About the Project Team
John Roberto (Project Coordinator)
John Roberto is on the team of Vibrant Faith and serves as project coordinator of the Faith Formation Learning Exchange. He is president of LifelongFaith Associates (www.lifelongfaith.com), editor of the journal Lifelong Faith, and project coordinator for the Faith Formation 2020 Initiative (www.faithformation2020.net). John works as a consultant to churches and national organizations, teaches courses and conducts workshops in faith formation, and has authored books and program manuals in youth ministry, family ministry, and intergenerational faith formation. John created the theory and practice of Generations of Faith—an intergenerational, lifelong approach to faith formation; and administered the five-year Lilly Endowment funded project to develop lifelong faith formation in Catholic parishes across the U.S. His latest publications include Faith Formation 2020: Designing the Future of Faith Formation, The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry (co-authored). Living Well: Christian Practices for Everyday Life, Becoming a Church of Lifelong Learners, and four volumes of intergenerational learning programs in the People of Faith series. John is the founder and former director of the Center for Ministry Development, where he worked for 28 years.
The Rev. Shannon Kelly’s passion and vocation has focused around ministry to and with children, youth, and families. This passion was formed in the Diocese of Idaho, where she worked at the diocesan camp, assisted with youth programs, and taught children in their Sunday morning formation time. She received a degree in English literature from the University of Idaho, and attended seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She was ordained to the priesthood in 1999. Since her ordination, Shannon has served as Assistant Rector at St. Mark's, Palo Alto; Assistant Rector at The Parish of Christ the Redeemer in Pelham, New York; Senior Associate for Children, Youth, and Families at All Saints in Pasadena, CA; Chaplain at St. Francis House Episcopal Student Center at University of Wisconsin; and as the Bishop's Assistant for Christian Formation for the Diocese of Milwaukee. Shannon is currently editing and writing curriculum for Lesson Plans that Work for The Episcopal Church, curating the Lesson Plans that Work website for the Episcopal Church, and working as a freelance writer and consultant for formation programs. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, The Very Rev. Dr. Thomas Ferguson, Dean of Bexley Hall Seminary, and their son.
Jim Merhaut is ministry consultant, writer, teacher, and relationship coach. He holds a Master of Science degree in Religious Education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He is an award-winning author and co-author of several books and dozens of other publications. Jim’s most recent book is Gratitude Journal: A Journey of Transformation. He was also the principal writer and project coordinator for Families on a Mission: A Family Service and Mission Experience. Jim is a 26-year veteran in Church ministry having worked in parish, diocesan, Catholic school, university and retreat center settings. He most recently served as the Project Coordinator for Lifelong Faith Formation Services at the Center for Ministry Development and the President and CEO of Villa Maria Education & Spirituality Center. Jim has offered keynotes, retreats and workshops around the country, specializing in family spirituality, lifelong faith formation, and ministry leadership. Along with his publishing and speaking ministries, he offers coaching services to ministry teams and married couples. On the side, he is a professional musician and recording artist with JD Eicher and the Goodnights. Jim and his wife, Debbie, have five children and reside in Ohio where they enjoy vegetable gardening, raising small livestock, and pursuing a simple lifestyle. (Websites: www.coachingtoconnect.com & www.spiritualhelpforyou.com)
Kyle Matthew Oliver is the digital missioner and learning lab coordinator in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary and Assistant for Pastoral Care (and a couple other things) at St. Paul’s Parish in Washington, DC. He was ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 2012. He blogs at Digital Mission and Contraria Sunt Complementa and tweets at @VTS_CMT and @kmoliver. Before seminary he worked as a research and project assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, finishing up a master’s thesis in nuclear fuel cycle systems analysis and editing Teaching and Learning Insights for the Engineering Learning Center. He served as a house fellow and student board member at St. Francis House Episcopal Student Center, and also helped found The Hacker Within, a forum for networking and peer training among students and faculty in computational science software development.
Jolene Roehlkepartain is a writer and speaker on family, children and teenagers, and spirituality. She is also the founder and president of Ideas to Ink, LLC, an innovative company based in Minnesota that focuses on the areas of parenting, children’s issues, youth development, spirituality, and education. Jolene has written 31 books, including Raising Healthy Children Day by Day, Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose, 101 Great Games for Kids, Teaching Kids to Care and Share, and Taking It Personally. She has also coauthored 10 books, including Doing Good Together and What Young Children Need to Succeed. Her books have been translated into a number of languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesia, Polish, and Korean, and are sold internationally. She has previously been featured in broadcasts and publications including National Public Radio, The Washington Post, Time, Psychology Today, KARE 11 (the NBC affiliate based in Minneapolis), Glamour, and Woman’s Day. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband. They have two children: a young adult and a teenager.
Janet Schaeffler, OP
After ministering for many years in parish and archdiocesan ministry in faith formation, Janet Schaeffler, OP, an Adrian Dominican Sister, is currently ministering in freelance work as an adult faith formation consultant and presenter. She facilitates of days of reflection/retreats, gives workshops/presentations, teaches graduate courses, and is a facilitator for online courses at VLCFF (University of Dayton) and C21 Online (Boston College). She is the author of hundreds of articles and several publications in faith formation and parish ministry. Her articles can be found in Today's Parish, Catechist, RTJ: Creative Catechist, The Priest, Ministry and Liturgy, as well as several other publications. Among her most recent books are What We Believe: Praying and Living the Apostles’ Creed; Advent 2011-An Amazing Journey: Everyday Reflections, Practices and Prayers; and Nuts and Bolts: Ideas and Practices for Adult Faith Formation. She has also created GEMS (Great Endeavors Mined and Shared) - a monthly newsletter from an international best practices study on adult faith formation. In 2010 Janet received the NCCL Distinguished Service Award in Catechetics. Janet can be reached at: email@example.com.
Debbie Streicher is Project Coordinator for Milestones at Vibrant Faith Ministries and also serves as an Associate Consultant for the same organization. She is President for LACE, Lutheran Association of Christian Educators, and has also served LACE in the role of Region 8 Representative and VP for Communications. Over the past 25 years, Debbie has served in the role of volunteer and on staff for all aspects of Christian education in a congregation. She has facilitated, overseen, organized, and developed faith formation programs from infants through adults. She worked intricately with Faith Inkubators resource development and has consulted and led events for congregations using these materials for over 15 years. Debbie has also held volunteer leadership roles in education and evangelism at synod and national levels for 12+ years. Her vision is to involve all ages in faith formation, strengthen family relationships through Spiritual growth, and empower God-given gifts to do ministry. She and her husband, Burt, have three sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.