2022 Speakers

Plenary Leader: A.J. Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help. He is also editor at large at Esquire magazine, a commentator on NPR and a columnist for Mental Floss magazine.

A.J.’s work includes The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, and My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself among numerous other books and publications.

Plenary Leader: Rev. Dawn Hyde

Rev. Dawn Hyde is the Head Pastor at  DOWNTOWN CHURCH, a Presbyterian Church (USA) celebrating 10 years of worship in Columbia, SC. When she’s not preaching and dreaming at church, you can find her working out, sliding down slides with her son or writing sub-par poetry. Dawn is married to Tim, a Design Engineer, and together they have two kids: Lincoln (4) and Stella (0.75). 

The Downtown Church is a community living the gospel word or inclusiveness and love; in their words, “we are a church made up of different stones. We don’t all think alike, we don’t all look alike, we don’t all vote alike. But we do agree that Jesus is our cornerstone, our savior, and a model for how we ought to treat one another, loving God and loving people.”

Plenary Leader: Dr. Michael Bos

Michael Bos is a pastor, author, interfaith proponent, family guy, and adventure seeker. He has written two books with co-author, Dr. William Sachs: A Church Beyond Belief: The Search for Belonging and the Religious Future and Fragmented Lives: Finding Faith in an Age of Uncertainty.

He established an interfaith center in the Arabian Peninsula, and developed programs with institutions such as Princeton Theological Seminary, the Center for Interfaith Reconciliation, and the U.S. State Department. Working with the U.S. Embassy and government of Oman, he helped establish a first of its kind program on religious diplomacy in the Middle East for the top chaplains in the U.S. armed services.

Worship Leader: Kathryn Johnston

Kathryn Johnston is a Teaching Elder currently serving as Senior Pastor/Head of Staff at Mechanicsburg Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. A New Jersey shore native, Kathryn has been calling south central PA home since her ordination in 2001. A graduate of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Kathryn earned her M.Div. at Princeton Seminary.  Reverend Johnston is married to the Reverend Martha K. Spong (UCC).  Together they have four children (3 ‘adulting’ out in the world, 1 in high school), a cat, and a couple of dogs.  

Worship Leader: J. Herbert Nelson, II

The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II serves as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the largest Reformed denomination in the United States. He was elected at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon.

The son, grandson, and nephew of Presbyterian pastors, Nelson is the first African American to lead the denomination, which has a 300-year history in the U.S. As Stated Clerk his duties include interpreting assembly actions, representing the church on various denominational and ecumenical councils, witnessing on behalf of the church to social justice issues, and making statements as directed by an assembly.