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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Wednesday, January 20, 2016

14th Annual Santa Barbara Mission Conference on January 22-23

“Reconciling All Things” is the theme of the 14th Annual Santa Barbara Mission Conference on January 22-23

The 14th Annual Santa Barbara Mission Conference with the theme “Reconciling All Things” is scheduled for January 22-23, 2016 at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, 21 E. Constance Ave. (corner of State Street) in Santa Barbara.

The purpose of the Santa Barbara Mission Conference is “To inform, inspire, and engage in the work of God’s mission”.

The annual conference is presented by the Presbytery of Santa Barbara, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara, Trinity Lutheran Church, and Montecito Covenant Church.

Conference registration and exhibit booths open at 6:00 p.m. Friday, January 22 with the program starting at 7:00 p.m. with inspirational talk by Brenda Salter McNeil. Receptions for adults and youth follow at 9:00 p.m.

The mission conference continues on Saturday, January 23, at 8:45 a.m. with the keynote presentation by Soong-Chan Rah at 9:30 a.m. Workshops continue throughout the day and conclude at 5:00 p.m.

Conference registration is $45 general admission and $15 students. Pre-registration closes Jan. 12. Registration at the door is general admission is $60 and $20 for students.

Registration can be made on line at www.sbmissionconference.org or check and registration form mailed or dropped off at Presbytery of Santa Barbara, 6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta 93117.

This year’s conference features speakers Brenda Salter McNeil and Soong-Chan Rah plus eleven workshops led by outstanding leaders from around the country. Also included is music by the conference worship band, a generous box lunch, and additional refreshments throughout the conference.

Opening speaker Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is an Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University, where she also directs the Reconciliation Studies Minor program. Dr. Brenda is also an author, speaker and thought leader with over 25 years of ministry experience in the field of racial, ethnic and gender reconciliation. Her mission is to inspire and equip young Christian leaders to practice reconciliation around the world and to build communities that partner with God to bring relational healing and social wholeness.
Prior to coming to Seattle Pacific University, Dr. Brenda spearheaded a faith-based speaking, training and consulting firm specializing in biblical reconciliation with Christian colleges, churches and organizations. She was also on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 14 years, where she served as a Multiethnic Ministries Specialist in Southern California and Chicago, Illinois. These experiences were foundational to the development of the principles, concepts and strategies that guide her practice of reconciliation from a Christian perspective. Today, Dr. Brenda is recognized internationally as one of the foremost leaders of reconciliation and was featured as one of the 50 most influential women to watch by Christianity Today in 2012.
Originally from Trenton, New Jersey, Brenda is now an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and is currently serving as a teaching pastor at Quest Covenant Church in Seattle, in addition to her position at SPU. She is married to Dr. J. Derek McNeil, who is the senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. They are the proud parents of two children; a son, Omari, and a daughter, Mia.
Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson associate professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago and the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009) and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010).Soong-Chan is formerly the founding senior pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church—a multiethnic, urban ministry-focused church committed to living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. Soong-Chan has previously been part of a church planting team in the Washington, D.C. area, worked for a number of years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston (specifically at MIT), and mobilized CCFC to plant two additional churches. He currently serves on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association, and the Catalyst Leadership Center.
He has extensive experience in cross-cultural preaching, especially on numerous college campuses. Soong-Chan was a plenary speaker at several conferences and gatherings: the 2003 Urbana Student Missions Conference, 2005 Summer Institute for Asian American Ministry and Theology, 2006 Congress on Urban Ministry, the 2007 Evangelical Covenant Church Midwinter Conference, 2007 Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference, 2008 CCDA National Conference, 2009 Cornerstone Festival, 2010 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary National Preaching Conference, and 2011 Disciples of Christ General Assembly.
The eleven workshop topics include, “Christians Relating to Muslims,” presented by Dan McNerney. Workshop description: “Great barriers of misunderstanding, prejudice, pain from the past, and current events divide Christians and Muslims around the world. Sadly, few American Christians have Muslim friends. As a result, when there is no dialogue between Christians and Muslims, each camp can easily demonize the other. Following years of mission work in Egypt and United Arab Emirates, Dan McNerney has led his church in Northbrook, IL, to build bridges of friendship with the local mosque. The results have been incredible. McNeary will share experience, offer inspiration, and provide tools so another church can do the same.”

Another workshop is entitled “Broadening the Conversation on Men, Women, and the Church,” presented by Kate Wallace. The workshop description: “The debate about the role and place of women in the Church is heating up. What do both sides believe? What are the consequences of this debate on the Church? This workshop will explain the current debate, describe the two main viewpoints, and evaluate what scripture and the life of Jesus teach us about gender roles and Church leadership.” Political scientist and Junia Project co-founder Kate Wallace will lead this workshop.”
Another workshop is on stewardship of our earth. Judy Sims and Diana D’Evelyn of Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara will present “Caring for Creation: Trinity Community Gardens.” They will discuss the outstanding work being done at Trinity Gardens and will speak about the gardens’ food education programs and the provision of fresh produce to the community.
Additional workshops will address children at risk, human trafficking, racial reconciliation, mission work in Ukraine, missional church, poverty and reconciliation, and reconciliation amidst violence.
For information visit www.sbmissionconference.org, phone Conference Director Chuck Curtis (805) 687-0754 ext. 102, or email at ccurtis@fpcsb.org.

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