2024 Forma Conference Planning Team
2024 Conference Planning Team Members
Maggie Paul Baker2024 Conference Chair
Maggie Paul Baker is a cradle Episcopalian who grew up at Church of the Holy Comforter Episcopal in Montgomery, AL. She spent her summers attending Camp McDowell as both camper and staff member. After high school she began undergraduate work at Berry College and finished at the University of Alabama with degrees in Religion and Geography. (Roll Tide!)
Upon graduation, she took a position as a Youth Ministry Intern at the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, GA and went on to become Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, which afforded her the opportunity to attend the Forma conference in 2017 in Orange County. She has attended every one since. In 2019, along with getting married to her husband Brad, she took a position at Christ Church, Charlotte as Assistant, now Director for Youth and Family Ministry. She has written curriculum for her parishes, served on diocesan and National Happening committees, written for Faith at Home, and consulted for Church Publishing. This Fall, Maggie begins her journey as a Postulant for Holy Orders attending the Virginia Theological Seminary. She has a passion for formation in all of its forms, and she hopes to help continue to make Forma a place for sharing, learning, and growing.
In her free time, Maggie likes to spend time with her husband and their pets, Maisie, River, and Lena. She is also a musician who loves to use her gifts and talents as a singer to nurture her own spiritual journey and inspire others on theirs. She will read pretty much anything written by Kate Bowler, loves attending musicals, and recently discovered aerial silks as a form of exercise.
“One of the things I pray for [...] is that people with power will get good sense, and that people with good sense will get power…” - Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women
Sarah Bentley AllredForma Convener
Sarah Bentley Allred is the Senior Formation Associate for Lifelong Learning at Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS). Her portfolio includes serving as the Building Faith Editor and the Forma Convener.
Sarah grew up in a small church in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia where she participated in everything from the Christmas pageant to the children’s choir. During college, she began her formal ministry with young people as a counselor and then chaplain at Camp Kanuga.
Since college, Sarah has served in the area of children and youth ministries in three congregations and received an MDiv from Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition to her work with VTS, Sarah serves as a Godly Play Trainer, leads MasterClasses for Vibrant Faith, and serves on the Commission on Ministry in the Diocese of North Carolina.
When not working, she enjoys exploring the world with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace. She loves local coffee shops, board games, long naps, the beach, and writing. Learn more at sarahbentleyallred.com.
Rev. Edwin Johnson2023 Forma Conference Plenary Speaker
Edwin is a self-described smiling-dancing-Jesus freak. The product of two proud Episcopalians/Anglicans from Montserrat and Costa Rica; Edwin has had a deep appreciation of the broad flavor and diversity of our church, along with the great opportunities that exist to create Beloved Community. He is currently the Director of Organizing for Episcopal City Mission. Prior to joining the team at Episcopal City Mission he served as the Rector at St. Mary’s Church in Dorchester, a diverse, multilingual congregation committed not only to meeting and caring for Lazarus at the gate but also organizing around why there is such poverty and suffering in the first place.
After over twelve years of Parish ministry Edwin is excited to manifest his priesthood more broadly through the work of social justice while continuing his general church leadership around Beloved Community Initiatives as the Chair for the Presiding Officers Advisory Group on Beloved Community Implementation.
While confronting the injustice and racism in our world is hard Edwin has a lot of fun doing so alongside the members of his community and his family including his partner Susan and their sons Francisco and Santiago. Edwin enjoys spending his free time with family and friends, lifting weights and dancing and is excited to continue to offer whatever he can to the generations of church leaders to come.
Marvin McLennonAdvisory Committee Secretary
Meet Marvin McLennon (he/him/his), a “cradle” Episcopalian born and raised in Little Rock, AR where he grew up attending St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. After high school, he went to Hendrix College, a liberal arts school in Conway, AR where he studied communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. After graduating in 2013, he joined the Episcopal Service Corps in Baton Rouge, LA. Moving back to Little Rock in 2016, Marvin began working at Christ Episcopal Church where he is today, serving as the Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries. The favorite parts of his ministry are the surprising deep conversations that occur in youth group. Seeing the gears turn in young people’s heads and watching them connect the dots months later is very rewarding.
In his free time, you’ll find Marvin playing “Dungeons and Dragons” and other board games along with spending time with friends. He plays guitar and also nerds out over video games and comics. While he enjoys reading, he has a bad habit of starting one book and then another, and then another without finishing any of them. While currently watching season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, he claims his (unfinished?) reading stack includes How to Ruin Everything (a collection of essays by musician and poet George Watsky), The Art of Gathering by Prya Parker, and Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff.
Marvin has been a member of Forma since 2016. He shares, “Forma has been an invaluable
resource that has given me so many wonderful ideas and has helped me form so many wonderful friendships that I am grateful for. I come back from every Forma meeting feeling rejuvenated, reminding me that I am a part of a large, wonderful Episcopal family.” He encourages others who are new to their formation ministries to spend their first year building relationships with your youth, children, and their families.
Some of Marvin’s earliest memories of church include sitting with his family during worship, playing in the pews with his friends, and hearing the choir sing while watching the organ director’s hand frantically conducting just above the back wall of the altar. He regularly attended youth group as soon as he was old enough, was a member of the youth council in the Diocese of Arkansas while in high school, and during his college summers worked as a counselor at Camp Mitchell. You can understand why Marvin might say the Episcopal Church has always been a part of his life.
One of Marvin’s favorite Bible stories is from 1 Kings 19. After strong winds and an earthquake, Elijah hears God in the silence. It reminds him to strive to slow down and try to be truly present in quiet moments. One way that helps him is an app (1 Second Every Day
If you ever get a chance to meet Marvin in person, ask him about the cookbook he published with three college buddies - The College Guide to Smoothies. Turns out he is a wiz at combining unusual items from a campus cafeteria and turning them into pretty good smoothies.
Melissa found the Episcopal Church through friends who simply just asked her to come and see. She brings years of nonprofit experience, advocating for youth and emergency service. As Program Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Russellville, AR, she oversees the nursery, Kids Chapel, Episcopal Youth Nights, Episcopal Kids Community, Vacation Bible School, and @TheTable college and young adult ministry.
Melissa is a licensed Lay Catechist, Eucharistic Minister, Eucharistic Visitor, Worship Leader, and completed Education for Ministry in 2022. She currently serves on the board for Camp Mitchell and previously served one term on the Executive Council with the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.
When Melissa isn’t at church she’s enjoying time with her four children, her husband Travis, her dog Kona Kai. She likes thrift shopping, spending time outdoors in her hammock, drinking coffee, and traveling.
Roger’s first passion is serving young people, which he sees as a sacred calling. He graduated from West Liberty State University with degrees in graphic design, communication, and secondary education, and has been putting those talents to work in a lifetime of service across the Episcopal Church. He sees — and effectively uses — the arts and digital media as conduits to connect people, programs, and institutions to each other and to their purpose.
As an illustrator, writer, and gamer, Roger has published numerous books and articles, inducting I Serve at God’s Altar: The Ministry of Acolytes, The Pilgrim’s Way: A Life-Long Guide to Christian Formation, The Final Covenant: The Messiah’s story set in the World’s Greatest Role Playing Game, and others.
Currently a postulant for Holy Orders from the Diocese of Georgia, Roger will begin his Middler year at the University of the South’s School of Theology, working toward a Masters in Divinity.
He is a husband to Fran and father to Fynn. You can connect with Roger at www.RogerSpeer.com