Covenant Gathering 2017 Faculty

Mari Graham, a native of Kaua'i, Hawaii has been working in the digital media space since 2014.  She began her career as a media coordinator at Doe-Anderson- one of the oldest independent ad agencies in the US - where she quickly discovered a passion for all things digital media.  Presently, Mari directs social media strategy for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), working with ministry areas and communication teams to share the Good News with both Presbyterians and the public.

The Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church and an ordained Baptist minister. After serving in pastoral ministry for 20 years, Dr. Nemecek moved into higher education where she worked for 20 years before retiring. Julie has delivered a baby; climbed a mountain; gone spelunking; parachuted from a plane; cooked a 12-course dinner for six; shot a 78 in golf; traveled internationally to England, France, Ireland, India, Italy, Mexico, and Switzerland; visited 48 U.S. states. She is married (44 years) and has three sons and seven grandchildren.

Karen Kelley serves as pastor of  Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MI.  She is a long-time attendee of Synod School and Covenant Gathering, and is a member of the Design Team.  In her spare time, she enjoys creating art and making music.

Carla Mavis has led adult study in her congregations for more than 10 years. She taught and led Synod Schools for more years than she cares to count and was instrumental in creating Covenant Gathering after Synod School was no longer funded. She has chaired the CG Design Team for 10 of its 11 years. She recently retired as a special education teacher and now lives in Circleville, OH.

Virginia “Ginny” Sheets - Prior to her retirement from 37 years in Indiana state government, “Ginny” Sheets served as an assistant director in charge of Administrative Services for the Division of Reclamation, Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  She has written and conducted a variety of courses on strategic planning, leadership, team training, time management, and conflict resolution as well as being a certified facilitator for Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results courses.

She continues to write curriculum materials including a handbook for new deacons and elders and study guides for small groups at her home church White Lick Presbyterian Church, Avon, IN.  She has served as Moderator for the Whitewater Valley Presbytery and is active on the Hispanic Ministries Leadership Team.  With two training partners, Ginny has written leadership development courses for pastors and elders in the Riviera Maya Presbytery in Cancun, Mexico and the Iglesia Evangelica Dominicana in the Dominican Republic.

Ginny is married to Wayne, her best friend and companion for the last forty-three years.  Ginny and Wayne live in Brownsburg where they serve as household staff for four cats.  When she is not at her computer, she can be found mowing grass at the church and cemetery. 

Bryce Wiebe is manager of Special Offerings PC(USA) Mission Agency. Bryce has also served as mission associate for Enough for Everyone, PC (USA) Hunger Program, and as Christian Educator at First Presbyterian church in New Haven, Connecticut, where he wrote children’s plays, developed educational materials, created worship experiences, and led Bible studies that engaged issues of economic justice. Bryce holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and BA degrees in Music and Business Administration from Hastings College. He retains part-ownership of a small, sourdough bread bakery in Nebraska. When he is not working, you can find him in the kitchen or at the gym, where he explores God’s many forms of nourishment.

Keynote Speaker
The Rev. Carol McDonald is a Teaching Elder and member of the Presbytery of Wabash Valley. She served on the staff of the Synod of Lincoln Trails from 1989 until she retired as Executive for the Synod in 2014. She continues work with newly ordained Teaching Elders, Commissioned Ruling Elders, and those seeking to prepare for transitional ministry. She loves to help groups dream and vision and explore possibilities!


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