Plenary Speakers

Andrew Peterson - Singer, Songwriter, Author

For more than twenty years now, Andrew Peterson has been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments. In the city of Nashville where music is an industry in the same way fast food, generic greeting cards, and bumper stickers are industries, Peterson has forged his own path, refusing the artistic compromises that so often come with chasing album sales and radio singles and creating instead a long line of songs that ache with sorrow, joy and integrity, and that are, at the end of the day, part of a real, ongoing, human conversation.

A highly respected songwriter in the Christian music community, Andrew Peterson's career began in the mid-'90s with his first independent release, an eight-song EP called Walk. While touring the country with wife, Jamie, Peterson caught his first break when popular CCM band Caedmon's Call invited him on their 1998 tour. This increased exposure led to his signing with Watershed/Essential Records and the 2000 release of his first proper album, Carried Along. A pastor's son, the Illinois-born, Florida-bred Peterson imbued his rootsy, folk-rock style with a strong Christian message, taking influence from veteran singer/songwriter Rich Mullins. In the coming years, he would establish himself with strong albums like Love & ThunderThe Far Country, and Resurrection Letters, Vol. 2. Along the way, Peterson's many collaborations with musicians in and outside the Christian community bolstered his image as a creative and versatile artist. In 2006, he and a number of other like-minded singer/songwriters formed a musical collective called the Square Peg Alliance. A year later, he made his debut as an author with his first children's book, The Ballad of Matthew's Begats. In tandem with his increasingly successful musical career, Peterson furthered his writing career, publishing the first novel of his four-part fantasy/adventure series The Wingfeather Saga in 2008. He also launched the publishing company and creative writing blog The Rabbit Room. A 2014 anthology called After All These Years: A Collection was released by Centricity celebrating his impressive back catalog, and in late 2015 his 11th studio album, The Burning Edge of Dawn, reached number three on the Billboard Christian chart, becoming his most successful release to date. 

"Let me be completely honest with you. Sometimes I’m sick of music. I’m sick of the road. I miss my home and my family. That boyish thrill of being in a different city every night is long gone. It’s been twenty years since I first started doing concerts, and I’m no longer surprised when people tell me I look tired—I always look tired. But, as some wise farmer somewhere surely said, nothing worth doing is ever easy. When I was a young man I heard a call as clear as day, and that call led me here, to a life of writing stories and singing songs, doing my small part to proclaim the Kingdom of God—both its presence and its coming consummation—and at no time do I remember hearing a promise that following that call would be easy."

-Andrew Peterson

We are honored to have Andrew Peterson share in song, story, and the wisdom of experience at the 2017 Lamplighter Guild!

Pastor Colin Smith - Biblical Theology

Colin Smith is the pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Williamson, New York. His love for the Scriptures and passionate exposition of them is infectious. Pastor Colin places a heavy emphasis on studying the Scriptures in their literal, grammatical, and historical context. The Word of God becomes rich with deeper meaning to the hearers under his skilled teaching. 

Mark Hamby - Biblical Theology 

Mark Hamby (M.S., M.Div., Th.M., and doctoral candidate) is founder and president of Lamplighter Ministries, which consists of Lamplighter Publishing, Lamplighter Theatre, Lamplighter Guild, Lamplighter Life-Transforming Seminars, Lamplighter Moments Daily Radio Broadcast, and the newly produced broadcast, Fastened Like Nails. Married to his wife Debbie for 38 years, they have devoted themselves to making ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17).


If you have ever heard Mark speak at conferences or on the radio, you know that he loves to tell stories that make the truths of the Word of God come alive! Interviewed on numerous national radio programs, Mark shares how Lamplighter was birthed and how Lamplighter books and dramatic audios are having a redemptive influence around the world. 


The foundational truths that Mark holds as his true north compass are Proverbs 1:1-10:1; 22:29;  Romans 4, 5, and 8; Hebrew 4:2, 5:11-14; and 2 Peter 1:3-10. 

After a professional career including stage work at theatres in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse in plays such as “Amadeus”, “Harvey”, “Our Town”, “Brighton Beach Memoirs”, “The Shadow Box”, “The Miracle on 34th Street”, and personal comedic favorite and backstage extravaganza “Greater Tuna”, Patrick had managed to keep a family of four successfully fed and loved in the upstate NY area. 


To assist with life’s needs, Patrick also became well known and professionally sought after as theatrical director of adults and children, which culminated in an 11-year residency as actor and director of the Children’s Theatre Program at Bristol Valley Theatre. At 35, after amassing a resume inclusive of voiceover work, commercials, industrial films, script writing, dinner theatre, a bit of stand up comedy, a full-length Christmas film for Reader’s Digest, and an opportunity to be the “Bill Nye, the Science Guy” poster boy for NYSEG, Patrick was tiring. It was at this time that Patrick accepted his greatest and most important role of his entire life—to be a God-directed, Spirit-led, servant of Jesus Christ! 


Patrick walked out of the limelight and into HIS light, never intending to look back. After a short time as third grade instructor at the Christian school his daughters were attending, and a self-imposed decline in health due to the denial of God’s clear will, Patrick acquiesced to teaching a drama class at the high school level. God honored Patrick’s repentance by giving him not only a life-mission, a vision to keep it alive, a heart and a reason to act again, but also a scriptural vehicle to carry him onto the next and ever-expanding path to becoming God’s storyteller.


Now at 53 with three more children and four grand kids (and one on the way), Patrick has most recently performed in “St. John in Exile”, a one-man play depicting the time the apostle John spent exiled for his faith on the Isle of Patmos. Patrick still keeps busy with other projects, including writing two full-length plays, two books, and an occasional voiceover job or TV commercial. 


Patrick joined the ranks of the Guild instructors in 2016 and is beyond ecstatic to return for his second year! He cannot wait to spend a short but intense time of exploration, inspiration and instruction with his stage-acting students.


Matthew Christian Harding – Creative Writing

Matthew Christian Harding was raised with the new-age teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the ascended masters. He quickly delved deeper into the occult of the Satanic Bible, Astral Projection and drugs. Addictions, broken relationships, and a belief in reincarnation brought him nearly to the point of suicide. But God revealed Himself to Matthew at several critical moments in his life, until the day he began reading the Word of God for the first time. He asked God to show him if it was actually true. The Word suddenly came alive, and in a matter of weeks, Matthew repented, believed, and confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.


Matthew graduated from St. Olaf College with an English degree, and he received  a Masters in Special Education, Vision and Orientation & Mobility from the University of Arizona. He also attended the Sorbonne in Paris, and studied in Thailand. He now resides in Pearisburg, Virginia – where he writes and works as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist training the blind to travel. He and his wife Cassandra have four children who are being raised to love and obey their Lord.


Matthew has loved adventure ever since he was a child. His family, friends, and walk with the Lord have been the greatest adventure of all. Tiring of the same bedtime story routine with his children, he began to make up stories that got longer and more intricate, sometimes lasting for months. With his wife's encouragement, he began writing books. Foundlings was his first novel, followed by Paladins and Loresmen. He's currently working on a fourth Peleg Chronicles adventure and the Ebenezer’s Land picture books. 

You might call John Fornof “That Radio Drama Guy.” When he was a kid, he clutched his Panasonic RQ309S cassette tape machine close to his heart, and with his dad’s encouragement, started making his own radio adventures. His dream was to grow up to write and produce radio dramas. Sadly, no one was doing radio dramas anymore. It was sort of like, “Hey, when I grow up, I want to be a telegraph operator!”  


Fast forward the tape machine to 1997. John was invited to write for the Adventures in Odyssey radio show — literally, a dream job. Since then, God has opened up opportunities for John to work on nine different audio drama series. He’s written over 130 episodes.  


In 2009, he was asked to help launch Lamplighter Theatre with Mark Hamby. The popular program grew to over 1700 radio outlets in 29 countries. Lamplighter Theatre is on the verge of reaching a major milestone in its history — soon to become a daily radio show. 


John and his team recently launched their newest audio drama with Heirloom Audio — The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. (Note: This historic audio drama series was birthed here at the Lamplighter Guild!) Their show about William Wallace--“In Freedom’s Cause”—recently won four Voice Arts Awards in Los Angeles: Outstanding Audio Production, Outstanding Audio Engineering, Outstanding Narration and Outstanding Casting. It was also a finalist for the Audie Award.


As a director, John has had the privilege of working with many great actors including Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings, Rudy), Golden Globe Award-winner Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Fireproof), John Rhys Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of the Rings), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Skandar Keynes (Chronicles of Narnia), James Cosmo (Braveheart), Tom Baker (Dr. Who), and Anthony Daniels (Star Wars).


John wrote and helped develop the award-winning Ribbits! animated series with creator and former Disney producer Bob Garner.  He’s also a published author with Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Focus on the Family, and Tyndale and has won two regional Emmy awards for his television documentaries, along with a number of Telly Awards and Addy Awards.


But his most important creative work: John is dad to three amazing kids, Chris, Robert, and Melissa.  


He’s taught at the Lamplighter Guild, the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Academy, and the Christian Worldview Film Festival. He was also Time Person of the Year in 2006.


John is a graduate of the Act One Writing and Executive Program in Hollywood with an eye on the next dream -- film. Short version: John has fun! And who knows where that fast forward button will take him next?  

Jurgen Beck - Music Composition

Award-winning composer Jurgen Beck was born in Germany and began his musical journey early in his life. His passion and interest in music was directed toward training on the trumpet, while at the same time picking up other instruments such as guitar, piano, and bass. His passion for harmonic structure stems from his early years of musical training and playing in a brass choir in Germany.

Having received a full scholarship, he moved to the USA in 1987 to continue his music studies at a college in Dallas, Texas. It was during that time that he began producing music for independent artists, allowing him to refine his skills not only as a composer, but in all aspects of music arrangement, recording, mixing, and mastering audio.

His love for film music essentially resulted in a natural transition from writing and producing music for artists to writing for film.

Jurgen is a creative composer who loves to explore the multi-faceted aspects of music and how it affects the listener. This gives him a unique ability - adding music to picture that engages the viewer’s emotive abilities to absorb the story. Whether it is composing for feature films, documentaries, commercials, or digital media, his passion is to bring whatever medium he writes for to life by adding a unique blend of electronic and orchestral elements.

Jurgen has been highly active with a number of popular productions lately ranging from his iconic score for the highly successful faith-based film Beyond the Mask, his music for the passion play The Thorn, and numerous television commercials and film trailers.

Rob Jorgensen – Audio Production 

Rob started his career in radio at the age of seventeen as a disc-jockey at a 1,000 watt daylight AM Christian station in Boise, Idaho. KSPD was about the only station in town at the time that played contemporary Christian music, and, of course, Adventures in Odyssey. 

After college, Rob began working at the Raymond Group agency in the Seattle area, producing Christian programming.

Rob and his wife arrived in Colorado Springs to work for Focus on the Family in 1994. Over the years, he held several positions there, including editing Doctor Dobson's daily radio program, producing Focus on the Family Weekend, and producing promotional material for Focus' internal agency, Briargate Media. He joined the Odyssey team in May of 1999. Later, he became the production engineer for Focus on the Family Radio Theatre.


Rob Jorgensen is now the creative muscle running the machine called Rojo Creative Studios, which began as a concept in 1998 with a used computer, a folding table, and one client. Today, Rojo Studios works with many of America’s best-known Christian ministries producing podcasts, radio commercials, audio books, and award-winning audio drama. Rojo has grown to include a network of professionals all over the country. Through a collaborative work environment on the web, audio production specialists, composers, actors, and artists are all available to work on projects. Rob is a two-time recipient of the Audio Publishers Association's Audie award.

When Rob is not producing radio drama, his interests orbit very closely around his work world. He is an avid collector of antique microphones, and he loves radio shows from the Golden Age. When he is not reading or playing his guitar, he spends as much time as possible with his wife and children. Rob and his family make their home in Florida. 

Rob was an amazing addition to the Lamplighter Guild team in 2016, and we are pleased to bring him back to the seventh annual Guild for another week of top-notch sound design!



George Escobar - Film Producer, Writer, and Director

George D. Escobar is vice president of WND Films and TV, in charge of programming, production and strategy. He directed “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment” for WND Films, which became Amazon’s No. 1 Faith DVD for 75 weeks. Most recently he directed “The Harbinger Man” and co-produced with WND CEO Joseph Farah, “Global Jesus Revolution” and “End Times Eyewitness.” Currently, George is developing the feature film production of “Trapped In Hitler’s Hell,” the true story of Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman.

George is co-founder of Advent Film Group, created to produce Christian films and train Christian filmmakers. AFG's inaugural movie, “Come What May,” was seen by over 3.5 million people online and on TV. His narrative films include “Hero” (as producer/editor), “The Screenwriters” (as executive producer), and “Alone Yet Not Alone,” which he co-wrote/co-directed and co-produced for Enthuse Entertainment. “Alone Yet Not Alone” was Oscar nominated for Best Original Song.

George has more than 20 years of experience in film, television, and interactive media. Before founding AFG, he was Vice President of Product Development for Discovery, Executive Director for AOL/Time Warner, and a producing fellow at the American Film Institute. In his career, George has worked for top executives in the industry, including Howard Stringer (Sony CEO), Sandy Grushow and David Grant (Fox), Kit Laybourne (TELE-TV), and Kim Friedman (TV director). He holds seven U.S. patents in technology and user interface design and has taught filmmaking to over 3,500 students. George and his wife homeschooled their three sons.

We are thrilled to have George joining the ranks of the Guild masters in 2017!

Joel Jost is a filmmaker from southern Alberta, Canada, best known for Jostie Flicks, a popular YouTube channel which he runs with his family. He has directed and produced over 80 short films, music videos, commercials, etc. He has also helped shoot several documentaries across the US and was part of a team shooting one in Europe. Joel has taught at the 2013, 2014, and 2015 guilds. He has a passion for using the language of film to be a culture changer, to bring honor and glory to God, and to make a difference in people's lives.

Joel Jost - The Art of Cinematography and Storytelling
Kim Winey - Capturing Moments Through the Lens

Kim Winey is passionate about photography, as demonstrated by her emotive 'outside the box' presentation of God's unfolding gifts. Kim's photojournalist approach produces images that are often described as "magazine style". In 2014, at the start of her fifteenth year in photography, Kim announced her 'retirement' from the wedding photography industry to focus her energy on Bootcamps (photography workshops) and Styled Shoots (themed shoots containing meticulously planned clothing and props, as well as a team of vendors and interns who collaborate to create unique photo experiences). She also continues to thrive on capturing babies, children, high school senior girls & couples, as well as 'Real life. Your life.' sessions (lifestyle/time-capsule sessions). In addition, Kim offers private mentoring, critiquing and in 2013 had her first "live-in-tern." She also continues to dabble in the hobby of food-photography, because once a foodie, always a foodie... 


Kim Winey's photos have been featured in ads and articles, in The Knot (Pennsylvania & Delaware edition), Happenings MagazineSusquehanna Style Magazine, Elizabeth Anne Designs Blog, Fabulously Wed Blog, as well as several other blogs, magazines and newspapers. She has enjoyed teaching photography classes throughout the years and provides private mentoring, both in-person and online. In addition to her photography work, Kim has also volunteered her gifts for Mount Joy Mennonite Church, The Walk for Sienna, The Remembering Zachary Project, Lancaster Mennonite School, and biennially accompanies the LMS Boys Soccer Team to Costa Rica where she documents their missions trip. She is also the school photographer at Summit Christian Academy, where she also volunteers as a teacher's aid in the High School Yearbook Class.


Kim will be returning to the Lamplighter Guild for her seventh year as a Master Teacher as well as the Guild's official photographer.


Visit kimwineyphoto.com to see Kim's magnificent work.


See the Photography page for more information on the course and requirements.

Culinary Arts

Ira Krizo - Master Gourmet Chef

Ira Krizo is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, with over 12 years of gourmet cooking experience in France, Australia, Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Southern California and Portland, Oregon. He is the president and a chef-instructor at the Christian Culinary Academy. Ira taught at the 2014 Lamplighter Guild, and it is a joy to welcome his return as we re-introduce the Culinary Arts course in 2017! To watch a web-chat recorded with Ira prior to the 2014 Guild, see the Culinary Arts page.

Visual Arts

Deb Hamby - Master Oil Painter

Deb Hamby is an established oil painter, published writer, and art instructor. She is also an avid gardener and cook. Currently residing in Northeast Pennsylvania, Deb enjoys the dramatic lighting and rich textures of the area's rural landscape, dotted with pristine lakes and working farms.

Guest Speaker

Dramatic Arts

John Fornof – Writing, Producing, & Directing
Patrick A. Powell - Actor, Director, Playwright
Lew Sterrett - Biblical Leadership Training

Throughout his lifetime Dr. Lew has expressed his concern for Biblical leadership development as a director of a major camp and conference center, a founder of a discipleship school, a former president of CHA (an instructor safety certification program) and as a certified youth, marriage, and family counselor. He has received many prestigious national awards for his influence in leadership such as the National Leadership Award from the National Republican Congressional Committee Business Advisory Council and the Moody Bible Institute-Most Influential People. Lew is the founder of Sermon on the Mount, a ministry which exists to inspire the character of generations, equipping them to lead with integrity through practical training and unique horse illustrations.

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Mount Morris, NY