2017 National Gathering Testimony: Tom Cramer & Tamara John

Tom Cramer and Tamara John of Los Ranchos Presbytery share their stories of ministry. Tom Cramer serves as the Presbytery Leader for Vision and Mission for the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. He brings together leaders to grow healthy congregations and start new ones. Tamara John is director for the Hope for Life Chapel RV ministry. At her RV Chapel, Tamara provides pastoral counseling and prayerfully guides and assists with needed resources and leads group gatherings.


Tamara John has a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and is ordained by the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) as evangelist in the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. As director for the Hope for Life Chapel RV ministry, Tamara lives onsite in a custom-made fifth-wheel RV with a 12X10 chapel in the back. At her RV Chapel, Tamara provides pastoral counseling and prayerfully guides and assists with needed resources and leads group gatherings. Hope for Life Chapel (HFLC) RV Ministry serves the desperate, dechurched and unchurched people who live at an RV park on a permanent as well as short-term, transitional basis. Some have lost their homes, are going through divorce, are sick and need to be near a hospital, or because of their choices or other people’s choices–are in an upside-down emotional situation. The HFLC RV Ministry has a passion for the lost and hurting and helps those in the community who have derailed in life to get back up and walk boldly in the way God calls them.

Tom Cramer serves as the Presbytery Leader for Vision and Mission for the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. He brings together leaders to grow healthy congregations and start new ones. Tom received a B.A. in English Literature and Economics from UC Berkeley, and worked as a trade association executive in Washington, D.C. After earning his M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, he served as an associate pastor of Geneva Presbyterian Church for 21 years before being called to executive work at the presbytery. In his free time, Tom loves to spend time with his family and friends, cook and grill, travel, read, exercise, and play golf.

2017 National Gathering Testimony: Tom Charles

Tom Charles, ruling elder at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ, gives his testimony about the church’s refugee resettlement ministry at the 2017 National Gathering. In his presentation, Tom references a refugee resettlement guide for churches, individuals, and organizations looking to start such a program in their own context. You can find that guide here:

2017 National Gathering Testimony: Glenn McCray & Charlie Scoma

Glenn McCray and Charlie Scoma provided the first testimony of the 2017 National Gathering on Monday afternoon.

 

Glenn McCray is a multi-ethnic, first generation American and “Seattle-ite” whose mother is from the Philippines and father from Louisiana. Glenn is happily married to Rev. Natasha Iwalani Hicks McCray, who serves as the pastor of Mt. View Presbyterian Church (Seattle), where he also attends and serves. Glenn and Tasha coach girls varsity basketball for their local high school and share a heart for reconciliation to God, self, and others. Vocationally, Glenn serves as the Director of Church-based Community Development with a Christian community development organization called Urban Impact. Glenn has spent more than a decade developing youth and education programs, serving as a chaplain for youth in juvenile detention, and working closely with other local organizations, schools, and local churches.

Charlie Scoma brings many years of experience in chaplaincy, ministry and education to the Seattle Police Department. He is an experienced counselor and trained in Critical Incident Stress Management. He has served in the fire service for over 13 years, he’s passionate about caring for others, and he is an instructor for an accredited chaplain academy, training other chaplains in the Northwest. He is an ordained pastor in the PCUSA and has an MSW from Rutgers University. Charlie coaches baseball and enjoys fly-fishing.

2016 National Gathering Testimony: Jessica Vazquez Torres

Jessica Vazquez Torres provides testimony at the 2016 National Gathering.

Jessica Vazquez Torres is a proven leader with 15 years experience in antiracism, anti-oppression, and cultural competency workshop development and facilitation. Jessica, a 1.5-Generation ESL Queer Latina of Puerto Rican descent, holds a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her published works as an author include co-authoring a four-session adult study on the history of racism in the United States. Jessica has presented twice at the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting. Her papers were titled: “Does Moral Injury Have a Color? On Moral Injury and Race in the United States” (2014) and “Race and Virtue: The Practice and Ethics of Race Based Caucusing” (2012).

2016 National Gathering Testimony: Presidents Elizabeth Kiss and Leann Van Dyk

Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College, and Leann Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary, provide testimony about their leadership experience at the 2016 National Gathering.

Elizabeth Kiss is president of Agnes Scott College. During her tenure, she has launched Agnes Advantage, supporting study abroad, internships and mentored research; new undergraduate programs in neuroscience, public health, and environmental and sustainability studies; the fielding of the first women’s collegiate varsity lacrosse team in Georgia; and the largest first-year class in college history. She is a graduate of Davidson College  and received a B.Phil. and D.Phil. in philosophy from Oxford University in England.

Leanne Van Dyk currently serves as President and Professor of Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. She holds degrees from Calvin College (B.A.), Western Michigan University (M.A.), Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Princeton Theological Seminary where she earned her Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, magna cum laude. Before teaching at Western Theological Seminary, she previously taught at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Van Dyk’s other professional experience includes serving as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Association of Theological School (ATS); as a co-moderator of a colloquy on Reformed Theology and Worship sponsored by the Institute of Reformed Theology; as a member of the Wabash Center’s Consultation on Theological Education; and on various projects with the Office of Theology and Worship for the Presbyterian Church (USA). One of her efforts remembered by many in the PC(USA) was a member of the Catechism Committee which completed its work in 1998. She also participated in the Re-Forming Ministry project with the Office of Theology and Worship. She has served on the editorial boards of Perspectives, the Journal of Reformed Thought, and the Scottish Journal of Theology. Dr. Van Dyk has published several books, including A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony for which she was also editor (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005); Believing in Jesus Christ, part of the “Foundations” series sponsored by the Office of Theology and Worship of the PC(USA) (Geneva Press, 2002); and The Desire of Divine Love: The Atonement Theology of John McLeod Campbell (Peter Lang Publishers, 1995).

2016 National Gathering Testimony: Alison Harrington

Rev. Alison J. Harrington currently serves Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She has experience in community organizing against the prison industrial complex and as a prison chaplain. Alison has served the denomination as a Global Youth Intern to Ethiopia, a Young Adult Volunteer to Belfast Northern Ireland, and has traveled on peace and justice delegations to Chiapas, Colombia, and Cuba. She has been named one of Tucson’s 40 under 40, a Beatitudes Society Fellow, a recipient of the Beatitudes Society Brave Preacher Award, and one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the Center for American Progress.

2015 National Gathering: Linda Valentine

Linda Valentine provides testimony on the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

2015 National Gathering: Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor speaks at the 2015 National Gathering in Chicago on behalf of the Presbyterian Foundation.

2015 National Gathering Testimony: George Srour

George Srour provides testimony at the 2015 National Gathering about his organization, Building Tomorrow.

We’d also encourage you to read this response to George’s testimony from Becca Messman.

Mihee Kim-Kort and Andy Kort (Chicago 2015)

Mihee Kim-Kort and Andy Kort share their testimony at the 2015 National Gathering in Chicago.