PRESENTER BIOS

Joshua Bitting was born and raised in the Wichita area. While studying philosophy as an undergraduate at Southwestern College, Joshua came into full communion with the Catholic Church on June 22nd, 2003, the Feast of Corpus Christi. Joshua and his wife Amanda are parishioners at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. They have been married for nine years and have four children: John Augustine, age 8; Therese Marie, age 6; Elijah Paul, age 3; and Joseph Francis, age 1. Joshua attended Franciscan University of Steubenville where he earned his Master's degree in Theology with an emphasis in Catechetics. He has served the Church in various catechetical ministries including adult faith formation, RCIA, parish evangelization, Catholic "Welcome Home" programs, Catholic Scripture study, and sacramental preparation. Currently, Joshua is a director of the Office of Faith Formation for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

Viewing the creation accounts in Genesis 1-2 through a catechetical “lens”, Joshua will seek to articulate the liturgical anthropology undergirding the Creation accounts. Only with a correct understanding of a liturgical and theological anthropology that is found in the first two chapters of Genesis can we understand the nature and purpose of mankind and of creation, ordered as they are to worship of God. Rightly ordered worship brings about a harmonious “cosmic liturgy” which sees man as microcosm and mediator of creation, both the visible and the invisible. Man is an embodied unity, ordered toward fulfillment in Christ, the visible image of the invisible God; thus the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel is the interpretive key for understanding the creation narratives aright.

 


 

Fr. Geoff Boyle has served as senior pastor of Grace and Trinity Lutheran Churches (LCMS) here in Wichita since 2010. Presently he’s working on his dissertation through the University of Toronto considering a sacramental approach to how Christ is present in the Old Testament. He is blessed with a wonderful wife, Nikki, and five beautiful children: Ana (8), Claire (7), Gabriela (6), Micah (4), and Brigit (3)—all of whom are gifts of God’s good creation.

Pastor Boyle approaches Genesis 1-2 with a traditional view of Scripture that embraces Divine inspiration, as well as the inerrancy and efficacy natural to the word of God. His approach is distinct from what is sometimes labeled fundamentalist, and yet by no means historical critical. A traditional Lutheran way of reading Scripture is to draw the meaning from the literal sense of the text itself. In this way, consideration of genre, form, and grammar are all vitally important. And yet, a sacramental reading recognizes that in, with, and under this literal sense the Lord delivers the reality of who He is for us, giving a fullness to the text consonant with the confession of the Church of all times and all places. 

You’ll hear a traditional, 6-day creation approach—all by the Lord’s Word—where each day is roughly as we know a day to be (24 hours). Admittedly, though Genesis isn’t a history book in the way we might read Thucydides or a high school text book, that doesn’t negate the historical accounting recorded for us in Genesis.

 


 

Gary Gensch is a Petroleum Geologist having worked extensively in coal, and oil and gas exploration as a field and research geologist. He is an oil operator, production engineer, petroleum consultant and an oil and gas appraiser.  He has been engaged in the active research and study of Geology for over 38 years having worked considerably in the Mid-Western United States with a focus in Kansas, and with geologic investigations in parts of Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah including having also worked for a time in the Republic of Turkey in the Middle East. Gary is a Wichita native, and became a believer in Jesus Christ in September 1974 while attending Colorado University in Boulder seeking a liberal arts degree.  As a young and fairly new Christian studying micro and developmental biology, astronomy and then landing in Geology with an emphasis in Paleontology, Paleoecology and ancient depositional environments he had the formidable challenge to address the tenants of evolutionary thought with an open mind, and with an open Bible. In 1978 he graduated with a BA degree in Geology fully convinced macro-evolutionary tenants are fraught with serious flaws and provide an unsatisfactory comprehensive explanation for all that is observed on the Earth and in the universe. He emerged convinced in the Biblical revelation that reveals a glorious sovereign and eternal God who by the breath of His mouth called all things into being through the power of His Living Word, and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as prescribed by Genesis 1 and supplemented throughout the rest of Scripture. He contends the earth’s geologic and paleontological history reveals numerous sequences of cataclysmic depositional and erosional environments compatible to Biblical revelation.

Gary is a founding Ruling Elder, Bible and reformed theology teacher of Heartland Community Church, PCA here in Wichita.

 


 

Paul Hill is the pastor of the Wheatland Mission Church in Wichita, and occasional adjunct instructor at Friends University and Tabor College. He has been married to Calana for 23 years and has three, nearly grown, children. He has degrees from Manhattan Christian College, Friends University, and Johnson University.

Approaching Genesis 1-2 with pastoral concerns, Paul sees much of the debate over origins obscuring the message of Genesis along with Scripture at large. Leaning heavily on John Walton’s work on Genesis, Paul seeks to help his congregation understand the story of Genesis in its ancient context, as best as we can determine it, while maintaining a commitment to the reliability of Scripture. 

 


 

Fr. Terry J. Hedrick, Ph.D. (Durham University, UK)

Fr. Terry grew up in Wichita, KS and did not grow up in the Church or as a Christian. He became a Christian in his Sr. year of high school. Shortly after becoming a Christian he felt a call into vocational ministry, and with the affirmation of the Church, he completed a BA in Biblical Studies to enter vocational ministry. After graduating he taught Bible & Biblical Languages in then Yugoslavia at the Biblical Theological Institute, while studying Slavic Studies at the University of Zagreb. Upon returning to the US Terry and Julie were married in 1978. They then served in Leuven, Belgium in a mission to university students. While there, Terry studied at the Catholic University of Leuven for a MA degree in Philosophy. Upon returning to the US Terry & Julie then pastored an Interdenominational Church here in Wichita for almost eighteen years, 1981-1998.

In 1998 Terry was ordained in International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church as Fr. Terry. Fr. Terry then began a house church, Church of the Resurrection, CEC. At the same time Fr. Terry also served on staff as Pastor of Adult Spiritual Formation at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, with both Bishops blessing, for fifteen years, from 1998-2013. In 2013 Church of the Resurrection acquired their own building at 5318 East 37th Street North. Fr. Terry also earned an MA degree under Richard Foster at Friends University in the early 1990s and has taught at Friends for the past twenty plus years. Fr. Terry went on to earn a Ph.D. in NT Theology from Durham University, England. Fr. Terry has always understood his calling as a “Pastor-Teacher” according to Eph 4.

Fr. Terry & Julie have two grown children, Jaimee (married to Phillip) & Tera Lee (Ph.D. Northwestern University) and two grandchildren, Evie Marie and Carly Anne.

Concerning Genesis:

1) The miracle of these inspired texts is that science cannot disprove or prove them, science only finds agreements or disagreements with them.

2) Most science of today will be obsolete in 100 years, so whatever the claims to “prove” or “disprove” Gen 1-2 now, will be obsolete in 100 years.

3) Yet, the texts remain the same, Gen 1-2(3) remain an ongoing witness to Gods creation of all things.

4) Hermeneutically, Gen 3 must be included with any discussion of Ch 2 in order to understand either chapter. Chs 2 and 3 are a Biblical unit.

5) Finally, Gen 1 or 2 were not written with 21st Century questions in mind; they should be interpreted in light of why & when they were written: as an “apologetic” for the God of Israel, YHWH, as the Creator in contrast to the other ANE gods and creation stories.

 


 

Fr. Paul O’Callaghan has served as Dean of St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral since January 1, 1993.  Prior to his service at St. George Cathedral, Fr. Paul served the Orthodox Christian parishes of St. George, San Diego ( pastor, 1984-1993), St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles (assistant, 1980-1984), and St. Mary, Cambridge, MA (interim, 1979-1980). 

Fr. Paul holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA (summa cum laude), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the California State University at Chico in CA.

Fr. Paul was ordained to the priesthood of the Orthodox Church in 1979. Fr. Paul and his wife Jeannie were married in 1978 and have four children and five grandchildren.  He is the author of The Feast of Friendship and a number of articles, as well as being a commentator on the Book of Revelation for the Orthodox Study Bible.

Regarding the Creation Narrative of the book of Genesis, Fr. Paul maintains:

  • He approaches it primarily pastorally, not academically.
  • He does not hold to any particular position, theory, or academic school of thought.
  • That the genuine findings of science must be taken seriously; thus he has always had a keen interest in the relation between science and religion.
  • Theology takes place at the intersection of what has been revealed, what is otherwise known, and lived experience.
  • Genesis is an ever-fresh wellspring of theology.
  • Genesis and all Scripture can only be apprehended within the living Tradition of the Church.

 


 

Joel Schroeder is a Nebraska native, who grew up out in the country as the son of an accountant. He was homeschooled through elementary and then went to Omaha Christian Academy for Junior High and High School. He attended Faith Baptist Bible College for his undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and Faith Baptist Theological Seminary for his Master of Divinity degree. He is currently working on his PhD in systematic theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He has served a youth pastor, music pastor and currently is the interim pastor at Goddard United Methodist Church in Goddard, Kansas. He and his lovely wife Bethany live in Bel Aire, Kansas.

 


 

Dan Stockemer is a Kansas native, who grew up on a dairy farm just west of Wichita near the small community of St. Marks. He currently resides next to that farm and is the owner of Prairie Hill Vineyard. Prairie Hill provides grapes to Grace Hill Winery, and also provides equine pasturing and horseback riding. He is also the president and Senior Advisor at Life Advisors LLC, offering retirement planning, life insurance and Long-Term Care Solutions.

He has been an avid Bible student since age 18, and has served as a lay pastor and counselor for over 40 years. He is currently writing a book entitled Pictures of the Messiah, and his presentation on Zero Point Energy grew out of research done during his study of Genesis while writing the book.

Dan is married to his wife Mary, with four daughters, and three grandchildren.

 


 

Matthew Umbarger, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of theology at Newman University. Matthew grew up on a farm in Southeast Kansas. He holds a bachelor of theology degree from Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO, and an MA and Ph.D. in the Hebrew Bible from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel. He also earned a second MA in theology at Newman University. Matthew’s expertise is in Scripture, especially the Old Testament. He enjoys studying ancient Jewish texts, like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mishnah. Matthew has been married to his wife, Robin, for nearly seventeen years, and they have five children.

Matthew grew up in a Fundamentalist context, and was ordained as a minister in the Restoration Movement Christian Church in 2001. While pursuing his studies of the Hebrew Bible in Israel, he experienced a faith crisis that eventually resulted in his becoming Catholic, together with Robin and their children, in 2004. His Fundamentalism, though gravely challenged, lasted until he came across indisputable evidence that the “human” footprints deposited alongside those of dinosaurs in the Paluxy riverbed actually belonged to other dinosaurs. He realized that the complete evidence had been censored in presentations on these tracks in his Creation Science class in Bible college.

Matthew believes that the Genesis accounts are best understood as divinely inspired creation myths. This was the stance of Pope Saint John Paul II: “Following the contemporary philosophy of religion and that of language, it can be said that the language in question is a mythical one. In this case, the term ‘myth’ does not designate a fabulous content, but merely an archaic way of expressing a deeper content.” When we compare the Genesis accounts to the creation stories of Israel’s neighbors, this becomes readily apparent.

 


 

Dennis Vander Griend is a Senior Process Engineer who has worked extensively in the fuel ethanol industry. Dennis designed the majority of ethanol plants in the USA, which amount to more than 5% of the volume of all the gasoline one puts in their gas tank. As a designer, Dennis has always been interested in how God designed the universe: the parts we think we understand based on observation.

Dennis will present science associated with super nova 1987a (SN1987a). (All Old Earth and Young Earth creationists agree with the known science associated with SN1987a.) SN1987a is a very good clock (time keeper). Photographs exist of the original star (proto-start). The light from SN1987a reached earth late February 1987; along with a large pulse of neutrinos.  Most recent measurements have the distance the light traveled ≈ 167,000 light years. Either this large star (18 times the mass of the sun) ran out of fuel and blew up 167,000 years ago, or God is sending us massive amounts of information for an event that never happened. (Meaning God is being deceptive.) In short: SN1987a falsifies Young Earth Creation model of God creating the stars and galaxies 6,000 years ago (±).

Dennis will briefly present a biblical creation model where Day 1 of God’s creation week starts after the solar system has already formed (Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, asteroids, etc.). Genesis 1 creation week is from the perspective of standing (being) on the earth’s surface. Additional Bible references are presented to compare observable science and the Bible’s inspired accounts of the beginning.

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