Lent Madness 2013 boasts an all-star lineup of “Celebrity Bloggers” serving as contributors. Laurie Brock, Megan Castellan, Penny Nash, Heidi Shott, David Sibley, Laura Toepfer, Neil Alan Willard, and Chris Yaw are all members of the Lent Madness team. 2012 Celebrity Blogger Adam Thomas continues in his role as Lent Madness Bracket Czar.
Enjoy reading the contributor bios below, log onto their respective website and blogs, and by all means buy their books! (where applicable).
The Rev. Adam Thomas, Lent Madness Bracket Czar, was a 2012 Celebrity Blogger (most closely identified with upstart Philander Chase) who has morphed into our keeper of the bracket. He is associate rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Cohasset, Massachusetts, which is about ten minutes away from the church of our illustrious leader, the Rev. Tim Schenck. Adam is the author of Digital Disciple: Real Christianity in the Virtual World (Abingdon 2011), which you should read since you are using the Internet right now and you are more than likely a Christian. Adam just celebrated his second wedding anniversary with his wife Leah, who is wonderful and lovely and every other good adjective you might think of. He is busy being married, serving God at his church, and writing a novel, which is winding its way through the editorial process right now. Check out his website WheretheWind.com, for nearly five years of content. You can fan Adam on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @RevAdamThomas.
The Rev. Laurie Brock serves as the rector of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in Lexington, Kentucky and is delighted to serve in a diocese and parish where she can cheer for the Alabama Crimson Tide in football and the Kentucky Wildcats in basketball. She blogs at Dirty Sexy Ministry and is the co-author of Where God Hides Holiness: Thoughts on Grief, Joy and the Search for Fabulous Heels (Church Publishing). She frequently shares her quirky, snarky views on faith and popular culture on Twitter at @drtsxyministry, but don’t follow unless you can laugh at yourself and your religion. Otherwise, you’ll just be offended. When she’s not doing priest things, she is riding horses or texting other fabulous women priests about which True Blood character would be the perfect clergy spouse.
The Rev. Megan Castellan is the Episcopal chaplain at Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona. She preaches all around the northern portion of Arizona, resembling an old-timey circuit rider, only with much better shoes, and has also been known to occasionally teach a college course or two. Having lived in Arizona for over three years now, she is still surprised to discover things here she previously thought existed only in Wile E. Coyote cartoons. These adventures are chronicled in her blog Red Shoes, Funny Shirt and on Twitter @revlucymeg. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, being obsessive about television comedy, and marshaling the forces of the Ginger Rescue Squad, otherwise known as her rescue dog and rescue cat.
The Rev. Penny Nash, one of the four original Celebrity Bloggers, is still somewhat amazed that she is the associate rector at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in downtown Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. When people ask her what women priests wore in the Colonial Era, her response is, “Pants.” Before her move to the Commonwealth, she served in the Diocese of Atlanta (GA), where some of her family, including Miss Kitty, still live — so, you may run into her at an airport or along the interstate. She is one of the contributors to Hungry, and You Fed Me, a collection of homilies for Year C, and Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self, a collection of essays for young adults. Known in the social media world as Penelopepiscopal, Penny posts prayers or reflections, accompanied by her own photography daily at her blog One Cannot Have Too Large a Party. Friend her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @penelopepiscopl.
Heidi Shott, entering her second year as a Celebrity Blogger, is Canon for Communications and Social Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. She is a member (and past Vice Chair) of the Standing Commission on Communications and Information Technology and served as Chair of the Episcopal Life Board of Governors. She worked on the Office of Communication’s video news team at two General Conventions, hosting “The Daily Wrap” in Anaheim in 2009. In Indianapolis she hosted an interview blog at www.indy300.net. Praised widely for her writing about faith in daily life, Heidi writes for a variety of publications and blogs. She keeps the blog Heidoville. With the departure of their twin sons for college, she and her husband Scott are milling aimlessly around their home in mid-coast Maine where they root for the Red Sox even when they lose. Follow her on Twitter @heidomaine.
The Rev. David Sibley, while living in Brooklyn, does not craft artisanal cheeses. Instead, he serves as Priest-in-Charge of Saint John’s Church, Fort Hamilton, where six of the saints featured in this year’s bracket stare back at him every time he celebrates the Eucharist. Raised right in the middle of South Carolina, David studied and did research as a chemist before being whisked away to seminary in New York City. When he’s not in church, David enjoys travel, hiking and camping, all things food and music related, and praying for the yearly resurrection of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series hopes. When the ideas are forthcoming, he’s been known to blog at Feeding on Manna, and holds forth much more often with his partners in crime on Twitter at @davidsibley.
The Rev. Laura Toepfer, entering her second year as a Celebrity Blogger, is the Managing Director of Confirm not Conform, an organization devoted to creating confirmation programs that celebrate questions and authentic faith. After seven years in college, youth, and parish ministry, in 2008 Laura became a Kiva Fellow and worked with microfinance agencies in Uganda before returning to her native California. She is the author of the curriculum Eat, Pray, Grow, produced by Every Voice Network—a program that is remarkably well-suited to a church Lenten series. She preaches regularly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and often has snarky things to say about church on her blog The Infusion. She also has a thing about obituaries.
The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, one of the original Celebrity Bloggers and an early adopter of Lent Madness, is Rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota, a first-ring suburb of Minneapolis. His study there overlooks beautiful Minnehaha Creek on its way to the Mississippi River. He’s married to Carrie, also beautiful, and they have two sons and a Labrador Retriever in the household. Outside the house are chipmunks, raccoons, and coyotes. No kidding. Last bit of trivia: his father-in-law and his sister-in-law’s husband are both Episcopal priests at different congregations in Aiken, South Carolina, and his brother-in-law is also an Episcopal priest, previously in Wasilla, Alaska, and now in Kapolei, Hawaii. No kidding. Follow him on Twitter @neilwillard and be sure to check out his blog Laughing Water.
The Rev. Chris Yaw lives in Detroit, where the weak are killed and eaten. He serves the good people of St. David’s in Southfield, Michigan, who have yet to figure out his three-year-old actually writes his homilies. Chris is thrilled to be entering his second year of celebrity blogging (sure, he writes those too…) and is actually quite enthralled with online Christian learning. Visit the experiment at churchnext.tv.