Multi-Faith Cohort

Multi-Faith Cohort

Participant Bios

Mosaic Church - Lynchburg, Virginia

Ronald Miller: Ron Miller of Lynchburg, Virginia is an Elder of Mosaic Church and the online dean of the Helms School of Government at Liberty University. Ron is also the President of the Board of Directors for No Walls Ministry, Inc. and a member of the Board of Trustees for Patrick Henry Family Services. A nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and father of three, Ron is a published author and has written columns for numerous online sites and print publications. He was a political appointee of the Bush Administration, serving at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. He has also served as a senior technology and strategy executive in the private sector and with the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, DC, and was the president of his own business consulting firm. Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Ron holds a B.A. in Political Science from Texas Tech University and a M.S. in International Relations from Troy State University. He was a Republican candidate for the Maryland Senate in 2006.

John Stroud: John Stroud is one of three church elders and teaching pastors at Mosaic Church, where he oversees the community’s small groups and Men’s Ministry. John grew up in South Mississippi and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi where he was involved with Campus Crusade. John attended seminary at Columbia International Seminary, and he and his wife, Garvisa, lived and worked in Indonesia as bi-vocational missionaries for seven years. When they returned to Northern Virginia, John accepted a call to Grace Life Community Church where he served as Associate Pastor for more than a decade and continues to offer online counseling and work on special projects. The Strouds have a labradoodle named Luna Belle.  Their adult son, Brian, lives in Leesburg, VA. 

Jeff Nitz: Jeff Nitz is a church elder and teaching pastor at Mosaic Church. He has also been involved in child welfare services for the past 36 years, and currently serves as Chief Operations Officer at Patrick Henry Family Services. He deeply believes that the local church is the hope of the world when living out God's great calling and is excited to see the Church take its rightful place in meeting the needs of children and families in our community. He and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 36 years and have four children, including two through older child adoption.

Gayle Trivits: Gayle serves as the Children’s Director, administrator, and co-leader of women’s ministry at Mosaic Church. Gayle has the great joy and passion to help children know Jesus and the joy of following Him, discovering His gifts specifically given to them for a beautiful purpose in His kingdom and the great freedom that comes with this discovery.

                                                                      United Methodist Church of South Carolina 

Robin Dease: Rev. Dr. Robin Dease is an ordained Elder of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Lead Pastor at St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church. She began this role in 2021 after serving for eight years as the district superintendent of the Hartsville District of the South Carolina Conference. Robin began working in ministry in 1992, serving mostly rural churches including 10 years at Wesley UMC on Johns Island from 1998-2008, and then as Senior Pastor at John Wesley, in Greenville from 2008-2012. From 2010-2013 Robin was also a Professor at Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC. Robin earned her BS from Claflin University and received a Masters in Divinity as well as her D.Min from Wesley Theological Seminary. Robin is well-known for her humor, her excellent preaching, her love for all people, and her heart for Christ.

Christopher Thompson: Rev. Dr. Christopher Thompson is the Pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Bluffton, SC and Elder in Full Connection in the SC Annual Conference at St. Luke’s UMC (Okatie). He is an experienced adjunct professor of mathematics with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Thompson is skilled in nonprofit organizations, fundraising, adult education, staff development, and leadership development. He is a strong education professional with a D.Min focused on public response to disconnected youth from the Interdenominational Theological Center.

Christopher Payne: Rev. Christopher Payne is the Pastor of Brookland United Methodist Church in West Columbia, SC. He has BS Degrees in Psychology and Addiction and Recovery Counseling, Psychology and Crisis and Grief Counseling and a Masters in Professional Counseling. He’s a skilled preacher, speaker, and counselor. He works with various Narcotics Anonymous groups in West Columbia. He is known for being authentic and approachable by all. 

Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center - Georgia

Carole Maddux: The Venerable Carole Maddux, Archdeacon, The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, has extensive experience in advocacy, leadership, policy, and nonprofit management. Ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 2006 and appointed archdeacon of the Diocese of Atlanta encompassing north and middle Georgia, she has a passion for pursuing God’s mission in the world. Archdeacon Maddux has served on multiple boards in the community including local service nonprofits (both faith-based and secular), statewide healthcare organizations, and an international religious organization. She is both founder and executive director of the Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center. Archdeacon Maddux has 24 years of experience in nonprofit management, 16 of which are at the executive level. She has an undergraduate degree in communications from Georgia State University and master’s degree in Health Care Policy and Administration from Mercer University. Born in Waycross, GA, she is a ninth-generation Georgian with a deep love of Georgia and Georgians.

Leslie Anderson: Leslie Anderson is the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta, where she works to provide a common table for all Jewish organizations, agencies, synagogues and interested individuals in Atlanta to come together to address issues of mutual concern, framed by Jewish values, and a commitment to help repair the world. She is also the co-founder -- with Archdeacon Carole Maddux of the Atlanta Episcopal Diocese -- of the Georgia Interfaith Public Policy Center. Leslie has a long history of involvement in community service, including leadership on the Gannett Corporation’s volunteer and community service board and at the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. Leslie was the Social Action Committee Chair at Temple Kehillat Chaim in Roswell, GA, and is also a member of FLAG (Faith Leaders for Access in Georgia), an interfaith healthcare expansion advocacy group. Leslie earned a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University, and an MA in Psychology at Argosy University. Leslie carries a background of experience working in community-based mental health and is the co-owner of A Mindful Child, a holistic wellness program for children and families with an emphasis on underserved populations. Leslie is married with four children.

Doug Adkins: Rev. Dr. J. Douglas Adkins currently serves as pastor of Hardwick Baptist Church, Milledgeville, GA. Located around the corner from Central State Hospital and three miles from Georgia College and State University, Hardwick Baptist serves a racially diverse community. Since arriving at Hardwick three years ago, Doug has focused on implementing an Asset-Based Community Development approach to congregational life and ministry. Doug’s ministerial career has included churches in Virginia, Kentucky, and Georgia. Throughout his 26 years of congregational ministry, his denominational affiliation has been with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, headquartered in Atlanta. He is a graduate of University of the Cumberlands (BS); The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.); and Columbia Theological Seminary (DMin). A native of northern Kentucky, he has lived in the small, historic town of Madison, Georgia, for 21 years. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, Doug taught two years at an international school in South Korea. He is married to Rev. Becky Adkins, a primary school educator. They have two adult daughters. 

Beth Meyer Synagogue - Raleigh, North Carolina

Eric Solomon: Rabbi Eric Solomon is the co-rabbi of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC, and serves on the City of Raleigh Human Relations Commission and on the Interfaith I-CARE Team of the Raleigh Police Department. He has traveled as a Global Justice Fellow to Ghana and Guatemala with the American Jewish World Service, developed his spiritual practice with teachers from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and holds the title of Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He also has served as the co-chair of T'ruah: The Rabbinical Call for Human Rights. Rabbi Solomon graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland in 1994 and received his rabbinical ordiantion from Hebrew Union College in 2000. Rabbi Solomon loves playing tennis and is an avid runner. He is married to Rabbi Dr. Jennifer Solomon, his fellow co-rabbi at Beth Meyer, and has three children. 

Samantha Gottlich: Samantha Gottlich is the Programs Coordinator for Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, NC, where she and her family have been members for sixteen years. Before joining the Synagogue staff in August 2021, she worked in corporate compliance. Samantha is also a Red Cross CPR/FA instructor. She resides in Wake Forest, NC with her husband, son, two dogs, and two cats.

Jim Doerfler: Jim Doerfler is a past president of Beth Meyer. A proud transplant to the Tar Heel state, he earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina in 1992. He is married to Brian Doerfler, a retired early childhood educator. He will soon be joining Brian in retirement after a 25-year career as a real estate paralegal, most recently with Mann McGibney & Jordan PLLC in Raleigh.

First Baptist Church - Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr.: Dr. Harshaw began his tenure as the 10th Pastor of First Baptist Church, Raleigh, in 1996. A student of the Bible and systematic theology for more than four decades, Dr. Harshaw has earned 5 degrees in Theology and Divinity, including a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) with special studies in Philosophy of Religion and Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Dr. Harshaw has served as Adjunct and Visiting Professor at Shaw University Divinity School, Campbell University Divinity School, The Apex School of Theology, and the Palmer Theological Seminary. Additionally, Dr. Harshaw was the Area Director for Africa, Europe and the Middle East with International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches USA, Inc. and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World in Edinburgh University, Scotland. Dr. Harshaw has been blessed with a beautiful family. At his side in ministry is the First Lady of First Baptist Church, Mrs. Sharon Denise Stringer Harshaw, originally of New Orleans, LA. Together they have three children, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and five grandchildren. 

Cynthia Meekins-Mattocks: Reverend Cynthia Meekins-Mattocks is a native of Raleigh/Durham, NC. She attended NC A&T State University, holds a BA in Psychology from Shaw University and a Master of Arts in Agency Counselor Education from NC State University. Rev. Mattocks earned a Master’s of Theology at the NC College of Theology and Ministerial and Chaplaincy Ordination credentials from the International Congress of Churches and Ministries. Rev. Mattocks has provided therapy for post-war veterans and spouses at the Raleigh Veterans Center, and clinical pastoral care for patients at UNC Rex Hospital. Rev. Mattocks worked for the Office of Minority Affairs under Governor James G. Martin, served 15 years in the field of Behavioral Health for inmates for the State of North Carolina, and is a counselor to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse. Rev. Mattocks now serves in music ministry at First Baptist Church with the Ward-Ingram Gospel Choir, as an associate minister of worship, and member of the Women’s Fellowship ministry. Rev. Mattocks is married to Henry, a humanitarian and retired Progress/Duke Energy lighting engineer. Together they have two children, a daughter in-law, and one grandchild.

Phillip Broyles: Rev. Phillip L. (Phill) Broyles, originally from Lima, OH, earned a BA in Political Science from Howard University, and a J.D. from NYU Law School, afterwhich Rev. Broyles practiced law in Ohio and in Washington DC for more than 35 years. Rev. Broyles was licensed to preach in 2013 and ordained in 2016 at the Mt. Jezreel Baptist Church in Silver Spring, MD under the Rev. Eldridge Spearman. At Mt. Jezreel, Rev. Broyles served as the Associate Minister for Missions, in addition to teaching and preaching the Gospel. He and his wife, Debra, have traveled on domestic and international missionary trips, and have been blessed to share the Gospel on multiple occasions in Africa. In 2017, Rev. Broyles graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He then moved to Raleigh, NC, where Rev. Broyles currently serves as the Associate Minister for Missions at First Baptist Church. With his wife Debra, Rev. Broyles has two children, N’Keesha Facey and Antonio Broyles, and two grandsons, Elijah and Noah Facey.

Crossroads Fellowship - Raleigh, North Carolina

Doug Gamble: Rev. N. Doug Gamble is Missions Pastor Partnerships at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Raleigh, NC. He has served there since 1992 and served as a pastor since 1978. Prior to Crossroads Fellowship, Doug served eight congregations from open country, small town to big city, and helped plant three churches. He is particularly interested in helping believers understand how to make Great Commission living an everyday experience and specializes in building cooperative relationships with causes outside the church walls and overseas, including education, poverty alleviation, and social services. Doug is a graduate of Indiana State University and Asbury Theological Seminary. Doug is married to Kathy Sue Gamble and has two married children and four grandchildren.

Virginia Hill: Virginia Hill is a Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist (BC-DMT), as well as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC).  Virginia is certified in Trauma Focused–Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has received training in several other trauma therapies.  Virginia has a private therapy practice, Roxie Rowland Therapeutic Arts Center, and is drawn to community populations, with counseling experience in juvenile justice and domestic violence communities. She is also a long time student of inductive Bible study and has ministered in her church as the dance team leader in the worship ministry, a member of the Missions Council, a group leader for Open Hearts Ministry’s Journey Groups, a ministry to adult survivors of abuse, and a facilitator for the Oneness Ministry.

Paul Janssen: Paul Janssen has been a small group leader at Crossroads Fellowship for the past 25 years. He came to the Lord in 1972, and served as a Deacon, and Elder at Open Door Bible Church in Memphis Tennessee. He has served as a precinct and district chairman for elections in Raleigh, NC. As his children were growing up in Oklahoma he became involved in the homeschool movement and helped his wife teach their children the principles of sound government from a biblical point of view. He has also served on the Beyond Imagination Board of Directors. He helped lead our men’s ministry as well as our prayer ministry, through a Pray and Plan that transformed both ministries.

Kinsmen Lutheran Church - Houston, Texas

Mark England: Pastor Mark England serves as the Pastor of Youth, Family, and Groups at Kinsmen Lutheran Church in Houston, TX and has served this congregation since 2008.  Previously, Mark was the Associate Pastor at Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia from 1999-2008.  He is a graduate of Baylor University (Bachelor of Science, Education) and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Master of Divinity).  Mark has received mediation skills training from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, Life and Leadership Coach training from CoachNet Life, and has also been trained as a Healthy Congregations Facilitator. Mark is married to Sheri, a public school teacher, and has a daughter, Abby.  

Gabriel Marcano: Pastor Gabriel currently serves as a Pastor at Kinsmen Church in Houston, TX, with a focus on ministry to the Latino community. Born in Maiquetía Vargas, Venezuela, Pastor Gabriel began his studies at San José Major Seminary. He engaged in theological education and vocational call discernment within the Anglican Church and Tradition where he first served Christ as an ordained minister. Pastor Gabriel was ordained as a deacon in 2010 and as a priest in 2011 in the Anglican Catholic Church. He served as vicar in the Cathedral of Santa Maria from 2010 to 2013. In 2011, he graduated as a Professor of Spanish Literature and Latin in the Pedagogical University of Caracas. The following year, he received the diploma of Professor in Philosophy at the Catholic University of Santa Rosa in Caracas. In 2013, Pastor Gabriel began his process of discernment within the ELCA in the Greater Milwaukee Synod, and he then served as a pastor at Emmaus Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisconsin before moving to Houston to serve at Kinsmen Church.

Ellen Wangsmo: An active volunteer at Kinsmen Lutheran Church, Ellen is passionately engaged in finding ways to improve communities. In her volunteer work, Ellen has worked to address issues of poverty, women’s education, and public health. Along with her husband and two sons, Ellen is also involved with their local Boy Scout troop. Ellen earned her Bachelor’s degree in community health from Texas A&M University and a Masters in Public Health Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Patrick Beecher: Patrick Beecher PE is a Senior Principal with Terracon Consultants, Inc. He serves as the Geotechnical Department Manager for Terracon’s Houston office. Patrick is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas with over 22 years of experience providing geotechnical engineering consulting for a variety of projects in Texas. Patrick received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1997 and 1999, respectively. He is married and has two girls. He has been a member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) since 1994 and currently serves as the President for the ASCE Texas Section. He is actively involved in Kinsmen Lutheran Church, Heatherwood swim team, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lutherhill Ministries.

Congregation Or Hadash - Atlanta, GA 

Lauren Henderson: Rabbi Lauren Henderson, originally from Spartanburg, SC, serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation Or Hadash in Atlanta, GA. Rabbi Lauren was part of the Jewish Emergent Network Rabbinic Fellowship at Mishkan Chicago from 2016-2018, and then served as Mishkan’s Associate Rabbi and Director of Family Learning and Spirituality. She earned her BA from Rice University in 2009 in Religious Studies and History and was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2016 with an MA in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. She is married to Joel Dworkin, and they have a dog named Sophie.

Dr. Amy Cooper Robertson: Amy is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Or Hadash. She began her career in academia, where she earned a PhD in Religion/Hebrew Bible from Emory University. Hungry for stronger connections to her community, Amy shifted her “home base” to Jewish communal work in 2007, and has found that the intersection of community building, program leadership and Jewish learning is her favorite place to be. Before coming to Or Hadash, Amy served as the Education Director and the Executive Director at Congregation Bet Haverim, Rosh Hinuch at Camp Havaya, and taught middle school Judaics at The Davis Academy. In her spare time, Amy is co-creator and host of a popular weekly interfaith podcast called BibleWorm. She shares her home with her spouse Will and their two teens, Levi and Noa.

Jason Parker: Jason Parker is the Executive Director of Or Hadash.