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Conference Topics

Bipolar Disorder and Your Marriage: Surviving, Coping and Rebuilding — Dr. James and Rev. Leah Stout How to Create a Care Ministry — Dr. Lydia Sarandon
Caring for the Emotional Needs of the Gifted and Talented — Connie Wax
Caring for Those Who Grieve — Dr. Robert DeVries / Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge
Death and Dying — Rev. Linda Bos
Delivering Healing and Growth for Adult Children of Alcoholics — Roland Petit
Disability Awareness Q&A Panel — Kent Loftsgard with Dr. Norm Coombs, Maureen Pratt, Glen Giffin
Getting Smart — Growing Older — Jane Glenn Haas
Grief and Caring for Those Who Grieve — Dr. Ken Haugk
Helping the Hurting without Hurting while Helping — Dr. Ken Haugk
How Does One Care When a Daughter or Son Says, “I'm gay”? — Dr. Mel Hugen
How to Be a Powerfully Caring Leader — Dr. Ken Haugk
How To Make A Difference — Terri Green
How to More Effectively Help a Bipolar Loved One, and Still Maintain Health and Happiness — Dr. James Stout
Kind People have Boundaries, Too! — Dr. Bill Gaultiere
Living Fully in the Shadow of Death — Dr. Robert DeVries / Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge
Ministry of Prayer — Rev. Chip Whitman
My Story, Your Story — Ruth VanderZee
Peace in the Storm: Walking with God while Living with Chronic Pain and Illness — Maureen Pratt
Personalities: Giving and Receiving Care — Dr. Debbie Hutchinson
Providing Comfort to Those Who Have Lost a Child — - Karen and Rick Hacker
Raising A Special-Needs Son — An Unfinished Odyssey — - Jack and Dottie Wiersma
Serving Others in the Joy of Christ — Dr. Bill Gaultiere
So...I Have Gifts; Now What Do I Do? — - Judy Gustum
Someone Has Alzheimer's: How To Be Present — - Jan Pfeffer
Speaking the Unspoken: Communicating Across Differences — Wrise Booker
The Stephen Series and the ChristCare Series Providing Comprehensive Care — Dr. Ken Haugk
Taking Care and Kindness Home — Judy Gustum
A Time to be Born — John McKinney
Visiting The Sick: Practical Ways to Give Care, Comfort and Courage — Rev. Leah Stout
What It Means That We Are Spiritual Beings — Dr. James Kok
What Jesus Wants From Us — Dr. James Kok
Wounded Healers: Servanthood and Suffering — Dr. Siang Yang Tan

Wrise Booker
Speaking the Unspoken: Communicating Across Differences
Our world is shifting – and our comfort with it.  Our neighbors practice unusual traditions.  Co-workers chat in unfamiliar languages.  Racially distinct people stare past each other.  The differently abled simply get stares. It's time that we increase our comfort and our connections with each other.  Our faith requires it; our world depends on it.  This interactive workshop begins the process with techniques for communicating across differences.


Wrise Booker pioneered in psychodrama, gaming and other innovative techniques for clarifying personal issues and improving self-esteem. Optimizing human potential and individual accomplishment has been an important and consistent emphasis in Wrisë D. Booker's career. In her roles as educator, human behaviorist, organizational analyst, national speaker and business executive, Ms. Booker has spent over twenty years helping individuals, organizations and companies identify and achieve key goals.

She holds a degree in English from Denison University and was appointed to a teaching fellowship. She also received a teaching fellowship at the University of Michigan, where she obtained her Master of Arts degree in Counseling. Ms. Booker's served as Dean of Counseling and Dean of Student Affairs at The Claremont Colleges. Se was Manager of Human Resources at Times Mirror Cable Television, Inc. before becoming the company's first Director of Organization Development. She is President of Reid Dugger Consulting Group, which she founded in 1987. This firm specializes in organization development, with particular emphasis on strategic planning, management development, diversity management and change management. Ms. Booker serves as the executive director of the NAMIC Foundation and her firm is also the managing partner for two trade associations, NAMIC (formerly National Association of Minorities in Communications) and the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association (CTHRA).


Rev. Dr. Linda Bos

Death and Dying
Can Death be Good? This workshop will lead participants in thinking about how we prepare for death — the death of a loved one, of parishioners, or our very own. Information will be shared about how we can influence the way we, and others, face terminal illness and death.


Rev. Dr. Linda Bos, D.Min., has been a chaplain with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care in Orange County, California for over 14 years after serving on the ministerial staff of the Crystal Cathedral for 7 years.  She has done her doctoral work on caring for the dying, with a special emphasis on spiritual care for persons with AIDS. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.


Dr. Robert DeVries
Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge

Caring for Those Who Grieve
Intentional Mental Health and Spiritual Interventions for Those Grieving the Death of a Loved One
When a loved one dies, grief rolls over us like a tidal wave, affecting our emotions, physical well-being, behaviors, thinking patterns, and spiritual life. Sensitive care-givers can help a grieving person understand the five basic tasks that must be accomplished during the journey through grief. This workshop will introduce those five tasks and outline specific interventions a care giver can suggest to a grieving person to address the mental health and spiritual aspects of their grief. Participants will also learn how they can organize their church, parish, or agency to most effectively minister with care and kindness to the bereaved.

Living Fully in the Shadow of Death
Providing Assurance and Guidance to Those Who Are Facing Death (and to Their Families) Dying!
Most people prefer to avoid the topic and only think about it when they or a loved one directly confront its potential. But lets face it. Death is inevitable. This plenary address will challenge care-givers to be fully aware of their own mortality in order to minister effectively to others who are facing imminent death. The address will also suggest ways by which a care-giver can help a dying person (and family) assess their life up to that point, enhance their communication skills about dying and death, discuss several of the “inevitable” spiritual questions that arise during the dying process, develop ways to encourage forgiveness and reconciliation with families, and learn ways a person can pass on a final blessing to his/her family and friends


Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge, R.N., Ed.D. is a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist employed by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids, MI. Her doctoral dissertation work involved research in the area of grief and loss. She deals with a variety of issues associated with adolescents and adults, including eating disorders, marital concerns, depression and anxiety, and death, grief/loss issues.

Robert C. De Vries, D.Min., Ph.D. is an ordained minister and a Professor of Church Education (emeritus) at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI. He teaches courses at the seminary and conducts workshops in churches on teaching methods, youth ministry, adult ministry, and spiritual development.


Dr. Bill Gaultiere

Serving Others in the Joy of Christ
We all love to use our gifts and be appreciated for them.  But what if you're not thanked?  And how do you feel about offering simple acts of care and kindness that go largely unnoticed?  If serving others quietly is a struggle for you then you're needing a fresh encounter with Jesus who delights in serving you!  His grace transforms you from the inside-out and empowers you to serve others joyfully as he has served you.  Together we'll meet Jesus in Scripture and in prayer to discover the blessing of serving others in the joy of Christ.

Kind People have Boundaries, Too!
“Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No,’” Jesus taught us.  You’re probably good at saying, “Yes” to people, but what about saying, “No”?  Many Christians feel it’s unkind to set limits with people who want their help.  Others just don’t know how to “speak the truth in love” with difficult people.  If you’re a care-giver with boundary problems, then you’re in danger of stress overload or burn out.  This seminar will encourage you and teach you how to replenish your soul, set boundaries in a caring way, and see interactions with difficult people as an opportunity for you to become more like Jesus.”


Dr. Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the New Hope Crisis Counseling Center at the Crystal Cathedral and the founder of NewHopeNow.org, the world's first web site to offer live, private online counseling for free. Dr. Bill is also a Clinical Psychologist and Spiritual Director with a private practice in Irvine, CA, where he lives with his wife and three children. He is the author of “A Walk with your Shepherd” and “Returning to the Father” and offers articles and tapes on Christian psychology, marriage and family, and spiritual information on his web site, www.ChristianSoulCare.com. At his web site you can also sign up for a free semi-weekly devotional by email.


Terri Green

How To Make A Difference
Terri will share the theme of her book, Simple Acts of Kindness”, and relate how she has been the recipient of many caring acts from others. She will give examples of what others have done for her family as illustrations of how help can be offered to the hurting.


Terri Green shares her bittersweet memories of those who helped her family weather years of medical and financial struggle. Her oldest daughter underwent 21 surgeries as a child and was left without the ability to speak, walk, or perform normal daily activities. Her second daughter had surgery as an infant and survived only because of answered prayer. During these hardships, the Greens were blessed with many friends and even strangers who came to their aid by bringing simple gifts like a fresh-cut rose, lightening the work load by washing the family cars, and even delivering toilet paper! Terri encourages people to reach out and take the first step to help someone in need. Her book, “Simple Acts of Kindness”, is filled with uplifting true stories and great ideas on how to extend practical aid to those in need of physical, emotional, and spiritual support.

Terri an inspirational speaker whose story leaves audiences spellbound. She cherishes her role as mom to three beautiful girls and finds great joy in encouraging women of all ages to persevere through hardships of their own. She lives in Mission Viejo, California.


Judy Gustum

So...I Have Gifts; Now What Do I Do?
Some people don't recognize their talents as worthy, or as God-given.  In this session we  will focus on recognizing our opportunities for sharing our gifts with others in specific daily situations. After bolstering our confidence, calming our fears, and accepting Gods call, we amateurs can train ourselves to be more observant; to recognize need as seen in the faces of people around us; and to become better listeners. We will then more effectively lift the spirits of those around us; and become active disciples of Christ in a modern world.

Taking Care and Kindness Home
Carpe Diem--Seize the day!  When you go home after this conference experience, make your plan — a promise to yourself and to God — that you will be his instrument of care and kindness; that you will actively look for opportunities to use your gifts for service to others.  We will reap the benefits of giving as well as receiving as we show the world we are Christians by our love.


Judy Gustum is a former teacher, businesswoman, and Human Resource Specialist. She is a keen observer of human behavior and likes to delve into the “why” of things. In reading The Miracle of Kindness by Dr. James Kok, Judy caught the Care and Kindness vision. She is a popular speaker, now spreading the vision through her practical application of the care and kindness principles.

Judy taught high school English in her home state, Iowa, and in California and Minnesota. Judy is an accomplished musician a chorister and a soloist and she is an active volunteer for the American Red Cross. Mrs. Gustum and her husband, Ed, live in LaPorte, Indiana, with their two daughters' and five grandchildren nearby.


Jane Haas

Getting Smart — Growing Older
Longevity is a gift!  Learn how to overlook the declines of age and see the mountain of opportunities.


Jane Glenn Haas is a multi-media personality – a newspaper writer, national columnist, book author, television host, professional speaker and founder of WomanSage, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering, educating and fostering mentoring relationships among women at midlife. She currently is researching the various ways women deal with multiple midlife crisis events – from loss of a job to divorce and widowhood. Her research on women at midlife already has led to coverage by TIME magazine, as well as The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and other publications. She was asked to be a featured writer in a special TIME report on women at midlife.

Haas is a writer for The Orange County Register specializing in issues involving people 50 and older. Her weekly column, “Our Time,” is distributed to 300 newspapers by Knight Ridder Tribune Syndicate. Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, she has been honored for Excellence in Aging Reporting with the Hugh Downs Award of the International Longevity Center ; the American Society on Aging Media Award; the American Medical Writers Association Rose Kushner Award; the American Heart Association C. Everett Koop Award; the Alzheimer's Association Rosemary Award, and many others.


Rick and Karen HackerKaren and Rick Hacker

Providing Comfort to Those Who Have Lost a Child
Receive tools and learn practical applications to care and comfort those who have lost a child. They provide help, healing and hope to those who have experienced the death of a child. They say, “We don’t understand all the reasons why God allowed our babies to die, but we do know that Christ has used our losses to help others. God’s plan is so much bigger than ours! We are amazed that through Jesus Christ, God took the worst thing in our lives and turned it into the purpose for our lives.”


Rick and Karen Hacker have been the ministry leaders for the Empty Arms Support Group through Saddleback Church since 1995. The Empty Arms Support Group Ministry is dedicated to providing care, council and encouragement in a Christian setting to parents who have suffered through the death of their baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. In 1990, during the seventh month of pregnancy with their first child, Rick and Karen were told their baby had a severe heart condition and probably wouldn’t survive. When their son Matthew was born he lived a little over two days.  When Matthew’s heart came to a complete stop, they felt as if theirs did too. One year later, Karen miscarried and lost their second child, but Rick and Karen continued to hang onto their faith.

Since becoming leaders in the church, Rick has created an Empty Arms Facilitators training manual in order to establish Empty Arms Support Groups throughout the country.  Rick and Karen, along with their group facilitators, have been able to help and equip hundreds of grieving parents work through their loss with hope for the future. Their goal is to facilitate the grief process by helping members acknowledge and understand their feelings and realize the hope they have in Jesus Christ. Rick and Karen recently celebrated their 20th Wedding Anniversary and they live in Mission Viejo with their two children, Ryan and Avery.


Dr. Ken Haugk

Grief and Caring for Those Who Grieve
Helping others to deal with grief is a very challenging area. Accepting grief as a normal and healthy process is the first step. In this session, participants will gain an understanding of the dynamics of grief to prepare them to meet the needs of those who grieve.

Helping the Hurting without Hurting while Helping
For Christians, caring for those who are suffering is both a deeply theological and deeply practical act.  Despite our best efforts, the words or actions we use in our attempts to help hurting people may unintentionally add to their burdens instead of easing their pain. This session is filled with practical examples and specific suggestions about what to say or do and what not to say or do when reaching out to those who are suffering.

How to Be a Powerfully Caring Leader
This session refutes the myth that leadership is a high wire act reserved for the select few. It presents a model of leadership that most people can learn to do and that will enable them to carry out the heart of leadership:  empowering others to fulfill a mission.

The Stephen Series and the ChristCare Series Providing Comprehensive Care
The Stephen Series is a system of lay caring ministry, and the ChristCare Series is a system of small group ministry that focuses on spiritual growth while providing community and care. Together these two ministry systems can help a congregation meet important needs for care as well as nurture spiritual growth in both the congregation and community.


Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist, saw that people’s needs for care in his congregation and community far exceeded what he alone could provide. He developed materials to train nine of his congregation members to provide quality, one-to-one Christian care to individuals experiencing a life crisis. Upon completion of their training, he commissioned them as “Stephen Ministers” and linked them with people with a variety of needs for care. In 1975 Dr. Haugk founded Stephen Ministries, when other congregations wanted to become involved, and further developed the Stephen Series, which has now been implemented in over 9,000 congregations representing more than 100 Christian denominations. More than 450,000 laypersons have been trained as Stephen Ministers, who in turn have ministered to nearly a million care receivers. The author of numerous training courses, books, and articles, Dr. Haugk’s newest works are Journeying through Grief, a set of four short books designed to be given or sent to grieving people at four times during the first year after the loss of a loved one, and a book for caregivers, Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart: How to Relate to Those Who Are Suffering. Dr. Haugk and the development team at Stephen Ministries are currently focused on preparations for the Breakthrough Leadership Conference scheduled for October 2006.


Dr. Mel Hugen

How Does One Care When a Daughter or Son Says, “I'm gay”?
Shock, anger, and revulsion are not uncommon reactions. All of them stand in the way of caring; and caring is what your daughter, son or friends needs. Hiding negative reactions does not work. How can you feel the way you do and still care, deeply and kindly? We will explore ways together.


Melvin D. Hugen, professor of pastoral care and counseling (ret.) at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, has served on two ministry task forces for the Christian Reformed Church: “The Biblical teaching on homosexuality” and Ministry to persons who are homosexual.” He is currently director of Project Africa, a program to produce training manuals for lay pastors and evangelists in subSaharan Africa.


Dr. Debbie Hutchinson

Personalities: Giving and Receiving Care
Learn about your personality type, how to embrace personality differences, and how to talk to others so they can “hear” you.


Dr. Debbie Hutchinson is the Director of Staff Development at the Crystal Cathedral Counseling Center. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been seeing clients at the counseling center for 7 years. Dr. Hutchinson has a special interest in working with adults who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Her passion is people, and she has a particular joy in working with couples and helping them find their way to marital bliss. She has celebrated 23 years of marriage and has a 16 year old son and an 13 year old daughter.


Dr. James Kok

What Jesus Wants From Us
When Jesus prayed “ ...your will be done on earth as it is in heaven...” he summed up what our place and role is in life.  We are to help bring to reality that for which Jesus prayed.  Everything we do, in some way, ought to contribute to establishing on earth the ideals, values, beauties, relationships that exist in the heart of God.  And everyone can do that!

What It Means That We Are Spiritual Beings
Every single little or major act of care and kindness is important.  The fundamental reason is that people are physical-spiritual beings.  It is essential that we have a clear understanding of what it means to be a spiritual being so that our motivation for lovingkindness is solidly grounded. 


Dr. James Kok is Director of Care Ministry for the Crystal Cathedral Congregation of Garden Grove, CA. He has been an ordained minister of the Christian Reformed Church of America for 35 years. He speaks extensively throughout the United States and Canada. During his ministry Dr. Kok has specialized in the training of lay men and women, pastors and theological students in the art of caring and counseling, first at Pine Rest Christian Hospital and now at the Crystal Cathedral.

With Dr. Kok as the director, the Crystal Cathedral is an approved center for Clinical Pastoral Training. This is accredited training for seminary work specializing in the truly pastoral side of ministry. Dr. Kok provides both Extended sessions and Summer Intensive sessions.


Kent LoftsgardKent Loftsgard, Moderator
with Dr. Norm Coombs, Maureen Pratt, Glen Giffin

Maureen Pratt

Disability Awareness Q&A Panel
A specially selected group of panelists will answer audience questions about the realities of living with a range of long-term disabilities. This session will be driven by YOUR questions, so never fear...ask away!


Kent Loftsgard has accumulated an uncommonly diverse range of communications expertise as not only a broadcaster, producer, researcher, and journalist, but also promoter, planner, educator, and advocate for numerous healthcare and humanitarian causes and is celebrating 20 years since first establishing his roots in radio while still in high school. Born with a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, and raised by a young single mother, Kent battled severe asthma from an early age.  Childhood medical treatment experiences, combined with a divine alchemy of faith, family, and future friendships, cultivated in him a conscience of care and kindness, as well as comfort, compassion, interpersonal connectivity, and the vitality of creatively capitalizing on the positive possibilities presented in each moment of life. Mr. Loftsgard lives in Vancouver, BC.

Norman Coombs, Ph.D. was blinded by an accident at age 8. He is the CEO of EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) as well as professor emeritus from the Rochester Institute of Technology where he taught history for 36 years. He has lectured on distance learning and on making information systems accessible to students with disabilities across the US, as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, Hungary, Mexico, Switzerland and Turkey.

Maureen Pratt has disabilities that are the invisible kind; she is a patient of multiple chronic illnesses, including lupus and cardiovascular disease. See bio below.

Glen Giffin fell victim to smoker-type throat cancer and underwent radiation, chemotherapy and several surgeries in efforts to save his voice. These efforts came to an end with the surgical removal of his larynx and he uses an Artificial Larynx Device (ALD) to communicate.   He is an active member of the International Association of Laryngectomees support group and past President of the Minnesota New Voice Club. He counsels hospital patients who undergo surgery on how to overcome their disability.  He speaks to high school classes about dangers and affects of smoking and second hand smoke.  (Since he has never smoked, he is quite fervent about these issues.) Glen is a retired former executive of a major computer manufacturer and lives near Minneapolis, MN, with his wife, Dottie. 


John McKinney

A Time to be Born:
A story of faith, family and the fight for the soul of a child
When hiking expert/writer John McKinney set out to climb Mt. Athos, the Holy Mountain of Greece, he thought it was just another mountain to climb. But the monks of the mountain's ancient Christian community had a very different idea of what brought John to the end of the earth and what his spiritual walk was really all about. The monks’ wise counsel about faith and family would both haunt and sustain John and his wife Cheri as they battled to adopt a baby boy in what proved to be one of the most bitter and bizarre contested adoptions of all time.


John McKinney is the author of a dozen books about walking, hiking and nature, and has described more than 10,000 miles of trail in his narratives, essays and guidebooks. His most recent book, The Joy of Hiking, champions hiking for good health, for spiritual growth, and for improved relationships with friends and family. His first book, Day Hiker’s Guide to Southern California , with its lively tales of trails, was, and still is, one of the best-selling trail accounts of all time. He served eighteen years as the Los Angeles Times hiking columnist and now writes articles and commentaries about hiking for national publications, promotes hiking and conservation on radio and TV, and serves as a consultant to outdoors-oriented businesses. He lives with his wife Cheri, an editor, daughter Sophia and son Daniel in Santa Barbara, California.


Bev Michielson

Conference Song Leader

Bev Michielson has successfully created and maintained various Care Ministries in different areas of the country. In 2000, she founded ‘Through Me Ministries’, which deals with care on multiple levels from children through the elderly, as a means of coordinating all of her involvements. Throughout her career, she has blended a host of volunteer service projects with her professional singing.

She inherited her talent from a musical family and from her mother, who was a piano teacher. She marks her singing career as having begun at age 13 on a bus ride home from a Billy Graham crusade. Her early performances included several Junior Miss contests, leading up to her receiving the Miss Congeniality award in the Miss Michigan Junior Miss Pageant.

More recently, she has given a concert each year at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, beginning in 2001. She is actively working as a songwriter and publisher, with her most recent projects being a CD of children's songs for the KINDer Kids program in public schools and Christmas album of favorites. She has begun another facet of her ministry through motivational speaking to staff members and patients in hospitals, hospice and care facilities.  These presentations have emerged out of her dealing with debilitating illness and chronic pain, as she herself suffers from an incurable illness called Peripheral Neuropathy.


Roland Petit

Delivering Healing and Growth for Adult Children of Alcoholics
The author of Transformation for Life: A Healing Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Others speaks about ways to address and overcome common difficulties and characteristics associated with the more than 28 million ACOAs in America . There will be opportunities to share (or not share) with others who were also raised in families where alcoholism was present. It will be a time to reaffirm, or to discover for the first time, that God’s love transcends the difficulties experienced in the past, that you are His child who is unconditionally loved, and that you have a future filled with unlimited possibilities.


Roland Petit is the author of Transformation for Life: Healing and Growth for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Others . He has led, and continues to lead, scores of self-help groups, is an ordained Elder in the Reformed Church of America, has been an Interfaith Minister and training and development manager at one of the world's largest corporations. Roland Petit has served on the presidential award-winning CONTACT crisis intervention hotline, has been on TV and in print. He holds a Masters Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. 


Dr. Jan Pfeffer

Someone Has Alzheimer's: How To Be Present
This topic will cover the following points: new way to communicate; new ways to pray, the importance of spirituality; and dementia doesn't negate value.


Dr. Jan Pfeffer is Senior Vice President of Nexus Consulting, a company that does management consulting and transformation breakthrough. She is Pastoral Liaison and Director of Partners In Care at San Francisco Solano Church. She conducted research on the Effects of Personal Prayer and Touch on Recovery after Cardiac Surgery at Mission Hospital. She is on the Religious Outreach Committee for the Alzheimer's Association and has firsthand experience with care-giving, since her mother has Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr. Pfeffer earned her Bachelors in Psychology and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, her Masters in Pastoral Counseling and her Ph.D. in Relational Psychology from Trinity College of Graduate Studies.


Maureen PrattMaureen Pratt

Peace in the Storm: Walking with God while Living with Chronic Pain and Illness
When we live with chronic pain and illness, we can often feel detached from God's care, kindness and comfort. But it is at times like these that we really do need to walk closer than ever with Him! This workshop will offer first-hand, practical and prayerful ways of finding peace in the storm of illness and pain. We'll talk about the “three D’s” -- “Denial, Determination, and Delight” -- and how these play an important role in fashioning lives full of praise, prayer, and patience. And we'll reconnect with gifts that are often forgotten in a life filled with pain and illness: childlike wonder, humor, and simplicity.


Maureen Pratt is an award-winning author, playwright, and journalist who speaks and writes about spirituality, prayer, and living with chronic pain and illness. Her latest book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain and Illness, is written out of her experience as a Christian and as a patient of multiple chronic illnesses, including lupus and cardiovascular disease. Maureen's articles have appeared in Guideposts, Arthritis Today, Lupus Now, GRIT, and the upcoming April 2006 issue of Journey Magazine. She has spoken at national and regional conferences, medical centers, and religious institutions, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital and DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois; The National Lupus Public Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.; and Women-Mentoring-Women at the Decatur Foursquare Gospel Church in Decatur, Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Languages from Georgetown University and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts from UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. 


Dr. Lydia Sarandon

How to Create a Care Ministry
Can we learn to care for one another more effectively? Care-giving is everyone's privilege. Care comes from the heart of Jesus as a gift living in us. This seminar will deal with the basics of equipping men and women to care for one another in the church and in the community.

Lydia Sarandan is Minister of Adult Education at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 from Wayne State University, her B.D. in 1970 from Princeton Theological Seminary, and her D. Min. in 1992 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where here thesis was "How to Develop A Praying Church."

Other responsibilities Lydia holds at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church include Director of The Stephen Ministry, Director of Prayer Ministry, Coordinator of the Deacon Ministry and Director of Covenant Group Ministry. She is also Director of Adult Education Sunday classes and Advisor to Presbyterian Women.


Dr. James and Rev. Leah Stout

Bipolar Disorder and Your Marriage: Surviving, Coping and Rebuilding
Jim and Leah Stout, both ordained Presbyterian ministers, will share candidly their experiences of how Jim’s bipolar disorder has affected their marriage, how they've managed difficulties and dreams, and how they've grown in their relationship.


Dr. James Stout

How to More Effectively Help a Bipolar Loved One,  and  Still Maintain Your Own Health and Happiness
A  workshop  that will give you fresh hope, practical tools and  proven strategies.  Uses lecture, personal stories and discussion.  Many free hand-outs.


Rev. Dr. James T. Stout is an ordained Presbyterian minister and has pastored in five churches. His other ministry experiences include working with college and graduate students at Miami, Harvard, M.I.T., Boston and Northeastern University, doing social work with Young Life's outreach to teenage gangs in New York City, being chaplain to the men's violent ward at Danvers State Mental Hospital, serving as an Area Director with The Gathering U.S.A., a national ministry with business and professional men, and Director of Career Compatibilities, a career-counseling service. Dr. Stout has taught and written on topics such as mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder, stress, burnout, career transition, live planning, marriage enrichment and parenting.

Dr. Stout received his B.A. degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, his Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts and his Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.


Rev. Leah Stout

Visiting The Sick: Practical Ways to Give Care, Comfort and Courage
Want to overcome your anxiety about visiting a family member, friend or stranger in the hospital or nursing home? Want to know some simple, practical ways of being most supportive and helpful to them? Want to discover the benefits for yourself of reaching out to care? This workshop will replace your fears with confidence and workable tools. Come find out how to make caring visits that make a difference.


Leah Stout is Minister of Congregational Care at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. She has been an active pastor's wife throughout her husband's ministry, has taught in both public and private schools, and has been involved in children's, high school and college ministries. Leah holds a B.S. degree in Education from Miami University and a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. She serves on two boards connected with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.


Dr. Siang Yang Tan

Wounded Healers: Servanthood and Suffering
This plenary or keynote address will cover the role of suffering in our lives as servants of Jesus Christ who minister as wounded healers to others in their pain and suffering. It will include how shattered dreams, brokenness, the dark night of the soul, and suffering in general can be used by God to shape us and make us more like Jesus, with deeper humility, compassion, and healing grace, as well as paradoxically greater joy and fulfillment in Him.


Dr. Siang Yang Tan was Director of the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) program in Clinical Psychology (1989 - 1997) and is now Professor of Psychology in the Graduate School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has published articles on lay counseling and lay counselor training, intrapersonal integration and spirituality, religious psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, epilepsy, pain, and cross-cultural counseling with Asians and Hispanics. He also currently serves as Senior Pastor of First Evangelical Church in Glendale, CA and lives in Arcadia with his wife Angela and their two children, Carolyn and Andrew.


Ruth VanderZee

My Story, Your Story
Each of us live lives that are filled with stories. The embarrassing moment. The tragic evening. The hilarious mistake. We often recount these stories as verbal tales but never make the leap to write them down as “story.” When written well, our ordinary or even extraordinary events can become a story that serve as connections to the past as well as to the future of others.


Ruth VanderZee has spent a lifetime connecting to people through music, storytelling, facilitating groups, speaking at conferences, and hosting people in her home. She taught Middle School for many years and is currently substitute teaching in the Miami Dade public school system. She is the author of two picture books for older children: Erika's Story and Mississippi Morning. She has also written Discover Your Gifts and Learn How to Use Them, a curriculum for adolescents. In addition, her stories have appeared in numerous journals and magazines.


Connie Wax

Caring for the Emotional Needs of the Gifted and Talented
How can we show compassion to someone so misunderstood?  Do you know someone who is struggling with the pain of perfectionism, procrastination, stress, high sensitivity to emotions and the environment, and a mind that just won't shut down?  It is hard being so different from most of your peers.  Loneliness and depression can come from being judged by others as too sensitive, too smart for your own good, too energetic, too opinionated, etc.  Being able to assist starts with knowledge, understanding and developing practical skills.


Connie Wax is a Marriage, Family and Child therapist who specializes in working with parents of gifted children. She has also provided home-based counseling, parenting training and resource development to families who were in jeopardy of losing their children. In 2000, she worked with families and responders who were impacted by the Fires of 2000” in Montana, teaching crisis counseling skills, problem solving, body language and PTSD. She also did formal presentations for teachers on how to emotionally support the children and their families. She received her Masters degree in Social Work from Walla Walla College in Washington.


Rev. Chip Whitman

Ministry of Prayer
“A thousand voices clamor for our attention, and a thousand causes vie for our support. But until we have learned to be satisfied with fellowship with God, until He is our rock and our fortress, we will be restless with our place in the world.”

This quote by Edwin W. Lutzer expresses our need to connect with God on an ongoing basis. This workshop will discuss the various types of prayer mentioned in Scripture, and give a practical paradigm for companioning in prayer with those in need. We will learn how to cultivate the habit of prayer and extend it to others as a ministry of prayer. For, as St. Augustine said, “True prayer is nothing but love.”


Chip Whitman is Founder and President of GriefCare, Inc., a nonprofit organization located in San Juan Capistrano whose mission is ‘Bringing Hope to the Broken Heart’. A specialist in bereavement care for the past 20 years, Chip brings the compassion gained from many years of pastoral experience to his competent counsel and teaching. He is also the Founding and Teaching Pastor of The Gathering Community Fellowship in Capistrano Beach . Chip graduated from Western Evangelical Seminary in 1985 with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. He brings the 17 years of pastoral ministry and training in psychology to all of his training, teaching and counseling. He often presents workshops and seminars to medical professionals and clergy in hospitals and churches in the Southwest area of the United States . He is happily married and lives in Capistrano Beach with his wife, Joanne, who serves with him in their ministry to the brokenhearted.


Dr. Jack and Dottie Wiersma

Raising A Special-Needs Son — An Unfinished Odyssey
What is it REALLY like? Is it from cradle to grave? This presentation explores the history, dimensions, dynamics, emotions, and response to the familial and social challenges of parenting a Special-Needs son, as well as the central role of Care and Kindness in this journey.


Dottie (Vanden Bosch) Wiersma is a registered nurse, B.S.N. from Aquinas College. She has worked as a health care professional for more than twenty-five years, specializing in breast cancer treatment and education. She is a frequent speaker and spokesperson for breast cancer support groups and allied organizations, as well as a frequent counselor to mothers of newly born Special needs persons. She provided initial impetus for “Friendship”, a religious education curriculum for Special needs persons.

Jack Wiersma is Professor emeritus of Educational Psychology, Calvin College, and Ph.D from University of Iowa, Iowa City. He has written numerous articles in professional and layman publications. Along with his wife, he gave initial impetus and contributed to “Friendship”- a cycled three-year, two- track, religious education curriculum for Special needs persons, published by the Christian Reformed Church in North America, funded by “Friendship Foundation”, and translated into several foreign languages. During his career, he has provided leadership in numerous advocacy organizations for Special needs persons.

Jack, Dottie, and their son Sherman, live in Belmont, Michigan.