A great sermon can define a worship service but a lot goes on behind the scenes to make the whole thing come together. We have gathered together a wonderfully diverse group of worship planners to help make this year's Festival of Homiletics worship services special and unique.
First Baptist staff is leading our opening worship lead by Joe Fitzpatrick, Worship and Music Pastor at First Baptist. Joe has been at First Baptist since May 2009 after having served for twenty years as Worship Pastor for Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Previously he has served churches in Jacksonville, Florida, Fort Worth, Texas, and in Oklahoma. He holds degrees in trumpet, voice, and conducting from Oklahoma State University (BME) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MCM). Mr. Fitzpatrick is a Past-President of The Southern Baptist Church Music Conference and the world-renown Grammy and Dove Award nominated recording/touring ensemble, The CenturyMen.
Downtown Presbyterian's senior pastor, Rev. Kenneth M. Locke planned it's opening service for Tuesday morning. Rev. Kenneth M. Locke was largely raised in Texas and Arkansas with an excursion to Hong Kong thrown in for good measure. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia AR (BA, English, 1981). After serving almost 5 years in the US Army (Captain, Infantry), he enrolled as a student at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MA, English, 1988). Feeling God's call to serve the people as a minister of Word and Sacrament, Ken and his wife Elizabeth moved to New Jersey where Ken enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1997). Leaving seminary, Ken and Elizabeth moved to Hebron, IN where he served as pastor of the Range Line Presbyterian Church. He has been pastor of The Downtown Presbyterian Church of Nashville, TN since 2002.
Adding his considerable talents is Anthony Bailey, Minister of Worship, Parkdale United Church, Ottawa, Canada. Anthony Bailey serves as coordinating minister of worship at Parkdale United Church in Ottawa, Canada. Originally from Barbados, he has lived and served in various parts of Canada. He currently teaches at the Ottawa School of Theology and Spirituality. Bailey is a sought after preacher, speaker and worship leader at North American and Caribbean conferences.
We look forward to welcoming Nashville locals - Roderick Belin, Presiding Elder of the AME South Nashville District and founder, Kairos Community AME. A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., Belin earned the Master of Divinity Degree with concentration in New Testament and Christian Origins from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. An ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Belin founded the Kairos Community AME Church in Nashville and for seven years, led the congregation. In October 2012, Bishop Jeffrey N. Leath appointed Rev. Belin the Presiding Elder of the South Nashville District.
Cary Gibson, Nashville area Artist. Cary holds a Masters of Philosophy in International Peace Studies, Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Women’s Studies, University College Dublin. She is a working artist in the Nashville area.
Stuart Gordan, Associate Pastor for Discipleship; First Presbyterian Church. Stuart Gordon is a native North Carolinian. He holds degrees from Davidson College, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. As Associate Pastor for Discipleship, Stuart enjoys primary duties in teaching the Bible and the church's faith.
Benita Washington: Overseer of Music & Worship Arts, Director of Praise & Worship. Benita has served the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN as Director of Praise & Worship since 2005. It is there that she has honed the craft God has given and has become recognized as one of the world’s leading Praise and Worship leaders. With nearly 15 years’ experience behind her, she has been called on to lead and teach the fundamentals of worship all over the country.
Sherry Cothran, Musician, award-winning Singer/Songwriter andSenior Pastor at West Nashville UMC. Sherry is an emerging artist in the field of religion and culture. Combining her 15-plus years of experience as an award winning singer/songwriter/musician with her current vocation as pastor / preacher of a multi-cultural, urban congregation, Sherry brings a fresh perspective to the practice of creative and thoughtful religion in the 21st century. Sherry currently serves as the senior pastor at West Nashville United Methodist Church.
Stephanie Coleman, Vice President of policy at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, where she leads policy and research initiatives around K-12 education, quality of life and livability, and advocates for local, state and federal legislative issues that improve Middle Tennessee’s economic well-being. She is a member of the 2013 class of Nashville Emerging Leaders and serves on the Alignment Nashville Operating Board. Stephanie and her husband Dave are members of Downtown Presbyterian Church, where she serves on the Worship and Arts Committee.
Finally, we are blessed to have some of the presenters doing double duty and acting as worship leaders as well. Planning services for us are Nadia Bolz-Weber, Carol Howard Merritt, and Jason Moore with James Keith Posey, Worship Pastor & Music Ministry Director; Ginghamsburg Church. James helps create Ginghamsburg Worship services where they use music, scripture, media, prayer and spoken word to create worship experiences.
It is sure to be a special week of worship!