SFTS News & Events
Center for Innovation in Ministry Launch
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“We do not want to try to predict the future. What we want to do is make the future.”

– Jane McGonigal, keynote speaker

About the Center

As people of faith, we know many things to be true: that ministry today is in the midst of radical change; that Gods spirit is powerfully and playfully alive in the world; and that coming together with new, diverse, and unlikely partners, as at Pentecost (Acts 2), honors the inclusive nature of the Holy Spirit.

We know that we are constantly invited to join in Gods work in ever expansive and creative ways, and that God has given us the intelligence and grace to face whatever challenges we face with fresh eyes.


With this knowledge, we come together at San Francisco Theological Seminarys new Center for Innovation in Ministry to accomplish three important goals: to build the capacity for innovation in the church, to connect innovators to each other, and to connect innovators to the church.

We hope you will join us!

About the Event

How can we leverage the power of games to tackle the issues of hunger and violence?

On October 16 and 17, we have the opportunity to join an intelligent and diverse group of experts that hail from the fields of ministry, education, conflict resolution, and technology - all for the benefit of ministry, the church, and the world.

Included in this group is Jane McGonigal, a game designer and researcher at the Institute for the Future, who believes the qualities nurtured through gaming can be harnessed by society in positive ways. We have the opportunity to explore this fascinating idea in a ministry context.


Participants should come prepared to strengthen their understanding, stretch academic and emotional boundaries, and test creative ideas for spreading the churchs message of justice, peace, and healing.

Cultivate creativity while moving through a variety of presentation and interaction models that will:

1. Give church and ministry leaders new ways to think about ministry, and new tools to explore innovation in their ministry context(s);

2.Provide dedicated community organizers and non-profit professionals new ways to think about and solve seemingly intractable social issues; and

3. Allow participants to gain new, and possibly unexpected, conversation and future collaboration partners.

The two-day symposium will feature the following:

A keynote speech by Jane McGonigal, a game designer and researcher for the Institute for the Future.

A world-café style discussion, incorporating audience participation, and featuring Mary Hess, Derrick Kikuchi, Sarah Moore-Nokes, and Jane McGonigal on the topic of hunger.

A world-café style discussion, incorporating audience participation, and featuring Rev. Byron Bland, Rev. Ernie Jackson, Daniel "Nane" Alejandrez, and Jane McGonigal on the topic of violence.

A Rapid Innovation Lab led by Smallify, which will help participants discover issue-area specific innovation challenges and immediately actionable solutions.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Check-in Opens


Worship with Dr. Marcia McFee


ColLab Café 1 – Dr. Mary Hess, Derrick Kikuchi, Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes, Jane McGonigal


ColLab Café 2 – Rev. Byron Bland, Nane Alejandrez, Rev. Ernie Jackson, Jane McGonigal


Dinner and Conversation


Keynote speech by Jane McGonigal


Theological Response by Dr. Mary Hess

Friday, October 17, 2014

7:45am Embodied Prayer
8:00am Breakfast
8:30am - 12:15pm Smallify Rapid Innovation Lab that builds on collaboratories, keynote, and theological reflections from Day 1
12:30pm Worship and Closing Prayer with Rev. Veronica Goines

Jane McGonigal speaking about the power of gaming at a TED talk

Worship Leader Dr. Marcia McFee

Dr. Mary Hess, Derrick Kikuchi, and Rev. Sarah-Moore Nokes

Rev. Byron Bland, Rev. Ernest Jackson, and Daniel "Nane" Alejandrez

Rev. Veronica Goines

The Center launch provides us with a unique opportunity to engage with the following partners:

Jane McGonigalis a visionary game designer and futurist, whose games challenge players to tackle real world problems like poverty, hunger, and climate change through planetary-scale collaboration.

She has created games for goodfor organizations such as the World Bank, the Olympic Games, the American Heart Association, the New York Public Library, and many more. Her book,Reality Is Broken: How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World, is aNew York Timesbestseller.

Dr. Marcia McFee, who draws on a first career in professional dance and musical theater, and is equipped with a Masters in Theology and a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies, understands the role of any ritual artist in the church as that of creating extraordinary portals through which communities journey with the Spirit. Dr. McFee has designed and led worship for regional, national, and international gatherings of several denominations for the last 20 years.

Dr. Mary Hess is professor of educational leadership and the chair of the Leadership Division at Luther Seminary. She is a Catholic layperson seeking to understand the ways in which religious educators might constructively meet the challenges posed by media culture. Hess holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, an M.T.S from Harvard, and a B.A. in American Studies from Yale.

Derrick Kikuchi is the owner of Reach and Teach, a peace and social justice learning company dedicated to transforming the world through teachable moments. He designs games that educate people of all ages about civil rights, economic inequity, and end of life issues.Kikuchi is also a ruling elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto.

The Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes is the general presbyter of Winnebago Presbytery in Michigan and Wisconsin. She is the catalyst behind the internet-based ministry Just.Good.Food., a new gardening mission that creates and strengthens partnerships between community gardens and organizations that provide food for those who are hungry.

The Rev. Byron Bland is associate director of the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiations and is an ordained Presbyterian minister and former Stanford chaplain. His recent work concerns the politics of reconciliation in divided societies, and includes conflict negotiation in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. He holds an M.Div. from SFTS.

The Rev. Ernie Jackson earned his Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from San Francisco Theological Seminary and is currently working toward his Doctor of Ministry. He is in his 18th year serving as pastor of Grace Tabernacle Community Church in the Bayview-Hunter's Point community in San Francisco, a church that has long been active in social justice issues that affect the local community. He has most recently worked with the Ferguson community in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown.

Daniel "Nane" Alejandrez is the founder and executive director ofBarrios Unidos, a nation-wide coalition based in Santa Cruz, California, that focuses on youth violence prevention and re-entry opportunities to former prisoners. From the barrio to the United Nations, he has shared successful, concrete programs that provide youth with alternatives to crime.

Smallify is a Silicon Valley innovation capacity-building firm that has worked with the White House, the University of California, Berkeley, and PBS. It uses rapid innovation labs to teach participants how to break seemingly intractable problems into smaller, actionable solutions.

Rev. Veronica Goines received her M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and began a call as Solo Pastor at St. Andrew Presbyterian in December of 1995. Goines has led the church in a process of congregational transformation that is witnessed in its movement from surviving to thriving, and from maintenance to ministry. She also currently serves as Spiritual Faculty with the National CREDO (Clergy Reflection, Education and Discernment) conference, through the Board of Pension of the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.).




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