Keynote Address – Rev. Dr. Mark Wickstrom

Rev. Dr. Mark Wickstrom is a retired ELCA pastor who has served 7 churches in his 52 year ministry career.  In addition, he has been a church consultant, seminary adjunct professor, conference and camp speaker, mission trip organizer, and has written curriculum for numerous publishers. He is our keynote speaker and will be centering his talk on his first book “The Gospel of Grace”.  He will be sharing helpful tools for building a positive understanding of the Bible.  Dr. Wickstrom and his wife Kristi have successfully raised four children into adulthood.  They live in Las Vegas and spend summers at their lake place in Wisconsin.

Forum 1: Marty Harpster
Video: Marty Harpster Forum #1 

De Colores! My name is Marty Harpster, and I am excited to attend my first Annual Gathering! I have four responsibilities, including serving as the co-chair and mentor, and serving on the music team. I will present Forum #1 and will lead a discussion in an EOI on Sponsorship/Strengthening the 4th Day.

I was born in Merced, CA, and my parents raised an “Air Force Brat,” moving from California to Idaho to Texas to Oklahoma to Arizona to Florida and back to Texas, where I graduated from high school in Austin.

I spent five years at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and after living in Colorado for two years, settled in the Spokane/Inland Empire area, where I lived from 1977 until 2001. Then, God picked my wife Mary and me up and deposited us in Las Vegas, where we have lived since.

Mary and I have a blended family. Her two daughters adopted me! We also have a son and daughter, who are twins, who adopted Mary. We have three granddaughters and one great-grandson. Our family stretches from Spokane to San Diego to Boise to Seward to Ft. Worth, and here in the Las Vegas valley.

My career has been in the building design and construction professions. In 2019 I stepped down from full-time employment and became a part-time construction consultant, which allows us the freedom to travel in our RV to visit our family and friends.

My Three-Day experience began with my Walk to Emmaus in 1993 in Walla Walla, WA. I served their community on the Secretariat and on team during weekends. When we moved to Las Vegas, I joined the Light in the Desert Via de Cristo community at VdC #8 and have served on the Secretariat and weekends since. My passion is sponsorship, and all the responsibilities being an effective sponsor entail.

Forum 2: Spiritual Director Panel
with Rev. G. Karl Gaston, moderator
Tracy Schmidlin, Ken Larson & Sara Jones

Ken Larson

  • Spiritual Director & Trainer with Christian Formation & Direction Ministry – Nevada: Board Member; Organizer/Facilitator for Invitation to Go Deeper Contemplative Events
  • Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada: Board Member, Monthly Conversation Planner, & Interfaith Contemplative Center Leadership Team
  • Community Lutheran Church (ELCA): Spiritual Director in Center for Spiritual Formation & Stephen Minister; Lay Leader with Synod Diversity & Inclusivity Project (Simon’s Project)
  • Boundless Compassion Program (created by Joyce Rupp): Facilitator & Board Member
  • Retired Civil Engineer & Manager
  • Married, Father, & Grandfather

Forum 3: