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Thomas Brackeen

Thomas Brackeen is a multi-vocational servant leader with over 28 years of experience working with youth and young adults in the DC metro area. He serves as the Minister to Youth and Families at the Historic Metropolitan AME Church in downtown Washington DC. He has earned Certificates from the Institute for Youth Ministry in Youth and Theology, as well as Youth and Black Theology, and his church has participated in the Log College Project. As his other vocational life, he works as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead at The Nature Conservancy, where he has worked for the past 11 years.

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Reggie Blount

Dr. Reggie Blount speaks and teaches nationally and internationally helping faith communities envision new and creative ways to minister to, with, and on behalf of young people, foster congregational and community renewal, and engage in transformative social impact. He teaches in the areas of Christian Education, Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Congregational Leadership. He serves as Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience, Program Director of the Garrett-Evangelical Young Adult Initiative, Co-Executive Director of the Children Defense Fund Garrett-Evanston Freedom School Program, and Advisor for the Doctor of Ministry in Strategic Leadership in Black Congregations.

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Megan DeWald

Megan is the Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry, where she oversees research, facilitates training, and designs resources for people engaged in youth ministry. She is also the creator and host of the IYM’s podcast, Disrupting Ministry, which shares stories of faith communities that are disrupting the status quo in the church by developing innovative forms of ministry with young people. With two decades of experience in youth and young adult ministry, Megan is passionate about nurturing authentic connection and friendship among people from different social locations and equipping leaders to understand and navigate systems, structures, and relationships. She writes and speaks for national and international audiences and served as a collaborating author with Kenda Creasy Dean and Ron Foster on the revised version of The Godbearing Life: The Art of Soul Tending for Youth Ministry.

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Aqueelah Ligonde

Aqueelah Ligonde is an enthusiastic speaker and leader with a passion for today's generation of youth and women. She holds a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry and Certificate in Black Church Studies from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. In 2011, she was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and became a member of the Presbytery of New York City. Aqueelah is an International Coaching Federation (ICF)-trained coach through the Coach Approach Skills Training program. She is currently the Director of Coaching and Consultant for Ministry Architects and the Vice President for Coaching and Training for Ministry Incubators, organizations that are designed to champion congregations and leaders to help them live into their full ministry potential.

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Maureen Lucas

Maureen Lucas is the youth minister at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Milford Connecticut, working with students in grades six through twelve. A bi-vocational leader, Maureen helps students connect their "church faith" with living faithfully and authentically outside the walls. Maureen also serves her parish by creating intergenerational formation and fellowship opportunities among congregants. Maureen has coordinated multi-parish youth trips and events, presented on various youth ministry topics, and co-created and implemented a regenerative farm based service trip model. She holds a Master’s degree in Taxation, has three fitness certifications, is a member of the Episcopal Gathering of Leaders, and holds a Certificate in Youth and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

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Elizabeth "Liz" Moore

Liz Moore is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Youth Ministry, where she oversees the Certificate in Youth and Theology Program and develops training and resources for youth workers. Liz has more than a decade of experience in youth ministry and pastoral leadership, most recently with the Vineyard. A sought-after teacher and preacher, Liz is passionate about listening prayer, sustainable ministry, and social change. Liz is also an accomplished cook and believes in the profound connection between ministry and hospitality. She holds a BA in Religious Studies from Trinity College in Connecticut and an MDiv from Duke Divinity School.

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Lucie Moore

Dr. Lucie Moore is a researcher, innovator, and executive leader. She recently completed a multi-year project called Translating God as Director of the Youthscape Centre for Research, where she also published research on the church and climate change, theological reflection in youth ministry, and Christian practice in mission with young people. In this role, Lucie worked closely with the Institute for Youth Ministry to develop an International Certificate in Youth, Theology, and Innovation. Lucie is now Chief Executive of CEASE UK, a human rights organization working to dismantle the cultural and commercial drivers of sexual exploitation. She was Senior Research Fellow at the Safer Young Lives Centre, a founding member of Faiths Against Child Sexual Exploitation, and spent ten years volunteering with victims or sexual exploitation.

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Mark "Marko" Oestreicher

Mark Oestreicher (Marko) is a veteran youth worker and founding partner in The Youth Cartel, providing resources and coaching for church youth workers. The author of many books, including Youth Ministry 3.0 and What’s Right About Youth Ministry, Marko is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant. Marko lives in San Diego with his wife Jeannie and has two young adult kids, Riley and Max.

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Michael "Mike" Ozaki

Currently serving First Presbyterian and Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston, Minnesota, Rev. Michael "Mike" Ozaki's ministry begin serving in projects for children in India and Thailand, including working with Mother Theresa's Sisters of Charity. He then moved to Southern Africa with Beautiful Gate: Ministry for Children with HIV for three years before receiving his B.A. in Sociology, Masters of Social Work at RutgersU University and MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2015, Mike turned towards congregational ministry, developing a focus on youth, community collaborative missions, and experiencing God through contemplative practice and marginal spaces, all while serving communities ranging from immigrant boroughs in New Jersey to Central Pennsylvania college towns and rural midwest farming communities.

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Patrick Reyes

Chicano writer, theologian, and executive leader, Dr. Patrick B. Reyes is Dean of Auburn Theological Seminary. He is a bestselling and award-winning author of The Purpose Gap and Nobody Cries When We Die. He was inducted into the Morehouse College MLK Jr. Collegium of Scholars in 2023. The Council of Independent Colleges NetVUE selected The Purpose Gap as the Big Read for 2022-2023. Patrick serves on boards in theological and higher education, publications, and the nonprofit sector, supporting the next generation of Black, Indigenous, and Chicano spiritual and cultural leaders. He holds a Doctorate and Masters from Claremont School of Theology, an MDiv from Boston University School of Theology, and is a proud graduate of California State University, Sacramento.

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Abigail Rusert

Abigail Rusert serves as the Associate Dean of Continuing Education at Princeton Theological Seminary. An ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she has served in a variety of roles in ministry, including associate pastor, youth director, chaplain, camp counselor, and prior to her current position, as Director of the IYM. Abigail is passionate about researching and designing programs that serve congregational leaders and transform Christian communities, and she has facilitated more than $4 million in grant funding to foster changemaking in the church. A graduate of Valparaiso University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is a co-author of the book Delighted: What Teenagers are Teaching the Church About Joy with Wesley Ellis, Justin Forbes, and Kenda Creasy Dean. Abigail and her husband, Thomas, have three kids—Dorothy, Solveig, and Frank—and live in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Abigail serves as a small group leader at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. 

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Angellica Sweat

Angellica Sweat is the Program Coordinator for the Institute of Youth Ministry, where she develops innovative theological programs and curates relevant resources for congregational youth leaders. With over a decade of experience in youth leadership and vocational ministry, Angellica is passionate about fostering caring communities of transformational ministry where young people can flourish. A sought-after AME Zion preacher and womanist scholar, Angellica’s research explores the connection between ministry and trauma recovery. She holds a BA in Psychology from Livingstone College, an MDiv from Hood Theological Seminary, and a ThM from Duke Divinity School.

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Amelia Thompson

Amelia Thompson started RenewToday to help individuals and organizations develop cultures of racial and gender equity. RenewToday's gender equity work focuses on fighting period poverty globally and with a specific focus in sub-Saharan Africa. She considers her work a public theology that is rooted in a commitment to doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly. She completed undergraduate studies at Vassar College and graduate studies at St. John’s University and Harvard University. She also completed a Certificate in Youth and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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Christopher "Chris" Wurpts

Christopher "Chris" Wurpts currently serves as the Lead Pastor at North Scottsdale United Methodist Church, where he is focused on bridging the gap between corporate, old-school, institutional church life and whatever comes next. Though a recent convert to Methodism, Christopher has worked in churches for the past 16 years in some capacity. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology. He completed the IYM's Certificate in Youth and Theology in 2017 and was a featured speaker at UMC LEAD in 2022. Chris lives with his wife and daughter in Phoenix, Arizona. In his spare time, he enjoys watching the trashiest reality television—shows like “Love Island” make him almost believe in theological concepts like “total depravity” once again.

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Yedea Walker

Yedea Walker is the Associate Dean of Student Life at Princeton Theological Seminary. Prior to this, she served as Director of Student Life Programs and was one of the inaugural Pastoral Residents for the seminary community. With a background is in law, Yedea also serves as PTS's Coordinator of Title IX/Title VI. A gifted speaker and communicator, Yedea is a sough-after preacher and active participant in the daily worshipping life of Princeton Seminary.