Summit Leaders

The public summit leaders show their passion for children through their leadership in a wide variety of positions in the community, in the church, and across the country. They will address the questions of: What is the state of children? How can the church respond?

Keynote Speakers

Joyce Ann Mercer is on the faculty at Virginia Theological Seminary. An accomplished practical theologian, she has served in churches and other institutions in contexts as varied as innercity Minneapolis and the Philippines. Mercer is raising two sons and a daughter with her husband. Her current research focuses on work with adolescent girls.


Mary Hess is a member of the Children, Youth and Family Ministry faculty at Luther. A passionate advocate for educational leadership, her research focuses on the ways in which media shapes religious experience and what churches can do about it. Hess is raising two sons with her husband, and is learning from them about digital culture.

Public Summit Presenters

One of the unique features of Luther's Children's Summit is the public summit conversation which draws together leadership from a variety of contexts to consider the state of children and how Christian communities can respond. This year our summit panel includes:

Rev. Stephen Bouman, bishop of ELCA Metro New York Synod
Rev. Kelly Chatman, senior pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Minneapolis
Dr. Lisa Kimball, research associate at The Search Institute and faculty in YouthStudies, University of Minnesota
Rev. Umo Udo, director of spiritual care at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis