General Conference Board

Between General Conferences, the work of the denomination is guided by the General Conference Board. This body is comprised of the General Church leader(s), a treasurer, a member from each Regional Conference, six persons that reflect the diversity of the wider church (at least three of whom are laypersons), and any other persons approved by General Conference. More on BIC leadership & structure »

Wanda Heise, board chair & member-at-large

Wanda Heise is the chair and a member-at-large of the General Conference Board, serving that body since July 2006. She is involved in her home congregation, Harrisburg (Pa.) BIC, as a Life Group leader and ESL teacher. She also served on the Atlantic Conference Board of Directors for more than a decade, and currently serves on the Paxton Ministries Board and the Mennonite Health Service Board.

A registered nurse who has served for a number of years in a private counseling practice, as a church administrator and at Paxton Ministries (Harrisburg, Pa.), Wanda has a passion and a gift for ministering to marginalized people. She also brings a concern for maintaining clear, careful, and appropriate communication of our faith to her position on GCB.

Brethren in Christ since birth and a pastor's daughter, Wanda particularly appreciates the denomination’s peace position and our careful, consensus-building, grassroots approach to decision-making.

Wanda lives with her husband, Glen, in Harrisburg, Pa. They have two married adult daughters doing global ministry and a total of four adorable grandchildren.

Carlos Alfaro, member from the Southeast Regional Conference

Carlos Alfaro joined General Conference Board in 2010 as a member of the Southeast Regional Conference.

Carlos graduated from Latin-American Theological Seminar (FLET) in 1992. He is also an ordained Minister with the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S. He and his wife, Ana, are the founding pastors of Ministerio Cristo Fiel y Verdadero in Miami (Fl.) where they have been the senior pastors since 1994.

In 2007 and 2008, Carlos served as president of the Pastoral Association of Miami, which has more than 300 churches of different denominations. Presently, he is a member of the board of directors of this organization, where he is being used by God to motivate pastors to unite and pray throughout the City of Miami.

The emphasis of his ministry is evangelism and discipleship. Carlos is especially motivated to develop leaders who will impact the lives of others. He also works together with leaders in the community to organize activities aimed at city outreach and community service.

Together with his wife and his two daughters, Gabriela and Elizabeth, Carlos enjoys many sports, primarily soccer and surfing.

One of the things Carlos appreciates about the BIC Church is their compassion and ability to reach people from many racial and ethnic backgrounds, as evidenced by the strong Hispanic ministry in Miami.

Bob Beaty, member from the Pacific Regional Conference

Bob Beaty, of the Pacific Regional Conference, began his term on GCB in 2014.

Bob grew up in Ohio and was not raised in the Brethren in Christ church. He attended Mt. Vernon Nazarene University and Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary and served in the Free Methodist Church for 9 years before moving into ministry in the BIC Church in 2008. Bob pastored the Zion BIC Church in Abilene (Ks.) from 2008–2011 and currently serves the Solid Ground congregation in Alta Loma (Ca.).

Bob also serves on the Pacific Regional Conference Board of Directors and the Navajo Mission Board. His passion is to understand the culture and the city in which he lives, to better minister to those who are far from God. Bob desires to see leaders developed and for all people to understand the unique ways God has created them to serve the people around them.

Concerning the Brethren in Christ denomination, Bob believes in the 10 core values of the BIC church, particularly resonating with the passion to pursue Scripture within community, the centrality of Jesus in all we do, and the focus of reaching the world for Christ through service, peace, and living in counter-cultural ways. He is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this stream of faith and is excited to see God’s movement throughout the BIC church.

Bob’s interests and hobbies include reading, camping, golf, and traveling. He lives in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. with his wife, Heather, son, Tyler, and daughter, Alana.

Karl Brummer, secretary/treasurer & member-at-large

Karl Brummer, of Carlisle (Pa.) BIC Church, joined General Conference Board as a member-at-large in 2010.

Though he did not grow up Brethren in Christ, Karl was introduced to the denomination while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resources at Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). From Messiah, he went on to earn a master’s in human resources from Kutztown (Pa.) University and held a variety of HR-oriented roles at Iceland Seafood Corporation, Rite Aid, Advantica, Inc. and Cross Keys Village.

Currently, he teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses as an adjunct faculty member of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), and Eastern University (St. Davids, Pa.), and serves as Vice President of Human Resources, Community Support and Enrichment at Messiah Lifeways in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Drawing upon his years of experience in the business world, Karl brings a passion to reach people, especially those who would not normally seek out the Church, to the GCB. He also brings a keen enthusiasm for the community of faith, noting his appreciation for the BIC’s cultural and regional diversity and its willingness to try new things.

Karl and his wife, Trude, live in Carlisle with their two daughters. Despite never having lived in Seattle, all the Brummers are avid fans of the Seahawks and Mariners, rooting them on every chance they get.

Rachel Diaz, member-at-large

Rachel Diaz began a new term of service on GCB in 2014 after having served as a representative for the Southeast Conference from 2005–2010. Rachel has been an active participant in the development of the South Florida cluster of BIC churches since childhood.

A member of La Roca Firme BIC in Hialeah, Fla., Rachel previously volunteered in a number of Brethren in Christ congregations in the areas of worship, youth work, small groups, translation, and legal assistance. She also served for four years on the BIC Board for World Missions.

Rachel’s unique perspective as a bilingual, urban attorney is an asset both to the churches in South Florida and to the larger denomination, and it is her prayer that the BIC U.S. Church would become a prominent presence in its surrounding society—strengthened, united, and growing to become better at reaching out into the world for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

Rachel and her husband, Hamlet, live in Miami with their two daughters.

David Espinosa, member from the Great Lakes Regional Conference

David Espinosa has been serving on GCB as a member from the Great Lakes Regional Conference since 2008.

Holding a master’s degree in practical theology from Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary, David helped plant Iglesia El Buen Pastor (Springfield, Ohio) in 2000 and served as its pastor from 2002–2010. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for the Great Lakes Regional Conference and as the facilitator for the Teologia de la Salvacion Core Course. David served with the Equipping for Ministry team from 2007–2008.

Fluent in both Spanish and English, David says that he enjoys using his language skills to bring awareness and diversity to the BIC community, in which 1 in 5 churches worships in Spanish.

David and his wife, Natalia, live in Springfield, Ohio, with their two children, Natalie and Joseph.

Adam Forry, member from the Atlantic Regional Conference

Adam Forry, of the Atlantic Regional Conference, began his term of service on GCB in 2014.

He grew up as part of the Mount Pleasant BIC congregation (Mount Joy, Pa.), where generations of his father’s family were members. After graduating from Messiah College in 1999 and completing pastoral internships at Mount Pleasant and another BIC church, Adam served as an associate pastor in two other BIC congregations prior to beginning service as lead pastor at Speedwell Heights BIC (Lititz, Pa.) in 2008. That same year, he completed a Master of Arts in Ministry degree at Lancaster Bible College.

As a “cradle BIC,” Adam is excited that the BIC faith family is not limited to people who were born into it, but has expanded and crossed potential barriers of all kinds to become a diverse, international church with 80% of its people outside North America. He sees local churches as the center of God’s kingdom work in the world as they seek to reach people for Christ, disciple believers, and make a difference locally and globally. He is grateful to serve on GCB and the Atlantic Conference Board of Directors as they support and strengthen the mission of local congregations.

Adam enjoys reading, running, and following Major League Baseball. He and his wife, Kimberly, live in Manheim, Pa., and have a daughter, Cassie, and a son, Trace.

Layne Lebo, member from the Susquehanna Regional Conference

Layne Lebo, of the Susquehanna Regional Conference, began his term on GCB in 2010.

Layne grew up in the Mechanicsburg (Pa.) BIC Church. After graduating from Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) with a double major in Bible and History, he continued his involvement at the church and over the last 19 years, he’s been youth pastor, pastor of young adults, and executive pastor there. Today, he is the senior pastor, a role he’s held since 2001.

With a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Ky.), Layne has served on the Susquehanna Conference church planting team, chairing it for six of the eight years he’s been on the board. Passionate about leadership, community outreach, and healthy churches, Layne says the BIC’s strength lies in being historically grounded and its potential lies in its cultural relevance.

An avid reader, gardener, cyclist, and sports fan, Layne lives with Greta, his wife of 22 years, in Mechanicsburg. They are raising their three children in the Mechanicsburg BIC family.

Cathy Musser, member-at-large

Cathy Musser joined General Conference Board as a member-at-large in 2010.

Born into a BIC household, Cathy has been a part of the church family her whole life—as a student at Messiah College (Grantham, Pa.) and as a member of Palmyra (Pa.) BIC, Fellowship Chapel (Bronx, N.Y.), Ashland (Ohio) BIC, New Community BIC (Pomona, Calif.) and her current church home, GracePoint BIC (Ontario, Calif.), over the course of her lifetime.

At the local church level, Cathy has participated in a variety of ways, from leading worship and directing the Sunday morning welcome team to directing VBS and children’s ministries and co-leading a home church. Cathy’s dedicated involvement at the local level gave rise to appointments by the Pacific Conference Board of Congregational Life, which she held for three years, and, currently, on the board of directors for the Pacific Conference, Pacific Christian Center (Upland, Calif.), and the Southern California MCC Relief Sale.

Cathy, who has enjoyed being a part of several multicultural congregations, identifies Belonging to the Community of Faith as one of the most vital distinctives of the BIC Church. Through her experiences, she’s learned the importance of building healthy, supportive relationships and continually evaluating how we “do church” to better witness to those still seeking for a spiritual family.

Cathy and her husband, Rod, live in Pomona, Calif. They have two married children, Jeremy and Megan.

Jeff Piepho, member from the Midwest Regional Conference

Jeff Piepho, of the Midwest Regional Conference, began his term on GCB in 2014.

He is the founding pastor of Revolution Church, in Salina, Kans. Opened in 2006, Revolution ministers to a younger crowd of lower-income families and (formerly) unchurched people. Jeff has a passion for reaching those who do not yet know the gospel, or who have not surrendered their lives to Christ.

Another passion Jeff has is for adoption and foster care. He, and his wife, Meadow, have been foster parents for over forty children. He currently serves as President of KFAPA (the Kansas Foster and Adoptive Parent Association), the official association of the State of Kansas.

Using his masters degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, Jeff hosts a popular weekly radio show, Truth Revolution. It is where "faith and reason meet" as each week they tackle science, mathematics, archeology, and logic, integrating them into faith, Biblical studies, and religion. Truth Revolution can be heard on thirteen radio channels and podcasts, as well as broadcasts on TV and YouTube.

Jeff appreciates the authentic faith displayed in pastors, leaders, and members throughout the Brethren in Christ Church. For the BIC, faith is not merely an intellectual excercise. He also appreciates the integration of Anabaptism, Pietism, Wesleyanism, and Evangelicalism into a cohesive BIC mindset.

Don Shenk, member from the Allegheny Regional Conference

Don Shenk, of Chambersburg (Pa.) BIC Church, began serving on General Church Board as a member from the Allegheny Regional Conference in 2006. A graduate of Messiah College, he served with BIC World Missions in Zimbabwe for 12 years. Now the director of Gospel Tide Broadcasting Association, Don serves his local congregation as an adult Sunday school teacher and as a deacon.

To his position on the GCB, Don brings a great deal of experience in cross-cultural ministry. As the world becomes more and more of a global village, Don’s greatest passion is to reach people for Jesus Christ and to bring them into the Church. Toward that end, he particularly appreciates the Brethren in Christ commitment to the Great Commission, which is reflected in our denominational mission statement and our Transformation 2020 vision.

Don and his wife, Becky, live in Shippensburg, Pa. They have three children.

Julie Stout, member-at-large

Julie Stout, of Carlisle (Pa.) BIC Church, joined General Conference Board as a member-at-large in 2015.

Julie grew up in Central Pennsylvania and attended Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, where she graduated with her degree in accounting in 1975. After earning her CPA at Ernst and Young, she worked in corporate finance and governance for a large Carlisle manufacturer until 1997. Her time in banking provided useful experience to take on the role of CEO of the Brethren in Christ Foundation in 1999. In 2003, Julie accepted the position of CFO at Messiah Village, now Messiah Lifeways (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), where she worked until retiring in June 2014.

Julie became a member of Carlisle BIC in the early 1980s. She is actively involved in the children’s ministry, having taught Pioneer Girls and Sunday school classes for over 30 years. She has served on CBIC’s church board, as well as various other committees. While not raised Brethren in Christ, her church and denomination have become home. Serving now in this capacity is a way for her to express her thanks for the many mentors, co-workers, teachers, and preachers who have poured into her throughout her time with the church, the BICF, and Messiah Lifeways.

Since retiring, Julie enjoys volunteer work, traveling, spending time with extended family, reading, and working on many projects around her home and garden in Boiling Springs, Pa.

Bill Strausbaugh, vice chair & member-at-large

Bill Strausbaugh joined the General Conference Board as a member-at-large in 2006 and served as chair from 2007 until July 2014. A member of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) BIC Church, Bill served on his congregation’s church board for over 20 years and on the Susquehanna Conference Board. Currently, he also, is a board member for The Tide and the CCCU’s Commission on Technology.

A graduate of Messiah College, Bill also holds graduate degrees in computer science and the doctorate in higher education, which he has put to good use first as a professor and then as an administrator. Bill currently serves as Vice President for Information Technology and Associate Provost.

Bill prays that in the coming years, our vision and core values as demonstrated in each local church will continue to be a welcoming asset to new people who might consider joining our BIC family. As he reflects on who we are as Brethren in Christ, Bill particularly resonates with the fine balance between right belief and right living that characterizes the life and thought of our denomination.

Bill and his wife, Sandra, live in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and have four children—two daughters (Megan and Lisa) and one son (Thomas) who are graduates of Messiah and their youngest son (David) is in his senior year there. Bill and Sandra also have one grandson, Caden, the son of Lisa and their son-in-law, Chris Heisey, who plays baseball for the Washington Nationals.

Alan Robinson, national director, BIC U.S.

Alan Robinson began his role as national director of the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S. in August 2013.

Alan’s journey to the BIC family begins in Northern Ireland, where he was born and came to personal faith at a young age in an Independent Methodist Church. Discerning a call to pastoral ministry, he served as a church planter and pastor in locations across the United Kingdom. Along the way, he received a Bachelor of Arts from Nazarene Theological College of Manchester University in 1993 and a master’s in applied theology from Oxford University in 1997.

The next year, Alan and his family moved “across the pond” to the U.S., while he pursued a Doctorate of Ministry at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Ky.). It was during this time that Alan first heard of the Brethren in Christ Church, and in 1999, he became senior pastor of Carlisle (Pa.) BIC. “Like most people in the Brethren in Christ Church today, I didn’t grow up BIC,” he says. “However, my affinity with this Church family is strong; the more I’ve learned of the BIC story, the more I am inspired by it and feel at home in it.”

Alan has been involved in BIC Church life in many ways—as the chair of the Commission on Ministry and Doctrine, chair and faculty member of Equipping for Ministry, assistant moderator for the Susquehanna Regional Conference, and representative to the National Association of Evangelicals. In addition to his D.Min., from Asbury Seminary, he also earned his Ph.D. in administration and leadership from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012.

Alan lives in Dillsburg, Pa. with his wife, Sharon. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. Other than ministry, Alan’s main passion is soccer. He has been a referee for over 20 years and officiates at the college level. To keep fit for his ref work, Alan runs and has participated in a number of races, including marathons and one 50-mile ultramarathon.