Morning Meeting Speaker

The Morning Meeting Speaker addresses the Conference each day, Monday through Friday, from 11:00am-12:00 noon as the whole conference gathers for inter-generational worship. 

  • Rodger Nishioka ~ Morning Meeting Speaker

    Dr. Rodger Nishioka is the Director of Adult Education Ministries at the Village Church in Overland Park, Kansas. Born in Honolulu and raised in Seattle at the Japanese Presbyterian Church, Rodger is the son of a retired Presbyterian minister. He is one of the most sought-after and inspiring preachers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).  Prior to his call to Village Church, Rodger had been teaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta for 15 years. In that ministry, he taught pastors to be teachers and leaders in the church’s educational ministry, specializing in particular in youth and young adult ministry.  


    Before teaching at Columbia Theological Seminary, Rodger was the national coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1986-1999) and taught English and Social Sciences at Curtis Junior High School (1983-1986). Rodger received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social and Cultural Foundations of Education from Georgia State University. He earned his Master of Arts in Theological Studies (with an emphasis in biblical studies and theology) from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, and he hola Bachelor of Arts in English with Minor in History and a Teaching Certificate for Secondary Education (Grades 6-12).

Program Area Speakers

Each program area features a speaker who is uniquely equipped to address a specific age group.  The presentation times of these age-specific speakers is dependent on each program area's schedule.

  • Bob Armstrong ~ Adult Track 1 Bible Speaker

    Bob Armstrong is currently pastor of Hilliard Presbyterian Church, located in a western suburb of Columbus, Ohio. The congregation at HPC is on a journey through a significant transition from what has been a traditional mainline suburban church into a missional community which encourages whole life discipleship, cultivates heart-felt intergenerational worship and fosters a practice of hospitality where we can be neighbors to one another.

    More than thirty years of his ministry has been spent in large midwestern congregations. Serving for 24 year at Bay Presbyterian in Bay Village, Ohio with titles of Executive Pastor and Senior Associate for Mission and Outreach, he was actively engaging in the City-Reaching Movement of Greater Cleveland where leaders from a broad cross-section of denominations, mission entities and businesses worked cooperatively to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ visible in tangible ways throughout the metropolitan area. 

    During a Sabbatical, funded by the Louisville Institute in 2001, Bob immersed himself in emerging post-modern Christian communities around the country to discover how the Gospel was taking root and blossoming among Gen X and young Millenials. Through his sabbatical experience he became involved in the missional conversation and began the work of re-centering the life and work of congregations and mission organizations within the mission of God. Since 2005 he has been coaching congregations, mid-level judicatories and their leadership through the missional shift. From 2008 until 2013 he was on the staff of Church Innovations Institute (St Paul, MN) serving as Director of the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC). Currently Bob is working with dioceses within the Church of England by leading cohorts of congregations and church leaders through the PMC process in cooperation with the Church Mission Society and Partnership for Missional Church- UK.   

    Bob is also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the State of Ohio with a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy. The focus of his counseling practice is on overcoming the barriers that prevent us for forming the safe and supportive relationships we all need to thrive.

    Bob and his wife Anita raised a blended family of six kids who are now grown and scattered abroad. They enjoy living in Clintonville, a short 3 mile walk from Ohio Stadium and a block from the multi-purpose trail along the Olentangy River. In his down time Bob enjoys cycling, fly fishing, cooking and hiking. 

  • Jim Singleton ~ Adult Track 2 Bible Speaker

    Dr. Jim Singleton is Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has been serving since in 2012.  He brings with him many years of church leadership experience. He previously served on Gordon-Conwell’s faculty as adjunct professor in Presbyterian polity and history at the Hamilton campus in 1991.

    The son of a Presbyterian pastor, Dr. Singleton’s call to ministry began early in his high school years and intensified in college. His particular interests lie in evangelism and the mission of the local church. He has a passion for helping equip congregations to better fulfill their global mission.

    Prior to his current post at Gordon-Conwell, Dr. Singleton served as senior pastor of churches in Texas, Washington and most recently, First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, a downtown congregation of 4,200 members.

    He has taught at several seminaries around the world, including ones in Virginia, Texas, Washington, Moscow and Zambia. In addition to teaching and preaching, Dr. Singleton has participated in cross-cultural missions in places like Mongolia, Ecuador, Cuba, Mexico and India, to name a few.

    Dr. Singleton is an avid fan of baseball statistics, history, hiking and cross-country skiing. He and his wife, Sara, have a son, James, and a daughter, Rachel and three grandchildren.

  • Patras Rahmat & Naomi Patras ~ Adult Track 1 Mission Speakers

    Patras Rahmat has a Bachelor's in Accounting and Business and an MBA in Human Resource Management. He completed his pastoral training from Asia Theological Center for Missions and Evangelism – Singapore.  Patras is from Pakistan and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 16. Since then, he has had a heart to reach the unreached and unengaged people groups.  He worked voluntarily with mission teams until 1998, and in 1999, he planted a church among the Hindus in Pakistan and pioneered two schools for the village people. During that time, he organized many evangelistic activities.

    In 2002, under the church leadership, Patras was sent to Islamabad to plant another church. While in Islamabad, he received a great burden from the Lord for the Afghan and Iranian refugees. He started a small fellowship among them and then by the leading of the Holy Spirit, he received the privilege of being sent as the first Pakistani Missionary to Afghanistan in 2003. 

    Patras served in Afghanistan until 2008 having a fruitful ministry, but was persecuted and returned to Pakistan. On his return he planted another church in Islamabad and became very active in sharing the gospel to Muslims.

    Patras also faced  severe persecution in Pakistan due to his bold witness to Muslims and his humanitarian activities among the underprivileged and marginalized religious minorities. He received excessive death threats on his life in the year 2013 from the Taliban and other fanatic Islamic groups, which jeopardized not only his life, but also his family. But by the grace and favor of the Lord, he obtained a visa for the United States in just three working days and left the country with his wife and three children, arriving in Ohio in November 2013.

    Patras has great passion and zeal for Muslims from Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian countries . He believes that God brought him here to reach Muslims in friendship and fellowship, sharing the good news and love of Jesus Christ with them. 

    He invites you to partner with him in reaching Muslims with the love and hope of Jesus Christ.

  • Ellen Sherby & Elmer Zavala ~ Adult Track 2 Mission Speaker

    Ellen Sherby is the coordinator of the Equipping for Mission Involvement office in Presbyterian World Mission.  In her role, Ellen works with a team of staff to provide mission education resources to US Presbyterians and to help churches and mission workers connect with each other through mission worker letters and visits.  Ellen lived in Nicaragua for eleven years working with short-term mission teams from the U.S. to Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Nine of those years she was a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker with the Council of Evangelical Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD).  She holds a master’s degree in Pedagogy from the UNAN in Managua.  Outside of her work role, Ellen is highly involved in her local church, Beechmont Presbyterian Church, which is a multicultural congregation composed primarily of Sudanese and Latino immigrants.  At Beechmont Ellen serves as a ruling elder and leads a weekly Sunday School class for children ages four through 11.  She is also active with her husband Elmer Zavala’s house church ministry with Latino/Hispanic immigrants through Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, leading music on guitar during worship meetings among other things.  She and Elmer are the happy parents of three boys ages 16, 12 and 6.


    Rev. Elmer Zavala pastors the Presbyterian Hispanic Latino Ministry of Preston Highway, a new worshiping community of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery that is centered on house-church worship and relational, incarnational ministry. A native of Honduras, Elmer spent his childhood and youth in the countryside and worked alongside his father and brothers, farming the land. Due to the lack of a local village high school at the time, Elmer’s parents were only able to send their nine children to primary school (through sixth grade). Elmer had his heart set on continuing his education, however, and at the age of 18 moved to the city to pursue a high-school level diploma with specialties in theology as well as hotel management. In 1995, Elmer participated in the PC(USA) Reconciliation and Mission Program, a mutual mission-exchange program between citizens of the United States and citizens of Central American countries in which he met his spouse, Ellen Sherby. The program also introduced him to a PC(USA) church partner and theological seminary in Managua, Nicaragua, where he moved in 1997 to pursue theological training at the seminary. Elmer served in local, pastoral roles and in national church leadership of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Nicaragua (IGLEMEN) over the course of ten years before following his wife to Louisville, Kentucky in 2008, where she accepted a call in the national PC(USA) offices of Presbyterian World Mission. In 2011 Elmer was ordained to IGLEMEN through a  courtesy ordination of the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. Elmer and Ellen have three boys ages 16, 12 and 6.

  • Hope Lee ~ Young Adult Speaker

    Dr. Hope Italiano Lee is the Lead Pastor of Kirkwood Church and The Well in Bradenton, Florida where she has "suffered for the Gospel at the beach" since 2010. Hope's heart is all about evangelism and local mission. While she has led mission teams all over the world,  she firmly believes that we are all called to be local missionaries in our own neighborhoods because the ends of the earth are sometimes as close as right next door.  

    Dr. Lee came to a relationship with Christ as a result of the work and ministry of the Beth-El Farmworker Ministry in Wimauma, FL.  Prior to her current call,  she was a campus ministry intern at Georgia Tech, and a pastor at First Presbyterian, Fernandina Beach, FL, and Valley Forge Presbyterian, King of Prussia, PA. 

    In addition to her work in the local church, Dr. Lee speaks frequently at national conferences across the country.  She is an evangelism coach for the PC(USA),  working with pastors to develop their evangelism DNA in the local church. In recent years, the focus of much of her work has been about making the Gospel and the church accessible to families of children with autism. 

    Dr. Lee is a passionate fan of the Baltimore Orioles and John Hughes' films. She tweets occasionally @pastorhope and Instagrams even less occasionally @hopeatthebeach  She does not blog, and much to the total embarrassment of her teenage daughter, still finds facebook to be an acceptable form of social media. Dr. Lee is married to Sung Ho (also a pastor) and is mom to Anna, Peter, and Maria.

  • Alex Solorio ~ High School Speaker

    Alex Solorio was born and raised in Houston Texas. He attended Houston Baptist University where he was involved in many organizations including, The HBU Reteam, Residents Life and the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Alex is a Houston fan to the core but doesn't mind cheering for the Local San Antonio Spurs; just don't ask him about Dallas teams. Alex’s hobbies include any outdoor sport, finding good new eats, and watching movies. Houston is where the family is; his Mother and Father are leaders of their respective church. He has an older sister who lives in Thailand, as a missionary, with her husband, and a younger brother that attends Houston Baptist University as a Christianity major. Alex has a Masters in Theological Studies and has been in ministry for 7 years. He currently serves at First Presbyterian Church San Antonio as a College and Young Adult Associate minister. 

    “I was saved to live; now I live to serve. The time from High School to what I do now in College/ Young adult ministry is so crucial. When Jesus is at the center of it all, it gives a new meaning to living life and living it abundantly in his Grace.”

    Favorite Artist: Andy Mineo

    Favorite Comic Character: Nightwing(DC)/ Iceman (Marvel)/ Itachi (Anime: Naruto Series) 

    Favorite movie: Anything Starwars

    Favorite Verse: “Let there be no corrupt communication, proceed out of your mouth that which is good to use and edifying so that it may administer grace unto the hearers” Eph. 4:29

  • Chris Light ~ Middle School Speaker

    I'm originally from Cincinnati, OH.  I went to college at The Ohio State University where I majored in Middle Childhood Education.  While at OSU I was a volunteer Young Life leader and eventually graduated from OSU and went on Young Life Staff.  I was on staff with Young Life for six years in Columbus and for the past four years I've been working with Young Life in Toledo, OH.  In college I met my beautiful wife Sarah, we've been married for nine years and we now have three kids, Harper (5), Cecelia (2) and Alden (5 mon).  

Daily Speakers

Each evening at the New Wilmington Mission Conference, all participants gather for inter-generational worship from 6:45pm-8:00pm.  Each meeting features a different presenter telling how God is moving in ministries and missions around the world.  Additionally, the Sunday morning gathering invites a different person to present the Good News.

  • Ginny Teitt

    Saturday July 22 ~ Evening Meeting

    Rev. Ginny Teitt became the Director of the New Wilmington Mission Conference in November of 2016, adding to her role as Pastor of the Concord Church in Marysville, Ohio.  Mission service and NWMC have become a part of her identity and the identity of the church she leads.  Ginny’s ministry outreach in the U.S. has focused on reaching out to the “unchurched” across all age groups, inviting and inspiring those seeking deeper meaning in their spiritual walk regardless of their religious background to personal spiritual transformation in Christ and engagement in local and regional mission ministries. Emphasizing the personal awakening and spiritual empowerment of “reverse missions,” Ginny has taken those she’s engaged locally and organized, led and participated in regional and global mission outreach and ministry programs throughout her life. Her international grassroots mission outreach includes experience in Ethiopia, Thailand and Indonesia, Honduras, Haiti and Mexico, a trip with WMI (World Mission Initiative) to Vietnam, as well as a visioning trip recently with pastors and mission leaders across the globe to Catania, Sicily to engage with refugees from Syria and North Africa. Ginny and the church she serves have also been active in local and national missions with a special emphasis on outreach to immigrants and refugees. She also has worked to guide, mentor and support missionaries serving in India, Costa Rica, and Liberia. 

    She has served as a Perspectives Instructor, Adjunct Seminary Professor, and Chair of the Presbytery of Scioto Valley Global Missions Committee. Ginny has deep roots in missions; her parents were pioneer missionaries in Sudan and were instrumental in translating the first New Testament in the Dinka language. Growing up, missions and mission opportunities were conversations in the home as well as a profession for her father, Paris W. Reidhead, who traveled as a mission mobilizing speaker. He founded a number of Christian mission organizations to offer economic opportunities for sustainable living in countries around the globe ( being one of them).

    Ginny and her husband Jim, an Environmental Consultant, have been married for 41 years and are parents to seven children. They have five children-in-law as well as four grandchildren all of whom share their heart for missions and evangelism. Recognizing the challenge of the changing times, Ginny is seeking to prayerfully study and learn how we can continue the rich legacy of this unique conference while offering opportunities for new generations to respond to God’s call.  

  • Kathy Richardson

    Sunday July 23 ~ Morning Worship ~ 11:00am ~ Anderson Auditorium

    I became Westminster College’s 15th president on July 1, 2016.

    Before coming to Westminster College, I was provost and professor of communication at Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia. I served as the chief academic officer, which included responsibility for working with six deans to coordinate management of the four academic schools and division of nursing and providing oversight to some 250 faculty and academic staff.

    I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Religion/Philosophy, summa cum laude, from Shorter College, a master’s degree in journalism and a doctorate in mass communication from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. I completed additional graduate coursework in communication at the University of Oklahoma.

  • Shane Bennett

    Sunday July 23 ~ Evening Meeting

    Shane has served in missions mobilization since 1987, much of his energy going to  recruiting, training, and sending short-term teams. He’s been on research teams in Bangkok, Bombay and Turkey. He coauthored Exploring the Land, a guide to researching unreached peoples, and has written numerous articles.

    “I’m an ordinary guy. I began school planning to be a pastor, but through a number of people and events, God focused my calling on missions, specifically catalyzing efforts for the world’s most under-evangelized peoples. After 20 years of barely venturing beyond the borders of Indiana, God began bouncing me around the world. In each place my objective has been, with a team of people, to discover how the church might be established where it hasn’t yet.”

    “I now work as a speaker and writer for Frontiers, a sharp organization focused on extending God’s blessing in the Muslim world. I live to help people who love Jesus connect with people who’ve never heard of him.”

    “I think the key message that God has given me to say is that missions is important because of who God is. It’s all about him. Missions certainly, but also the rest of life. His glory is paramount.”

  • Fahed AbuAkel

    Monday July 25th ~ Evening Meeting

    Fahed was born to Orthodox Christian Palestinian-Arab parents in Galilee, Palestine. A graduate of Southeastern University, Columbia and McCormick Seminaries, he has served the Presbyterian Church as Founder and Director of AMIS providing ministry to international students in metro Atlanta.  He also served as moderator of the 214th General Assembly, 2002-2003. 

    Rev. Dr. AbuAkel has led mission trips to Kenya, Haiti, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, and Palestine. He has participated in Mission Study Seminars to Nicaragua, Korea, Egypt, Israel and Palestine. The story of his life and ministry as a servant of Jesus Christ is crucial to understanding the Mission of the Church.  Read more about Dr. Fahed AbuAkel here

  • Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass ~ Bluegrass Band

    Tuesday July 25th ~ Evening Meeting

    Chris Henry is the son of noted bluegrass veterans Red and Murphy Henry. Being raised by two musicians had its advantages, Henry began playing mandolin at four years old and made his first festival appearance at age three, playing a ukulele. He now has one goal: to be able to seamlessly transition between different styles. He also tries to find ways to incorporate singing with the audience. He started this bluegrass band in 2012. The name comes from the intensity with which they perform. “I started the band in Nashville to play downtown and at the time we were mostly doing favorite bluegrass standards from the 40’s-70’s, but now we branch out and do a lot of different styles. There’s some blues, folk, Americana, country, even Gospel."

  • Grace May

    Wednesday July 26 ~ Evening Meeting

    Rev. Dr. Grace May is the Executive Director of Women of Wonder, Inc. (WOW!), a ministry that seeks to see Christian women leaders soar and fulfill their God-given dreams. Once fearful of Paul’s difficult texts, she now finds great joy in speaking about Paul as an ardent champion of women.  See  

    She is also the Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at the William Carey International University in Pasadena, CA. which teaches and trains students from around the world via internet.  She graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Boston University School of Theology (Th.D) and is a contributing author to The Global God, Proclaiming the Scandal of the CrossGrowing Healthy Asian-American ChurchesSeeking Harmony and The Quest for Gender Equity in Leadership.  Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she has pastored in several different churches on the east coast.  Born and raised in New York City, she relishes tasting different cuisines, traveling and meeting God and the body of Christ in new and refreshing ways.   

  • Brian Wells

    Thursday July 27th ~ Evening Meeting

    The Rev. Dr. Brian Wells brings to his position at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary decades of experience in pastoral leadership and in higher-educational administration. He came to the Seminary from Simmons College of Kentucky, Louisville, where he served as provost and vice president of academic affairs as well as professor of theology, and as pastor of the city’s Westwood Presbyterian Church. Prior to filling these roles, Dr. Wells held a wide variety of leadership positions in Indianapolis. He served as assistant director of the Institute of Urban Ministry and chair of the division of religious studies at Martin University; dean of student affairs and instructor of religion and Bible at Baptist Bible College; field education supervisor at Christian Theological Seminary; president of Zion Hope Christian School; and adjunct professor at Butler University, as well as at Eastern University in Philadelphia. He has also served as an ordained pastor at Baptist churches not only in Indianapolis but also in Louisville and in Asbury Park, N.J. An active leader in the community, church, and workplace, Dr. Wells has served with Partners in Urban Transformation, The African Speaker’s Bureau, the Vision and Planning Committee of the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, and the Presbyterian Multicultural Network. He has provided leadership as president of the Black National Caucus PCUSA-Louisville Chapter and as co-president of CLOUT—Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together. In the academic sphere, he holds membership in the American Academy of Religion, the Karl Barth Society, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Dr. Wells earned his B.A. in pastoral studies from Indianapolis’s Indiana Baptist College; a master of theological studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, as well as a master of divinity equivalency from United Theological Seminary in Trotwood, Ohio; and a doctor of ministry, also from United Theological Seminary, where he wrote his dissertation on “Transforming a Congregation for the Future.” He has done post-graduate work in England at Oxford University. He was ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church USA.

  • Summer Service Team

    Friday July 28th ~ Evening Meeting

    Each year the New Wilmington Mission Conference sends a team of young adults on a short-term mission assignment.  They return to the Conference just in time to interpret what God is doing in their country of service. This year's team is serving in the Dominican Republic.