The Gospel's power to unite is stronger than contemporary politics' tendency to divide. At JESUS + Politics, our goal was to demonstrate our unity in Christ while exploring some of today's most controversial topics. Listen as our speakers discuss partisan politics, Black Lives Matter, immigration, and more.
July 22–23, 2016
For as long as she can remember, Kelli has always had a passion for praise and worship. She is a wife to an amazing husband of eight years and a mom to three little ones. They currently reside in Southfield, Michigan and are members of Oakland Hills Community Church. For over 12 years, Kelli served as Praise Team leader in her church in Chicago, as well as the Praise Team Director for Michigan State University gospel choir for four years.
James was born and raised in Temple City, CA. He completed his undergraduate studies at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). While at Calvin, James was fortunate enough to serve in a variety of capacities as well as the Worship Apprentice Team for chapel. Upon graduation, James received a call to serve as a Youth and Young Adults Minister at an RCA congregation in Roslyn Heights, NY. After a few years, James decided to heed God's call in focusing on his seminary education. James then moved back to Grand Rapids to study at Calvin Theological Seminary. Today, James currently serves as the English Ministry pastor at Korean Grace CRC. James also has the privilege to serve as a worship mentor to Calvin College students. James loves to talk about worship, lead worship, mentor worship leaders, and learn about innovative ways to bridge gaps between cultures and generations in worship.
James is happily married to his beautiful wife Jin Young.
Micah has been the music director at New City Fellowship OPC since their initial midweek gatherings in 2013. He grew up attending Harvest OPC in Wyoming, and began serving as a pianist and Mens Chorus director in 2005. During the day, he works as a computer programmer in Zeeland. He loves to fill his spare time making music with others; He sings in the Harvest Choir, NCF Gospel Choir, and Calvin College Oratorio Society.
Eddie Mercado is a graduate of Kuyper College, and works there as an Admissions Counselor/Community Ambassador. He is a Scholastic Member of the Biblical Higher Education Honor Society, and loves to serve the local church through practical and intellectual discussion. He has served for 7 years as a Worship Director, leading worship through song in a Hispanic, charismatic congregation for 4 years, and a Dutch Reformed congregation for 3 years. He enjoys reading and talking about the importance of Family Worship, the application of the Regulative Principle of Worship in different cultural contexts, and the theology of Geerhardus Vos.
He lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his beautiful wife Hillary, and their two handsome boys, Calvin and Ezekiel.
Liz Balck Monsma
Liz Balck Monsma received her law degree from Western Michigan University – Thomas M. Cooley Law School and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.
Between undergraduate studies and law school, Liz spent two years as an Americorps volunteer co-directing an after-school program for immigrant children and interning with the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.
During law school, Liz externed at the Immigrant & Refugee Appellate Center in Alexandria, Virginia. She also worked as a law clerk at a civil litigation law firm, Powers Chapman, PC in Troy, Michigan. After graduating in 2007, Liz practiced primarily in the firm’s personal injury section, while volunteering as a pro bono attorney at the Immigration Law Clinic at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.
Then in 2009, Liz returned to her native Grand Rapids to become the Staff Attorney and later the Legal Services Director at Justice for Our Neighbors West Michigan, a non-profit immigration legal clinic. In June 2016, Liz founded Monsma Law Office, a private immigration law practice.
Liz lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two sons.
Ekemini Uwan is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia, PA. She is also the 2015 Greene Prize in Apologetics Award recipient. As one who is passionate about sound theology, Ekemini has a fierce commitment to biblical orthodoxy and its implications for issues pertaining to racial injustice, police brutality, and white supremacy.
Ekemini believes that theology can and does speak to the culture, social, and political issues of our present day. As a result, she often speaks, opines, and writes about the aforementioned for various online publications.
Her writings have been published in the Huffington Post Black Voices, Christianity Today, The Reformed African American Network, and Christ and Pop Culture to name a few. Her insights have been quoted by The New York Times, Mashable, and The Huffington Post Religion.
Dr. Mika Edmondson
Mika Edmondson is the pastor of New City Fellowship OPC, a cross-cultural church plant in Southeast Grand Rapids. He graduated from Calvin Seminary, where he wrote a dissertation on Martin Luther King Jr.'s theology of suffering. He enjoys writing and speaking about how King's life and legacy inform our understanding of the gospel. He is happily married to Dr. Christina Edmondson and has two beautiful daughters, Zoe and Shiloh.
Randy Nabors is pastor emeritus of New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Urban and Mercy Ministries Coordinator for Mission to North America for the Presbyterian Church in America. A graduate of Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary, he has more than 40 years of experience in ministry to people in need.
Having spent his childhood in the projects of Newark, New Jersey, Nabors has a keen understanding of issues affecting inner city and urban life. He has ministered in the inner city areas of Watts and Compton, California, and the Wellston and Central West End of St. Louis, Missouri. He has also served many years as pastor of an urban church in Chattanooga, New City Fellowship, which has focused on ministering to African Americans, other ethnic groups, and the inner city community.
In God’s providence other New City congregations were begun around the country. Under Pastor Randy's leadership, the New City Network is an attempt to bring them together for mutual support and encouragement.
A retired chaplain with thirty-two years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve, Nabors lives with his wife, Joan, and has four grown children.