Meet our amazing staff team, trainers, and consultants as well as our Board of Directors and ministry partners.
TRAINERS & CONSULTANTS
Todd holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts degree from Ashland Theological Seminary. He has pioneered multiple non-profit ventures in new communities and most recently planted a church. Todd is fueled with an undying curiosity for learning how individuals best live in community with one another and excels at aligning mission with context. Throughout his mission-driven career, Todd has often been invited into the worst moments in the lives of others. Because he readily earns trust, he is able to remind people of the hope of living their best life. Through face-to-face conversation, Todd inspires physical, relational, and spiritual development. He has learned that personal growth always requires more work than we realize. He is known for his authenticity and vulnerability which enables him to teach and counsel with real life application. If you would like to support Todd and his work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Among the many plans Shari had for her life, being a catalyst for change in church planting was not one of them! Yet, after doing almost everything wrong in the church planting spousal relationship, Shari researched and then started what is becoming a global ministry of support, healing and change. With an educational background in theology, education and international church planting, Shari co-founded Parakaleo in 2005. When they aren’t traveling and developing training in other cultures, she and her husband, John, enjoy living in New York City. Apart from Shari’s peculiar desire to be outdoors during storms, they share a love of sailing, ideas, cooking and eating multicultural foods, and making merry with their three adult children. If you would like to support Shari and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Taking the hope of the gospel to the hearts of women is Tami's work and play. Unlike her professional football coaching family, Tami coaches women! In 2005, she cofounded Parakaleo on the condition that she would never speak publicly. Today, she is eating her words. In fact, it's hard to shut her up as she explains theological truths at Parakaleo training events with white-boards, flip-charts, metaphors, movie clips, storytelling, dot connecting, and napkin drawings. Tami and her church planter husband of 28 years, Steve, are members of Steeler Nation. Her additional fanaticisms include organizing closets, drawers, and crawl spaces. She is an R.N. (retired nurse), a retired home-school mom, and the sometimes tired but never retired mother of three, and a new grandma. If you would like to help support Tami and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
With over 15 years of non-profit management experience and 6 years as a small business owner, Jamie has developed a passion for process and finding the best approach for the long term. Whether it's graphic design, communications or operations, she loves solving problems creatively and getting the job done.
Jamie lives in Michigan with her husband, Peter and son, Cullom. Peter and Jamie spent nine years living in Chicago and helped plant a church on the north side of the city. They now regularly attend a church in the city of Detroit. Jamie enjoys building epic train tracks with her son, engaging in any physical activity that breaks a sweat and watching other people cook.
Debbie brings over 12 years of experience in quality control, performance improvement, and business process management. She loves leaving things better than when she found them. Being efficient, accurate and organized all while being nice drive her professionally. Personally, Debbie is passionate about uplifting and encouraging women in whatever season of life they are in. She and her husband, Brian, recently moved back to Kansas City, MO after a wonderful three-year adventure in Florida. They are now enjoying reconnecting with their Midwestern family, friends and local community. In their spare time, they enjoy traveling, kayaking and spending time on the family farms.
Wendy Twit is passionate about connecting the gospel to women's lives. She began leading Bible studies in her dorm room as a college sophomore at Tennessee Tech. After graduation, she continued as a volunteer leader with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Belmont University while working as a cardiac nurse. A couple of years later, she married the RUF campus minister, Kevin Twit, and 2015 marks her 19th year with RUF. She encourages RUF wives by maintaining their listserve, organizing retreats, and implementing ministry training. Her husband Kevin began Indelible Grace Music in 1999 and Wendy has been integrally involved in this work. She has a part-time job pursuing her passion in photography and videography, and enjoys capturing the beauty she sees in the world. She loves to host parties for students, travel with her husband, watch movies, and hang out with their three teenagers. She also relishes living in Nashville, and seeing her favorite artists perform. If you would like to support Wendy and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by clicking here.
Since marrying Ed, a widower and a pastor with four small children, Emily’s life has been anything but ordinary. Adopting the kids when she was 24 years old, ministering alongside her husband in the Mississippi church where she was raised, and then moving to Romania with her family to serve with Mission to the World supporting nationals to plant churches, she’s lived the gospel reality that our stories are both broken and beautiful, and it’s her delight to help women look to Jesus as they wrestle through this in their own lives. Now enjoying the “party of two” (empty nest) and serving a church back in Mississippi, Emily and Ed continue their crazy, complicated, and beautiful journey together, as they work in leadership development and renewal with couples in ministry. Together, they love to travel, eat good food, play with their grandbabies, and share life with their adult children. If you would like to help support Emily and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Cristina and her husband Darcy have been involved in church planting longer than they have been married! They moved to metro NY in the 1980’s and have trained church planters, church planting spouses, and lay leaders in Africa, Brazil and Mexico. As a three-time church planting spouse, Cristina has experienced the power of the barrier-breaking gospel of Christ and the pain of finding herself in the desert, and this gives her a true heart for women in ministry and their stories. Cristina is a NYC foodie and has acquired a taste for ethnic foods, good coffee, dark chocolate, cultural diversity, and photography—which, combined with her educational background in communications and journalism, make her a very resourceful lady. If you would like to support Cristina and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Jenny grew up as a missionary kid (MK) in Peru, so it’s hard to faze her. But after attending the Church Planting Assessment Center with her husband, Jason, they fell flat on their faces. They had to put the good news of the gospel to the test: was it really possible to admit to being broken people, and still believe they were loved by God beyond their imagination? They began to tackle the issues raised and received the green light to plant. She partnered alongside Jason to lead Redeemer Indianapolis, help birth a new presbytery, and launch a daughter congregation. They are currently revitalizing Redeemer Redmond (Washington). They have been married 23 years and have 4 children whose names all begin with “J”. She loves porch sitting, drinking good, dark coffee and collecting miniatures for her dollhouse. If you would like to help support Jenny and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
In 1981, Maria and her husband Craig thought getting married, moving to urban Baltimore, buying and renovating a decrepit apartment house, starting a church, and having a baby all within a year sounded like a good idea. Thankfully, Jesus showed up and everyone survived. As a pastor’s wife, she’s been involved in the poop (nursery), scoop (hospitality), group (women and small) and troupe (worship music). And she also likes to play with words. She wrote curriculum for the Johns Hopkins University School of Education for two decades and authored a memoir, A Thousand Resurrections. She still loves Jesus, her husband, five adult children, two grandchildren, and her church. She can be bribed with—inquiring minds want to know—dark chocolate. If you would like to support Maria and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Anne grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, she served on staff with Cru at Vanderbilt. She and her husband, Walter met as infants (they even have a photo of their “first date” when they were a few months old!) and have been married since 1995. They have two daughters, Abigail and Emily. As a young mother she studied counseling at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and has been ministering alongside Walter since moving to Atlanta in 2002. She has served multiple roles at the church they planted, Atlanta Westside Presbyterian Church, most recently overseeing women’s ministry. Anne enjoys helping people grow more in love with Christ by engaging Scripture with their hearts, minds and stories. She loves fiddling with gardening, dabbling with photography and promoting her artistic and entrepreneurial daughters. If you would like to support Anne and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Penny discovered early that survival in a volatile family required her to think about the “background story.” As a young adult she worked for YoungLife, reaching kids with hard stories. Her mentors encouraged her to pursue a graduate degree in counseling while her husband was in seminary (John Freeman of HarvestUSA). She’s raised three children (including twins), taught graduate counseling for 25 years, completed a doctorate, and directed a church counseling ministry. She joins Parakaleo staff bringing her training gifts and continues to use her counseling gifts with Serving Leaders Ministry (www.servingleaders.org) helping ministry leaders address marriage and family issues to effectively reflect gospel realities. If you would like to support Penny and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
When it comes to pastors, spouses, and issues in their hearts, Ruth Ann Batstone brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to the table. She has counseled and mentored women through Serge's (formerly World Harvest Mission) year-long Sonship discipleship curriculum since 1990. She is a therapist in private practice and also teaches at seminars, conferences, and women's retreats. She is writing a book on forgiveness. With her husband Stu, Ruth Ann has ministered overseas in Europe, Russia, Japan, Africa and South America as well as in the United States, Canada and Mexico. They have been married for fifty years, have four married children and twelve amazing grandchildren who regularly teach them all kinds of exciting new things. They love to travel, snorkel, and ride bikes. If you would like to support Ruth Ann and her work with Parakaleo, you can do so by donating here.
Board of Directors
Traci Barrett earned a B.A. in Telecommunications and Marketing from Indiana University, and an M.A. in Professional Psychology from the Illinois School of Psychology. She spent over 20 years in the television and advertising industry, and was part of a small team that launched the national cable television network HGTV: Home & Garden Television in 1994. Traci helped lead the network to success, running their Chicago and Dallas Offices for over 17 years. She currently runs the executive coaching and consulting firm, Navigate the Journey. Traci and her husband, Tom, have co-labored in urban ministry for over a decade, mainly as church planters in Chicago, where she also serves as a Regional Network Leader for Parakaleo. She enjoys reading, music and spending time with her family and friends.
Patterson Hicks is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, and lives with his wife Sharon of 16+ years and their four children in Mason, Ohio. He has also lived in China and Singapore as both a missionary and business leader. After a 15-year career with Microsoft, he now works for Rackspace, a leader in the cloud computing industry. Most of his career has focused on developing technology solutions for enterprise customers, but his true passion is supporting the global mission of spreading the Gospel. Having traveled to over 23 countries, Patterson has seen God moving mightily in many cultures and nations. He is passionate about serving those who are serving others and is always looking for opportunities to encourage the hearts of those in direct ministry. Patterson is a founding board member.
Margaret Harvey Thompson and her husband Dan planted Christ Community Church in Titusville, Florida, and grew deep roots for 30 years. Recently they joined the staff of St. Paul’s Presbyterian in Orlando. Margaret grew up in Beaufort, South Carolina, has a B.A. in Architectural Design from Clemson University, and has worked part time as an editor for John Wiley & Sons. After being disrupted by the Gospel through Sonship, she served on the Board of Directors for Serge. Alongside local church ministry, Margaret has been a permanent member of the Mustard Seed Foundation whichprioritizes grants primarily to churches worldwide. Margaret and Dan are celebrating 35 years of marriage, enjoying 4 children and spouses, four grandchildren, as well as friends old and new.
Andrew Purchase was raised in Zimbabwe, a descendant of a missionary line, but spent his school and adult life in South Africa. He has completed two degrees, in commerce and law, and is an admitted lawyer to the South African bar. Following a short career as an academic in the Law Faculty of the University of Cape Town, he became a pastor in Cape Town for 8 years. In 2009 he moved to Singapore where he works as a lawyer, having also planted a church in Singapore. He is married to Jessica since 2003 and has two middle school daughters. He is passionate about the church, in whatever state of health, and has a particular burden for the wellbeing of those he describes as ‘professional Christians’.
Gleaves Rhodes was raised in Connecticut, Virginia, and Texas and has spent her adult life living in Philadelphia, New York City, London, England, and Austin. Gleaves earned a Bachelors of Arts from Duke University and has extensive experience working and serving in academic settings as well as nonprofits. She is a founding member of Geneva School, NYC as well as Spiritual Heritage Nantucket (a Christian speakers bureau), has served on a school board nominating committee, and organized a fundraiser for the county prison art program in New York. Gleaves became a Christian in 1988 and joined Redeemer Presbyterian Church in 1989. She has served as an Advisory Board Member for the Redeemer Church Planting organization (currently known as Redeemer City to City). Gleaves has three children. She enjoys Broadway, ballet, bridge, City to City HUB weekends, and spending time with her grandchildren.