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2010 Presenters

Stylized photo of Mark Pierson

Mark Pierson

Mark Pierson has been variously described as ‘a Gen-Xer in a sagging Boomer body’, ‘an innovative founding member of the alternative worship movement’ and ‘a depressed melancholic cynic’. Turns out, he’s also a Reverend. Since 1982, Mark has worked and led congregations throughout New Zealand, including as the founding pastor and worship curator of the innovative inner city Auckland congregation, Cityside Baptist Church. He has also served as director of Urban Seed, a missional community working with marginalized people in Melbourne.

Mark currently works with World Vision New Zealand, where he curates art-installation based worship spaces designed to sustain and engage. He is also kept busy facilitating staff spiritual formation, and helping churches to better engage with issues of justice both locally and globally. Mark co-authored the book and interactive CDROM, The Prodigal Project: Journey into the Emerging Church, and, in 2004, created Fractals, a copyright-free CDROM of worship resources from Cityside. Mark also blogs at the Creative Worship Tour community site. Mark is married to Robyn, has four adult children and four grandchildren.

Stylized photo of Richard Webb

Richard Webb

Richard Webb serves as Teaching Pastor at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa where he also oversees the worship and prayer ministries. Prior to coming to Hope, Richard served as Associate Director of Evangelism on the Education and Evangelism Team of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Specializing in worship, evangelism and ministry within postmodern culture, Richard has taught and led conferences across the United States.

Webb received his Masters of Music in Organ and Choral Conducting from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Richard also likes to read, bike, compose, play music, and drink really high-end coffee.  He also blogs regularly on the Creative Worship Tour community site.

Stylized photo of David Williams

David Williams

Dr. David Williams has been President of Taylor College and Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta since January 2008. In January of 2008, David began the creation of the E. P. Wahl Centre at Taylor – a Christian training institute focused on continuing education by preparing Christian lay people and pastors to lead and engage with postmodern and post-Christian culture in the 21st century. Over the course of his career David has specialized in ethics, philosophical theology and postmodern engagement, and he has become both a respected scholar and theologian, and a passionate advocate for justice.

David earned his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies at Dallas Baptist College, and then went on to garner two more degrees at Denver Seminary. He then taught for 17 years at Colorado Christian University while earning two additional graduate degrees from Drew University, including a PhD in Theological Ethics. It was during this time that a long collaboration and friendship began with Dr. John Franke and the late Dr. Stanley Grenz. David is married to Jeanne, and they have two sons, Matthew and Andrew.

Chad Sundin

Chad Sundin serves as Precentor (Latin: “first voice”) for St.  Augustine’s Episcopal Parish and for St. Brigid’s Community in Tempe,  Arizona.  Chad seeks to create spaces for prayer and spiritual  formation by use of contemplative psalmody, hymns, and new liturgical  music.  Chad is a vowed member of the Benedictine Sisters and Brothers  of St. Brigid, a neo-monastic community devoted to prayer and work in  the Benedictine tradition.

Stylized photo of Oz Laurentzen

Oz Lorentzen

After a time exploring other paths, Oz Lorentzen returned to the Christian faith of his childhood.  This “return” brought a conviction of the need for living out the truth of the Gospel. This early realization led to his pursuit of formal theological and ministerial education (PhD Syracuse University) in order to more effectively respond to the challenges of living out the truth in our contemporary (post-modern) culture.  Oz has been involved in a variety of ministries over the last 25 years, including work with Young Offenders and a homeless shelter.  His church involvement ranges from mainstream Evangelical to Vineyard, Reformed Presbyterian and Anglican.  Current interest and ministry is in the Contemplative tradition in Spiritual Formation and a Philosophical-theology of Worship. Click here to listen to one of his sermons.

Oz is currently Director at  King’s Fold Retreat & Renewal Centre, located in the hills and ranch lands above the Ghost River, near Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. His role at King’s Fold has allowed for an even more intentional focus on the development of the spiritual life and further opportunities for growing others along their own spiritual journeys.

Stylized photo of Jim Robertson

Jim Robertson

Jim Robertson’s first foray into alternative worship was in 2004 with Altarwalk, a station-based devotional created for the Christian Dance Fellowship of Canada’s national conference. Since then, he has developed a broad repertoire of alternative worship practices and events that he coordinates through his Interface Worship initiative. A restless innovator, Jim has explored the use of prayer bowls as tactile mantras in contemplative practices, written experiential liturgies for high points in the church calendar, created devotional exercises, and crafted many rituals as components to be used within alternative worship events.

Jim’s events have become known as lavish celebrations of art and devotion, often featuring multiple artists creating prophetic works throughout an event, hundreds of feet of fabric, blends of ancient and modern devotional practices, multiple prayer and devotion stations, and a serious probing of profound theological concepts through the experience of worship. Photos of some of his work can be viewed here. Amazingly, Jim maintains a day job as a criminal lawyer. He lives in Edmonton with his wife Darlene, and has four grown children.

Stylized photo of Myron Penner.

Myron B. Penner

The Reverend Myron B. Penner lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his wife, Jodi, and their three daughters—Abigail, Sophia, and Isabella. Myron has a life-long interest in thinking deep thoughts. Myron received his B.S. and M.A. in Philosophy of Religion from Liberty University, Virginia in 2001, and subsequently completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Theology at New College, Edinburgh University. He is past-director of the Graduate M.A. program in Philosophy of Religion and Religious Studies at Liberty University, and is the past-Chair of the Arts & Sciences Department at Prairie Bible College. Myron has been awarded several post-graudate and post-doctoral fellowships and awards, and has chaired the Evangelical Theology and Postmodernism Study Group at the Evangelical Theological Society.

Myron is the author of Subjectivity and Knowledge: Kierkegard on Self and Belief (forthcoming), as well as the Editor of and contributor to two collections, Christianity and the Postmodern Turn: Six Views, and A New Kind of Conversation: Blogging Toward a Postmodern Evangelical Faith. He is presently working on several more books on postmodernism, Christianity, and Kierkegard.

He is now serves as Associate Priest of the Anglican Parish of Christ Church in Edmonton, Alberta. Myron also serves as a team member of the Barnabas Initiative, and as the Associate Director of the E.P. Wahl Centre at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton.

Stylized photo of Jodi Penner

Jodi Penner

Jodi Penner is an operatic and classical singer who has performed extensively across North America, Scotland, and Italy. A native of California, she most recently sang at the Strauss Ball in Edmonton, and played “Romilda” in Handel’s Serse with the University of Alberta Opera Workshop. She has also had over 90 performances as “Aldonza” with Rosebud Theatre in Man of La Mancha during the summer of 2009.

Jodi has peformed as “Donna Elvira” in the Operafestival di Roma’s production of Don Giovanni, and has sung as the soprano soloist in Rosebud Masterwork Choir’s performance of Haydn’s Creation, and as the soloist in a performance of Mozart’s Vespers at St. Paul’s & St. George’s Episcopal Church during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Jodi has numerous other credits as a soloist and has also toured with the Canadian Chamber Choir. A Canada Council for the Arts award recipient, she has also won the Burlingame Women’s Vocal Award and placed in several NATS competitions.

In addition to classical music, Jodi performs Celtic, folk and worship music, and is an accomplished song writer and vocal arranger,  Her album Tree in a Storm is a work of beauty. Jodi has collaborated with Chad Sundin on musical projects in the past and is looking forward to working with him again at halfSpeed.

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