Featured Guests

GCoMM 2018 is pleased to announce our plenary guests.

Dr. Donald K. Smith

was for twenty-one years Distinguished Professor of Intercultural Communication and Missiology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. Along with his wife, Faye, he also founded the WorldView Institute (a graduate level international living-and-learning community in Oregon). For 30 years a missionary evangelist, journalist and educator in Africa, based in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya, Dr.  and Mrs. Smith are the founders of Daystar University in Nairobi. Dr. Smith’s experience includes teaching, editing, publishing, developing literacy materials in African languages, anthropological research, evangelism, preaching and supervising Bible translation programs in more than 40 languages. His books, Creating Understanding and Make Haste Slowly, are used widely in missions training. The Smiths now live in Nairobi and continue mentoring, writing, praying and consulting with Third World mission societies and leadership of national churches.

Dr. Jean Ngoya Kidula

has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology and is an accomplished musician in a variety of styles. She is professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Georgia in the United States. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles on topics in Kenyan music and history. Recently Dr. Kidula  was awarded the African Music Section (AfMS) Kwabena Nketia Book Prize! This prize recognizes the most distinguished book or monograph on the topic of African and African diasporan music published over the previous four years. Her award-winning book entitled, Music in Kenyan Christianity: Logooli Religious Song (Indiana University Press, 2013) explores the history of a community through music and religious expressions in local, national, and global settings. In addition, she has served as music director at churches in both Nairobi, Kenya and in the United States. Attendees of the 2006 Global Consultation on Music and Missions will remember with fondness her humorous partnership with Frank Fortunato as the Masters in Ceremony.

Rev. Calisto Odede

has worked with the Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS), a body working with students in Universities and Colleges, for thirteen years. This included pioneering and directing the triennial Commission Conference four times, which is currently a major students’ mission conference in Africa. He then served with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) as Associate Regional Secretary covering the Eastern and the Horn of Africa in the English and Portuguese speaking Africa for eight years.

He joined Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) in 2008 where he has served as Deputy Senior Pastor CITAM Valley Road, Senior Pastor of CITAM Woodley, Senior Pastor CITAM Karen and lastly as the Senior Pastor of, CITAM Valley Road. He is an ordained and licenced minister under CITAM. Currently Rev. Odede is the Senior Pastor of Nairobi Baptist Church, having moved in a historic church to church transfers in Kenya.

Rev. Odede has travelled to many countries conducting Bible exposition and leadership training and has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences and mission conventions including but not limited to being a Bible expositor at the Lausanne III Congress (Cape Town), Keswick Convention (UK), New Horizon (Northern Ireland), Urbana Missions Conventions (USA), Commission (Kenya), NIFES (Nigeria), Mission Korea (Korea) and numerous other conferences.

His publications include contributing chapters in “Going the Distance” (Keswick, 2012) and “Christ: Our Reconciler” (IVP, 2010).
Rev. Odede is married to Elizabeth and they have three sons.

Hellen Mtawali

commands the stage as a vocalist and music performer in a way that few are able, being one of the few Kenyan musicians who combine their voice with authentic African sounds with excellence. She is passionate about all she does – coach, teacher, mentor, judge, motivational speaker, among other things – and is an ambassador for African music, traveling the world to ensure people have a special love and appreciation for the African music of her heart. Among the projects she has done to nurture and mentor African talent are the TV show Project Fame, and founding Afrizo, a Gospel music group that specializes in Afro-based music, and uses it as a training ground for students and as a fund raising tool for their education.

Susanna Harrington

also known as Shrimati Susanna, is one of the few Westerners to have studied Bharatanatyam, a beautiful, 2000 year old classical style, from Southern India. She is unique in that she uses Bharatanatyam to express Christian, rather than the traditional Hindu themes, which she has performed to audiences around the U.K and internationally. As a dancer she shares her devotion to the lord Jesus, captivating her audiences with this stunning and spiritual dance form.

In 1992 she travelled to India, where she undertook initial training in Bharatanatyam. On her return to England she commenced formal training under Shrimati Pathmini Gunaseelan of Narthana Kalalaya, London. In 1996 Susanna completed her Arangetram (dance graduation) in London, and then returned to India after receiving a scholarship from the Church Mission Society to learn Christian dance items at The Christu Dance Centre, Chennai (Madras). Since her graduation she has continued to train under Shrimathi Pathmini Gunaseelan, alongside other intensive classes with Anusha Subramanyam, Jasmine Simhalan and Anuradha Shinde.

Susanna lives with her husband Peter, and their children in North Essex. She teaches weekly classes in Bharatanatyam, works in primary schools as a multi-cultural dance artist and performs as a solo artist.