1976. Santa Barbara, California. (Due to location: parents have ruined me for the rest of the world. All downhill from there.)
Education + Calling
1998. Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing + Speech Communications, Pepperdine University: began to think through the nature of servant-leadership—what it looks like to serve the world with my time and talent, position and resources.
2001. Teaching credential. Taught briefly in Los Angeles Unified School District. Miss Garrick. Third grade. Will forever remember Ernesto’s question on MLK Day following a discussion about nonviolent resistance: “Miss Garrick, does God have more power than the devil?”
Ordained in 2002 as a Children’s Pastor at Christian Church of Thousand Oaks where, for four years, the children taught me, opened up the Word of God to me. From there, I jetted off with Pioneers as a missionary among orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) in sub-Saharan Africa, eager to give voice to the voiceless, to tell their stories, to serve. Will forever remember the Kenyan children in colorful dance and stomp and song: “God is good, all the time, for that is His nature.”
2012. Finished up a Master’s Degree in Cross-cultural Studies (with an emphasis in Children At Risk) from Fuller Theological Seminary. Began researching and writing around this topic: the impact of story and narrative in the ministration of justice in at-risk communities. This would become the integrating pursuit—a motif in my life. Later that same year, eager to transform the state of publishing and communications coming from church and parachurch organizations, I started Understory Creatives, a business focused on writing, editing, and branding for nonprofits and the Christian market. (Unrealized goals, but goals that keep one at work: No more sub-par communications. No more blurry logos and lost brand stories. No more bonnet romances and prairie fiction.)
2014-2017. Worked as a Communications professor at Moody Bible Institute where I taught Research Writing, Fundamentals of Creative Writing, Nonprofit Communications, and Media Strategy. I also had the great joy of incubating and growing a new art and theology journal there and the pleasure of working with the most compassionate and talented students. This is also the moment in time in which I took a stand for gender equality in the church (in the ministry, in Christian higher ed)—and subsequently lost my job. Which leads me to my next point.
What I’m doing now.
Today, I am working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction at Seattle Pacific University’s amazing low-residency program. Most days, you can find me drinking lots of black tea with milk and sugar, reading + writing, listening for birds, and standing on my head (when real stressed).
Josh has trouble fitting his life into a paragraph, so he'll suffice it to say that for work he designs, illustrates, and studies. For fun he bikes, kayaks, tries to convince his wife to go on ridiculous adventures, and plans to try every taco place in Chicago.
R. Bea Rios (b. 1977 in Mexico City) explores the connections between faith, human experience, narratives, and identity through the usage of figurative form, photography, and painting.
Bea has a B.S. in Studio Art from Biola University in La Mirada, California, an M.S. in Clinical Counseling from California State University, Fullerton, and an M.A. in Theological Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Bea currently works in mental health serving underpriviledged children and families in the Los Angeles area.
Since she was very young, Josie would draw on basically anything she could take a pen to. Now, as an adult, she is very passionate about dipping her toes into the waters of the creative unknown, expanding her horizons through untested mediums while maintaining her love for storytelling and self expression.
Growing up, Eliel’s grandfather worked with an offset printer (read: old school printer) at home. Thus, Eliel says design and print work have been ingrained in him from the beginning, leading him to pursue a BFA in graphic design. These early childhood foundations later produced creativity and attention to detail in web and print design in both the private and nonprofit worlds. In addition to digital design, Eliel currently pursues industrial and product design and leatherwork.
Jessica experienced a childhood drenched in the rich foliage and startling sunlight of Papua New Guinea, a remote island in the Pacific. As a result, she feels most at home when surrounded by living things in their wildest states. She has a deep desire for contemplating and connecting with nature, while expressing its many facets of beauty through the visceral mediums of paint and pen.
A resident of Wrigleyville, Chicago and a former Moody Bible Institute student, Timothy Beltran del Rio is an LGBTQ artist, theologian, musician, and ordinand-hopeful in the Episcopal Church—particularly St. James Cathedral of Chicago. He identifies as an ENFP; 7(48)w6 sx/so (Enneagram); Aries, Cancer ascendant; and is mildly obsessed with social interaction, personality typing, and his boyfriend's poetry.
Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, Rachel’s photographic style was forged by years of wandering and chasing after light outdoors. She earned her BA at Trinity Bible College in intercultural and biblical studies, and presently works at a local nonprofit while running her own photography business. She enjoys pausing, noticing, and capturing on camera each individual's unique light and beauty.