We’re adding to the growing list of Wild Goose speakers today with three new additions who embody our trinity of themes of justice, spirituality, and art.
Lynne Hybels married Bill Hybels in in 1974, back when Bill was still a youth pastor. A year later they started Willow Creek Community Church. Though Lynne had intended to become a social worker, she did not hesitate to commit her life to church ministry, convinced that God has given the local church a clear mandate to address the needs of “the whole person in the whole world.” She’s been involved in Willow Creek’s ministry partnerships in under-resourced communities in Latin America and Africa for years. She collaborated with the Willow Creek Association to develop Hope and Action—a DVD and participants guide that helps churches and small groups begin to address the AIDS pandemic. She’s the author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World, and co-author of Rediscovering Church and Fit to be Tied.
These days, Lynne serves as Advocate for Global Engagement at Willow Creek. She has traveled extensively in Africa and the Middle East. Her current areas of focus are Casa de Luz, Willow’s Spanish-speaking congregation, a movement of support for Congolese women called Ten for Congo, and advocacy for peace with justice in the Holy land. Lynne and Bill live in Barrington, IL, and have two adult children, Todd and Shauna, one son-in-law, Aaron Niequist, and one grandson, Henry, who runs the family.
Richard Twiss is a member of the Sicangu Band of the Rosebud Lakota/Sioux Tribe, a First Nations tribe in North America. Since 1974 he has lived and walked as a follower of the Jesus Way. He has been married to his wife Katherine since 1976, and they have raised four respectful, caring sons. A veteran of radical First Nations protests in the 1970s, Richard became a follower of the Jesus Way in 1974 while alone on a beach in Maui Hawaii. He’s come to understand Jesus as “the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” His vision and ambition is to help people and communities come to know and experience what it means to live in a “good way”, a way of life that is free from all manner of destructive forces that would seek to oppress and ruin lives. He is passionate about empowering people to live healthy and productive lives spiritually, physically and socially. He is the author of One Church, Many Tribes.
Denison Witmer is an acclaimed singer-songwriter from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He released his first music in 1995 in a cassette titled My Luck, My Love. Since then he has released a series of LPs, EPs, and his album Are You A Dreamer?, featuring Don Peris (The Innocence Mission) and Sufjan Stevens received acclaim and good reviews from Pitchfork Media and Entertainment Weekly, the latter of whom said “[Denison's] brand of happy anachronism is easy enough to fall into — if you can slow down long enough to enjoy it.” (Because the Goose is all about slowing down and recognizing signs of life all around us, you better believe we will!) Denison and Sufjan appeared on Rosie Thomas‘s 2007 album These Friends of Mine. Denison’s style has been described as “neo-folk,” in a manner reminiscent of 1970s-era singer-songerwriters including Cat Stevens and Nick Drake. Witmer’s lyrics are poetic and thoughtful; his guitar work, while simple-sounding, relies on complex fingerpicking.
These unique voices are but three who will be forming a chorus of art, conversation, new perspectives, and fresh actions. Will you lend yours?