revitup! Speaker Biographies



revitup presenter photo Michael Baughman
Title: Direct Donor Dollars & Sense—“The Big Ask”

The Reverend Michael Baughman is an ordained elder serving in the North Texas Annual Conference as the lead pastor for Union—a new kind of coffee house that seeks to care for those in the surrounding community. He has served congregations of varying sizes in the North Carolina, Greater New Jersey, Central Texas and North Texas Annual Conferences. Much of his time in ministry has been spent starting and building youth and young adult ministries.

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revitup presenter photo David Bell
Title: When There’s a Will, There’s a Way

The Reverend David S. Bell is the president and executive director of the United Methodist Foundation of Michigan and a senior design partner with Design Group International. His areas of expertise include charitable estate planning, stewardship education, planned giving, faith-based personal budgeting and clergy finance. With more than 20 years of experience consulting with individuals, congregations and non-profit organizations, he creates hope by designing practical services that help faithful people live generous lives. Bell has a keen understanding of the current economic climate and the consumer trends impacting charitable giving.

As an avid writer and speaker, he addresses the often-overlooked spiritual discipline of generosity and the debilitating impact of hyper-consumerism. He gained experience as a pastor, development director, and regional and national church executive. He is active with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, the Christian Leadership Alliance and the National Association of Church Business Administrators. Bell recently completed a graduate certificate in Executive Leadership from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University. He is a graduate of The College of Wooster and a magna cum laude graduate of the Drew Theological School.

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revitup presenter photo Nate Berneking
Title: April is the Cruelest Month: A Survival Guide to Clergy Tax

The Reverend Nate Berneking is the Director of Finance & Administrative Ministry for the Missouri Annual Conference, Nate serves as a resource to the clergy and congregations of the Missouri Conference. In addition to his oversight of Conference finance, legal and business matters, he also conducts regular workshops on finance, administration, local church trustees, stewardship/generosity, clergy benefits and tax issues. An attorney, he previously worked in a large law firm’s corporate, finance and securities practice group.

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revitup presenter photo Raymond Bonwell
Title: Budget All You Can: Finances and the Church

Raymond Bonwell is an Education Specialist with The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He leads member education seminars across the country and assists in developing additional education resources for plan members and the broader Church community.

Before joining the Board of Pensions in 2012, Raymond was Director of Programs at Princeton Theological Seminary for more than five years, overseeing continuing education opportunities for clergy and laity and contributing to degree programs. A graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. Economics), Raymond had a twelve year professional career in financial planning and investments before earning his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Raymond has served the church in pastoral capacities, including pulpit supply in more than seventy-five churches, and serving congregations in West Virginia as a commissioned ruling elder and in New Jersey as a teaching elder. He has served on various presbytery committees (Mission Interpretation and Stewardship, Permanent Judicial Committee, Educational Ministries), as a synod commissioner, and as a synod trustee. Raymond and Heidi, his wife, live in Newtown, PA with their three children.

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revitup presenter photo Lazetta Rainey Braxton
Title: Living your (Financial) Life Like It’s Golden–Financial Planning Goals & Tools

Lazetta Rainey Braxton, a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, is founder and CEO of Financial Fountains, a fee-only financial planning firm and registered investment adviser. Equipping people to achieve personal and financial well-being and to contribute to the common good are the cornerstones of Financial Fountains’ client-centered approach.

As the spouse of a pastor, Braxton is acquainted with the financial planning needs of ministers. Her expertise in clergy tax rules, compensation, retirement planning and effective stewardship practices assists ministers in fulfilling their financial goals. Braxton understands that financial well-being enables ministers to more effectively provide holistic spiritual leadership.

As an advocate of financial planning and literacy, Braxton serves as a board member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors, 2013 Chair of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Diversity Committee and a member of the Foundation for Financial Planning Grants Committee and 2013 FPA Annual Conference Task Force. She is a guest blogger for AARP and DimeSpring. She has also served as a guest commentator for The African American Lectionary and a columnist for the Journal of Financial Planning. Her advice has been featured in national media including, The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Black Enterprise, InvestmentNews and Diversity Woman magazine.

In additional to her CFP designation, Lazetta holds a B.S. in Finance and International Business from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. She received her Certificate of Achievement in Personal Financial Planning from Metropolitan Community College of Omaha, Nebraska.

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Craig Gilliam photo Craig Gilliam
Title: Conflict Transformation: A Skill and an Art

The Reverend Doctor Craig Gilliam is a JustPeace collaborative staff member, director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence, Louisiana Conference and adjunct instructor, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. With more than 24 years’ experience serving in Church, Gilliam has earned deep respect for his work with leaders and communities. He has worked with hundreds of congregations from different denominations over the years that are caught in conflict and anxiety. His areas of expertise include: conflict transformation in congregations, leadership education, team building and group process.

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revitup presenter photo Peter Hang
Title: You've Got Benefits!

Peter Hang has been with Wespath Benefits and Investments since 1999, first as a team developer for the Pension Administration department and most recently as a benefits educator. In his current role, he travels to annual conferences to help conduct financial and retirement seminars for clergy and lay employees. The son of a United Methodist pastor, Hang especially enjoys interacting one-on-one with clergy and their spouses to help relieve some of the anxiety associated with retirement, all while putting a face to Wespath.

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revitup presenter photo Becky David-Hensley
Title: Transforming Communities—One Story at a Time

Rev. Becky David-Hensley is the Associate Director for the Center for Leadership Development of the North Texas Conference. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education from Oklahoma City University and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology. She has served as Associate Minister of Discipleship at First UMC Dallas, and Associate Minister of Children, Adult, and Missions Ministries at Flower Mound United Methodist.

As a Deacon, Becky has a strong passion for connecting churches with the needs of the world through ministries of compassion and justice, and enjoys working with churches to help develop leaders that transform the world. She is married to Rev. Ben David-Hensley, Minister of Worship and Discipleship at Oak Lawn UMC, and they live in Dallas, TX.

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revitup presenter photo Trip Lowery
Title:Rediscovering Your Call and Discovering Theirs

Reverend Trip Lowery is an ordained elder in the NC Annual Conference and the Director of Young Adult Ministry Discernment and Enlistment at GBHEM in Nashville, TN. He’s a native of Myrtle Beach, SC and is currently couchsurfing while trying to relocate his family to Nashville. Before ordained ministry, Trip taught High School chemistry, physics, and algebra; helped manage a surf shop; and played professional soccer. Trip has an M.Div from Duke Divinity School and is working on a D.Min. focused on autism and worship.

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revitup presenter photo Jane Pernotto Ehrman
Title: Chill and Refill: Creating Life Balance and Avoiding Compassion Fatigue

Jane, owner of Images of Wellness, LLC, is a Mind/Body Medicine Specialist in Cleveland, Ohio. She works with adults and children on a variety of issues, including chronic disease treatment stress-related illness and, grief and loss, and more. Jane has been an international speaker, for over 25 years on a variety of topics related to health and wellness, and work/life balance, compassion fatigue and burnout.

Besides her private work, Jane is the Lead Behavioral Health Specialist at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine, in the Wellness Institute.

She has a Master’s of Education from Pennsylvania State University, with an emphasis on Mind/Body Medicine and an undergraduate degree in Health Education from Youngstown State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist, a National Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and certified in Interactive Guided Imagery™. She candidly shares her insights with high energy, compassion and humor.

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revitup presenter photo Trent Sparrow
Title: Investment Funds at Work: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing

Trent joined Wespath's Investment Management division in October 2012. As analyst of the Positive Social Purpose Lending Program, he is responsible for the day-to-day reporting and analysis of several internally-managed portfolios of market-rate community development loans, one of which is a component of Wespath’s Fixed Income Fund. Previously, he was an analyst at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS), where he managed investor relations and portfolio reporting. Prior to NHS, Trent worked as a commercial real estate portfolio manager for Zions Bank. Trent received a B.B.A. degree in Finance from Idaho State University.

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revitup presenter photo Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Weems
Opening Worship

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia D. Weems is Superintendent of the South East District of the Florida Annual Conference. This district spans three counties from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West and is home to English, Creole, Spanish and Korean speaking congregations. Before this she served the First UMC of Miami, a diverse church with an extensive outreach to the homeless population of downtown Miami. Cynthia has served congregations in Connecticut, Kansas and Florida as well as spending two years after seminary as a volunteer missionary in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

She is a Mississippian by birth where she spent her childhood as a “preacher’s kid” along with her three siblings. This is where she first felt a call to ministry. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Millsaps College and received a Master of Divinity Degree from Yale Divinity School and later a Doctor of Ministry degree from Saint Paul School of Theology. Cynthia was a 2016 clergy delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences from the Florida Annual Conference.

Cynthia is a storyteller and dynamic preacher as well as an able administrator and leader. She is trilingual, having learned both Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America. Cynthia desires to live authentically into the vision God has set for her and for each congregation she has served. She is married to Amauri Silva, a native Brazilian and naturalized U.S. Citizen, and is the proud stepmother to Aline and Felipe, and mother to Mariana.

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