The Evangelical Network 2009 Conference

Gastonia, NC
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Additional Activities


Click here to see the entire Event Schedule-By-Day

AM: Billy Graham Outing
PM: Registration Opens, Opening Night Reception & Remnant Sings...Again!

AM: Reconciliation Seminar, Pastor's Retreat, Pre-Conference Workshop
AFTERNOON: Annual General Meeting
PM: Evening Service with Pre-service Concert
LATE: Midnight Madness

AM: Workshops
AFTERNOON: Workshops
PM: Evening Service with Pre-service Concert
LATE: Midnight Madness

Sunday Service with Pre-service Concert

*For travel purposes, please note that the conference begins Thursday morning, May 28th and concludes around 1PM on Sunday, May 31st.

TEN09 Conference will offer workshops focused on helping us to understand our task of Modeling Christ. There will be workshops for both the pastor/church leader and the individual.

Pre-Conference Workshop:     Spiritual Self Defense for LGBT Christians
presented by Candace Chellew-Hodge
As gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians our faith seems to be constantly under attack. This workshop will give you the tools you need to defend yourself - not only to deflect attacks, but to learn to use them for your own spiritual growth.

Workshop 1:    The Real Me: A Crisis of Identity
A crisis of identity occurs when we seek answers to the "big" questions: Who am I?  What direction will my life take?  With whom will I identify myself?  Who will I love?  This crisis will definitely resolve in one of two ways. We either retreat into permanent denial or embrace who we are and begin living our lives as open, honest and authentic individuals.  This workshop seeks to share information and foster discussion, helping LGBT Christians and supports respond to and resolve to their individual crisis of identity.

Track A – Men
This session focuses on the unique issues and challenges that men face as they respond to their individual crisis of identity.

Track B – Women
This session focuses on the unique issues and challenges that women face as they respond to their individual crisis of identity.

Workshop 2:     Modeling Christ: I Timothy 4:12
Once we respond and resolve our crisis of identity we can begin moving forward, accepting who we truly are and choosing to live life to the fullest. We then focus on living lives that keep Christ at the center.  This workshop will explore three core elements of the conference theme:
1.    The importance of Modeling Christ
2.    How to be an example of Christ
3.    The Core Benefits of Modeling Christ

Track A - Living a Life of Modeling Christ
This session focuses on how we as individuals seek to model Christ in our everyday lives.

Track B – Mentoring Others to Model Christ
This session focuses on how church leaders can mentor their congregations, worship team, and other church groups to model Christ in their everyday life and ministry within the church.

Workshop 3:    Lessons in Authenticity
Do you live life with authenticity?  Do you embrace the real and authentic you, finding contentment and joy in how you live?  Or are you dependent on others for validation?  Many of us even have certain behaviors that repeatedly lead us to being discontent.  This workshop will provide ten key lessons to finding contentment in our lives. These lessons are all Bible based and reinforced by therapists and psychologists. These lessons seek to provide a healthy foundation for living an abundant and authentic life.

Track A – Achieving Individual Authenticity
This session focuses on how individuals incorporate the ten key lessons into everyday life.

Track B – Guiding Others to Authenticity
This session focuses on helping church leaders guide others toward incorporating the ten key lessons into church relationships, ministry and all life situations.


Pastor David Thomas

Founding Pastor, Abundant Grace Church
Hickory, NC
From his earliest memories, Pastor David had a desire to serve the Lord and bring others to Christ. He held his own vacation Bible school in his back yard when he was nine years old and preached his first sermon in his home church when he was 14.
After graduating from Oral Roberts University with a degree in Theological and Historical Studies, he did mission work in Florida, Haiti and Jamaica and did prison ministry through a contemporary christian music group.
Over the years, Pastor David has served in a pastoral role for nine different churches, and in 2004, he founded Abundant Grace Church, a thriving congregation in Granite Falls, NC.
He lives with his husband and partner in ministry, Pastor Jack McConnell in Taylorsville, NC and together they work to help others know the love and peace that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.   

Reverend J. R. Finney II
Senior Pastor, Covenant Community Church
Birmingham, AL
Pastor Finney, a native of Martinsville, VA and former Air Force Veteran, became Covenant Community Church’s Senior Pastor on September 17, 2000. Pastor Finney comes from a civil rights activist family and believes strongly that the church must first meet people’s spiritual need for a relationship with Christ; but the church must also when possible help in the everyday struggles of living for those who Jesus called in Matthew 25:40, “the least of them.” Therefore, his ministry stresses that Covenant must be a local church with a global outlook. Since coming to Birmingham, Pastor Finney has lead Covenant’s involvement and missions work with such organizations as: AIDS Alabama, Alabama Faith Council, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Adrian Daniel Holiday Gift Box Project, Birmingham City Council’s Task For on HIV Education Project for City Schools, Central Alabama Pride, Chain of Love Missionaries, Managua, Nicaragua, Equality Alabama, Jefferson County AIDS In Minorities, Leadership Birmingham, and several others.

Pastor Finney grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church in which his mother served as a pastor and Bishop.  From April 1977 through May 2006, he was a member of the Metropolitan Community Church. He was ordained and served in various denominational, district and local church leadership positions.

Covenant and Pastor J.R. have been the subjects of an award winning documentary entitled “The Congregation” and was chronicled in a U.S. of Ant episode on LOGO TV. They were also participants in the video documentary, “Bulldigger” which tells the story of the campaign and election of Patricia Todd, the first openly gay person elected to the Alabama State Legislature.  Covenant is the home church of Rep. Todd and her partner Jennifer.

Pastor J. R. is a much sought after speaker, lecturer, and panelist on a wide range of issues but especially those affecting the GLBT community.  His personal ministry philosophy is “To lead our GLBT community in a faith that builds healthy, wholesome relationships with God through Jesus Christ that makes a practical difference in the daily living of their lives, proclaiming loudly ‘the inclusive love of God without the guilt of religion.’”

(Pastor JR will also be presenting a workshop.)

Rev. Deanna Jaworski
Evangelist, Singer, Songwriter
Ortley Beach, NJ

Rev. Deanna received her spiritual calling in 1983 and worked for years in the music ministry for the NJ District of the Assemblies of God.  One NJ district director pointed out that “…she sings with an anointing that is rich with purpose and reflects her commitment to the Lord, Who is calling her…” 

In 1987, because of coming out as a God-fearing born-again lesbian, she was excommunicated from her denomination for being “a reproach to the cross of Jesus Christ.”  She spent the next few years angry with God and unfulfilled by her music.

Determined to continue to love God while being open and honest about her sexuality, she moved to South Florida where she served as Music Director for three different gay-affirming congregations.   In December of 1998, Rev. Deanna received her Bachelor of Christian Ministry from Christian Bible College and Seminary, Independence, MO and was ordained as a Reverend in March of 1999. She completed her Master's of Divinity Degree in Christian Counseling/Pastoral Ministry in September of 2001, and is now working on her Doctoral Degree in Pastoral Ministry/Christian Counseling.

In 1997, Rev. Deanna and Jill (her life partner since 1986) founded SpiritSong Ministries – “Igniting the world for life at a time.®"  In August of 1999, SpiritSong Ministries gave birth to Church of the Holy SpiritSong where she served as the founding, Senior Pastor until June of 2007, at which time, she believed, and still does today, that God has called her back to NJ to return to her roots, as well as to have time available to write and concentrate on her musical gifts and family. Her passion for music and the arts has opened the door to TEACHINGKIDS2PLAY.ORG – another way of giving back and instilling God’s gifts and talents into kids of ALL ages through piano and vocal instruction.

As of November 2008, she and Jill (and their precious five year old son Scott Marcus) have answered God’s call yet again – a new church ministry has been birthed on the Jersey Shore…all glory and praise be to God! All three of these ministries desire to share the life-changing message of God’s reconciliation and forgiveness for all people -- regardless of sexual orientation. 

(Rev. Deanna will also be presenting a workshop.) 


MarkAlan Howard
Worship Leader
Houston, TX

MarkAlan Howard was born and raised in the church. From his earliest years he was singing, performing, and ministering in both his home church, First Assembly of God, and El Monte Calvario Pentecostal Church founded by his late Grandparents. From the age of 9, MarkAlan performed in the renowned Centre Stage Theatre Company. There he studied acting, dance, and vocal performance. At the young age of 14, MarkAlan made his first television appearance as a guest on "The Tammy Faye Show" in Houston, Texas. MarkAlan made a total of 9 appearances on the show singing, cooking, and being interviewed as a Christian teenager. MarkAlan graduated from Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a degree in music. He traveled the country with the esteemed gospel performance group, the Harvesters. After college, MarkAlan worked as a Human Resources Manager but continued to be involved in ministry, continuing to perform musically in a variety of venues including weddings, memorials, charity benefits, and in the jazz scene. He then went on the road full time when he joined Nancy Harmon Ministries. With Nancy and the Mighty Warriors, MarkAlan traveled the country singing in revivals and making television appearances. While in Branson singing on the Jim Bakker Show, he joined Morningside Ministries as Executive Assistant to Jim Bakker, a Producer for the TV show, and as one of the Morningside Singers appearing regularly on the television program. He is now back in music and ministry traveling on his own and has recorded his first solo album highlighting some of his favorite songs growing up. The album is appropriately titled, "On Time". MarkAlan now often appears with artists, Jason and deMarco.

"MarkAlan Howard has blessed our congregation on several occasions. We always look forward to Mark's ministry. He has such a sensitivity to the moving of the Holy Spirit and can lead the congregation into the very throne room of heaven with his anointed singing."     --Pastor Randy McCain


Conference Workshops

Jack McConnell
Pastor, St. Jude Community

Those who first encounter Pastor Jack McConnell are often struck by his quiet, gentle spirit and his warm smile but few realize that he has walked in an apostolic anointing for over 32 years. In that time, he has established 17 churches and trained many men and woman in the ways of God.
Pastor Jack holds a B.S. in Religious Studies from Barry University in Miami, Florida and a M.S in Psychology from New York Institute of Technology in New York City, NY. He is presently the founder and pastor of St Jude Community Church in Winston-Salem NC, the Director of Grace House (a day treatment center for the homeless sponsored by Abundant Grace Church in Hickory NC), and is a licensed therapist with Mental Health Partners of Catawba County.
In his spare time, Pastor Jack tends a small farm in Taylorsville, NC with his spouse, David Thomas, their 11 kids (goats), 7 cats, and three chickens.

Franklin Sampley
Secretary, The Evangelical Network

Franklin Sampley is a member of Freedom in Christ Church in San Francisco. He has been attending FIC since 1998, and currently serves as an Elder and the Minister of Outreach. He also serves as Secretary of The Evangelical Network. He was raised in the United Pentecostal Church and attended Christian Life College in 1980 and 1981.  He has a B.S in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and a State of California teaching credential in Adult Education.

Janice Lacount
Minister, Christian Recording Artist, TEN Board Member

Janice was blessed that both her parents and grandparents were Born Again, Holy Ghost filled, tongue talking people who believed in the power of Jesus’ Name. Because of the lives they lived she was brought up to know what it means to know Jesus.

At the age of 16 Janice started ministry and evangelizing across the USA. She and her traveling companion made a record album during this time. Janice was part of the Mississippi Music Conference choir for Lanny Wolf. She was on the Praise and Worship team at Higher Dimensions in Tulsa, Oklahoma, her hometown, and sang with other Praise and Worship teams and preached at many churches across the country. 

It was at the first Midwest SpiritQuest in Indiana with her friend, Randy Duncan that she became aware that she could openly accept who God created her to be. She learned that it was never a choice. Coming to full knowledge and acceptance of who she really was, Janice began preaching in several churches in our communities. Janice was the Praise and Worship Minister for three years at Sanctuary of Love in Dallas, Texas. 

Today Janice lives in Dallas and is in ministry at Rainbow Ministries International. She severs on the board of directors for The Evangelical Network and still evangelizes, preaching where she is invited. It is such an honor for her to be invited to speak at this conference.

Pre-Conference Workshops

Maria Caurana
Pastor, Freedom In Christ Church San Francisco

Maria Caruana is originally from New York City, and serves as the pastor of  Freedom In Christ by way of Phoenix, Arizona. In Phoenix, Maria was an integral part of the ministry at Casa de Cristo Church and one of the first graduates of Phoenix Evangelical Bible Institute. Maria brings many gifts to the body including her main
calling of pastoring and shepherding... a nurturing care for those who are served by this ministry. In addition to her pastoral ministry, Maria also serves as Moderator of the Board of Elders.


Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson
Minister, Professor, Missionary, and President of Christ Evangelical Bible Institute Joseph Adam Pearson was Biology Department Chairperson at Scottsdale Community College, where he taught Medical Education to students of Allied Health.  He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from Loyola University (Chicago) and his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with specialization in Language and Literacy from Arizona State University.  He is a retired Dean of Instruction and Director of the Extended Campus at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona.  Dr. Pearson studied theology at Loyola University (Chicago) and at Phoenix Evangelical Bible Institute, now known as Christ Evangelical Bible Institute (CEBI), where he is in his sixteenth year as its President.  CEBI currently has thriving Branch campuses in India, Tanzania (East Africa) and the Philippines.  Dr. Pearson is an ordained minister, who recently retired after ten years as Senior Pastor of Healing Waters Ministries in Tempe, Arizona.  He and his spouse, Jack Pearson, will celebrate their 33rd year in Holy Union in August, 2009.

Candace Chellew-Hodge
Founder/Editor of Whosoever -
An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians

Candace Chellew-Hodge is a recovering Southern Baptist and founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians. Her first book, Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, published by Jossey-Bass is now available at She currently serves as associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, S.C.

Billy Graham Outing: Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 10:00AM - 3:00PM
Visit the childhood home and library of Evangelist Billy Graham. Admission into the Library is complimentary. Shuttle to and from the hotel costs $15.

Opening Night Reception & Remnant Sings...Again!
: Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 6:00PM - 10:00PM
Enjoy a relaxing atmosphere of fellowship and tasty treats as you "catch-up" with old TEN friends. Immediately following the reception join us for a musical worship celebration. Back by popular demand! Reception and Remnant Sings! is included in the All Access Pass. $30 additional fee for others.

Homosexuality & the Bible Reconciled Seminar: Friday, May 29, 2009 - 8:00AM - 2:00PM
Reconcile your faith and sexuality with this in-depth class taught by Dr. Joseph A. Pearson. For more details
click here. Seminar is included in the All Access Pass and a $30 additional fee is required for others.

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