Clergy Benefits Academy Speaker Biographies

revitup presenter photo David Bell
Course Title: Planning Your Family and Your Estate

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
Course Title: Help! Clergy Tax Laws!

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.

Nate is the author of The Vile Practices of Leadership, published by Abingdon Press and maintains a website with finance and administration resources for pastors and churches at

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revitup presenter photo Bob Christophel
Course Title: Making a Difference: Personal Savings and Wespath Services

Bob Christophel is a benefits educator who provides financial, retirement and other benefits education for clergy and lay employees. Prior to joining Wespath in 2015, Bob worked for a not-for-profit multi-employer pension and 401 (k) system in New York City, providing benefit communications and participant education for employees of New York museums, performing arts centers and other cultural institutions. Previously, he was a licensed investment representative in a corporate retirement services division, where he focused primarily on participant education for national corporate 401 (k) plans.

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revitup presenter photo Jane Pernotto Ehrman
Course 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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Bob Fairbrook portrait photo Bob Fairbrook
Course Titles: Financial Planning Goals and Tools; Social Security for Clergy

Bob Fairbrook has been a financial counselor since 1979, including eleven years as a partner at Retirement Benefits Specialists in Bellevue, WA. Prior to that Bob owned Northwest Retirement Planning in Seattle and served as an adjunct Professor at City University in Bellevue. Bob graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and has been a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) since 1995. Bob has been a Workshop Presenter for EY since 2009 and is currently serving on the Investment Committee for the American Medical Association Foundation in Chicago.

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Peter Hang portrait photo Peter Hang
Course Title: United Methodist Pension Benefits Review 1 and 2

Peter Hang has been with Wespath since 1999 beginning in Pension Administration and most recently as a Benefits Educator for the past 12 years conducting pre-retirement seminars for clergy and lay employees. In his current role as Conference Liaison he works with annual conference’s conference board of pensions assisting in making health and retirement related decisions. The son of a United Methodist pastor from The Iowa Conference, Peter especially enjoys interacting one-on-one with clergy and their spouses to help relieve some of the anxiety associated with the transition to retirement, while putting a face to Wespath.

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Cary James photo Cary James
Course Title: Understanding and Overseeing Church Finances

The Reverend Cary James, Jr., is an Elder in the Baltimore-Washington Conference and has served in full-time ministry for 20 years. He has served as a church planter, in congregational development, youth pastor, associate pastor and lead pastor. Rev. James is the lead pastor of Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Rev. James is a graduate and facilitator of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation Financial Leadership Academy. He is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary Urban Church Leadership Initiative. He is a graduate of the DeVos Foundation Transformational Giving Program. Rev. James serves on the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits, Conference Investment Committee and the Board of Ordained Ministry. He is certified as a DISC Facilitator, Leading from Your Strengths Coach, ICF Certified Coach and Situational Leadership II Facilitator.

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Judy Johnston photo Judy Johnston
Course Title: Healthy You…Healthy Church

Judy Johnston is a registered dietitian with more than 25 years of clinical and management experience. Formerly, she created and directed Kansas’ Leadership to Encourage Activity and Nutrition (LEAN)—a statewide coalition of more than 700 partners. During that time, Judy became nationally recognized for nutrition education innovation, school health interventions, the 5-a-Day program, and community development and evaluation. She is the author of the nutrition and physical activity board game Jack Sprat’s Table and various articles. From 1999 to 2003, Judy was an extension specialist in the Kansas State University Community Health Institute, co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research grant and a teaching associate at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, where she is also the pr ogram director in an innovative Breast Cancer Survivorship Center that she helped establish in 2009.

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Dale Jones photo Dale Jones
Course Title: Unexpected Events: Benefits You Need the Most

Dale Jones is the managing director of Church Relations at Wespath. He has been with Wespath since 1999. Previously, Dale was a conference treasurer and benefits officer with the Kentucky Conference. He holds a retirement plans associate (RPA) designation from the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans and a Master’s of Business Administration from Xavier University.

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Clergy Benefits Academy
October 29-31, 2018
Nebraska City, Nebraska

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Speaker Biographies

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