2016 Cohort

eccl-eileen-ayusoRev. Eileen Ayuso is an ordained United Methodist Elder, currently serving as Pastor of a two-point charge in Rural Hall, NC. Eileen has been in full-time ministry since 2008, when she solidified as a non-profit and became the first Executive Director of The Shalom Project, based in the West Salem neighborhood of Winston Salem. She has served churches in Walkertown and Stanly County and worked tirelessly as an Associate of the Advocacy for the Poor. Eileen has been married to Mike for 31 years and has four grown children. She likes to read for leisure, garden, travel, and hike.


eccl-tim-brownTim Brown studied at Valparaiso University (BA and M.Ed) and The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.Div). Most recently from Chicago (12 years), he was formerly a Middle School Teacher and then went to Seminary. Tim served an urban parish in Chicago, and has now served as Senior Pastor for Good Shepherd in Raleigh since December 2015. He is married to Rhonda, a biology professor at William Peace University, and father to Findley (3) and Alistair (20 months). He enjoys good beer, better coffee, philosophy, writing, reading, and learning more and more about mysticism. Tim is interested in the intersection of faith/skepticism, social justice/contemplation, and trying to get/stay woke.


eccl-joel-campbellJoel Campbell is the Senior Minister of the First Baptist Church of High Point, NC. Recently, he served at the First Baptist Church of Orangeburg, SC as an associate minister and director of their family life center campus. Before becoming a minister, he spent 11 years as a self-employed retail business owner with locations in premium shopping malls in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Indiana. Joel graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts and holds a Master of Arts in Religion from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne University, as well as a doctorate from North Greenville University. He loves bow ties, spending time with his family, riding bikes, and swimming. Together Joel and his wife Jennifer have two boys, Jackson and Jance.


eccl-ryan-cloreRyan Clore is a native of Virginia. He is married to Jenny Clore and they have two young children: a son, Luke, and a daughter, Shannon. Ryan enjoys people, sports, history, theological discussions, UVA basketball and baseball, and Downton Abbey. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Christopher Newport University in 2008 and his Master of Divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in 2012. Ryan is a third generation vocational minister. He has been in vocational ministry since 2009 and has faithfully served three churches prior to being called to First Baptist Church of Whiteville: Patterson Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, VA as the Associate Pastor, Hampton Baptist Church in Hampton, VA as the Interim Youth Pastor, and Mechanicsville Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, VA as the Associate Pastor to Students. Ryan is passionate about advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the efforts of the local church and excited to be working to play his part in ushering in the Kingdom of God in the community of Whiteville, NC.


eccl-lindsey-conradLindsay Conrad is the Associate Pastor for Mission, Young Adults, and Congregational Care at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, NC. She earned her Masters in Divinity at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, Lindsay believes in following Christ’s example of serving those who are in need.  She has a passion for working with individuals who are in poverty, who are hungry, homeless, and unable to afford housing.  Lindsay writes that she is “called to bridge the gaps between people who live on the streets and people who gather for worship Sunday after Sunday.”


eccl-melissa-florer-bixlerMelissa Florer-Bixler is a Mennonite Church USA pastor at Raleigh Mennonite Church In Raleigh, NC. She is a “convinced Mennonite,” which means she chose Anabaptism rather than being born into it. She is a board member of Friends of L’Arche North Carolina. Interests at the moment: Chance the Rapper, (watching other people) clogging, Industrial Areas Foundation, reading (grumpily) about the unmasking of Elena Ferrante, and soup. Melissa and her spouse parent three little children, therefore she is always tired and knows a lot about Legos.


eccl-whitney-fauntleroyWhitney Fauntleroy was ordained on October 19, 2014 by the Presbytery of New Hope and installed as the Designated Pastor of Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church on November 9, 2014 by the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina. She now serves as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA. She grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and is the youngest of three children.  Whitney graduated from University of North Carolina Wilmington with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Philosophy and Religion. After completing her undergraduate studies she went to New Orleans, LA to serve as an AmeriCorps Member with a rebuilding organization. Whitney  attended Princeton Theological Seminary where she received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Art in Youth and Young Adult Ministry in 2012. Following seminary, Whitney worked for two years as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill, NC.  Whitney has served in ministry with churches in Wilmington, North Carolina, New York City, Chicago and Westfield, New Jersey. completed Clinical Pastoral Education in a pediatric unit at Duke University Medical Center.  Whitney’s passions and gifts for ministry center around community organizing, service and justice, and youth ministry.


eccl-missy-harrisMissy Harris, a native of Sylva, North Carolina, graduated from Mars Hill College and Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She and Nancy Hastings Sehested co-pastor Circle of Mercy, an Alliance of Baptists and United Church of Christ congregation. In her role at Circle of Mercy, she leads religious education programming for children and youth and shares responsibility for worship planning and pastoral care. She also works part-time in the Center for Community Engagement at Warren Wilson College.  Prior to beginning her role at Circle of Mercy, Missy worked with LifeShare of the Carolinas, supporting families through the process of organ donation; Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity; Mars Hill College; and the Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center.  She also serves on the Board of Directors of Jubilee Partners, an intentional Christian community in Georgia that resettles refugees.  Missy currently lives in Weaverville, NC with her husband, David, and their daughter Abby (8).


eccl-stuart-lamkinStuart Lamkin spent his childhood in Louisiana and his adolescence in Nashville, TN. He received his undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis; then he went to Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond for his Master of Divinity degree. It was at BTSR that he met his wife Sara, who is called to Hispanic ministry. They have two sons in elementary school. After seminary, Stuart did social work for a year, then for six years worked as an editor of Bible study curriculum at Smyth & Helwys Publishing in Macon, GA. Since 2012 he has been blessed with the privilege of ministering among the people at Hickory Rock Baptist Church outside of Louisburg, NC. Currently he is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at Campbell University’s Divinity School. Stuart enjoys movies, soccer, frisbee, and naps.


eccl-kim-priddyKim Priddy currently serves as Pastor to Sedgefield Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Economics from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Divinity Degree from Wake Forest University in 2014.  Before following her call into ministry, she spent time as a Financial Advisor for Centura Securities. In her current role, she leads the church in its’ ministry in Greensboro and around the world. Kim and her husband Brent have three children, Ryan (18), Brad (18) and Kate (15).


eccl-johnathan-richardsonRev. Johnathan Carlton Richardson is the proud pastor of Stoney Creek African Methodist Episcopal Church in Elon, NC.  After high school, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Bethune-Cookman College, now Bethune-Cookman University, in Daytona Beach, Florida.  In 2001, he obtained both a Masters of Divinity in Theology and a Masters of Divinity in Church Administration and Leadership from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  He is also an alumnus of Duke Divinity School where he obtained a Master of Theology in 2012. He was called to preach at 12 years old.  Since then he has been committed to spreading the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that speak to our day and time.  He has released a CD of sermons and gospel music, Meditation Mixtape in 2010. He is presently working on a podcast entitled “Taking Jesus Seriously” which further develops ideas to be found in his recently released book of the same name.  He is a teacher, scholar, preacher and author who desires to walk with and listen to others as he and they attempt to be faithful to Jesus always guided by the Holy Spirit while calling on God the Father of Jesus Christ.  Rev. Richardson and his wife, Charique, have been married since 2003. They have three sons, Solomon and twin boys Silas and Julian.  If you wish to find out more about Rev. Richardson visit his website www.johnathanrichardson.com.


eccl-danny-russellDanny Russell grew up in Indiana and then went to college in Kentucky. During the summer before his final year in college, he married Tammy, a recent education graduate from the same college and also Indiana hometown. Currently, Danny and Tammy have two sons – Cayden (8) and Colton (6). After staying in Kentucky for a seminary degree, Danny and Tammy move to North Carolina for his first full-time job in a church as an associate pastor. Danny stayed at First Baptist Church in Sylva, NC for 4 1/2 years before moving to his current position as the pastor of Chadbourn Baptist Church. During his final year as an associate pastor, Danny went back to seminary to prepare for the unique role of being a pastor in a local church in today’s context and cultures. Danny also enjoys the beautiful sunshine on the beach and driving his Jeep Wrangler with the top and doors off.


eccl-melvin-shearinRev. Melvin F. Shearin II, a native of Richmond, VA, is the proud father of Trey Melvin Shearin and surrogate father to Taj-Deandre Ivan Leake. Pastor Shearin was employed in the Financial and Banking Industry for 24 years. In 2006, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA in 2009. He is currently in the Doctoral Program at Howard University. After accepting the call to ministry in 2006, Rev. Shearin was licensed to preach the Gospel and he was ordained in 2008. From 2007 to 2009, Rev. Shearin served as Youth Pastor at First Union Baptist Church, Mechanicsville, Virginia.  Rev. Shearin was called to pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Farnham, VA, in July 2009. With prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, Rev. Shearin was called by God to become the fourth pastor of Great Hope Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. Pastor Shearin’s vision is “To become a church without walls that reaches the greater community and beyond with the love of God.”


eccl-paul-stutzmanPaul Stutzman currently serves as the Pastor of Fraternity Church of the Brethren, a historic congregation that has been living and sharing the gospel of Jesus in the Winston-Salem community since 1775. He cares deeply about helping people to know and to follow Jesus. Paul is a graduate of Bridgewater College (BA), Eastern Mennonite Seminary (MA in Religion), and Bethany Theological Seminary (Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies). One of his greatest passions in life is studying and celebrating the Love Feast, and in 2011 he published Recovering the Love Feast: Broadening our Eucharistic Celebrations (Wipf and Stock). Paul is happily married to Karen, and together they have two children, Kaylee and Joshua.


eccl-ryan-thrasherAs an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ryan Thrasher has served congregations in Texas, Missouri (as a Lilly Clergy Resident), and North Carolina before accepting a call to serve as the associate pastor of worship at First Baptist Church in Mebane, North Carolina. Ryan’s responsibilities at First Baptist include worship planning as well as providing musical leadership for the congregation’s choir and praise band. However, more broadly, Ryan sees his larger call as one of exploring and making clear in the life of the church, the deep connections between worship, the arts, and God’s call for wholeness, justice and reconciliation. Before earning his Master of Divinity degree from Brite Divinity School-TCU, Ryan worked as a professional musician and teacher, earning degrees in music from Michigan State University and the School of Music at Yale University as well as performing as a bassist in orchestras in Texas, Michigan, and Connecticut. Ryan makes his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with his wife Monica Banks, a graduate student at the School of Divinity at Wake Forest, their daughter Julia, a junior at Reynolds High School, and Jojo, the cutest English Bulldog in the world!