Rev. Dr. David Gortner
David is the Principal Investigator for Thriving in Ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary. He has led several other Lilly Endowment initiatives on clergy effectiveness, including two nationwide studies of clergy leadership, the Clergy into Action Study (2011-2015) and Towards a Higher Quality of Christian Ministry (1998-2003), the Second Three Years program (2009-2011), and the Pastoral Leadership Search Effort initiative to recruit and strengthen young adults for ordained ministry (2002-2004).
An Episcopal priest and psychologist, David served 20 years in seminary education in three different cities as professor of practical and pastoral theology, evangelism, and congregational leadership, as director of research, doctoral programs, continuing education, and as associate dean for church and community engagement.
David has taught, led, and practiced in the areas of clergy leadership, congregational vitality, evangelism, community engagement, human development, mental and spiritual health, and mission. He has served in multiple congregations across the country as priest, church planter, musician, and minister of youth and young adults, and has co-led teams directing regional and national efforts to support church planting, young adult ministry, multicultural ministry, and community organizing, and mental health ministry. He has also served as a chaplain and counselor in hospice, hospital, university, and nonprofit agency settings. At three different seminaries, he has expanded and intensified programs, including doctoral programs, continuing education programs, partnerships, and focused training initiatives.
David is married to the Rev. Heather Van Deventer, who is dean of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Spokane, WA. Following a move with their children across the country, David has stepped out of seminary education and moved once again into parish ministry as rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Coeur d’Alene, ID. He continues to write, consult, and lead in regional and national initiatives. He is the author of Transforming Evangelism (Church Publishing, 2008); Around One Table (CREDO Institute, 2009: web publication); and Varieties of Personal Theology: Charting the Beliefs and Values of American Young Adults (Ashgate Publishing Co., 2013), as well as a series of articles on clergy leadership development and mentoring. He is the primary author of Clergy into Action.
Lindsey Dawn Lewis
Lindsey Lewis is the Thriving in Ministry Project Administrator. She is the main point of contact for Thriving participants and handles the program’s administrative tasks.
Lindsey served in the Episcopal Service Corps in New Orleans, Louisiana. She fell in love with NOLA and stayed for another 7 years gaining considerable experience in nonprofit management, affordable housing policy and disaster recovery.
She received her master’s degree in Conflict Resolution & Reconciliation from the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin. During her studies, she worked at the WAVE Trauma Centre in Belfast, which provides care and support to people affected by The Troubles/Conflict in Northern Ireland.
Lindsey is also a skilled carpenter and spends much of her free time rebuilding furniture, houses, and even an old RV, she lovingly calls Livia Joyce.
The Reverend Ryan D. Newman
Ryan is the Thriving in Ministry Program Co-Director.
As an Episcopal priest with 28 years of professional ministry and education experience (20 years ordained), Ryan has served as a Diocesan staff member, cathedral dean, rector, interim rector, head of school, chaplain, operations director, teacher, coach, hospital chaplain, non-profit executive director, and consultant.
As both a priest and educator, his vocation’s defining aspect has been his service and leadership to Episcopal communities and organizations amid periods of significant growth, change, and new beginnings. Ryan has been both an architect and a builder of programs, communities, groups, strategic visions, and even physical spaces throughout his career. One of Ryan’s mentors characterizes his skill set and experiences as the “Swiss Army Knife” of the Episcopal world. Ryan’s colleagues and congregants deeply value his transformational leadership style, tireless work ethic, and innovative vision for Episcopal schools, churches, and organizations.
Some of his best work and most significant accomplishments have centered around Episcopal identity, school and church growth, strategic planning, board leadership and governance, building and capital projects, fiscal management, faculty and staff development, diversity and social justice initiatives, operations, school chaplaincy and worship, and technology implementation. Throughout his ordained ministry career, he has embraced, cultivated, and empowered lay and ordained leaders to share their gifts and talents to transform the Church and the community.
In addition to his role as Program Co-Director, he currently serves as the Executive Director of the Commission on Schools in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Ryan is also the Founding Principal of Rite One Consulting—an Episcopal-centric consulting firm serving schools, churches, and non-profits. The firm specializes in executive coaching, organizational/governance leadership, and project-based consulting focused on improving operational and educational excellence, institutional growth, management strategies, financial stewardship and sustainability, and technology.
Ryan is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Divinity from the Virginia Theological Seminary. Currently, Ryan is working to complete his Doctorate of Education in Ethical Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University. His dissertation focuses on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice in Independent schools.
Ryan lives in Orange County, California, with his wife Erin, a physician and university professor at the University of California, Irvine and their daughter who attends an Episcopal school.
The Rev. Dr. Beverly R. Wallace
Beverly is the Thriving in Ministry Program Co-Director.
Dr. Beverly Wallace, an ordained Lutheran clergywoman received her Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. She received her doctorate in Family Social Science/ Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Minnesota and her first master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from Adelphi University in New York.
Dr. Wallace served as a university chaplain in St. Paul, Minnesota, and hospital chaplain in Atlanta for several years before becoming the Assistant to the Bishop for the Southeastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and prior to her move into the academy. She also served as the Interim Director of the Lutheran Theological Center in Atlanta housed on the campus of the Interdenominational Theological Center developed to provide intentional contextual theological education for African American Lutheran seminarians and other Lutheran students interested in ministry in an urban context. Dr. Wallace later became the Director of Ministry and Context at the ITC. She was also the Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, North Carolina and most recently the Associate Professor of Congregation and Community Care at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dr. Wallace has authored several articles and book chapters including: “The Women Gathered – Stringing Beads of Resistance: Identity, Lament, and Hope published in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion, “Narratives of Grieving African Americans About Racism in the Lives of Deceased Family Members”, “A Womanist Legacy of Trauma, Grief, and Loss: Reframing the Notion of the Strong Black Woman Icon”, “Hush No More: Constructing an African American Lutheran Womanist Ethic” and is the co-author of the book, “African American Grief”. Her article “Boa Morte: Reclaiming Kali – Reframing Death” was published in the journal Dialog, and she also authored “The Slay Factor recognizing the 40th Anniversary of the ordination of African American Lutheran Women. Dr. Wallace is also a contributor to “Luther’s Small Catechism with African Descent Reflections”.
Dr. Wallace is a trained facilitator of the Association of Black Psychologist’s Emotional Emancipation and is also trained in Community Resiliency Model a democratic model of addressing trauma somatically. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Lutheran Association of Teaching Theologians and the Conference of International Black Lutherans – the African and African diasporic teaching theologians of the Lutheran church. She is also an active member of the Society for the Study of Black Religion.
A member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Dr. Wallace considers herself a “womanist” and so embraces the wholeness of all people – both men and women. She has a passion for engaging in healing work with God’s people. A mother of two adult educators and the “nana” of three grandchildren, Dr. Wallace is native of Brooklyn, New York, now residing in Atlanta traveling between St. Paul, Minnesota where she teaches and Birmingham, Alabama where she is the Interim Pastor of Shades Valley Lutheran Church. She loves music, poetry, the arts, and everything beautiful.