Plenaries

Rev. Howard Brown

Rev. Howard Brown, a native of Charleston, SC, is Senior Pastor of Christ Central PCA, in Charlotte, NC. He and his wife Kellie moved to Charlotte in the spring of 2003 to plant Christ Central- a multiethnic work. Howard and Kellie have two boys, Harrison, 15 and Clark, 13. Howard holds a Master of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary and an English degree from Clemson University. Howard likes to go fishing, loves Clemson football, and enjoys watching movies and TV with Kellie.

Rev. Duke Kwon

Rev. Duke Kwon is the Lead Pastor of Grace Meridian Hill, a neighborhood church in Washington, DC whose mission is “to build a gospel community that is intentionally ‘spiritually diverse,’ cross-cultural and neighborhood-centered for the good of our neighbors and the glory of Jesus” in one of the most ethnically and economically diverse parts of the nation’s capital. Duke and Paula live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood together with their three children.

Dr. Christina Edmondson

Dr. Christina Edmondson holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Tennessee State University, a MS degree from the University of Rochester in Family Therapy, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hampton University. Currently, Christina serves as the Dean for Intercultural Student Development at Calvin College. The Intercultural Student Development Center (ISDC) is committed to inspiring, challenging, and equipping Domestic and International students to engage in meaningful and intentional intercultural interactions within a global society. Christina is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. She is married to Pastor Mika Edmondson of New City Fellowship Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan and she is the mother of two wonderful little girls.

Seminars

Yamil Alejandro & Cecilia Diaz

Yamil and Cecilia are worship leaders at the Church at Bevo in St. Louis. Yamil is a recording artist as well as a ministry leader, Cecilia is an experienced dancer who harmonizes cultural anthropology and ethnomusicology in her work. The two are natives of Puerto Rico, and are currently completing studies at Covenant Seminary. They have one daughter, Estrella.

Alex Shipman

Alex is senior pastor at The Village Church in Huntsville, AL, a multicultural/multiethnic church. After coming to Christ at Valdosta State in Georgia, he began to sense a call to ministry. Later he worked as the Outreach Coordinator at Redeemer Presbyterian in Greenville. During this time, Alex began attending seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary. 2006 brought a move to Decatur AL, where he was the Mercy Ministries Intern for Decatur Presbyterian. On November 13 of 2011, The Village Church was particularized and Alex was installed as pastor. He’s also the director of the African American Presbyterian Fellowship. Alex is married to Wyketa and they have two children, Madison and Treyson.

Natalia Martinez

Natalia is a native of Puerto Rico and has been living in St. Louis, MO for two years. Dedicated to the liberation and healing of her homeland, she was part of a church planting team in Puerto Rico, and is passionate about corporate worship. Natalia currently serves as Director of Music for Midtown Fellowship Church, PCA while she pursues an Masters of Divinity at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Dr. Irwyn Ince

Dr. Irwyn Ince is the Senior Pastor of City of Hope Church. Irwyn and his wife Kim moved to Maryland from Brooklyn, NY in 1995, and have been residents of Columbia since 1997. In 1995 he professed faith in Jesus Christ at New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Irwyn was a systems engineer by profession when the Lord called him to pastoral ministry in 2000. He began part time seminary studies at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) that fall while continuing full time employment with Motorola. He then became a pastoral intern at Mount Zion Covenant Church (PCA) in 2002. In 2006 he became the Pastor of Mount Zion, then part of the team that formed City of Hope in February 2007. In 2016, he received his Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) degree from Covenant Seminary. Irwyn strives to live the gospel in all areas of life. He enjoys spending time with his family, being active in the community, and is a CrossFit enthusiast. He and Kim have four children.

Sam Kang

Sam Kang is a second generation Korean-American and proud of being made in the image of God. He is the son of Korean immigrants that came to the U.S. in 1971 and 1973. Growing up during the 80’s and 90’s, Sam and his family stuck out in a less than 1 percent Asian community. Feeling like a perpetual outsider, God used Sam’s experiences to prepare his heart to hear and receive grace from the ultimate outsider, Jesus Christ. God has grown in him a passion for 3 things: God’s diverse people, God’s Glory, and corporate worship. These passions have turned into service in the areas of multi-ethnic musical worship, cross-cultural discipleship, and racial reconciliation. Sam is currently pursuing his Masters in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He loves good food, great music, pioneering new movements and training up the next generation of leaders. Sam is married to Kristen, they have 4 kids.

Darrin Sims

Darrin (D.J) Sims is a native of Saint Louis, MO. While a student of the historic Fisk University, he double majored in Political Science and History. Instead of choosing law school, Darrin became a community teacher with Teach for America in Nashville. After the events of Ferguson while understanding the need for black, male teachers, D.J decided to return home and teach history and geography in his community on the border of Ferguson. It was this experience that led him to see history as transformative. D.J, along with his wife Chauncey and son E.J, currently reside in Atlanta, where he is pursuing his masters at Emory University in the fields of Divinity and Domestic/International Development.

Tyler Burns

Tyler Burns is a pastor, professional podcaster, TV show host, writer, and cultural commentator. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor at New Dimensions Christian Center in Pensacola, Florida. He hosts multiple podcasts that garner thousands of listeners including RAANetwork’s official podcast, Pass the Mic and the Justice Conference’s official podcast, Chasing Justice. He is committed to affirming the human dignity of all people, justice for the voiceless, and the redemption of the arts. He is routinely called upon to speak for various churches and schools, as well as a nationally-read online writer for such websites as Rapzilla.com, the Reformed African American Network, RapRehab among others. He desires to be known as a man of God, a loyal friend, and a servant of his fellowman.

Ekemini Uwan

Ekemini Uwan received her Master of Divinity degree in 2016 from Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in Philadelphia, PA. She is also the 2015 Greene Prize in Apologetics Award recipient. As one who is passionate about sound theology, Ekemini has a fierce commitment to biblical orthodoxy and its implications for issues pertaining to racial injustice, police brutality, and white supremacy. Ekemini believes that theology can and does speak to the culture, social, and political issues of our present day. As a result, she often speaks, opines, and writes about the aforementioned for various online publications. Her writings have been published in the Huffington Post Black Voices, Christianity Today, The Reformed African American Network, and Christ and Pop Culture to name a few. Her insights have been quoted by The New York Times, Mashable, and The Huffington Post Religion. In her spare time, she enjoys discipling women, spending quality time with loved ones and working out. As a self-proclaimed part-time fashionista, she has a penchant for thrift shopping.

Jemar Tisby

Jemar Tisby (B.A. Notre Dame; MDIV RTS Jackson) is the President and Co-Founder of the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) where he blogs about theology, race, and culture. His writing has been featured on Urban Faith, Christianity Today, and The Gospel Coalition. Jemar serves as the Director of the African American Leadership Initiative and Special Assistant to the Chancellor at RTS Jackson and is a PhD student in History at the University of Mississippi. He is married and has one child.

Dawn Jones

Dawn Jones is a St. Louis native; graduated with her Masters of Arts in Counseling at Covenant Seminary. She has served in youth and prayer ministries and has a heart for racial justice work. As of director of Women’s Ministry, Dawn works with the women of FirstLight, conducting meetings and developing the Female Sexual Integrity Program as well as the Spouse Support program. At LDR Weekend, she will be presenting on overcoming generational trauma through inter-generational reconciliation.

Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr.

Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr. In 1969, Carl Ellis began his ministry as a Senior Campus Minister with the Tom Skinner Associates in New York. From 1979 to 1989, Carl served as the Assistant pastor of Forest Park Community Church in Baltimore, MD, served on faculty at Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and as a seminar instructor for Prison Fellowship where he developed and taught “in-prison” and “in-community” seminars for inmates and community volunteers. Between 1986 and 2009, Carl served as an adjunct faculty member at the Center for Urban Theological Studies (C.U.T.S.), and as Dean of Intercultural Studies at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. He continues to serve at C.U.T.S., and is also on the faculty at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Ellis studied under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri in Hermoz sur Ollon’, Switzerland, completed his Masters in Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and holds a D.Phil from Oxford Graduate School.

Mika Edmondson

Mika Edmondson is the pastor of New City Fellowship OPC, a cross-cultural church plant in Southeast Grand Rapids. He graduated from Calvin Seminary, where he wrote a dissertation on Martin Luther King Jr.’s theology of suffering. He enjoys writing and speaking about how King’s life and legacy inform our understanding of the gospel. He is happily married to Dr. Christina Edmondson and has two beautiful daughters, Zoe and Shiloh.

Worship Leaders

Nikki Ellis

Nikki Ellis is a church music consultant and jazz vocalist with over 10 years of experience as a touring performer, session singer, and worship music facilitator. With a longing to see worshippers liberated form the constructs of western evangelical culture, Nikki has found her purpose and passion in participating in LDR Weekend. She has been a part of this movement from its beginning and is honored to continue to serve this organization. This year, Nikki joins the LDR planning team as conference director.

Nabil Ince

Nabil Ince, stage name Seaux Chill, is an artist originally from Columbia, MD who has been in the Chattanooga area for the past few years. Piano is his first love, playing since he was 6 years old. However, Nabil also loves producing music, composing melodies, and writing poetry/hip-hop. He is currently working on his undergrad in music at Covenant College and functioning as the Assistant Program Director for a children’s music ed non-profit called East Lake Expression Engine.

Kyle Dickerson

Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Kyle is the youngest of 2 and the proud uncle of 4 beautiful nieces. Throughout his life Kyle has been exposed to a variety of ministry opportunities all of which led him to furthering his theological education at Covenant Seminary and, most recently, Reformed Theological Seminary DC. Prior to joining our Pastoral Intern team, Kyle served as a musician at South City church. When he’s not working alongside our ministries or studying for his seminary classes, Kyle enjoys spending time with his fiance, Ariana, and recording music with friends.

Mary Higgins

Mary Higgins has been singing in church since she was a little girl. Her greatest love is worshipping God with a spirit of joy. Mary is committed to multi-ethnic ministry and inclusion where she is the worship director at Central West End Church.