Rwandan genocide survivor, racial reconciliation expert, special needs ministry leader to keynote 2018 Leadership Institute


Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, Jennifer Ross

Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, and Jennifer Ross are the keynote speakers for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s fourth annual Leadership Institute. The Institute is a strategic component of the EPC’s 38th General Assembly, to be held June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.

The theme for the annual meeting—Forward!—reinforces awareness on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. that God is doing something bigger in Memphis and beyond than what He is doing in and through the EPC. Keeping with that concept, the plenary speakers will take an intentional look from contexts outside the EPC at deep hurts that can help attendees minister the gospel more effectively in our culture.

Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which more than 1 million people were massacred in ethnic violence following the assassination of the country’s president. Regarded as one of world’s leading speakers on faith, hope, and forgiveness, she has shared her inspirational story with world leaders, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at events and conferences around the world.

Thompson serves as Director of Research and Strategy for Clayborn Reborn, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reintroduce the historic Clayborn Temple in downtown Memphis to the city, and to engage a national audience. One of the country’s most significant church buildings, Clayborn Temple was the home of the EPC’s Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis from its opening in 1893 until 1949, and later became a landmark in the Civil Rights movement.

Ross is the Director of Matthew’s Ministry, the Special Needs Ministry of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City (a multi-campus United Methodist congregation), and serves as Education Chairperson for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City. She will provide relevant data and biblical applications on the topic “Holding a Banquet and Welcoming All of God’s Children,” exploring why churches should offer programs for individuals with special needs.

Each plenary session will include a moderated time for questions and answers.

In addition to the plenary speakers, 14 seminars are available on Tuesday, June 19:

  1. The Beauty of Reformed Worship.
    Led by Zach Hopkins, Pastor of Edgington EPC in Taylor Ridge, Ill.
  2. Being a Public, Media-Friendly Evangelical in the Trump Era.
    Led by Carmen LaBerge, President of Reformation Press (formerly Presbyterian Lay Committee).
  3. Building Blocks of a Missional Church.
    Led by Randy H, EPC World Outreach Global Worker who serves in an unpublished location.
  4. Discerning the Spirits.
    Led by Sharon Beekmann, Chair of the EPC Women’s Resource Council and author of Rescued and Redeemed: How to Discern Demons from the Divine.
  5. Discipleship in Student Ministry.
    Led by Meg DeHaven, Director of Children and Youth for Bethany EPC in Havertown, Pa., and Mike DeHaven, Assistant Director of Youth for Bethany EPC.
  6. Embracing God’s Cities: Bus Tour of Memphis.
    Led by Larry Lloyd, President of the Memphis Leadership Foundation, and Eli Morris, Senior Associate Pastor of Hope Church in Memphis.
  7. The Gospel in Dark Places: Ministry to Exploited and Trafficked Women.
    Led by Bonnie Gatchell, Director of Route One Ministry in Boston, Mass., and Tricia Grant, educator, speaker, and trafficking survivor.
  8. The Lord’s Supper in the Reformed Tradition.
    Led by Stephen Hess, Pastor of Highview EPC in Dousman, Wis.
  9. Making Disciples Who Make Disciples.
    Led by Doug Resler, Senior Pastor of Parker EPC in Parker, Colo.
  10. The Means of Grace in the Scriptures Proclaimed.
    Led by JT Holderman, Pastor of Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Gap, Pa.
  11. The Reformation of Preaching.
    Led by David Swanson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Fla.
  12. Religious Support and Protecting Free Exercise.
    Led by Daniel Blomberg, Senior Counsel for Becket Law in Washington, D.C.
  13. Planting Multi-Ethnic Churches.
    Led by Léonce Crump, Pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga., and Richard Rieves, Pastor of Downtown Church in Memphis.
  14. Putting Baptism to Use.
    Led by Mike Glodo, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Chapel for Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Fla.

Click here for more information on the Leadership Institute, including full seminar descriptions, times, and speaker bios.

Click here for more information about the 38th General Assembly, including links to online registration, discounted hotel rates, and more.


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