Featured Speakers

Dr. Ruth Haley Barton

Founding President/CEO, Transforming Center

Ruth Haley Barton (Doctor of Divinity, Northern Theological Seminary) is founder of the Transforming Center, a ministry dedicated to strengthening the souls of clergy, Christian leaders and the congregations and organizations they serve. A sought-after speaker, retreat leader and trained spiritual director (Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation), she is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life. Dr. Barton has been a student, a practitioner, a teacher and a leader in the area of Christian spirituality and spiritual formation for over twenty years.  She has served on the pastoral staff of several churches, has taught at the graduate level and travels widely, teaching and consulting with churches in the areas of spiritual formation, leadership discernment and transforming community.

Dr. Bungishabaku Katho

Professor of Shalom University, Democratic Republic of Congo

Dr. Bungishabaku Katho is the founder and director of the Jeremiah Center for Faith and Society (JCFS), an organization started in 2017.  The JCFS aims to build a just and peaceful society in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Center seeks to gather leaders to articulate and promote a shared vision for hope which will be spread to the wider community through networking, research, and publications. In addition to his work at JCFS, Katho is a professor of Old Testament at Shalom University located in Bunia, DR Congo.  His scholarly work includes a commentary on the book of Jeremiah (published by Excelsis and Hippo).  Previously, Katho served as the president of Shalom University from 2003-2017 and also president of his denomination, The Brethren Church in Eastern DR Congo, from 2009-2019.

Dr. Robert Chao Romero

Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies, UCLA

Dr. Robert Chao Romero has been a professor of Chicano/Latino Studies at UCLA since 2005.  Together with his wife Erica, Robert serves as co-chair of the Matthew 25 Movement in Southern California. He earned his Ph.D. in Latin American history from UCLA and J.D. from U.C. Berkeley, and is also a pastor and attorney.  Robert’s current book project is entitled, The Brown Church: Towards a Latina/o Christian Social Justice History and Identity (forthcoming Intervarsity Press Academic, 2020).  His first book, The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940, received the Latina/o Studies Section Book Award from the international Latin American Studies Association.

Rev. Michael Gulker

President, The Colossian Forum

A native of West Michigan, Michael studied philosophy and theology at Calvin College, received his MDiv from Duke in 2005, and is an ordained Mennonite pastor. Michael and his wife Jodie have two children. He and his family attend Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Wyoming, Michigan. Before helping to launch The Colossian Forum in 2011, Michael served for five years as a Mennonite pastor in Iowa. That experience cultivated a deep desire to aid Christians in engaging today’s divisive cultural issues. He is committed to sharing the good news that conflict need not be a threat. Instead, we’re free to receive it as a Christ-given opportunity for discipleship and witness to our fragmented world, a world that can no longer imagine what it means for all things to hold together in Christ (Colossians 1:17).


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