Rev. Nicolette Peñaranda – Speaker
Rev. Nicolette Peñaranda serves as the Program Director for the African Descent Ministries of the ELCA. One of Rev. Nicolette’s most recent projects include being the Illustrator of God’s Holy Darkness, a children’s book that “deconstructs anti-Blackness in Christian theology by celebrating instances in the story of God’s people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy.” Rev. Nicolette holds an MDiv from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and an MBA from Wagner College.
Rev. Jenny Sung – Speaker
Rev. Jenny Sung is a #FreeRangePastor in the ELCA, traveling and curating spaces online and in person for spiritual healing through brave love and real community. Rev. Jenny holds an MDiv from Luther Seminary and a BA in Organizational Leadership and Communications from Bethel University.
Joe Davis – Artist & Panelist
Joe Davis is a Minneapolis-based nationally-touring artist, educator, and speaker that employs poetry, music, theater & dance to shape culture. With an English B.A. and over five years of tutoring student writers Joe Davis bridges academia with personal experience as a touring performer, sharing his successes and “marvelous misadventures” to encourage audiences to move closer to their goals—whether it be simply writing a haiku or climbing Mount Everest—he aims to ignite & inspire a pursuit of purpose.
Tyra Dennis – Artist & Panelist
Tyra Dennis, better known as “Tyralucia,” was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has always been drawn to the stage by her talents: singing, composing music, playing the piano, acting and writing. Since 2016, Tyra has been able to show her passion for worship and love for Christ through leading music for the ELCA Youth Gathering, ELCA Extravaganza, Synod Events, and the Western States Youth Gathering. Tyra currently serves as Youth and Family Ministry Associate at First Lutheran Church and School in Torrance, California.
Rev. Manuel Retamoza – Panelist
Rev. Manuel Retamoza is an ELCA Pastor and currently serves St. Andrews Lutheran Church in San Diego, California. Rev. Manuel is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and is a first-generation Mexican American. Being raised in California means his family history includes the US/Mexico border crossing with his family and his family’s crossing the border for generations. This family history and experience inform his call to ministry as he guides several border education experiences for groups from across the country and in his own congregation each year. Rev. Manuel serves on the candidacy committee for the Pacifica Synod, as a convocator for California Lutheran University, is on the executive planning team for the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza, serves as VP and treasurer of the board for American Indian and Alaskan Native Association of the ELCA, is on the MYLE Team for the 2024 ELCA National Youth Gathering and is the chair of the board for Miracle Ranch Children’s Home in Baja California, Mexico.