The Rev. Obadiah (Oby) Ballinger serves in his fourth year as pastor of Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Park, Minnesota. A graduate of Yale Divinity School and Concordia College, Oby worked part-time for Minnesotans United for All Families in 2012, organizing members of the United Church of Christ to help successfully defeat the marriage amendment in Minnesota. His previous volunteer positions include the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Conference (UCC) and the Executive Council of the national United Church of Christ. Oby lives with his husband Javen Swanson and their two cats in Saint Paul.
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Dan Collison is the Lead Pastor of First Covenant Church, Minneapolis and has been serving churches for more than 22 years. Dan received a Doctoral degree in Ministry from Fuller Seminary (CA), a Master’s degree in Divinity from Bethel Seminary (MN), and a Bachelor’s degree from The Eastman School of Music (NY). Before becoming a pastor, Dan—and his wife, Holly—ran an adult foster care home for men with developmental disabilities where he learned the importance and rewards of servanthood. Dan lives in downtown Minneapolis with Holly and their sons, Walker and Atley.
Meghan Gage-Finn serves as Associate Pastor for Congregational Life at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis. She is the pastor for Young Adult and College-Age Ministries, welcomes New Members into the congregation, and supports the area Communications. Meghan holds bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University with majors in psychology and women’s studies, and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer before beginning seminary. She received her Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2005 and prior to coming to Westminster in 2007, served as a Lilly Minister in Residence at the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, MI.
Joann Haejong Lee
Joann Haejong Lee is the Associate Pastor for Family and Young Adult Ministries at The House of Hope Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She was born in New York City to Korean immigrant parents and grew up in Houston, Texas. She has a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from The University of Texas in Austin. Joann met her husband Mike Tsoi back in eighth grade, and they live in Saint Paul with their two dogs Bailey and Logan.
Rev. Shane Isner ministers at Plymouth Creek Christian Church, a small Disciples of Christ community in the northwestern suburbs, with hearts for service and grace that constantly surpass expectations. Rev. Tabitha is his partner—in life, not church ministry!; she works in early childhood education policy for the state—and together they spoil their 60-pound, over-energetic pup, Fawkes. He cooks when he’s not at work, recently enthralled by home sausage making. So he also runs regularly, to ensure his new hobby won’t require a new wardrobe.
Rev. Alison Killeen is Director of Organizing and Practical Theology at the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Covenant Minister at First Congregational Church of Minnesota, UCC. Alison earned her B.A. at Luther College and holds an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Alison is active in many local initiatives, including the MN Conference UCC Immigration Team, Camp Osiris Board of Directors, and Founding Board of Exodus Lending. She spends her free time reading, running around lakes, laughing at her cat, cooking with her partner, and baking as much bread as she possibly can.
Rachel McIver Morey
Rachel McIver Morey serves as the planting pastor for Mosaic, a new United Methodist fellowship in the Brooklyn Center/Park area (www.brooklynmosaic.org) with a mission to be the hands and feet of Jesus to their region. The Mosaic community has a particular focus on homeless youth, co-managing a youth food shelf and partnering with private and public entities to address the needs of young people in crisis. Additionally, she and Mosaic co-organize the Minnesota Interfaith Open Forum, a thrice-yearly event that brings together speakers from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist backgrounds to address issues of the day. Rev. McIver Morey is married to Jerad Morey and has two sons, Abraham (3) and Heron (6 months).
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Lauren Morse-Wendt is a Diaconal Minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She serves as Mission & Ministry Developer at Edina Community Lutheran Church, engaging the congregation in social justice and mission. A graduate of St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary, Lauren is grateful for the strong history of the Lutheran Church’s public voice in the world. Lauren loves exploring the neighborhoods of St. Paul, where she lives with her wife, Michelle, and son, Luke.
Lucy Mungai is the director of spiritual care at Messiah Church and the Center for Changing Lives in Minneapolis and an ordained elder at Church of All Nations in Columbia Heights MN. With a PhD in Pastoral care and Counseling (Luther Seminary, 2011), and five units of CPE, she is also involved in chaplain and teaching ministries. Lucy’s passion for ministry includes listening to people’s stories, facilitating where necessary, imagination & birthing of future stories, and vouching for those whose stories would otherwise not be heard. A wife and mother of two, Lucy enjoys reading, walking, and playing tennis with family.
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Craig Pederson is the founding pastor of Northeast Community Lutheran Church, a consolidation of three previous churches in northeast Minneapolis. He is also the founding executive director of Grace Center, a former public school building that is now home to four churches, two charter schools, and several community groups. Pederson has served on the boards of local and statewide organizations addressing issues of hunger, economic development and housing. He is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Luther Seminary. A passionate fan of basketball and jazz music, Pederson lives in Minneapolis with his wife Lisa and their children, Evan and Nora.
Father Michael Reding was born and raised in Red Wing, Minnesota. He graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1986. After spending six years in business, he discerned a call to the priesthood and entered the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity in 1992. In 1997, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and began serving as the Associate Pastor of Transfiguration Catholic Church in Oakdale. In 2000, he was appointed Pastor of the Saint Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community of Wayzata, where he has served for thirteen years. On July 1, he will begin ministry as Pastor of The Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle in southwest Minneapolis.
Jason Van Hunnik
Jason Van Hunnik grew up in North Dakota and after graduating from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. He spent two years as Co-Associate Director of Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp in the mountains of Colorado. In 2000 he graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. His first call was at Zion Lutheran Church and the ZOOM House transitional housing program both in south Minneapolis. He is now closing in on 9 years as Associate Pastor at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park. He and his wife Shannon O’Brien live in south Minneapolis with their two children Mira (11) and Aidan (9).