Cultivating [ spaces ] is a good habit.

Thanks to all who joined us in May for four consecutive nights of engaging, empowering, and insightful dialogue about the most pressing concerns of parents raising teenagers. We will be releasing free resources and recordings soon. We're also already planning future events and would love to keep in touch with you. Register below to stay in touch!


Throughout March in New England, people are starting their tomato seedlings and willing the final patches of snow to thaw. Spring is emerging, and each year as the temperatures slowly rise and the sun shines for longer each day, we are reminded of the importance of cultivating spaces for growth. This year perhaps more than ever, I am hearing students and teachers alike looking forward to new, good, fruitful growth in the year ahead.

This has been a long, hard winter – some might say it’s been a year long season of scaling back and wintering – but we are looking forward to the slow and gradual emergence of the next season. We’re looking forward to new life and growth – new opportunities and familiar freedoms once again becoming part of our lives. 



David Smith
Director of Keyers Institute for Christian Teaching & Learning
Professor at Calvin University 

David Smith is a longtime friend of LCA, and currently serves as a Professor of Education and Director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also serves as Editor of the International Journal of Christianity and Education.

David is the author of numerous books and articles on the intersection of faith and learning, and will bring a wealth of insight and innovative thinking to the table as we discuss the complexities of our emerging educational landscape. 


Dr. Dorothy Vaandering
Professor of Education Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador

Dorothy is passionate about supporting educators and youth in their experience with learning and education. In her experience as an educator and researcher she has discovered the significance and simplicity of honoring one another as human beings in the context of schools.

She is an associate professor at the Faculty of Education, Memorial University, Newfoundland, and Labrador. After an extensive career as a Primary-Elementary educator, she now researches the implementation and sustainability of restorative justice in education. She passionately works to connect theory and practice in her current role as researcher and teacher-educator.

Most recently she is gripped by the realities of colonization past and present, and is working to understand reconciliation as a settler-Canadian. She is the author and co-author of a variety of academic and professional publications including The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education. She is the Director of Relationships First: Restorative Justice Education Research & Resource Consortium in NL. 




Dr. Virginia Ward
Pastor & Professor Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Virginia is the Dean of the Boston Campus and Executive Director of the Northeast Region of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where she teaches classes in youth ministry and leadership. She also serves as an Associate Pastor at the Abundant Life Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts where her husband, Bishop Lawrence Ward is the lead pastor. Together they formed a consulting company, Wards of Wisdom, to support urban ministries seeking change. Virginia and her husband reside in Boston and have two adult sons.

Virginia is also co-author on the book It’s Personal: Five Questions You Should Answer To Give Every Kid Hope, and she conducts research on ethnic/multi-ethnic youth and family ministry.




Dr. Alison Cook
Author of Boundaries for Your Soul

Alison Cook, MA, PhD is a psychologist, speaker, and the co-author of Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies. For over two decades, Alison has helped women, ministry leaders, couples, and families learn how to heal painful emotions, develop confidence from the inside out, forge healthy relationships, and fully live out their God-given potential.

We can’t wait to hear from Dr. Cook as we explore what it takes to help teenagers face an overwhelming future. 




Sheila Wise Rowe
Author of Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience 

Sheila Wise Rowe is a truth-teller who is passionate about matters of faith and emotional healing, which is why we are so excited to announce that she will be joining us for Cultivating [ healing ] on May 19!

Sheila advocates for the dignity, rights, and healing of abuse survivors, those carrying racial trauma, and racial conciliation. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Cambridge College, and holds a Master's in counseling psychology. For 25 years she’s counseled and taught counseling in Boston, France and for a decade lived in South Africa where she ministered to homeless women and children.

Sheila is a member of the Community Ethics Committee of Harvard Medical School, a policy-review resource for it's teaching hospitals. She is also the co-founder of The Cyrene Movement, an online community for people of color seeking healing for racial trauma.

Sheila's book, Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience, won the 2021 Christianity Today’s Book of the Year Award in the Christian Living/Discipleship category. Sheila Wise Rowe is the co-author of The Well of Life, and her essays can be found in numerous blogs, newspapers and journals. 



Makoto Fujimura
Artist & Author of Art + Faith: A Theology of Making

Makoto Fujimura is a leading contemporary artist whose process driven, refractive “slow art” has been described by David Brooks of New York Times as “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”. Fujimura is the author of “Art+Faith: A Theology of Making” out of Yale Press. He is a recipient of four Doctor of Arts Honorary Degrees, from Belhaven University, Biola University, Cairn University and Roanoke College.


Daniel Harrell, PhD
Editor in Chief of Christianity Today

Daniel Harrell, PhD is the editor in chief at Christianity Today. For 35 years, Daniel pastored churches in Boston and Minneapolis. He delights in cooking, clocks, kayaking, squash (the racket sport and the vegetable), travel, writing, and thinking about how the gospel intersects with culture. A recent widower, Daniel lost his wife Dawn to pancreatic cancer in 2019. He lives in Minneapolis with his daughter.


Michael Gulker
President of The Colossian Forum

Rev. Michael Gulker President of The Colossian Forum. He has a long-standing interest in the oft-times contentious intersection of faith and culture and how both thrive best when rooted in worship.  During his ten years at The Colossian Forum, Michael has become a leader in helping to turn conflict into an opportunity for deeper discipleship and a more beautiful witness.

A native of West Michigan, he studied philosophy and theology at Calvin College, has a divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, and is an ordained Mennonite pastor. Before coming to The Colossian Forum, Michael served as pastor of Christ Community Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife, Jodie, have two children.