junior High School.

MUSIC

Mark Miller

Mark Miller

Music Leader

Mark Miller is minister of music for Christ Church, Summit, New Jersey, an associate professor of church music, Drew Theological School, and a faculty member of Yale University. He formerly served as director of contemporary worship at Marble Collegiate Church and music associate and assistant organist at Riverside Church, both in New York City. Mark graduated from Yale University and Juilliard. Mark is a prolific composer. His works include The Mark Miller Anthem Series (Abingdon Press). His compositions have aired on NPR and NBC with his most recent album, “Imagine the People of God,” available on iTunes. Discover more about Mark’s music at markamillermusic.com. Mark is married to Michael Murden who is a network engineer for AT&T. They have two children, Alyse and Keith.

WORSHIP DIRECTOR and LITURGIST

Cathy Caldwell Hoop

Cathy Caldwell Hoop

Worship Director and Liturgist

Cathy Caldwell Hoop serves as pastor to the dynamic and progressive More Light community of Grace Presbyterian Church, PC (USA) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Through creative worship experiences, weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and encouragement to wrestle with scripture, this community gathers in expectation of God’s transformative presence, and then goes out into the community to advocate lawmakers for change, to care for neighbors and to take risks for the sake of the Gospel.

Cathy has written children’s curriculum for the PC (USA) and Cokesbury, as well as children’s stories for the Growing in God’s Love children’s bible. She has also written commentaries for the Connections lectionary commentary series. She serves on the board of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and for her denomination’s Commission for Preparation for Ministry.

Down time finds Cathy hanging out with her spouse, three young adult sons, and two ridiculous English bulldogs.

SPIRITUALITY

Kedra Smith

Kedra Smith

Spirituality Center Coordinator and Stage Artistry

Kedra, an artist, wife, mother, friend, sister, aunt, daughter and child of God, celebrates daily the many titles in her everyday life. She is fond of saying, “I do a little bit of everything each and every day!” Kedra serves as communications coordinator at Knox Presbyterian Church, Naperville, Illinois, where she uses her graphic arts background to keep people informed of all the ministries at the church. Kedra’s previous careers involved package design, children’s pajamas and apparel, and raising her three children. No matter what she is doing with her time, Kedra manages to be creative—making art projects at the table with her kids, painting murals, creating custom art for family and friends, helping lead arts camp at Knox, or illustrating a children’s book with her dear friend, Jenny Hubbard.

PLENARY

Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka

Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka

Plenary

Rev. Dr. Rodger Nishioka serves as senior associate and director of adult educational ministries at Village Presbyterian Church, Prairie Village, Kansas. Born in Honolulu and raised in Seattle at the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Rodger is the son of a retired Presbyterian minister. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in social and cultural foundations in education from Georgia State University, his Master of Arts in theological studies with an emphasis in biblical studies and theology from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in history and a teaching certificate for secondary education. Prior to coming to Village Church, Rodger taught at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta for 15 years, served as the national coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and taught English and social studies at Curtis Junior High School.
Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis

Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis

Plenary

The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis is senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 1,200-member multi-ethnic, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City. She is an activist, preacher, public theologian, and fierce advocate for racial equality, economic justice, and LGBTQA equality. Middle Church and Jacqui’s activism has been featured in media such as The Today Show, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The New Yorker, Yahoo News, Essence, and The Huffington Post. Jacqui is the co-founder of The Middle Project, which—with Middle Church—hosts an annual conference to train faith leaders to lead anti-racist, multi-ethnic communities. Jacqui serves on the advisory committee of the Women’s March and is a senior fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary. Jacqui is the author of The Power of Stories; The Pentecost Paradigm: 10 Essential Strategies to Grow a Multiracial, Multicultural Congregation, and the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful!
Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons

Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons

Plenary

Rev. Christie Melby-Gibbons is the executive director of Tricklebee Cafe, Milwaukee’s first pay-what-you-can community cafe—a ministry of the Moravian Church in America and member of One World Everybody Eats. Her undergraduate work was in Russian Language & Area Studies, as well as an approved self-designed major: Nature Theology, considering questions at the intersection of theological and environmental studies, including recovering a valuation of nature and a sense of responsible stewardship through spiritual reflection. She has been an ordained minister in the Moravian Church since 2009. As an artist (eclectic assemblage beading & junk reclamation), an entrepreneur, a spouse, and a mother, she finds joy in simple living. She has the audacity to believe that all people deserve good, healthy food regardless of their ability to pay for it with money, and that a kin-centric economy—based on the assumption that everyone has something to offer—is possible.

APCE SPONSORS

APCE wishes to thank the following organizations and entities for their generous support:

APCE VENDOR PARTNERS

APCE wishes to acknowledge the following organizations and entities as our current vendor partners: