Keynote Speakers

W. Tali Hairston, MAGL, is Senior Advisor for Community Engagement at the Seattle Presbytery. He is father to four wonderful children, Isaiah, Kennadi, Lynia, and Jordan. He and his wife Crystal enjoy doing ministry together, going to plays and musicals, and being foodies. Along with an amazing community of friends, these are the true gifts of his life that encourage and strengthen him.

Born and raised in the Rainier Valley neighborhood of Seattle, Tali loves his community. Tali grew up doing ministry with at-risk youth and young adults in Seattle, and is a graduate of the University of Washington and Fuller Seminary. He is on schedule to complete his PhD in Educational Leadership by June 2019. As a noted speaker, writer, consultant, researcher, and educator he is passionate about the work of organizational diversity, reconciliation studies, global urban community development, and equity and diversity in higher education, marketplace, and the church.

For 17 years Tali was the founding director of the John M. Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development at Seattle Pacific University. He was responsible for leading the educational advancement in reconciliation and community development emphasizing research and development of reconciliation, equity, and diversity. The center also provided service-learning and experiential education opportunities in justice, poverty, ethnicity, and cultural literacy for undergraduate students.

Called to engage the work of reconciliation and community development, the work has taken Tali all over the world, working with ministries and leaders from Cambodia to South Africa. Formed by these global experiences and inspired by his own family history as one of the largest enslaved families in American history, Tali is known for his gift to encourage and equip youth and young adults of all backgrounds to pursue God’s call and purpose to be and become.

Tali is also offering a workshop on Monday

Jennifer Harvey, Ph.D., is a writer, speaker, and professor of religion and ethics at Drake University. Her work focuses primarily on racial justice and white anti-racism. Dr. Harvey’s most recent books include Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in Racially Unjust America (Abingdon Press) and Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation (Wm. B. Eerdmans). Dr. Harvey has also contributed to the New York Times and Huffington Post and is a widely sought after public speaker and workshop facilitator. She is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches (USA).

Jennifer is also offering a breakfast on Wednesday morning. More information and registration details are available here.


Mary Ellen Azada, an ordained PC(USA) pastor for twenty-plus years, is currently serving as the Executive Director of Fuller Careers and Personal Development. She has responded to God’s call in a variety of forms — from mission pastor, church planter, executive director, and cofounder of a nonprofit organization, as well as working as a school counselor. She has an MEduc in Counseling and MDiv with an emphasis in spirituality, and is currently pursuing her DMin at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Kelle Brown is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and recently accepted the call as Lead Pastor of Plymouth Church United Church of Christ in downtown Seattle, Washington. Originally from Columbus, Georgia, she is a graduate of Spelman College, received her Master of Divinity from Seattle University Seattle School of Theology School of Theology and Ministry. She recently completed her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Kelle works tirelessly on dismantling racism, sexism, classism and other forms of oppression, and feels called to movements of justice, equity, change and transformation. As a minister, she preaches, teaches and leads from the perspective of liberation, and believes in the power of the Beloved Community. Through the chalice of story, Kelle hopes to reach believers and skeptics alike, and she has a particular place in her heart for those who no longer imagine the church is a place of safety or solace.

One of her major concerns is enlarging the voice of those most disenfranchised and marginalized, and is proud to have been chosen as a faith leader to participate in Seattle University’s new Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, which is engaged with thoughtful action for those experiencing homelessness. With courage, she invites the courageous to be co-conspirators in God’s kindom.

She sings, writes, and enjoys family time with her grandmother, Dorothy, and her daughter, Indigo, a student at the University of Washington. Her life is inspired by the words of Howard Thurman, who said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Eliana Maxim is a teaching elder (Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Seattle Presbytery who has served as the presbytery’s associate executive for the past 8 years.

Eliana was born in Barranquilla, Colombia and immigrated to the U.S. as a young child with her parents. She attended Loyola Marymount University where she earned an undergraduate degree in communication arts and soon went to work as a news producer at CNN. She remained in that field for 12 years until she and her family moved to Seattle.

It was then that Eliana finally paid attention the long ignored call on her heart and began pursuing what that might mean by serving on staff at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church as director of children and family ministries from 1996-2010. During that time, she began course work at Union Seminary in Richmond, VA and then transferred to Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry where she completed a Masters in Divinity. Eliana was ordained as a minister of word and sacrament in 2011.

Although she grew up Roman Catholic, Eliana has found her home in the PCUSA and served the church in a variety of ways including the 220th General Assembly’s Committee on the Belhar Confession, the 221nd General Assembly’s Committee on the Presbyterian Mission Agency Review, the Committee on the Office of General Assembly, and more recently the 222nd General Assembly’s Way Forward Commission.

Eliana is a faculty member of the Transitional Ministry Workshop at Menucha, Oregon and vice-moderator of the National Hispanic/Latino Caucus of the PCUSA. She also serves as a member of the Interfaith Leadership Council of the Washington State Faith Action Network.

Eliana and her husband, Alex, have two adult daughters Sacha and Gabi, both Seattle residents, plus a spoiled rescue Boxer dog named Lola.


Scott Lumsden serves as a pastor to more than 45 congregations and their leadership in his role as Executive Presbyter of Seattle Presbytery. Scott has also served in a number of interim pastoral roles and leads the transitional ministry workshops at Menucha Retreat & Conference Center in Portland, OR. Scott’s ministry emphases are in the areas congregational leadership, renewal, transitions, conflict resolution, and stewardship. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Literature from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. His studies were focused in the area Old & New Testament and theology. His passions in life revolve around his family, spouse Sharon, daughters Sophia (15), and Cosette (13) who all enjoy traveling, walking/hiking, reading together, and eating Scott’s cookies. In Scott’s spare time he’s usually perfecting his cookie recipes for his “cookie dreams” or playing his Jaguar electric.

Heidi Husted Armstrong has ministered in West Coast churches for three and a half decades. In more recent years Heidi has specialized in interim and transitional ministry, co-facilitating the transitional ministry workshops with Scott Lumsden and helping several congregations navigate what can be both an unsettling time of transition and an exciting time for discernment and mission. She currently serves as Transitional Pastor for First Presbyterian Church Seattle. She has also served as a retreat speaker, music leader and writer throughout her ministry.

A central component of Heidi’s life and congregational ministry is reading scripture in community – helping congregations learn how to discern the message of God’s Word together in worship.

Heidi is married to Rick, and has three delightful stepsons, four granddaughters, and two grandsons. She is renewed by living in and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Rick and Heidi live on lower Hood Canal, and enjoy cruising Puget Sound and the Canadian Inland waters on their old 25’ troller 33hp diesel boat.

Ken Evers-Hood has served Tualatin Presbyterian Church just outside of Portland, OR for the last fourteen years. Before that he was the founding pastor of Presbyterian Church of Lake Travis near Austin, TX. Ken received his M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary and his D.Min from Duke Divinity School. (When he’s feeling honest, though, he’ll tell you he’s learned more about God from his kids than from any classroom.) Ken studied irrationality with the behavioral economist Dan Ariely at Duke, and after he graduated published The Irrational Jesus: Leading the Fully Human Church, and the forthcoming The Irrational David: The Power of Poetic Leadership which should be coming out soon. (Regarding what seems to be an obsession with irrationality Ken says it’s important to teach what you know.) Ken has stayed connected with Duke serving as the spiritual mentor for two doctoral cohorts and teaching leadership with Bishop Will Willimon.

When he’s not pastoring, writing, or teaching, Ken is probably standing on a soccer field sideline in Oregon somewhere fantasizing about the sun, or, if he’s lucky, hanging out at the beautiful Oregon coast. He loves music, delights in imperfection, tries to embody robust vulnerability, appreciates anyone who tries to listen well to others, and enjoys dark humor, dark coffee, and dark beer. But, these days, he’s also working on appreciating the light, easy moments more and giving thanks for the seasons where the good days outnumber the hard ones.

Corey Greaves (Blackfeet/Klickitat/Irish) lives on the Yakama Reservation in Washington State with his wife, Gina (Yakama/Grande Ronde/Puyallup/Phillipino). They have four children, Steven, Kathleen, Carissa, and Matea. They own and operate, along with a talented team of staff and volunteers, Mending Wings — one of the largest, non-profit, Native American Christian youth organizations in the country.

Corey is a graduate of Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, IL, and a veteran youth pastor of 28 years. He has served as youth pastor for the American Indian Evangelism Association where he pastored the largest Native American youth ministry in the Churches of Christ/Christian Church denomination. He also served as youth pastor for the Presbyterian Church, USA where he facilitated the growth of the largest Native American youth ministry in the PCUSA.

Corey’s passion is to see Native youth and families restored to wholeness, and walk in beauty, by the strength of Yeshua, within the cultures that He gave us — fully Indian, as followers of The Jesus Way

He is a gifted speaker and teacher, and a common human being, and has spoken at colleges, universities, churches, conferences, youth groups, and organizations across the U.S. He seeks to bring reconciliation between the Body of Christ and Native people by dealing with real issues, both historical and contemporary. He holds a passion for his people and a love for the Creator.

Suzzanne Lacey rarely unpacks her bags. Lacey grew up around the world as the daughter of an Army officer who always felt it was important for their family to surrender and understand the culture around them. The family picked pineapples while stationed in Hawaii, traveled through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin during a stint in Germany, and lived in not one but two of New York City’s beautiful boroughs.

After a successful career in radio and television, Suzzanne, an Associated Press and Emmy-award winning producer, followed her dream and founded Museum Without Walls. MWW is an educational nonprofit that takes students and teachers to important historical sites around the world. In 1994 as a young journalist with National Public Radio Suzzanne reported on the 30th anniversary bus tour of the Freedom Riders. Outside the Parchment State Prison in Mississippi Suzzanne found herself listening to emotional testimony of three civil rights activists. They spoke of harsh treatment after their arrest — forced to sleep on the cold prison floor, refused nourishment and facing severe retribution because of the freedom songs they sang. Suzzanne began to reflect on the importance of living history as an educational tool.

Three years later, Suzzanne visited Auschwitz, a trip that would ultimately cement Museum Without Walls into being. She was unprepared for such a profound emotional reaction when she walked through the gates and first saw the empty buildings and barracks. In those moments Suzzanne knew these haunting stories needed to be told. MWW has grown to offer similar opportunities to educators, young people and people from faith-based communites. To allow them to learn about the atrocities of the past and how to open a dialogue about history and hate and prevent an intolerant and racist future. MWW offers programs in the Seattle, Portland, the southern United States, Northern Ireland and Europe.

Bible Study Leader

Becky Purcell is a life-long learner and lover of the Word. She remembers Bible stories at bedtime, the thrill of leafing through the gilt-edged pages of her confirmation Bible and still feels the draw of the great mystery as she explores lectionary and other Scripture for weekly practice. Becky is the pastor of First Presbyterian, Prairie Grove, Arkansas and frequent chaplain at Ferncliff Camp. She has three master’s degrees — in Divinity (Columbia Theological Seminary), Christian Education (Union Presbyterian Seminary) and Recreation & Leisure (University of Georgia) — and three beautiful young adult children. Becky lives with her husband, Larry, in Fayetteville, Arkansas.