Speakers and Musicians

The Extravaganza 2020 Planning Team is putting together an amazing lineup of presenters for our time in Anaheim.

Each of our Learning Track leaders is speaking in a General Session.


Theologian: Rev. Emmy Kegler         

Rev. Emmy Kegler is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis and a co-leader of Queer Grace Community, a group of LGBTQ+ Christians in the Twin Cities. Her first book, One Coin Found: How God's Love Stretches to the Margins, was published in April 2019. As a pastor and writer, she is passionate about curating worship and theological practices that dismantle barriers to those historically marginalized by Christian practice. She believes in and works for a church rooted in accessibility, intentionality, integrity, and transformation, knowing that God is already out ahead of us creating expansive space for those most hungry for the good and liberating news of Jesus.

Practicing Faith:
Rethinking Teaching and Learning
Irene Cho      

Irene Cho served as the Program Manager for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) before heading out on her own to develop curriculum and resources for progressive urban ministries. She holds a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Pastoral and General Ministries from Talbot Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Biola University. At FYI, Irene was the point person for the Urban Youth Ministry Certificate Program and advisor for other programs. Having served 24 years in youth ministry, her passion is for the misfits of the world and to bring the gospel message to those who seem to fall through the cracks.

Practicing Leadership:
Caring for Self and Community
Bishop Kristen Kuempel      

Bishop Kristen Kuempel has served as the Bishop of the Northwest Intermountain Synod (the synod formerly known as the "Eastern Washington-Idaho”) since 2017. She is a 2002 graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

As bishop, Kristen sees her optimism, willingness to ask questions, ability to look at issues from different perspectives, and tendency to charge in where angels fear to tread as key gifts in helping midwife the Church that is coming into being, even as she works to help the church of the mid-20th century have a good end. She believes that all leaders are engaged in this holy work of death & resurrection, and that the Church deserves leaders who are engaged, curious, resilient, imaginative, and self-aware. It's hard to be any of those things when we're working from a point of exhaustion and resentment due to lack of rest, self-care, and spiritual attention. She often reminds her leadership, “Jesus already died for the Church. Neither he or I expect you to do the same. If Jesus took a nap, so can you.”

Practicing Change:
Transforming Hearts and Minds
Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos   

Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos is the Mission Coordinator for Christian Formation (Christian education for children, youth, college, young adult, camps, and conference ministries) at the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Previously, Santos served as the associate pastor to families, young adults, youth, and children at New Wilmington Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania. 

Santos is the author of A Community Called Taizé and Sustaining the Pilgrimage. Santos believes in the power of intergenerational ministry and thinks faith communities can do a better job of helping young people sort through the complicated questions of Christian identity. He also sees a hunger among families to find space for contemplation and quiet in their busy world. He currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife Shannon and his two sons, Judah and Silas (aka Tutu). In his spare time, he plays and designs board games.

Practicing Inclusivity: Engaging Difference
Joe Davis (left)         
and David Scherer (AGAPE*)      

David Scherer (AGAPE*) is a teacher, facilitator, and coach who works with congregations seeking to increase their intercultural competence and live into God’s beloved community. Joe Davis is a poet, playwright, and artist educator whose work cultivates transformative practices and healing through the arts. Together, they work with organizations across the country seeking to develop inclusive spaces that model Christ's Gospel welcome.

Photo credit - Emily Ann GarciaPracticing Creativity:
Cultivating Imagination
Rev. Brenda Bos   

Rev. Brenda Bos worked on production staffs of sitcoms for 18 years before becoming a pastor. Her years working on the sets of The Golden Girls and The George Lopez Show (and several others) deeply inform her sense of humor, play, storytelling and memorable characters. She now brings this sense of creativity to her ministry.

“When young children are asked who among them can draw or sing or dance, they all raise their hands. But when you ask a teenager or adult who is creative, most of the hands drop. We were created to be creative, to be generative and connected to each other. But most of us were told we weren’t exceptionally talented, so we decided we were not creative. It’s time to tap back into that generative, joyful, amazing gift of creativity which God gave each of us. Beauty, laughter, music… these are God’s great gifts.” 

Photo Credit: Emily Ann Garcia


Band Leader: Jake Newton            

Jake Newton was raised in the mountains outside Yosemite National Park, though he calls Los Angeles his home now. When he’s not leading worship at Bethel Lutheran in Encino, California, he’s writing songs, fronting for his band, Sleeping Wolf, and being a homebody with his wife Heather and their dog, Banjo. Jake’s music has appeared in various shows and movies. He counts himself blessed to be able to make a living doing what he loves, which is making music and fighting crime. He has a rock solid knowledge of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and will watch any science fiction movie, probably more than once.

Cranberry Jam Song Leader:      
Rev. Gretchen Mertes

Rev. Gretchen Weller Mertes is an award-winning singer/songwriter from Seattle, Washington. No stranger to hymns or beers, she has hosted open mics, Beer-n-Carols, and sing-a-longs at bars, churches, and beaches since before “If You’re Happy and You Know It” had actions. When she’s not singing, her favorite thing is annoying her children...by singing like Carol Burnett. (Wait, what?) She loves the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and is so stoked to be coming to the Extravaganza in Anaheim this year!

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