Academics

2017 Hugh C. Benner Preacher’s Conference Speakers

Pre-Conference - Church Music and the Christian Year
(September 25, 2017 | 1PM - 5PM CT)

Karen Westerfield Tucker

A United Methodist elder (presbyter) and a graduate of the Ph.D. program in liturgical studies at the University of Notre Dame, Karen B. Westerfield Tucker is Professor of Worship at Boston University, a position she has held since 2004. Prior to that date, she served on the faculty at the Duke University Divinity School (1989–2004) and as a local church pastor. She became a professional church organist at the age of thirteen and continues now on an occasional basis. Among her many publications are American Methodist Worship (2001) and The Oxford History of Christian Worship (2006; 2016- ). She currently is engaged in several research and writing projects, one of which is on the theological and cultural dynamics of hymnals. A past president of the international and ecumenical Societas Liturgica, Dr. Westerfield Tucker is also the former editor-in-chief of the society’s journal Studia Liturgica. She was appointed a member of the World Methodist Council in 1996, and that same year was selected as the Council’s chairperson of the Committee on Worship and Liturgy (1996-2006). She remains a member of the Council, serving from 2006 to the present as a member of the international bilateral dialogue between the Council and the Roman Catholic Church, and since 2011 as the Methodist co-secretary.

Hugh C. Benner Preacher’s Conference - Finding Your Rhythm: Preaching the Church Year (September 26-27, 2017)

Edgar Diaz

Senior pastor at Tampa First Hispanic Church of the Nazarene. He has served as Director of the New Start and Hispanic Ministries in the Florida District. He received his B.A. from Inter American University, received his M.A. from Doxa International University and Doctorate in Counseling, Ph.D. from Florida Christian University. He is certified as a psychotherapist and also as a clinical and field traumatology from Green Cross Academy of Traumatology. He has written Experiences of a Pastor; I Still Believe in Miracles. His most recent book is Biblical Therapeutic Method for Lost Management and has contributed to a number of other books. 

Christa Klosterman

An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene on special assignment serving two United Methodist congregations in Fruitland, Idaho and Ontario, Oregon. She has previously served as pastor in Ontario, Canada; Nicholasville, Kentucky; and Boise, Idaho. Christa graduated from Northwest Nazarene University (BA in Special Ministries: Religious Education) and Nazarene Theological Seminary (MDiv). She has authored articles for Grace and Peace, Preacher’s Magazine, and Holiness Today and has also taught as an adjunct professor at Olivet Nazarene University and currently at Northwest Nazarene University.

Tara Beth Leach

Senior Pastor at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena (“PazNaz”) in Southern California. She is a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University (B.A. Youth Ministry) and Northern Theological Seminary (M.Div.). She is a regular writer for Missio Alliance and has contributed to other publications such as Christianity Today, Christian Week, The Jesus Creed, The Table Magazine, Reflecting the Image Devotional, Renovating Holiness, and most recently a chapter in The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life: Ethical and Missional Implications of the New Perspective with other contributors including N.T. Wright, James D.G. Dunn, Scot McKnight, and Bruce Longenecker. Her chapter is entitled “The Symphonic Melody: Wesleyan Holiness Theology Meets New Perspective Paul.” Tara Beth is also the author of the forthcoming Beacon Hill Press book, Kingdom Culture and the InterVarsity Press book, Emboldened (2017). She has two beautiful and rambunctious children, Caleb and Noah, and has been married to the love of her life, Jeff, since 2006.

Jon Middendorf

Jon has been on the ministry team at OKC First since 1990, serving as Lead Pastor since August of 2007. In recent years Jon has helped to launch two non-profit organizations designed to address chronic poverty in Oklahoma City and in Zambia, Africa. Jon moonlights with the ONE campaign, lobbying elected officials to support efforts to alleviate and eliminate poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Jon and his wife Kelly are busy enjoying life with their kids, Taylor and Drew. 

Jon has written two books: Worship-centered Youth Ministry and You Might Be a Youthworker if…. He co-wrote Living Justice with long-time friend and co-conspirator, Dr. Jamie Gates. Jon has contributed chapters to Pastoral Practices: A Wesleyan Paradigm, Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, Renovating Holiness and Postmodern and Wesleyan. Jon is currently working on Famous Last Words, an ecclesiology drawn from the book of Revelation.

Brent Peterson

Brent is currently the Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministries and Associate Professor of Theology at Northwest Nazarene University. He is also Pastor of Spiritual and Liturgical Formation at College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. Before coming to NNU he pastored in Chicago and Kansas City,and Idaho. He has a specific passion to help unite the Church and the Academe. His is married to Anne and has three great kids, Noah, Alexis, and Sydney.

Stuart Williams

Stuart is senior pastor of the Skyview Community Church of the Nazarene in Calgary, Alberta Canada. He is a graduate of Canadian Nazarene University College (Bachelors in Religious Studies), and currently completing an MA thesis (NTC Manchester) focused upon the experience of loss on pastoral relationships. Stuart was born and raised in Cape Town South Africa before he immigrated to Canada in 1998.  He has been a featured speaker at Nazarene Youth Congress and other denominational gatherings.

Esteban Trujillo

Esteban will be leading our worship team during the conference. Esteban grew up in the Western Latin American District of the Church of the Nazarene where his parents pastored in South Gate, CA.  He received his B.A from Point Loma Nazarene University (03) in Church Music-Youth Ministries and his M.A in Christian Education from Nazarene Theological Seminary (09).  Esteban was ordained as an elder in 2009 and has served in church ministry in a variety of associate pastor roles including youth ministry and music.  Esteban and his wife, Shireen, served on the mission field in Madrid, Spain through Nazarene Mission Corps. Esteban and his family now reside in San Diego, CA where he serves as one of the campus pastors at Point Loma Nazarene University overseeing the Mexico Missions programs.  He also serves as the Associate Pastor at Parkway Hills Church of the Nazarene in Chula Vista, CA.