Foolish Church Conference | Speakers
Lee Roorda Schott is pastor of Women at the Well in Mitchellville, a church based inside the walls of the Iowa women’s prison. She has been transformed by her connection with women there who demonstrate amazing resilience, faith and wisdom, as they navigate overwhelming obstacles. She has become an author and frequent speaker and workshop leader as she pursues a vision of the church outside the prison embracing persons right in their communities who face challenges like the ones we see so often inside the prison: addiction, mental illness, sexual assault and domestic violence. The church is impoverished by the absence–and the silence–of those experiences and voices in our midst.
Lee previously served (2003-2011) as co-pastor of Polk City United Methodist Church, a small-town church near the Des Moines metro. A 2007 graduate, with honors, of Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri, Lee was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 2009.
Lee’s ministry career follows what she had thought would be a career in law. After college, she went east to Harvard Law School and began her career at a private law firm in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1995 she and her family moved home to Iowa and she worked as an in-house lawyer at a life insurance company. A lifelong United Methodist, she sensed a call from God after she began praying in earnest at the age of nearly 40. Her ministry has combined a delight in the creativity and wonder of worship with a deep commitment to social justice and how we mobilize the church to be a Spirit-led force to transform the world.
Lee resides with her husband on her family’s century farm near Prairie City, Iowa. They are the parents of three sons, a dear daughter-in-law and one more daughter-in-law-to-be.
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is a psalmist making adventurous and imaginative music for the ever-evolving church.
A composer and musician, he serves across denominations inviting a perspective of lifelong spiritual formation to community singing. He also loves dumb jokes and is always ready to hear one. He has recorded several albums of original worship music, and his hymns have been published by the UCC, ELCA, UMC and PCUSA.
Richard earned his M.A. in Theology and the Arts from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and is currently working on his DMin through Eden Seminary in St. Louis.
Since 2004, his central vocation has been immersion in the Psalms, studying, teaching, singing and creating new congregational songs for all 150. He teaches Psalms at several seminaries, in workshop at events and local churches and he is the weekly Psalm Correspondent for the Pulpit Fiction podcast.
He lives with his wife and teenage son in Strawberry Point, Iowa.
More info and free listening at Worldmaking.net and PsalmImmersion.com.
Paul Witmer: Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Pastor Paul Witmer has served as a pastor for more than 30 years in rural and suburban settings, including a new church start in the 90s here in Iowa. He has extensive experience teaching contemplative practices, leading retreats, and working with folks in twelve-step recovery. A trained Spiritual Director, Paul also works with many in developing deep listening skills and growing on the spiritual journey. As an artist and musician, Paul is especially drawn to the arts as creative expression and experience of the Divine. Paul currently serves as Minister of Reentry and Congregational Care with Women at the Well, a prison congregation of the United Methodist Church at the Iowa women’s prison in Mitchellville, Iowa. Paul is a graduate of Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX) and Eden Seminary (St. Louis, MO). He resides with his wife in Urbandale, and between them they have five grown children and two grandchildren.