This year’s conference has not one, but four keynote speakers! Each speaker is an alumni of the Young Adult Volunteer Program, but more than that, they are leaders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) today who feel a strong call to do God’s work in the world. Each has a distinctly different call, yet much to share with you about their experiences in the church and in ministry.
Blake was born and raised in Columbia, Maryland (go Ravens!) and attended Temple University in Philadelphia, PA for both undergrad and grad school while competing on Temple’s men’s gymnastics team. Blake served as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Lima, Peru in 2013-14 helping to partner the Joining Hands Network of Peru with the Evangelical Church of Peru (IEP). As the associate for recruitment and relationships for YAV, Blake is charged with spreading awareness about this transformational experience, connecting with alum of the program and developing wider partnerships between YAV and young adults.
Christine first sensed a call to ministry while serving as a Young Adult Volunteer in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While there, she saw how religion could be used both as a weapon to divide and as a tool for reconciliation. When she returned home, she prayed she would find ways to continue the work of healing, reconciliation and service in Christ’s name.
After working in Presbyterian World Mission to recruit a new class of Young Adult Volunteers (www.pcusa.org/yav), she enrolled at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She was ordained to her work at JustFaith Ministries, a faith-based non-profit that offers social justice education programs for congregations across the country. Following that, she served on the staff of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
Christine now serves as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. She is married to Rob and together they have two young daughters who bring them incredible joy alongside a constant appreciation of caffeine.
Christine is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology and Sociology. She studied at Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration and served as an intern at the European Roma Rights Center.
Rob Fohr is the Director of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) where he serves as lead staff person for the PCUSA’s committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI)—the committee charged with advancing the church’s mission goals through its invested capital. Fohr has served at the national level of the PCUSA for over ten years in a variety of roles, including as the chief staff person charged with advancing the agency-wide goal of helping the church connect more effectively with young adults. He has also served as the manager of organizational planning and effectiveness for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and was staff to the PCUSA’s Committee on Theological Education.
Prior to his work with the PCUSA, Fohr was a project director and consultant for a media and market research firm in Tucson, Arizona. Fohr holds a Master of Arts in religion from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and has a bachelors’ in business administration from Abilene Christian University in Texas. Fohr serves on the board of directors of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility based in New York City, and serves on the board of trustees of First Presbyterian Church in Owensboro, Kentucky.
He is an ordained elder in the PCUSA, and is married to the Rev. Christine Coy Fohr, who serves as head pastor of First Presbyterian Church (Owensboro, Kentucky). They have two daughters, Madeline and Maebel.
Sammie is from Franklin, IN and grew up coming to Pyoca every summer as a camper. She studied chemistry at Indiana State University and worked on summer staff at Pyoca during college. After graduating from ISU she served as a YAV in Asheville, NC in 2016-2017 as a volunteer coordinator for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. She now attends seminary at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN and works with UKirk, a Presbyterian campus ministry that serves college students in Nashville.