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Facilitator Bios

Facilitator Bios: Pre-Conference Leadership Gatherings

Clergy Facilitators

Rev. James (Jim) Harnish retired in 2014 from Hyde Park in Tampa after 42 years of pastoral ministry in the Florida Conference, the final twenty-two years as Senior Pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist in Tampa. He is the author of ten books and numerous bible studies and articles, most recently A Disciple’s Path. Jim is passionately committed to effectively communicating the gospel through preaching. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.

Rev. Charley Reeb has been the pastor of Pasadena Community Church, St. Petersburg, for the past eight years. He is the author of One Heaven of a Party and Seven Wonders of Faith. His articles have appeared in Circuit Rider and Preaching Magazines, and he has been a featured preacher on the national radio program, Day 1. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry from Columbia.

Bishop Robert (Bob) E. Fannin was elected to the Episcopacy in 1992 and served the Birmingham area until his retirement in 2004. Prior to his election, he served as a District Superintendent and pastor of First Lakeland. He is Bishop in Residence at Florida Southern College, vice-chair of the Division of World Evangelism and Dean of the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. He assisted the Simpkins Family establishing the Wesley Study Retreat.

Rev. Phil Roughton has served as Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and over the last 25 years, served as senior pastor of First Ormond Beach and Christ Church, Ft. Lauderdale, retiring in 2013. He is currently the Chair of the Simpkins Wesley Study Retreat and has been instrumental in working with Bishop Fannin and the Simpkins Family to help sustain and increase the Simpkins Endowment to provide this continuing education opportunity for Florida Clergy. The Study Retreat is celebrating its 23rd Year!

Rev. Janice Virtue is the former executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity and guided the creation and development of pastoral learning programs including the Royce and Jane Reynolds Program in Church Leadership, the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation, and Courage to Serve. She has a long history with a variety of Lilly Endowment programs with responsibility for both design and delivery.

Rev. David Dodge is the co-facilitator of Courage to Lead with Janice Virtue. He serves as the Assistant to Bishop Ken Carter and is the former Director of the Office of Clergy Excellence. He established the vision for the Florida Conference Courage to Lead Retreats under the mentoring of Parker J. Palmer, author, educator, and activist.  The retreats began in 2009 and have welcomed 200 participants over the last 7 years.


Laity Facilitators

Jim Cook recently retired from serving as Director of Prayer, Chapel and Care Ministries at Trinity, UMC, Gainesville. Jim currently serves as the Florida Conference Chairperson of Spiritual Formation.

Rachel Sumner serves as one of our Florida Conference young adult Associate Lay Leaders. She is an active member at St. Andrew UMC, Titusville.

In 2012, Cindy Thompson founded Boundless Impact, a nonprofit organization supporting global leadership and engagement initiatives across commerce, education, civic and faith sectors to ensure NC excels in an interconnected world. Cindy is an executive leader and cultural entrepreneur whose organization provides a platform for globally-minded leaders to connect and mobilize around initiatives that achieve results to further global common good. Prior to founding Boundless Impact, Cindy enjoyed a successful career as a CFO and financial executive for mid-sized businesses and large corporations in various industries for 25 years. As a lifelong United Methodist, Cindy has served both the local church and connectional conference in varied leadership positions.

Harold Lewis serves as Florida Conference Director of the Multi-Cultural and Justice Ministries. He serves as the lead facilitator of the Beloved Community Ministry which comes under the umbrella of the Office of Missional Engagement.  As the lead facilitator, he provides training and resources related to the issues of racism, diversity, and cultural inclusiveness.  He also serves as the conference liaison for the following ministries: Committee on Native American Ministries, Conference Committee on Haitian Ministries, Conference Committee on Religion and Race, Florida Caucus of Black Methodists for Church Renewal and the Committee on Justice Ministries.

Craig W. Robertson is founding member and Development Partner of Spiritual Leadership, Inc.  Besides the work of developing relationships and discovering areas where SLI's particular ministry might serve best, Craig's project focus is on large regional areas, or judicatories, containing 800 - 1200 churches, European coach development and projects and serving on SLI's lead team providing strategic direction to the organization. Craig’s business experience includes founding and serving as President of Lightpath, Inc., an engineering systems integration firm. Craig has served in many roles within the Church including lay leader, district lay leader, director of New Church Development and delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Craig has now been serving within SLI since 2000.