Exploring Spiritual Conversations

April 13 | 8:15am - 12:30pm

Thanks to all who attended. We'd love to hear how you enjoyed the event. If you were there, please share with us briefly your feedback via the form below.(Coming Soon)

Keep Going

A mini conference about spiritual conversations is amazing, but it would be a shame for it to stop there. Here are just a couple recommended resources to help you as you try to put this learning into practice.

Read With Us

We would love to recommend to you the book Godspace by Doug Pollock. If you are ready to continue learning how to foster space "where spiritual conversations happen naturally,” in your life, this book is a perfect resource. Pollock's emphasis on listening to others with humility and grace, while listening to the Spirit for opportunities to share words of life, in winsome fashion, is rich reflection for all of us. His approach is deeply incarnational, relational, and biblical. This past autumn, our staff walked through this book together. We'd now love to invite you to do the same.

“One of the ways you can tell God Space has been created is when not-yet-Christians feel free enough to tell you how they really feel about the faith. Never try to deny or get defensive about what they share. Just seek to understand – and if necessary apologize for the actions of Christ-followers who have contributed to their pain”- Doug Pollock


IIn this episode of the Why God Why podcast Peter Englert, John Iamaio, and John Ginnan thoughtfully tackle the question, "Why am I So Embarrassed to Share My Faith?" and explore what faithful witnessing in our time might look like.

Conference Speakers

Bob & Marleen Ford

Penn State Affiliate Staff

Bob and Marleen work with the international student community at Penn State, sharing the love of God, serving in practical ways, and seeking to create a "second family" for internationals who are far from home. Wherever students are in their spiritual journey, Bob and Marleen come alongside them to help, encourage, and love them in word and deed.

Dr. Ashley Cross

Founder and Executive Director of Hub585

For 16 years, Dr. Ashley Cross has dedicated herself to supporting children and families in the Child Welfare System. A compassionate leader driven by faith, she has raised over $5 million through civic engagement and community support. As Founder and Executive Director of Hub585, she oversees initiatives like the Monroe County CarePortal, mobilizing local churches to meet the needs of families in the system. Dr. Ashley's unwavering commitment and strategic leadership have made a significant impact on improving the lives of those affected by Child Welfare, embodying her belief in God's plan for families and their well-being.

David Bovard

Catholic Charities

For the past 8 years David has worked with Catholic Charities in the refugee resettlement program. He also served on the Board of Directors for Refuge Rochester before its acquisition by World Relief.

Dr. Josh Horn

Executive Director at 441 Ministries

Josh originally moved to the Rochester area to attend RIT for his undergraduate studies before moving on to earn his PhD in Biophysics from the University of Rochester. Over those years, he and his wife developed a passion for walking alongside the most vulnerable and marginalized. He currently serves as Executive Director of 441 Ministries. He has served in jail ministry, with refugees, as a foster parent for 8 children, and in community development work in Chad, Tanzania, and Malawi. He is a certified ambassador with The Chalmers Center in their mission to equip churches and nonprofits to radically rethink the way we engage with material poverty.

Rev. Dr. Fred Farrokh

International Trainer, Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples

Rev. Dr. Fred Farrokh is a Muslim-background Christian. He was raised in the Rochester area and is a graduate of Greece Arcadia High School. He holds a master’s degree from Binghamton University and PhD in Intercultural Studies from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. Dr. Farrokh is ordained with Elim Fellowship in Lima, NY. He and his wife Annette currently serve as International Trainers with “Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples.” Recently, he has launched @WaslaMedia, an online encouragement network for Muslim background Christians. He has also served with Jesus for Muslims Network in New York, and SAT-7 in the Middle East.

Hannah Putz

IFI Rochester Ministry Leader & Coordinator

Hannah is no stranger to international students and working cross culturally. She lived cross culturally as a child and later worked cross culturally in Central Asia for 13 years as an adult. Her main call has always been to Muslims from the time she committed her life to Christ as a teenager. Hannah moved to North America where she still lives in a culture not her own. For the past ten years, Hannah and her husband have been working as volunteers for CRU, providing hospitality for international students at RIT. They also disciple many students.

Joanna King

IFI Volunteer

Joanna began working with international students through International Friendships, Inc. (IFI). She has engaged with students from Africa, Iran, India, and other countries, providing hospitality in her home as well as participating in social events organized by IFI. Joanna’s heart is to help the stranger feel welcomed and to serve those who are in need. She also enjoys ministry through the CarePortal network and Rochester Family Missions.

Jeanna Newcomb

Teacher & Browncroft Outreach Volunteer

While growing up, Jeanna spent significant time living in China. Upon earning her BA in English, she decided to teach in China through the organization Pinnacle. It was there that her interest in the Muslim world began. She did not realize how vast and varied it was until being introduced to the Hui Chinese Muslim people group in Inner Mongolia. At Browncroft, Jeanna has participated in Short Term Mission trips to Ethiopia, Guatemala, South Carolina, Greece, and Kosovo. She earned an MA in Teaching in TESOL, and is currently an ENL/ESL teacher in the Rochester area.

Kelly Fasoldt

Outreach Director, Browncroft Community Church

Kelly Fasoldt has been the Outreach Director at Browncroft since April 2023. Prior to this, she served with Agora Enterprises and Roberts Wesleyan University. With life-long service in education and Christian ministry, her passion is to further the Gospel, the great news of Jesus Christ, that has the power to heal our brokenness and fulfill our secret longing. Kelly’s desire is to see this Gospel and its power fill her and the world in every sphere of life. Having been abandoned in Korea at the age of 2, and then lovingly brought into a Christian family half-way around the world, Kelly knows in a personal way the care and love of God for even those who have felt overlooked or unloved. Kelly and her husband, Tom, are blessed with five adult children, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Anna Valeria-Iseman

CEO, Open Door Mission

Anna Valeria-Iseman has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Open Door Mission since 2017. As one intimately acquainted with Rochester and the key issues within our community, she is well poised to serve the mission of her organization: “to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of the impoverished and homeless men, women, and children of Rochester, NY by restoring hope and changing lives.” Anna’s passion includes homelessness policy and helping the Church serve the homeless population.

Bonita Morgan

Wolof Team Volunteer, Browncroft Community Church

Bonita has been attending Browncroft Community Church for over 10 years. She has served in Missions and currently serve on the Wolof Ministry Team to reach the Wolof People Group of Senegal, West Africa, a predominately Muslim country. With the Holy Spirit's direction and help, Bonita also serves by praying, giving, facilitating child sponsorship with Go on the Mission organization, and going on/leading short term mission trips to Senegal. During these trips, with our Christian partners, Browncroft teams minister to young women at a vocational training center where we strive to bring the love, hope, and truth of Jesus Christ and His Word.

Alyssa Matz

Congregational Care & Family Ministries Coordinator, Browncroft Community Church

Alyssa fills two staff roles at Browncroft: Family Ministry Coordinator and Congregational Care Coordinator. Having a background in social work, she is passionate about caring for people and bringing mental health awareness and wellbeing to the church. Her passion for outreach goes beyond the local community, having served in both Haiti and Peru, and she continues to serve on the Peru Outreach Team here at Browncroft. A frequent cohost of the “Why God Why” podcast, Alyssa loves connecting with others to ask the hard questions and have real conversations about faith and life.

John Iamaio

Discipleship Pastor, Browncroft Community Church

John currently serves as the Discipleship Pastor at Browncroft. Before that, he spent 20 years in ministry with college students. He is passionate about authentic communication about faith and developing the next generation of leaders within the church. He has been married to his wife Laura for 23 years and is the dad of Hayden (17), Hannah (15) and a three-legged dog named Delilah (3).

Aaron McGinnis

Student Director, Browncroft Community Church

Aaron is interested in music, hiking, science, disc golf, and Jesus. Having grown up in a Christian home in Rochester, faith has fueled his passion to use what God has given him to bring His kingdom here on earth. Whether it be teaching, filmmaking, camp counseling, or working with students at Browncroft - he has always been excited to see what God is putting before him and calling him to walk into.

Exploring Spiritual Conversations