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The Colossian Forum offers free resources to help you transform polarizing cultural conflicts into opportunities for spiritual growth and witness.

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Meet the Team

Staff

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Rev. Michael Gulker
President
Michael builds strategic partnerships and provides organizational leadership and direction.
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Michael has a long-standing interest in the oft-times contentious intersection of faith and culture and how both thrive best when rooted in worship. Michael has, during his ten years leading The Colossian Forum, become a leader turning conflict into opportunity for both deeper discipleship and more beautiful witness. The Colossian Forum has equipped hundreds of church leaders and thousands of laypeople in transformative Christian practices that harness the energy of everyday conflicts for positive spiritual formation. A native of West Michigan, he studied philosophy and theology at Calvin College, has a divinity degree from Duke Divinity School and is an ordained Mennonite pastor.

Before helping form The Colossian Forum, Michael served as pastor of Christ Community Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife, Jodie, have two children.

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Rob Barrett
Chief Programming and Innovation Officer
Rob develops the ideas and practices for transforming divisive issues into opportunities for discipleship.
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Rob holds two PhDs—one in Applied Physics from Stanford University and the other in Theology from Durham University in England. He worked as a research scientist at IBM, a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew in England, and as a postdoctoral researcher of Old Testament in Göttingen, Germany. Rob has many publications in a wide range of fields and holds many patents. He also has degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and Regent College in Vancouver. His varied background is unified by his longstanding interest in the intersection of faith, Bible, science/technology, and culture. Rob and his wife Crystal have two young children.

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Claire Horlings
Vice President of Development
Claire directs fundraising strategies and stewards our donors’ gifts to help support our mission now and into the future.
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Drawing together her background in marketing, a degree in Journalism from Michigan State University, and comprehensive training in fund development from local experts and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Claire directs The Colossian Forum’s fund development strategy, including grants, and individual gifts. Prior to joining our team, she cultivated donor relationships for World Renew and oversaw fund development for Kent District Library. A life-long learner and relationship-builder, she designs inspiring fundraising initiatives and works directly with donors and the Board to help Colossian Forum supporters realize their vision for resilient, Christ-like churches through impactful giving. Claire and her husband, Rod, have raised their three children in Grand Rapids, and she continues to invest in her community as a member of the Rotary Club and STRIVE Mentor for high school students.

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Lexi Jones
Administrative Assistant
Lexi provides support in a variety of departments.
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With a BA from Calvin College, earning a degree in English Writing with minors in English as a Second Language, Youth Ministry, and Missions, Lexi has a passion for the interconnectedness of the Gospel and the various outlets it can be shared through. Currently serving as an ordained Kids Pastor at Takeover Church, she finds herself energized by the connection between the TCF mission and her role in church leadership. Growing up in rural Illinois, Lexi has competed at the national level and now coaches bowling at both Jenison High School and Cornerstone University. In her spare time, she enjoys hunting down a new read, hanging out with her dog, and savoring a cup of Madcap coffee.

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Clint Westbrook
Chief of Staff
Clint manages our programming, internal processes, and evaluation systems to help move our transformative mission from theory to reality.
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Clint is an attorney by training who has become increasingly interested in conflict—particularly in the way that we, as Christians, can engage conflict while glorifying God and testifying to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. Energized by the mission of The Colossian Forum, he felt called to transition out of his role as a litigator at a large law firm to focus on conflict in the church. Clint grew up in Wisconsin, but moved to Michigan to study at Hillsdale College where he earned his B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and French. Then, after a year teaching English in France, Clint returned to Michigan to study law, earning his J.D. from Michigan State University. He now lives in the Grand Rapids area with his wife, Amy, and their two children.

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Sarah Nicholas
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Sarah creates awareness of and invites people into The Colossian Forum's mission through marketing and communications initiatives.
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Sarah has over 25 years of experience managing global marketing and communications programs for non-profit and high-tech organizations, including telecommunications startups, software providers, and certification organizations. She enjoys crafting messages, strategies, and systems that help organizations build and scale their brands. She has an English degree from Auburn University. Having lived in many places, she now resides in West Michigan. She and her husband, Jim, have five children. An avid reader and a lifelong student of dance, she is a member of the Farrell Ballet Theatre in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

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Andy Saur
Executive Assistant
Andy makes everyone’s life easier by providing administrative support to the President and the organization as a whole.
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Andy loves building interpersonal connections and has an overarching passion for story. His particular interest is how story encountered through the arts helps grow understanding and compassion. Andy has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Wheaton College and completed a diploma in Entertainment Business Management from Vancouver Film School. In his spare time, he seeks sunshine and an empty city bench to create art of his own in the form of poetry.

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Monica Lawrence
Events and Programming Coordinator
Monica coordinates our events and trainings, and provides administration support to our team.
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Monica thrives in places filled with genuine connection, bulleted lists, and warm hospitality. She believes there is beauty and power in creating a space for people to engage in meaningful discussion and that is precisely how she serves TCF’s mission. Monica earned her BA in Strategic Communication from Cornerstone University and has experience in event planning, banking, and organizational management. In her spare time, you'll catch her playing board games with friends, sipping a sweet latte, and coordinating weddings.

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Emily Stroble
Development and Communications Officer
Emily stimulates organizational growth by cultivating donor relationships and writing communications which connect and support TCF’s larger community.
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A graduate of Calvin College with a BA in English Writing, Emily has channeled imagination and ceaseless curiosity into non-profit development work, Christian publishing, and magazine and blog writing. Her personal philosophy and purpose, taken from 1 Corinthians 13, inspires her to look beyond knowledge, which merely “puffs up,” to the pursuit of truth, unity, and hope motivated by love for others and Christ, which “builds up.” Relational, adventurous, and perpetually humbled by God’s daily grace and revelation, Emily thrives on encouraging others and hearing their stories, treasure-hunting in used bookstores, plein air painting, writing on theology, movies, and culture, and practicing wonder.

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Kevin Douglas
Vice President of Partnerships and Care
Kevin fosters relationships between TCF and other churches and organizations to implement the mission of TCF.
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With his Bachelor’s in Marketing and Business from Central Michigan University 2009 and his Master’s of Divinity from Moody Theological Seminary in 2016, Kevin has a wide range of ministry and business experience. He started a digital marketing company in 2011, then transitioned into a Director Of Pastoral Care role in 2012. In 2017, he became the Director of Marketing for Trauma Based Christian Parenting and, most recently, was a Co-pastor for a growing church plant in the heart of New York City. Kevin’s knowledge and experience of being a pastor in the midst of one the most diverse places on earth has given him extensive experience with conflict. He is passionate about utilizing the knowledge gained from his marketing and pastoring experience to bring the transformative power of The Colossian Forum to as many organizations that he can. Kevin and his wife Tiahna currently reside in Traverse City, Michigan - the best place on earth.

Board of Directors

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Sid Jansma, Jr.
Chair
Sid serves as Chairman of the Board of Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation in Grand Rapids, MI.
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Sid's oil patch experience began in 1959 working part-time for his dad as a roustabout. So he started at the bottom! Four years at Calvin College resulted in a degree in philosophy and economics after which he earned an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Michigan. He then joined Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation full-time.

Sid works for the oil industry at both the state and national levels—at various times he's been chairman of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, chairman of the IPAA Tax Committee, chairman of the Environment and Safety Committee, and on the Board of Directors of API. That kind of networking keeps him in touch with others in the industry and up-to-date on what's going on around the country in the oil field.

Sid has also enjoyed serving at church as elder and chairman of the board of trustees at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church. He is currently serving on several other boards including that of the Russian-American Institute and Calvin Theological Seminary. Sid’s four children and 14 grandchildren are an endless source of joy to Sid and his wife, Cate. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, sailing, hunting, fishing, and playing the bagpipes—with absolutely no time left for golf!

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Christine Pohl
Vice Chair
Christine is Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.
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Dr. Christine Pohl is Professor Emeritus of Church and Society at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY) where she taught for almost 30 years. She earned her PhD in Ethics and Society at Emory University.

Before her tenure at the seminary, she worked in various ministries including owning a Christian bookstore and serving refugees through advocacy and resettlement efforts. She has served on the boards of the Louisville Institute and the Society of Christian Ethics, and has also directed a four-year grant with the Lilly Endowment on Sustaining Pastoral Excellence in Community.

Dr. Pohl speaks regularly, at the national and international level, on recovering the practices of hospitality and community. She has addressed various communities concerning these matters including congregations, intentional communities, and staff and volunteers in ministry with homeless people, people with disabilities, and refugees.

She is also the author of several books including Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition and Living into Community: Cultivating Practices that Sustain Us.

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Dale Rietberg
Secretary/Treasurer
Dale serves as counsel at Varnum Law in Grand Rapids, MI.
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Dale has extensive experience in the area of nonprofit and tax exempt entities, and works with a wide range of exempt organizations, including charities, social service agencies, cultural and civic institutions, educational organizations, foundations, health organizations, clubs and associations, and churches and religious organizations. He also practices in the area of general corporate and business transactions, with a focus on closely-held family businesses.

Dale earned his MBA from the University of Michigan Graduate School of Business and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Bar Association and serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, MOKA Corporation, and the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan Foundation.

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Jim Blankemeyer
Director
Jim is a successful entrepreneur and ministry leader.
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In 1969, Jim founded MetoKote Corporation, an innovator in the application of high quality industrial coatings and paints. MetoKote became one of the largest companies of its kind, and has over 40 operations in ten countries (North America, South America, and Europe).

Since committing his life to Jesus Christ in 1976, Jim has been active in many ministries and serves on numerous boards, traveling extensively around the world. In 1988, Jim and Carolyn, his wife, started their own family foundation to teach their children Biblical principles of responsible stewardship over God's resources of time, talents, relationships, and money in the ministry of furthering the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jim has been married to Carolyn (Rieman) for fifty-eight years. They have nine children, 29 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

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Mycal Brickhouse
Director
Mycal serves as the Senior Pastor of Cary First Christian Church (Cary, NC) and the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Duke Divinity School (Durham, NC).
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Mycal X. Brickhouse serves as the Senior Pastor of Cary First Christian Church in Cary, NC and the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations at Duke Divinity School. Mycal earned a BA in Political Science and a BA in African American Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as a MDiv from Duke Divinity School.

Over the course of his ministry, Mycal has served as an Associate Minister at St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Fayetteville, NC, St. Joseph A.M.E Church in Durham, NC, and the chaplain intern at St. Augustine’s University Chapel. At Duke Divinity School, Mycal devotes himself to evaluating, reimagining, and creating new alumni programs and opportunities in order to create meaningful engagement for our broad array of 7,000+ alumni constituents—across denominations, generations, and sectors, as well as across Duke University.

Mycal is an active volunteer in the community and currently serves as a member of the Cary Coalition of Wake County Habitat for Humanity, and the Chairperson of the Western Regional Community Advisory Committee of Wake County Human Services. Rev. Mycal Brickhouse is married to the lovely Kristin McCullough Brickhouse.

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Patricia Duthler
Director
Patricia serves as the Managing Investor and CEO at Duthler Holdings.
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Patricia is currently CEO of Duthler Holdings where she manages a portfolio of commercial real estate investments. Formally, she was CEO and Dealer Principal of Duthler Automotive Group and Duthler Truck Center. She has also served as the Executive Director of GROW (Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women), and as a senior consultant with Greystone Global of Chicago where she advised organizational leaders on strategic change management. Patricia has expertise as a project manager and program planner with a number of non-profit organizations; she also worked as a computer systems analyst with international for-profit corporations.

 

A graduate of Calvin College and Aquinas College with a BA in Secondary Education from the former and a BS in International Business from the latter. She has also earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Western Michigan University as well as a Master Certificate in Applied Project Management from Villanova University. While Patricia has been a long-time resident of West Michigan, she currently shares her time between Michigan and Virginia.

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Gene Miyamoto
Director
Gene serves as a principal advisor in the health services sector, and is based in Holland, MI.
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Gene has led and served as an executive and advisor for hospitals and health systems, as well as private ventures and a Fortune 1000 company. In faith-based healthcare, Gene championed Mission services for the poor and needy, rapid improvement of patient safety, quality and profitable growth in concert with substantial organizational and financial improvement.

He has a Bachelor of Philosophy from Calvin University and a Masters in Health Services Administration from The University of Michigan.

A member of Pillar Church in Holland, Michigan, Gene has served as a co-leader in hosting Colossian Way small groups in his community.

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Juli Morse
Director
Juli serves as Vice President of Customer Success at Swan Island Networks in Portland, OR.
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Juli is a mechanical engineer, entrepreneur, and technology commercialization enthusiast, with 17 years of experience working in the high tech and consumer goods industries. She founded River Parkway Labs, a technology commercialization and product marketing consultancy in Portland, OR. Her focus is working with early stage tech companies and startups, universities, and inventors to bring their innovations, IP, and products to market.

Juli also serves on the Engineering Advisory Board for George Fox University, and the Portland State University Venture Fund Committee. She graduated from George Fox University with a B.S. in Engineering and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Juli and her husband Matthew attend Moreland Presbyterian Church, where Juli serves as an elder.

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Kristi Potter
Director
Kristi serves as director of the January Series at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.
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Kristi has served as part of the January Series staff at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) since 1996. For the first 11 years, she served as Assistant to the Series founding Director, June Hamersma. She succeeded Hamersma as Director in 2007 and has successfully expanded the Series to be available at over 50 remote locations across the U.S. as well as Canada and other sites around the world.

Her work as Director has brought important voices to the Series including John Perkins, Bryan Stevenson, Cokie Roberts, Olympia Snowe, Krista Tippett, Sherry Turkle, Jimmy Wales, N.T. Wright, and many others. The January Series is a yearly fifteen-day free noontime lecture series that curates important conversations about what is happening in the nation and the world and challenges the audience to respond as people of faith to make a positive impact. This past year, the Series reached over 78,000 people over fifteen days.

Kristi is a graduate of Calvin College and has served as an elder at Calvary Christian Reformed Church (Wyoming, MI). She and her husband Jim are active members in their church and have served as volunteer youth leaders for over 25 years. They have three grown sons and one lovely daughter-in-law. In her free time, Kristi enjoys reading, traveling, and learning about new places.

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