World Convention - Christian - Churches of Christ - Disciples of Christ
Connecting Everywhere, Every Day

Board


President:  Paul Chimhungwe, Swaziland
Vice Presidents: Andrej Bajenski, Poland
Doug Foster, USA
Katherine Ann Haggard, USA
Lydia Soko, Zimbabwe
Gerson Vicente de Souza, Brazil
Treasurer: Jason Thompson, USA
Immediate Past President: Ajai Lall, India
Past Presidents: Bafundi J (B.J.) Mpofu, Zimbabwe
C. Robert Wetzel, USA
David Thompson, UK
Ron Brooker, Australia
Lyndsay Jacobs, New Zealand
Richmond Nelson, Jamaica
Other Board Members:
Jackie Bunch, USA
Marj Dredge, Australia
Stan Litke, Canada
Marsha Relyea Miles, USA
Rick Reisinger, USA
Mark Taylor, USA
Dan Yarnell, UK

Biographies

Andrej Bajenski brings over 30 years of ministry experience to our board. He is the Chief Presbyter of the Church of Christ in Poland.  These churches are actively involved in a wide range of work, including the Retirement Home Betania, Christian Bible Institute, Child’s World Mission, Ostroda Camp, Word and Life Publishing House, and Foreign Mission and Charity Ministry. There are 25 congregations and six mission stations in Poland. Andrzej studied at Warsaw Theological Academy and Hope International University, Fullerton, CA. He is a leader of ProEcclesia, http://www.proecclesia.pl/ an organization born out of the need to further expand missional efforts and to better assist churches and their leadership throughout Poland.

Ron Brooker. Ron grew up in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria in a loving, caring family, attending Middle Park, Brighton and Caulfield Churches. His career was mainly in the confectionery and food industries. He has been actively involved in the local churches – Caulfield, Ringwood, Cheltenham and North Balwyn as Secretary, Board member, Elder, Sunday School Superintendent, Teacher and Youth leader. His love of people led Ron into many areas of service; President and Treasurer of Save The Children Fund of Victoria, President 1980-81 of Victorian Churches of Christ State Conference, member of the Federal Board of Christian Education, member of Victorian Department of Christian Education, Secretary and Board member of College of the Bible Australia (now CCTC), Treasurer and Secretary of Australian Committee of World Convention, and Board Member of World Convention. Ron’s dedication to serving God and his love for life, his family, and the Church are his motivation.

Jackie Bunch is a retired guidance counselor for the Columbus, Ohio City Schools. After retiring in 2005, she became a real estate investor. Her ministry is providing decent housing for families in need, specializing in families with single mothers who are head of the household. She is the immediate Past President of Global Women Connecting (formerly World Christian Women’s Fellowship) and has served as President of the International Christian Women’s Fellowship.

Paul Chimhungwe brings a variety of experience to our board. After a career as an accountant, Paul worked as a Counselor to AIDS patients in his native Zimbabwe while teaching and pursuing further education. Paul holds two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees, and is a candidate for the PhD from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. Paul’s master’s thesis at McMaster was the transition from mission to indigenous leadership of two church institutions in Zimbabwe. He is working on his dissertation, a history of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Zimbabwe. He currently teaches at African Christian College in Swaziland. Paul is from Churches of Christ, and his research has given him connections to Christian Churches and to Disciples (and their partners) in southern Africa.

Marj Dredge lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Marj has been involved in Churches of Christ ministry in Australia for 45 years. Although recently retired from full time ministry, Marj and her husband have been involved in short term Intentional Interim ministries during the last 4 years. Now that they are not responsible for a church full-time, they enjoy exploring their beautiful homeland! Marj is a qualified Spiritual Director and was the first woman to hold the position of Conference President of Churches of Christ in South Australia. Marj has been heavily involved in ministry for and by women, having at one point been the Australian CWF President and later President of World Christian Women’ Fellowship (which later became Global Women Connecting). She is currently National Coordinator of Australian Churches of Christ Women’s Ministries, and, as such, is their representative to Global Women Connecting. Marj is also involved with the ecumenical group, Australian Church Women. She has been a member of the World Convention Board since 1996.  Marj was recently appointed National Liaison for World Day of Prayer, Australia.

Douglas Foster is Professor of Church History in the Graduate School of Theology and Director of the Center for Restoration Studies at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. Foster’s scholarly work has centered on understanding the place of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement in the larger context of global Christianity, and understanding the idea of Christian unity that was integral to formation of the Movement. He served as a General Editor for The Stone-Campbell Movement – A Global History published in 2013. He is also completing a biography of Alexander Campbell for the Eerdmans religious biography series. He is a member of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue and serves on the Boards of Stone-Campbell International and the World Convention of Churches of Christ.

Katherine Ann Haggard resides in Kansas City and was born and raised in Overland Park, Kansas. Katherine is an attorney licensed to practice law in both Kansas and Missouri. She has a general practice with an emphasis in estate planning and other areas of probate court. She enjoys most working with seniors. She earned a BS in psychology, with a major in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, from Kansas State University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Katherine is actively involved on the board of Lake View Village, a local retirement community, Jamaica Partners, a nonprofit that provides medical and educational support to organizations in Jamaica and is a member of PEO (Women’s Philanthropic Educational Organization). Her parents, Forrest and Eleanor, initially got her involved in the World Convention where she met, worshiped and communed. She continues to cherish those close ties. She enjoys traveling, reading, yoga and spending time with her extended family and friends. Her true passion is outreach and seeing the ripple effect of her parents’ ministry.

Lyndsay Jacobs is a retired high school principal from New Zealand.  He has been on the World Convention Executive Board since 1979, was president 1984-1988 and General Secretary 1993-2004.  He is also a past president of the Associated Churches of Christ in New Zealand (Christian Churches New Zealand).  Currently much of his time is spent building relationships amongst all churches in New Zealand. Married to Lorraine since 1966. Lorraine was associate General Secretary of World Convention 1993-2004.

Ajai Lall is founder and director of Central India Christian Mission, The primary focus of CICM is evangelism, church planting and leadership training. The Mission has grown from two to over 500 fulltime workers and has planted over 700 churches in central and northern India and the countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. Ajai served as the President of the 2001 National Missionary Convention and President of the All India Christian Convention in 2006. He spoke during main sessions at the combined 1995 North American Christian Convention/National Missionary Convention and at the 2000 and 2008 North American Christian Conventions. Ajai has written four Christian textbooks and edited others that are widely used by Hindi-speaking Christian leaders, teachers, and evangelists in India. Ajai holds degrees from the State University (Sagar) of Central India, Mid Atlantic Christian University, and the Institute of Theological Studies and Research, Kerala, India.

Stan Litke works in Public Relations and Communications and resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Marsha Relyea Miles is a missionary with Pioneer Bible Translators, and has served as a Bible translator in Papua New Guinea since 1984. Together with her late husband John Relyea, Marsha has lovingly ministered amongst the Aruamu people group, a group of approximately 10,000 people who live in remote hamlets in the rainforest. When the Relyeas began work with the Aruamu, the language had no written alphabet. The Relyeas have learned the Aruamu language and culture by living and interacting with the people on a grass-roots level. They have analyzed the grammatical system and sound system of the language, and have developed an alphabet for the language. They have worked with Aruamu leaders to develop an extensive literacy program to teach Aruamus to read. John and Marsha worked with a large team of Aruamu people to translate and publish the New Testament in Aruamu. Tragically, John died in Papua New Guinea in 2005, just as the New Testament was being printed. Marsha continues her involvement with the Aruamu translation team with exegetical/advisor assistance as they translate the Old Testament. Marsha had the privilege of serving as President of the National Missionary Convention in 2007. In addition to serving on the board of the World Convention, she also serves on the board of Literature and Teaching Ministries. Marsha is an extremely moving speaker and has shared with deep, motivating impact at many conferences, college campuses, retreats, mission events, and Perspectives classes. She holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from Ozark Christian College and a Masters in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. Marsha is married to Nathan Miles of the United Bible Societies. Together they are blending a family of 6 children and 12

Bafundi J., (B.J.) Mpofu was born in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe, near the Dadaya Mission. The son of an elder in the village church, B.J. grew up in a strong Christian home and was able to observe from an early age the impact of the Church on life and community. After attending the village school run by the missionaries, B.J. attended high school in Harare, the capitol city. He received his Diploma in Education from The United College in Bulawayo; an inter-denominational College of Education affiliated with the University of Zimbabwe. B. J. retired after 38 years in the field of education, the last decade of which was spent as the Headmaster of Petra, a large multi-racial Christian school in Bulawayo. A keen sportsman, he represented his country in soccer and for many years was a key football administrator before retiring from sports administration to concentrate on church work. B.J. serves as elder at the Makokoba Church and is frequently called upon to preach in congregations all over Zimbabwe and offers leadership training for congregations without trained pastors. In addition, he has overseen the establishment of more than 30 new congregations. He is past Chairman of the Associated Churches of Christ in Zimbabwe. He is also on the Board of Zimbabwe Christian College, Dadaya High School, and Showers of Blessings Trust and was a founding Board member and first secretary of Khayelihle Children’s Village, where he continues to do extensive fund raising. At present, B.J. is responsible for the Showers of Blessings Trust whose main agenda is to empower the rural people in our Zimbabwean churches and to bring them into the main stream of economy. B.J. and his wife reside in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Richmond Nelson was one of the earliest graduates of Oberlin High School. He continued his education at University of the West Indies, United Theological College of the West Indies and Union Seminary (New York, U.S.A.). This prepared him for service as Assistant Pastor, St. James Presbyterian Church, New York, 1959-61, Teacher, Excelsior School, 1962-71, and Pastor, Duke Street Christian Church, 1961-72. He succeeded the C. A. Robertsons as head of the Oberlin School in 1971. Dr. Nelson’s service to the church continues as Moderator of the United Church of Jamaica and Grand Cayman Islands.

Erick D. (Rick) Reisinger  is President of Disciples Church Extension Fund, the capital planning and funding unit of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Rick joined Church Extension more than 30 years ago upon his graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and economics from Culver-Stockton College, Canton, MO.  His responsibilities at Church Extension include securities compliance and financial operations for Church Extension, as well as assisting congregations in planning and financing capital expansion projects. Rick served World Convention as Assistant Treasurer in 1992, and continued his service as Treasurer from 1996-2013.

Lydia Soko, Chairlady for the Bulawayo Churches of Christ in Zimbabwe is the newly elected President of Global Women Connecting. Lydia is an inspirational teacher and facilitator who shares her skill and passion to support welfare and spiritual growth, especially of children and pastor’s wives. She and her husband, Lovemore, run an extensive Sunday school program in an old, high density suburb of Makokoba accommodating 300-350 children every Sunday morning. They are returning to the community what God has so graciously given – this is the same program where Lydia and Lovemore met! Lydia is a primary school teacher and she and her husband are parents to two teenagers who have completed university studies. Her passion for children enabled her to serve as a board member to the Kayelihle Children’s Village and encourage others to sponsor the children with their time and energy.

Mark A. Taylor is publisher and editor of Christian Standard magazine and publisher of The Lookout. He has been editing Christian Standard since 2003 after having served in a variety of editorial, management, and marketing roles at Standard Publishing since 1976. He has been a member of Christ’s Church at Mason (Ohio) for more than 25 years. He has served there as director of Christian Education, elder, adult teacher, and worship leader. Mark has been a member of the Board of Stewards and the Executive Committee for the North American Christian Convention and became a member of the Stone-Campbell Dialogue in 2009.

David Thompson recently retired as Professor of Modern Church History at Cambridge University (UK), where he has taught since 1965. He is also a non-stipendiary minister of the United Reformed Church in the UK, serving as Ecumenical Officer for the Eastern Synod. Since 1980 David has been a member of the International Dialogue between Disciples of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church, and he is also Co-Chair of the national dialogue between the Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and the United Reformed Church. He was the last President of the Annual Conference of Churches of Christ in Great Britain and Ireland in 1979-80, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church in 1996-97, and President of the World Convention, 2000-2004.

Jason Thompson. In addition to his work as a Senior Consultant with the Carpenter’s Plan, Jason Thompson serves as the Administration Minister at the Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood, TN, where he facilitates a comprehensive ministry system including the areas of finance and administration. His work with churches and nonprofits has raised millions of dollars for good works. Before moving to Nashville, Jason ministered in the Atlanta area for eleven years. Jason holds religious degrees from Faulkner University and Harding School of Theology and completed additional studies at Emory University. He was awarded a Doctorate of Education in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University in 2012. Jason has served on numerous boards impacting downtown Nashville including Nashville Inner City Ministry and was a founding board member of Bridges Academy, a faith-based inner city school that is now part of a charter school. He presently serves on the Leadership Council for Lipscomb Academy. Nationally, Jason serves as a board member for the Church Administrator’s Network. In 2009, Jason was named by the Nashville Business Journal as one of the 40 leaders in Nashville under the age of 40 making a difference in Middle Tennessee.Jason is married to Megan, and they have three children: Kelsey Joy, Ella Grace, and Will Hudson.

C. Robert Wetzel retired as President of Emmanuel School of Religion on May 31, 2009. He was honored with the title Chancellor and began serving in that capacity. From 1961-1980, he was administrator and teacher at Milligan College. He then spent eleven years serving our sister churches in the UK and serving as Principal of Springdale College in Birmingham, England. During the academic year 2009-10 he returned to Milligan College as a part-time teacher of Humanities. He and his wife are members of the Downtown Christian Church in Johnson City, TN.

Dan Yarnell is the National Coordinator of the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in the United Kingdom.  Having spent nearly twenty years serving as the minister of Church Hill Christian Fellowship (now Kairos) in Redditch, he now expresses his leadership among our churches and leaders along with his wife, Amy.  Dan is also Director of Undergraduate Studies and lecturer in theology and community at Birmingham Christian College.