Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl - Orlando, FL

The Reverend Doctor Paul F. M. Zahl (born c. 1950) is a former Episcopal cleric, scholar and author. He was the dean of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham from 1994 to 2004.

Zahl grew up in the Washington D. C. area and graduated from St Alban's School there in 1968. He went on to earn a degree from Harvard University as well as from the seminary in Nottingham, England and the doctoral program in theology at the University in Tubingen, Germany.

Zahl began his ministerial career as Rector of St Mary's Church in Scarborough, New York in 1982.  In 1988 he was called to the same position at St James' Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where he remained until 1992.  In 1994 he accepted the call to become Dean at Birmingham's Cathedral Church of the Advent.  He left in 2004 to accept the position of Dean at the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. He resigned from Trinity in May 2007 and began his service as Rector of All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland in December of the same year. He retired in 2009 and moved to Florida.

Paul and his wife Mary have three sons, John, David and Simeon, all of whom are involved in ministry.

 

Long captivated by the idea of one-way love or Gods grace, Paul Zahl has often contended with accusations of being long on grace but short on law. Grace in Practice begins with Zahls response to the classic tension between law and grace. He then sets up the four pillars of his own theology of grace: humanity, salvation, Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Having discussed grace in theological terms, Zahl goes on to address the practicality of grace, developing a systematic theology of grace that is radically understood from the Bible and consistently applied to everyday life. After helpfully narrowing down specific fields of grace, asserting throughout that grace always trumps both law and church, Zahl concludes with an expanded view of grace in everything, extending this good news to all creation.  

Long captivated by the idea of one-way love or Gods grace, Paul Zahl has often contended with accusations of being long on grace but short on law. Grace in Practice begins with Zahls response to the classic tension between law and grace. He then sets up the four pillars of his own theology of grace: humanity, salvation, Christ, and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Having discussed grace in theological terms, Zahl goes on to address the practicality of grace, developing a systematic theology of grace that is radically understood from the Bible and consistently applied to everyday life. After helpfully narrowing down specific fields of grace, asserting throughout that grace always trumps both law and church, Zahl concludes with an expanded view of grace in everything, extending this good news to all creation.

 

David Zahl - Charlottesville, Va

David Zahl

David Zahl is the Director of Mockingbird Ministries  and editor-in-chief of the Mockingbird blog. Born in New York City, David graduated from Georgetown University in 2001 and then served for five years as a youth minister with FOCUS (Fellowship Of Christians in Universities and Schools) in their New England. In 2007 he founded Mockingbird in New York City. David and his wife Cate currently reside in Charlottesville, VA with their two boys, Charlie and Cabell, where David also serves on the staff of Christ Episcopal Church, supervising their ministry to students and young adults. He is a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal diocese of Virginia, and his writing has appeared in Christianity Today, Modern Reformation and The Dish. He is also the author of A Mess of Help: From the Crucified Soul of Rock N' Roll.

A movie theater is a magical place. We laugh and cry, marvel and curse–occasionally we are even transported, the projector casting fresh light on both ourselves and the world around us. Mockingbird at the Movies collects essays from a wide range of contributors, exploring the films that have touched us most. Some are beautiful, some confrontational, some silly, some sad, some all of the above; taken together, they bear witness to the power of film to move the heart and lift the spirit. Grab your popcorn and press play

A movie theater is a magical place. We laugh and cry, marvel and curse–occasionally we are even transported, the projector casting fresh light on both ourselves and the world around us. Mockingbird at the Movies collects essays from a wide range of contributors, exploring the films that have touched us most. Some are beautiful, some confrontational, some silly, some sad, some all of the above; taken together, they bear witness to the power of film to move the heart and lift the spirit. Grab your popcorn and press play

Sarah Condon - Houston, TX

Sarah Condon

Sarah Condon is an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Texas. She is married to Josh Condon and mother to Neil and Annie. Sarah serves the people of St. Martin’s Church. Previously, she was a chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital. A regular contributor to the Mockingbird website, click here to read some of Sarah’s latest.

One woman’s hilarious and deeply touching dispatch from the trenches of contemporary life, Churchy traces the fingerprints of grace from hospital hallways to community swimming pools to church nurseries and back again. Unflinchingly honest yet unfailingly hopeful, Rev. Sarah is a genre unto herself. You’ve never had this much fun going to church  

One woman’s hilarious and deeply touching dispatch from the trenches of contemporary life, Churchy traces the fingerprints of grace from hospital hallways to community swimming pools to church nurseries and back again. Unflinchingly honest yet unfailingly hopeful, Rev. Sarah is a genre unto herself. You’ve never had this much fun going to church

 

Liz Vice - Brooklyn, NY

"I didn’t think I was going to live past 20 years old," recounts Liz Vice. It's a surprising revelation considering the vitality and energy she exudes onstage, but it brings context to the utter joy and gratefulness and humility and magic that imbues her soulful voice throughout 'There's A Light,' her debut album. Vice is an unlikely breakout artist—she'll be the first to tell you that she never intended to share her singing voice with anyone—but she's overcome the odds with a survivor's spirit, discovering that sometimes we have to travel dark roads and long nights before the sun can illuminate our true path.

Born the middle of 5 children and raised by a single mother, Vice grew up in Oregon with dreams of becoming a filmmaker. She faced an unthinkable plot twist at the age of 15, though, when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and her kidneys began to fail. By 19, she'd begun what would turn into three-and-a-half years of dialysis, during which time she faced down congestive heart failure, dangerous weight loss, and a series of hospital-borne infections that could have proved fatal to someone in her condition.

"Instead of praying that I would be healed, I was just so tired that I would pray for death every day," she confesses. "But every day I woke up, I decided to live that day to the fullest."

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When well enough to work, she put herself through medical assisting school and was blessed with a much-needed kidney transplant. The new lease on life encouraged her to pursue her dream of filmmaking, long-since put on hold in the face of her struggle to survive. "I decided I was going to make films and put people of color in them with no stereotypes attached," Vice explains. "I wanted to make movies that encouraged people to go out and do something in their lives, that wouldn't make them feel limited because they grew up in a certain neighborhood or family situation." While working in film, she began attending a new church in Portland and inexplicably found herself compelled to audition for the worship team, a small group of singers and musicians who led the young congregation in contemplative, folk-inspired songs. Overcoming her intense stage fright, she auditioned for Josh White, the pastor of the church and who wrote much of the material for the worship team, and their connection was immediate. Vice began singing in smaller, laid back services during the week, until one Sunday, Vice was called to sing solo in front of the full congregation of nearly 400 parishioners. "I remember as I was singing, it felt like every pore in my body opened up, and I was just covered in sweat like I had water poured on top of my head," she says. "I was so overwhelmed with the adrenaline of singing a song of that magnitude by myself in front of that many people. It felt like I just went to a new place and everyone disappeared, and then the song was over. There was so much emotion happening I had to sit down. My friend walked onstage in tears and she said, 'What was that?' I looked at her and started crying and said, 'I don’t know.'" It was a life-changing performance. White decided to give Vice songs he intended for his own solo project. After just one rehearsal, she and the band headed into Jackpot Studios to record all of the instrumentation live to tape. The buzz about the music they were creating was so strong that when they announced a local release show, it sold out almost instantly. Her riveting performance led to dates with Cody Chesnutt and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, as well as a slot at the prestigious Blues Fest, and now, an international release for the album on Ramseur Records. 'There's A Light' opens with the funky R&B of "Abide," Vice's voice sounding like something straight out of the Stax vault over top of a slinky bass and drum groove. On "Empty Me Out," the keyboards take over front and center as Vice's voice grows in rich, expansive layers of harmony. It was hearing the recording of the slow-burning "Entrance" for the first time, though, that convinced her she was creating something special with White. "When I first listened to the final mix, as soon as it gets to the first 'ooohs,' I couldn't believe that voice was mine," she remembers. "It was the first time I ever heard the things that people kept saying they heard when I sang. I started tearing up and had this moment of, 'Can I cry to my own song?'" she laughs. "It felt like an out of body experience." The wailing vocals on "The Source" are the stuff that goosebumps are made of, while Vice found herself channeling Michael Jackson on "Everything Is Yours" and pushing deep into the kind of questions about faith and spirituality that one rarely has the courage to ask in church on "Enclosed By You." Though it's not filmmaking like she originally dreamed of, Vice has found music to be a vehicle for the same type of positive social influence she hoped to have as a director. She imagines the up-tempo gospel of "Pure Religion" as the kind of song a mother might sing to her children to keep them on the right track, and "All Must Be Well" is a message of resilience and survival through hard times. It's perhaps on the title track, though, that we hear the purest expression of love and hope, with Vice joyfully singing "There's a light shining over me" throughout the two-minute, feel-good album closer. There is indeed a light shining over Liz Vice. It saved her all those years ago just when she thought her life was ending, and it shone down upon a new calling, one in which she gets up onstage every night and shares that light with the world. Come what may, Liz Vice is gonna let it shine.

When well enough to work, she put herself through medical assisting school and was blessed with a much-needed kidney transplant. The new lease on life encouraged her to pursue her dream of filmmaking, long-since put on hold in the face of her struggle to survive.

"I decided I was going to make films and put people of color in them with no stereotypes attached," Vice explains. "I wanted to make movies that encouraged people to go out and do something in their lives, that wouldn't make them feel limited because they grew up in a certain neighborhood or family situation."

While working in film, she began attending a new church in Portland and inexplicably found herself compelled to audition for the worship team, a small group of singers and musicians who led the young congregation in contemplative, folk-inspired songs. Overcoming her intense stage fright, she auditioned for Josh White, the pastor of the church and who wrote much of the material for the worship team, and their connection was immediate. Vice began singing in smaller, laid back services during the week, until one Sunday, Vice was called to sing solo in front of the full congregation of nearly 400 parishioners.

"I remember as I was singing, it felt like every pore in my body opened up, and I was just covered in sweat like I had water poured on top of my head," she says. "I was so overwhelmed with the adrenaline of singing a song of that magnitude by myself in front of that many people. It felt like I just went to a new place and everyone disappeared, and then the song was over. There was so much emotion happening I had to sit down. My friend walked onstage in tears and she said, 'What was that?' I looked at her and started crying and said, 'I don’t know.'"

It was a life-changing performance. White decided to give Vice songs he intended for his own solo project. After just one rehearsal, she and the band headed into Jackpot Studios to record all of the instrumentation live to tape. The buzz about the music they were creating was so strong that when they announced a local release show, it sold out almost instantly. Her riveting performance led to dates with Cody Chesnutt and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, as well as a slot at the prestigious Blues Fest, and now, an international release for the album on Ramseur Records.

'There's A Light' opens with the funky R&B of "Abide," Vice's voice sounding like something straight out of the Stax vault over top of a slinky bass and drum groove. On "Empty Me Out," the keyboards take over front and center as Vice's voice grows in rich, expansive layers of harmony. It was hearing the recording of the slow-burning "Entrance" for the first time, though, that convinced her she was creating something special with White.

"When I first listened to the final mix, as soon as it gets to the first 'ooohs,' I couldn't believe that voice was mine," she remembers. "It was the first time I ever heard the things that people kept saying they heard when I sang. I started tearing up and had this moment of, 'Can I cry to my own song?'" she laughs. "It felt like an out of body experience."

The wailing vocals on "The Source" are the stuff that goosebumps are made of, while Vice found herself channeling Michael Jackson on "Everything Is Yours" and pushing deep into the kind of questions about faith and spirituality that one rarely has the courage to ask in church on "Enclosed By You."

Though it's not filmmaking like she originally dreamed of, Vice has found music to be a vehicle for the same type of positive social influence she hoped to have as a director. She imagines the up-tempo gospel of "Pure Religion" as the kind of song a mother might sing to her children to keep them on the right track, and "All Must Be Well" is a message of resilience and survival through hard times. It's perhaps on the title track, though, that we hear the purest expression of love and hope, with Vice joyfully singing "There's a light shining over me" throughout the two-minute, feel-good album closer.

There is indeed a light shining over Liz Vice. It saved her all those years ago just when she thought her life was ending, and it shone down upon a new calling, one in which she gets up onstage every night and shares that light with the world. Come what may, Liz Vice is gonna let it shine.

The Magills & Co. - Tyler, TX

Magills

Matt and Megan Magill met on the stage in 1998 and have been at home together there ever since. They were married in 2001 and moved to New York City to pursue careers in music and theater. Having relocated to Tyler, TX in 2010, Matt and Megan now regularly perform around Texas and occasionally far beyond.   These days Matt is the Downtown Arts Initiative for Bethel Bible Church Downtown and Megan has a musical theatre studio.   The couple also work for their non-profit, B3 Ministries, where they use their music, performances and productions as opportunities to bridge the gap between the church and the community around them.  Their new record Down Is Up Is Down features guitarist Marc Ford (The Black Crowes) and can be found with their other releases, Matt Magill: Song x Song, The Magills: The Sting and The Honey, and The Magills: …And The Kings County Sound , on iTunes and www.themagills.bandcamp.com.  

Mark Braaten - Tyler, TX

Mark Braaten has served as pastor of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Tyler for the past 14 years.  He has previously served congregations in Kentucky, Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota.  He is married to Karen; they have three grown children – Amber, Christopher, and Cassaundra. 

Mark has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota, with a focus on the book of Revelation.  He has authored two books, Come Lord Jesus A Study in Revelation and Prayer as Joy, Prayer as Struggle.  He has also co-authored two books of children’s sermons and numerous articles, devotionals, etc.   He also serves as a member of the Executive Council of the North American Lutheran Church. 

Mark is from Minnesota (and still refers to Northern Minnesota as the Holy Land).  He enjoys swimming, fishing, and relaxing in saunas.

Dr. Randy Randall - Tyler, TX

 

Randy and Linda Randall started Kalos Foundation (kalosfoundation.org) in 2012 because of their love of art and how it relates to the Christian faith. Randy has long noted the impact of art on his life and explored its relationship to faith in his thesis paper, “The Reformation and Visual Art”. He is a graduate of Texas A&M, University of Texas Medical Branch, and Reformed Theological Seminary. He has dreams of launching a podcast which would continue the effort to link the true, the good, and the beautiful with our love of God. At his breakout session, he will be talking with Mary McCleary about her own collage work and how the ordinary materials used in her art express much more than appearances might suggest.

Mary McCleary - Nacgadoches, TX

Mary McCleary is Regent's Professor of Art Emeritus at Stephen F. Austin State University, where she taught from 1975 to 2005. Born in Houston, Texas, she received her B.F.A., cum laude in printmaking/drawing at Texas Christian University and her M.F.A. in graphics from the University of Oklahoma. She has participated in one-person and group exhibits in galleries and museums across the nation and overseas. Her work has been featured in major national newspapers and magazines, and is collected by museums across the region. In 2011 she was named Texas Artist of the Year. 

Ricky Garner - Tyler, TX

Ricky Garner was born and raised in Tyler, TX. After graduating high school he joined the U.S. Air Force and moved away from Tyler. After serving in the Air Force Ricky and his family moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area where they resided for over 25 years. In 2000 he was called to the gospel ministry and in 2006 the Lord led Ricky and his wife to plant Unity Baptist Church in Ft. Worth where he served as senior pastor until returning home to Tyler in 2014. Ricky currently serves as assistant pastor at New Days Community Church in Tyler. He also serves on the boards of Promise Academy and The Mentoring Alliance. He has studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ricky has been married to his wife Jane for over 30 years and they have 4 children.

Brad Wofford - Tyler, TX

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Brad Wofford is the Director of Media at Pine Cove Camps and operates BW Design – a freelance creative shop in Tyler, TX. After working as an Art Director in Dallas for 5 years, on projects for Southwest Airlines, broadcast.com (when that was still a thing), MADD, Waste Management, Halliburton and IBM, he and his family moved to the pine forests of East Texas in search of a more meaningful creative life and a little less traffic. He was recently featured as “Designer of the Week” for Print Magazine and is still striving for “Dad of the Week” at home. Brad also plays the banjo and leads up a local string-band called The Scrips.

 

Lindsay Boone - Tyler, TX

Lindsay Boone is an artist, illustrator and musician in Tyler. An avid artist since childhood, she formally studied Studio Art and Art History in Paris during her junior year abroad. She taught art for 5 years at schools in Dallas and Bullard. Specializing in charcoal, graphite, watercolor and oils, Lindsay now works as a freelance artist in her home studio. Lindsay also sings (constantly) and plays the piano, guitar, and hammered dulcimer. She loves leading the music for a local church plant, Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

Ben Wheeler - Tyler, TX

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Ben Wheeler is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in American and just recently planted a new church in Tyler called Redeemer. He is the happy husband of Rachel and proud father of four.  After getting a BS and MS from Texas A&M, he did research and development in the food industry for about 10 years.  He then attended Westminster Seminary and went on to serve churches in Dallas, Rockwall, and Corpus Christi.   A Tyler native, he is very grateful to be back in his home town and able to proclaim God’s good news to the people he knows so well.

 

Aristeo Rodriguez - Tyler, TX

Aristeo Rodriguez ("A-Rod" for short) is the owner/operator of El Guapo Records.   El Guapo Records opened in December of 2016 and features vinyl, tapes, cds and various local music and swag.   He loves music and everything about it and he's deeply interested in the community of Tyler and prefers ALWAYS "keeping it local".

 

Blaine Davis - Tyler, TX

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Blaine Davis lives in historic Tyler, TX and works in a variety of fields. He is the current Humanities Chair at Grace Community High School and teaches 9th grade English. When not corralling squirrelly freshmen, he serves at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (NALC) as a council member and lay minister assisting in pulpit supply and visitation. Blaine is an ’06 graduate of Wheaton College and will be wrapping up his MA in Humanities and Literature at the University of Dallas this spring. He is happily married to Karin Davis, and together they are the proud parents of Annabelle and Penelope. In their spare time, the Davis’ co-own Sola Bread Co. along with Tim, Lindsay, Tommy, and Jack Long. Together they bake Tyler’s only naturally leavened, brick-oven bread.

Ryan Dixon - True Vine Brewing

Ryan Dixon and True Vine Brewing are about more than good beer. They are about love and integrity, walking in faith and hope, putting their neighbors before themselves and crafting brews that reflect the same, bringing people together and building community. Founded in 2011 by friends with a passion for life, quality beer and creative expression, we are an up and coming family based craft brewery located in Tyler, TX. Integrity, Community and Love are three core virtues at True Vine. You can read more about our hearts and vision in the January issue of BSCENE Magazine. 

Rev. Matt Boulter - Tyler, TX

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Matt Boulter is a 41 year old wayfarer from Texas who sometimes thinks he’s traveling down the right path. He is an Episcopal Priest and PhD student in medieval philosophy. He loves reading, running, drinking, smoking, and hanging out with his three brown-eyed girls. He blogs at religiocity.org.

Rev. Keith Pozzuto - Tyler, TX

Rev. Keith Pozzuto is a cradle Episcopalian and a graduate of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA, Keith grew up, served as a Youth Minister, and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Pittsburg.   He loves to road trip and to relax at home with his family, and enjoys reading what he describes as ‘extremely long history books.’ Possessing a deep relationship with the Lord, a warm heart, and a great sense of humor, Keith has been blessed by God with his wonderful wife Melinda, and their children Sam, a student in high school and Gregory, who works in Pittsburg, PA.

Micah Lewis, Artist - Tyler, TX

Micah Lewis, an artist who's work could best be described as lowbrow, is living and working from the brick roads in beautiful downtown Tyler, Texas.   She is a self-taught artist who finds beauty in all of God’s creation, particularly in people…and coffee.  Having a heart for creativity from a young age, she draws inspiration from tattoo art, comic books, or old Godzilla movies. Additionally, she has a peculiar knack for portraits where she can capture the natural emotion present in each subject.  She prefers drawing with her collection of drafting pencils, a brush pen, or painting with watercolor, but enjoys challenging herself with any medium.To take a look into her process or to gain sneak peeks of upcoming projects, you can follow her at:

Instagram: @theyoungwarrior & Facebook: facebook.com/micahtheyoungwarrior