The Rev. Dr. Tara W. Bulger is the Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, Alabama. Prior to her current call, she served churches in north Georgia. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia, Columbia Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary. She and her husband Brian have two daughters, Hannon, age 15, and Ryann, age 13.
My calling is as a spiritual guide and my passion is encouraging others on their journeys. I grew up in Talladega, Alabama home to Nascar and the Alabama Institutes for the Deaf, Blind, and Multiple Handicapped. I left home at the age of fifteen to study, explore, and grow. My travels and training led me to various foreign and domestic sites of enlightenment. After finishing my Master’s Degree at Yale Divinity School, Yale University I took my first appointment as a United Methodist Pastor back home in Alabama in 2009.
I serve as a full time pastor and use my training mixed with personal interests in photography, theology, and psychology, as jumping off points for helping guide others. I am married to E. Clanton and proud mama to F.H.Clanton. We love our dogs, Spirit & Levi, and are proud to call Huntsville, AL home.
The Reverend Carmen Germino is the Rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, North Carolina. St. Alban's is a friendly, inclusive, and growing congregation in a lovely college town not far from Charlotte. Carmen grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She holds degrees from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. After finishing her M.Div. in 2007, she served as the Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at Yale Divinity School prior to her ordination in 2011. She served as Associate Rector for Mission and Outreach at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia for seven years before moving to St. Alban's. She loves reading, music, travel. So far, her passport has stamps from Israel/Palestine (twice), Italy (twice), Cuba (5 times), The United Kingdom (4 times), Zimbabwe, South Africa, Honduras, and Haiti...and she's excited for more adventures soon! Carmen is married to Matt and mom to a delightful toddler, Chris.
Rev. Judith L. Myers calls South Carolina home. She’s in her first call as Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship, currently in Lexington, South Carolina. Judith also serves as Volunteer Coordinator and Chaplain for Lighthouse Hospice Group in Irmo. Judith earned her Master of Divinity from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, where she worked as Admissions Counselor and Pastoral Resident at Ginter Park Baptist Church. In her free time, Judith enjoys heading to Asheville, NC with her family looking for a good hike and good brewery. She and her cat with thumbs, Stella the Fella, read a lot and piddle around their new house in Cayce.
Rev. Jackie Twedell is the pastor of Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in Richmond, Virginia. Born and raised in Texas, Jackie has lived and worked in Nashvile, Tennessee, where she attended Vanderbilt Divinity School (MDiv 11), and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, where she served as Children's Minister at First Christian Church, before settling here in Richmond. Jackie is an avid reader who loves anything from brand-new best sellers to the classics to biographies and memoirs. Jackie is engaged to Stephen Woods, and they love to go on walks, watch good TV, and cook together (their favorite dish is shrimp scampi!).
For the past seven years, Robin Bolen Anderson has served as Co-Pastor of Commonwealth Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. There, she and her husband Marty serve alongside one another sharing pastoral responsibilities. Before that, Robin spent seven years serving as Associate Pastor for Education and Outreach at University Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. While there, she helped groups of all ages connect with each other, learn and grow in their faith, and serve their communities. She has also served as Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care and Outreach at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia. Robin enjoys ministering in a way that is authentic, relational, and creative. She is also deeply committed to putting faith into practice through advocacy and activism.
Robin likes to say that she "accidentally" ended up in seminary. When her husband began seminary at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology, Robin's home church in Orangeburg, South Carolina offered her a scholarship that was going unused, if she wanted to take classes herself. She did, and it didn't take long for her to discover that she sensed a calling to some sort of Christian ministry. Before seminary, Robin received a BFA in Theater Performance from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and she graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Robin enjoys reading, family time, outdoor activities, and she finds immense joy in watching her three children (a 13 year-old and 10 year-old twins) explore and engage the world.
Jennifer Campbell serves as the Minister of Children, Youth & Media at First Baptist Church of High Point, N.C. She previously served in children and family ministries at First Baptist Church of Orangeburg, S.C. and Central United Methodist in Asheboro, N.C. Jennifer is married to Joel Campbell, who serves as Senior Minister at First Baptist. Before their calls to ministry, Jennifer and Joel owned and operated a retail business. They have two sons Jackson and Jance, and a Jack Russell Terrier named Winston. Jennifer currently serves as President of Furnitureland Rotary Club and is involved with several other nonprofit organizations in High Point. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina Honors College. Her favorite things to do are spend time with her family and travel.
Katie is a Co-Pastor of First Baptist Church, Savannah, Georgia. She Co-Pastors with her husband, John, whom she met in Divinity School. Born and raised in North Carolina, Katie received her Bachelor of Arts from Roanoke College, completed a Master of Divinity at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, and a Master of Theology at Emory University. She is passionate about helping people grow in their faith through pursuing questions, doubts, and curiosities. In her spare time, she loves being outdoors cycling, running, hiking, or just enjoying a good book. She and John have a two legged child named Sophie and a four legged child named Lily.
Claire Helton is co-pastor of Northminster Church in Monroe, LA, where her husband Zachary serves as co-pastor alongside her. They spent the first four years of their relationship dating long-distance and have been making up for it by working on staff together ever since. They began their ministry at Northminster in December of 2018. Before moving to Monroe, Claire served as minister to children at Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas while Zachary served as youth pastor. She graduated from Truett Theological Seminary in Waco eight days after giving birth to her first son, though she recommends staggering those major life events a bit further apart if at all possible. Her 3-year old, James, and 1-year old, Peter, teach her about joy and grace every day, and when she has the energy for it, she enjoys reading classic fiction and memoirs by strong women, listening to good podcasts, and creating snarky cross-stitch projects as gifts for unsuspecting friends.
Rev. Krystal Leedy is an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament, and she currently serves as an Associate Pastor at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Krystal is primarily responsible for the campus ministry, which is like running a small congregation of college students within a church, and this ministry is a hallmark of UPC Austin. Krystal also writes beautiful prayers and liturgy for the Sunday morning worship services, preaches often, and is the pastoral liaison for the social witness and service committees. Krystal serves on the board of Texas Impact, an interfaith lobbying group of faith leaders for the state of Texas, and is working on her Doctor of Ministry degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. When Krystal is not at church, she enjoys playing West African drums with her women’s drumming group, the Drumsistas, cross-stitching, and enjoying time with her family. Krystal works alongside her husband, John, at UPC, and they are the parents of sweet-and-salty Lorelai. Krystal is overjoyed about learning and growing in her pastoral ministry through the Thriving in Ministry program and appreciates the opportunity.
Reverend Meg Thomas-Clapp is the Associate Pastor at McLean Baptist Church in the DC area. Meg grew up just outside of Austin, Texas. Before seminary, Meg served with her husband Will as co-pastor of Gateway Community Church in Bali, Indonesia, where they explored the intersection of faith and art in an interdenominational context. She was ordained to the work of the Gospel Ministry on November 2, 2014 at the First Baptist Church of Austin. In 2015 she graduated from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest with a Master of Arts in Religion writing her thesis, "Priestly Becomings: Reimagining the Priesthood of all Believers through a Process Creation Account." In 2018 Meg received Privilege of Call from the Potomac Association in the Central Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ.
Meg and her husband make their home in Falls Church, VA with their two large breed rescue dogs, Raleigh Josiah and Mathilda Jane. Meg finds creative energy in cooking, music, writing, and sunshine. She was recently published in the European Journal of Science and Theology, February 2018, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1-13, "Evolutionary Ethics and Christian Stewardship."
In March 2011, Dr. Agard accepted her call to pastor the congregation at Bazzel Creek Missionary Baptist Church. Her desire is to inspire others to hope in Christ for their soul salvation and strength to overcome the demands of daily life. Her vision for Christian ministry is for believers to grow in their relationship with Christ so that they are empowered, equipped, and encouraged to call others into a life-giving relationship with our Lord. Under her leadership, the church has experienced spiritual and economic growth through a spiritual revival grounded in worship, discipleship, and the intentional ministry to the surrounding community. Dr. Agard has served the greater Fuquay-Varina community through her service on the Fuquay Varina Advocacy Council, the Fuquay-Varina Community Collaborative, the Fuquay-Varina Area Interdenominational Minister’s Alliance, and FACES (Family and Community Empowerment Services), formerly SWFCA, Board of Directors. Dr. Agard attended the University of Alabama, where she acquired the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry (1997) and the Master of Arts degree in English (2000). In 2008, she received her Master of Divinity Degree in theology (Magna Cum Laude) from Duke University Divinity School. Most recently, she completed the Doctor of Ministry Program at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (2018). Her doctoral focus is grounded in helping individuals reach a place of healing and wholeness through compassionate and competent clinical pastoral counseling. Dr. Agard is also a participant in the Lott Carey Pilgrimages of Thriving and Thriving for Woman Pastors, which seeks to help African American female pastors increase their leadership capacity and apply in their ministry contexts. She is married to Sean D. Agard, a New York native, who works as a Senior Business Analyst for Rex Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Mr. Agard has been a compassionate, loving supporter of his wife during her growth in pastoral ministry and continues to encourage her to reach higher and deeper for the cause of Christ. To this union, God has blessed the Agards with one daughter, Leah Marie, and one granddaughter, Kiya Marie.
Crystal DesVignes is a native of Newark, New Jersey and a graduate of Duke Divinity School. During her time at Duke she served as the coordinator of the Liturgical Dance ministry, and was awarded a fellowship with the Center for Reconciliation where she worked on the theological significance of social justice and racial equity. She holds a BA in Political Science/Law and Psychology from Montclair State University and pursued a masters in Political Science from Rutgers University-The State University of New Jersey. She has an extensive background in politics and government and is interested in the intersection of Womanist Theology, Wesleyan discipleship, racial reconciliation, and broad based community organizing. A provisional Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church she has served: Wilson Temple UMC, Long Memorial UMC, and Duke Memorial UMC; as a pastoral intern. At Swansboro UMC she served as the Associate Pastor for Discipleship. Crystal is currently serving as the pastor at The CityWell UMC in Durham, NC. She is the proud mother to 8 year old Mark.
Melissa Florer-Bixler is the pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church in North Carolina where she works to create spaces for doubt and hope, anger and peace in her congregation. She's a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the author of Fire By Night: Finding God in the Pages of the Old Testament. Melissa co-parents three children and sits on the board of L'Arche North Carolina.
Rev. Lauren Efird is Senior Pastor at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, NC. Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Psychology at Campbell University in 2006 and received her Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School in 2009. Before coming to Greenwood Forest, Lauren served as a chaplain at UNC Hospitals. Lauren and her husband, Adam, have two children—Isaac and Hannah.
Laura is an NC native from Kinston, other wise known as "down East" -- the land of vinegar barbeque, back porches, and pepsi cola. She currently is serving as pastor at Pleasant Green United Methodist Church in Durham, NC and is in her third year of ministry at PG. Laura graduated from Union Presbyterian Seminary in 2012 and was ordained in the UMC in 2017. Outside of church life, Laura enjoys running and biking, hiking at the Eno, reading, and being with family and friends.
Megan Augustine Boatwright
Megan Augustine Boatwright is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She is the Associate Pastor at Christ UMC in Knoxville, TN. She previously served as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Clemson UMC in Clemson, SC. She received her bachelor's degree from Allegheny College and her Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. She is married to Brandon Boatwright, a PhD student at the University of Tennessee. Together they are proud parents of their incredible son, Griffin, and their rambunctious miniature schnauzer, Stella. In her spare time, Megan enjoys exercise, modern quilting, and cheering on her hometown sports teams—the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins.
Robin Farner is privileged to serve as the pastor of Flat Rock UMC in Henderson, NC. After a long and varied career, she answered the call to ministry and completed her Master of Divinity degree with concentrations in preaching and prison ministry. Robin is a lifelong learner with a deep passion to see the church be the church, as imperfect as that may continue to look. In her much coveted spare time, she enjoys time spent with treasured friends, reading, lake life and salt life, and being an occasional couch potato with her 4-legged children.
Kennetra Irby Brackett
Reverend Kennetra Irby Brackett is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, ordained in the West Coast Annual Conference of the Eleventh Episcopal District in October 2018. She currently resides in Zebulon, North Carolina with her husband of three years, George Brackett Jr. Rev. Irby Brackett is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), serving as a pediatric family support specialist for Transitions Kids in Raleigh, NC. She is the Minister to Children, Youth and Young Adults at Bethel AME Church in Selma, NC. Rev. Irby Brackett completed a dual graduate degree program in 2015, earning a Master of Divinity degree with a certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture from Duke Divinity School, and a Master of Social Work degree from UNC Chapel Hill. In her relationships, scholarship and ministry, Rev. Brackett aims to embody God’s promise to heal the land.
God has woven in me a mixture of gentleness, wonder, compassion, and spunk. Having served in ministry for over twenty-five years, I have been a pastor since 2010 and have also served as a college chaplain, retreat leader, youth and children's director, and hospital chaplain. Educated at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, I also have training in spiritual direction and hospital ministry. I like to start my days reading, running, writing, and being with my husband and stepson. Ministry is a joy, and my passion is sharing lived life, theology, and faith in community. I currently serve at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Reverend Katie Paul is the pastor of Hollywood United Methodist Church. She began her pastorate there in July of 2016. Pastor Katie has a heart for sharing the love of God and spreading the Gospel. Katie grew up in Oklahoma, attended Oklahoma State University for her undergraduate studies in Human Development and Family Science. She then moved to North Carolina and attended seminary at Duke Divinity School, earning a Master of Divinity degree. Katie has pastoral experience serving rural settings in North Carolina and the southern portion of Maryland.
Katie enjoys being outdoors, running, gardening, and learning to sail. To foster creativity in her life, she dances. Enjoying time with her family brings joy and laughter to her life. Katie shares life with her husband, Ryan, their sons, Ethan and Eli, and dog, Sandy.
My name is Kori Robins, and I am elder in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. I currently serve on loan in the North Carolina Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as the associate pastor of Orange UMC. I have also served in higher education and in churches throughout Western North Carolina and Ireland. Beyond pastor, I am partner to spouse Tyagan and mother to my 2 year old, Ephraim. My pastoral passions include preaching, teaching, building relationships, and advocating and educating around clergy wellness. I enjoy biking and hiking, especially when our destination includes coffee and scones. I also love studying the enneagram, teaching improv, and facilitating group discussions. I believe leadership development is essential for self-care, and I am incredibly excited and honored to be a part of the Thriving in Ministries Grant and the Shebrews cohort.