Meet the Arches 'n Bells Team
Daniel D. Maurer is the Founder, Writer and Editor-in-Chief at Arches 'n Bells. He's also the main point of contact to help you out with your purchases.
A former ELCA minister, Daniel now spends his time working for Arches 'n Bells' sister site Clergy Stuff, a Narrative Lectionary Worship Resource provider. He is also a freelance writer. He has two published books: Sobriety: A Graphic Novel (Hazelden Publishing, 2014) and Faraway: A Suburban Boy's Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking (Two Harbors Press, 2015). His third book is very cool comic he wrote for Augsburg Fortress. (see below!) He is currently working on his fourth book to be published early in 2017.
Daniel has created curriculum for the Whirl resource at Sparkhouse, and has worked intimately with Augsburg Fortress Publishers. His third book is an 1517 Media (AF) children's resource (below). Daniel has also written for secular, science-based, educational resources for Amicus Publishing—a series of books authored by him will come out in late 2016. The Word in Season, Alive Now!, and The Nature Conservancy are other publications he's written resources and articles for, as well as addiction/recovery resources and justice-related writings.
His non-fiction brand deals with sharing stories of personal transformation. Openly living in recovery from addiction and depression, Daniel has spoken at various venues around the Midwest and in New York City and Naples, Florida. His website, Transformation Is Real, has become a premier online resource sharing his and others' stories of change and transformation.
Papa Luther: A Graphic Novel (Augsburg Fortress, 2016)
Click on the images to get a closer look. For more information and to order this fine resource CLICK HERE.
Arches 'n Bells Writers
Stephanie Becken is a Minnesota native with a passion for reading and writing. From fiction for adults to Christian plays for children, Stephanie loves ferreting out the meaning of a story and putting together something that is enjoyable, educational, and can make an impact on the reader. Currently, Stephanie is the director for children, youth, and family ministry for an ELCA church just south of the Twin Cities metro area. Writing for children’s ministry has been a dream for her, and she looks forward to doing more in the future. She is married with three children, enjoys knitting, and spending time with her friends and family. You can contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Bing writes good things for kids (at Jonathan-Bing.com and puddlepot.com) and important things for adults (with advertising and communications clients that include everything from small nonprofits to Fortune 100).
Born and raised a missionary kid in Japan, he always had a book in his backpack for the 4-hour round-trip to school. Years later, as he daylighted as a Twin Cities copywriter, he moonlighted as a children’s book author, publishing Jimmy Jonny Brownie Stays Up All Night under the pen name Bing Puddlepot. The book garnered some nice reviews, several national awards (the finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Book Award and the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year), and was reprinted in the Baltimore Sun. He has written plays, musicals, children’s books and novels.
As someone who writes for a living and as a hobby, the best reward for him has been encouraging young writers to find their voice. When he’s not writing, he volunteers at Minnetonka High School’s Writing Center (okay, perhaps that counts as writing). He also sings in his church choir and gets away to sail as often as he can. You can find him on Twitter (@ThingOfBing) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/bingthing/).
Sarah Clark lives in Saint Paul, MN with her two young children, her husband, and their orange cat. She is an ELCA pastor and a writer. Sarah is a winner of the Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest (2011) and has poetry published in the St. Paul Almanac (2012), as well as theological writings (Augsburg Fortress Press, The Word in Season, and Arches & Bells). She has a BA from Luther College and an MDiv from Luther Seminary. Her favorite things are music, food, the BWCA, and being outside.
David Clauson is a dramaturge and translator. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, he is currently in the final year of his MFA program at the Yale School of Drama. David has worked in the literary department of the City Theatre of Pittsburgh, and has served as dramaturg on Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle. He has also mentored numerous high school and middle-school playwrights through Michigan State University and the City Theatre of Pittsburgh’s Young Playwrights’ Festivals and Yale School of Drama’s Dwight-Edgewood Project. He is an alumnus of Michigan State University and the Warren Consolidated School of Performing Arts.
The Rev. Dr John H. Danner began his tenure as Senior Pastor at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ in January of 2010. Prior to coming to Sanibel he served churches in the northeast, most recently in Westport, CT. Ordained in 1980, John has degrees from Bradford College (where his concentration was in theater), the University of Maine, Bangor Theological Seminary and Boston University. He has trained as a pastoral psychotherapist and is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and is also a graduate of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation. He has published articles in The Christian Century and other periodicals, and is a contributor to two published collections of liturgical resources. He is a weekly blogger and his posts can be seen at www.periwinkleponderings.blogspot.com. He also is a reviewer with Speakeasy.
John is married to Linda Bradbury-Danner and they have three children and a stable of grandchildren. John practices yoga, enjoys good novels, plays and films, meditates on a regular basis, rides with the Sanibel Bicycle Club and is Vice President of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.
Mackenzie Grondahl surprised no one at her home congregation when she became a professional playwright and dramaturg (script doctor meets history nerd). She started hounding the Christian Ed committee with Christmas pageants she'd written starting in middle school. As an adult, her plays have been performed in worship centers across the Midwest, even as she attended Wartburg Seminary and became a software developer in her “real life”. She has also worked in Theatre in Education, and has co-written scripts for COSI Toledo in Ohio and elementary schools in Iowa. Her favorite position was serving as the Writing Team Leader for the 2012 ELCA National Youth Gathering. Now Mackenzie focuses on raising a new writing partner – her eight-year-old daughter, Ellie. Together, they craft materials for their Girl Scout troop as well as the Wandering Home series and Miss Jill stories for Arches’N’Bells.
Rev. Emily Meyer - Writer has loved liturgy and music from an early age. She followed that love to Luther College, where she sang in the Nordic Choir, danced a lot and completed her BA in English with a minor in Theater/Dance. Prior to seminary she worked as a choreographer. Emily earned her M.Div from Luther Seminary and MART from United Theological Seminary. Her thesis at United was "Doing Feminist Theology in Rural America." She is also a Certified Contemplative Prayer Small Group and Retreat Leader (Shalem Institute) and has led Contemplative retreats around the Midwest. She has served as an ordained pastor, liturgical dancer, and creative consultant in suburban Minneapolis, rural Minnesota, and Holden Village, WA. For over 20 years she has written liturgies, sermons, numerous Christmas pageants and other worship scripts that incorporate expansive imagery for God and include worshipers of all ages and abilities. And she's written a few plays. She has written for the Lutheran Magazine, the Salt Collective and Clergy Stuff. In conjunction with InterServe Ministries, Emily is the director of Confirmation Reformation, a ten-congregation Confirmation cooperative in the Minneapolis area. She also serves at Southwest High School as a substitute teacher and (occasionally) Mindfulness Facilitator. But mostly she loves her role as the Costumer and Unhinged Supervisor in Southwest's Theatre Program. She is currently co-authoring a book on Contemplative Prayer and Meditation with her Buddhist friend and colleague, Leni deMik. In the off-season, she and her husband, Brian, build things and take long walks with their dogs, Taz and Kiko.
Julie Rybarczyk is a freelance copywriter, occasional creative director, and fair-weather blogger. She’s written her way through almost two decades of ads, websites, annual reports, frozen French fry packages, and pretty much anything else with words on it. Her first big break was in seventh grade, when her poem was published by her church's national magazine. Later she led the newspaper crew at Trinity International University. But her favorite thing to write has always been stories. Stories that offer grace. Stories that bring a smile. Stories that help us all feel a bit more connected and normal. Especially stories for children.
As a longtime single mom - and lifelong follower of Christ - Julie is grateful to have been able to raise her kids on the power of words. And now, as her nest is emptying, and her son and daughter head out into the world, she's excited to see what this next chapter brings.
Elise Seyfried is the author of three books of humorous spiritual essays: Unhaling: On God, Grace and a Perfectly Imperfect Life; Underway: Reflections on Everyday Grace; and Everyday Matters. She has written numerous freelance articles for such diverse publications as The Philadelphia Inquirer; The Lutheran Digest; Simul: Lutheran Voices in Poetry; Metropolis; and Guideposts magazine. Elise has written 15 plays for children, and many devotions for The Word in Season. She is Director of Spiritual Formation at Christ's Lutheran Church, Oreland, PA. Elise is also a columnist for a Philadelphia newspaper, an actress, mom of five and new grandma. Elise writes about her hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life—and the wonder of God's grace through it all. Elise, like Daniel Maurer, is a resource writer at Clergy Stuff for the Creative Expressions portion of their resources.
David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet, playwright and hymnist committed to doing “public theology” around issues of sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. In his work he seeks to use his gifts as a writer and poet to bring the strength of his academic training into fruitful conversation with the wider audiences of church and society. A graduate of Wartburg College, Wartburg Seminary, and the University of Notre Dame, he has taught religion and theology at the University of Notre Dame, Luther College, Augsburg College, St. Catherine University, and Hamline University.
Beyond his professional work, David has been active in local peace work and both locally and nationally as an ally for GLBT persons in faith communities. His writing has appeared in newspapers, periodicals, and newsletters throughout the U.S. Each spring he spends one week teaching poetry to 4th-8th graders at the Twin Cities Young Authors Conference.
David and his wife, Margaret, have a blended family of five children … and five (soon to be seven!) grandchildren. They live in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they are deeply invested in the life of their congregation, St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church. David keeps a blog and you can find it here.
Laurie Wolt has been a writer and director of thirteen (!!) Children's Christmas programs, four of which she wrote. She understands the challenges of creating new and interesting pathways to present God's Word so people can hear it and respond.
When she isn't writing she can found out on her kayak, snowshoeing or reading. Her best writing is done on the sidelines of her kids' soccer games. See more of her writing at www.lauriewolt.com.
R. Don Wright lives just outside of Philadelphia and serves Immanuel Lutheran and School as pastor and superintendent. Pastor Wright is ordained as a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has served in that capacity for 23 years. His wife, Donna M. Wright, is also an ordained minister of the ELCA. Their daughter, Marica Wright, is a social worker near Austin, Texas.
Pastor Wright loves thinking deep thoughts about God, the Church, and the Christian Life. He is widely known as an impassioned preacher. He is often sought out on the internet by his friends as the go-to guy for questions about Martin Luther and Lutheranism.
Arches 'n Bells Editorial Guru
Elizabeth Mechem lives in Lawrence, KS with her husband, children, cat, and loving dog. She is currently an office secretary at a Lutheran church in town. Elizabeth involves herself in interfaith activities, LGBT+ activism, and other social issues. She enjoys spending time with family, and riding with the church motorcycle gang when possible. On occasion, Elizabeth gets crafty with knitting and fiber spinning. While she has written for websites in the past, Elizabeth tends to write for her own amusement, but continues to keep an eye out for outside writing opportunities. Elizabeth formatted and helped edit nearly every skit, play, and seasonal production on the site!
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