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Symposium for Christian Leaders


Panelist's Biographies



Apostle Brenda Alton

Senior Pastor, Kingdom Embassy, Harrisburg, Pa. 



Brenda loves God and God’s people.  She flows in an apostolic-pastoral anointing, transforming those who hear the Word of the Lord through her. Her strong compassion for transformation comes as a result of God’s grace through her survival of sexual abuse and harassment, domestic violence, divorce, low-self esteem, racial and gender discrimination, and financial hardships.


Because of her metamorphic life experiences, she passionately teaches the power of transformation that she celebrates in her life today.  She is sought after as an inspirational speaker and writer for diverse national and international venues.  She is a workshop facilitator for women’s retreats and leadership seminars.


Brenda is CEO of Sweet Love of Jesus Ministries.  Locally, she is a community servant leader and a catalyst for transformation.  Brenda has over 15 years experience in building leaders in diverse arenas.  She has the distinct honor of being selected as the first female president of the Interdenominational Minister’s Conference of Greater Harrisburg.  At Kingdom Embassy, she serves as Senior Pastor equipping, empowering, and releasing those she encounters toward their destiny, as well as CEO of Holistic Hands Community Development Corporation.


A native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Apostle Brenda now resides in Steelton, Pennsylvania with her supportive and loving husband, Pastor Thomas Alton and their two (2) pet boxers.  Together they have a blended family of six (6) children and five grandchildren, along with numerous God-given children they have nurtured over the years.


Mr. Jim Byrne

Director of Student Ministries, The Falls Church, Falls Church, Va.



Jim has served as a youth pastor for over 3o years, ministering at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, CA, and Fourth Presbyterian Church of Washington DC.  He is presently serving at The Falls Church, an Anglican Church in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.


An ordained pastor of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church since 1990, Jim has worked to develop and revitalize youth ministries all his adult life. He has spoken to over 12,000 youth. Jim was one of the founders and directors of The Great Escape Conferences, the longest running middle school conference in the US.


Jim received his Masters of Divinity at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena in 1990 and is presently working on his Doctorate of Ministry in Youth and Family.  He served as The East Coast Coordinator for The National Network of Youth Ministries, setting up urban, rural, and suburban strategies to develop youth ministry nationally through different denominations working together. Jim has taught many seminars and workshops on youth work and taught on the seminary level. He has consulted with many churches to help build and revitalize their youth work, working with Youth Ministry Architects and Youth Specialties.


He is married to Jenny Lynn and has two grown sons, Jacob  & Joshua. He loves riding his Yamaha motorcycle and has crossed the country eight times. His last motorcycle trip took him from DC to the far tip of Baja, Mexico.



Dr. Lucia Murphy

Director of Evangelization & Special Ministries, Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg



Also known as “Doctor Murph,” Lucia is the Director of Evangelization and Special Ministries at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. In her position, she is responsible for inspiring, facilitating and supporting parish and diocesan leaders in multicultural and lay ministries to live out their faith by sharing their gifts and talents with others in their communities. 


Prior to her work in the Church, Lucía motivated organizations and individuals to leverage their unique strengths and talents to create SUCCESS THAT STICKS. Dr. Murphy has a doctorate in Instructional Systems Design/Human Performance Technology from Penn State, and a Masters of Finance from Southern Methodist University. She developed her expertise from over 20 years of corporate and academic experience, both in consumer packaged goods marketing and leadership development. Dr. Murphy is bilingual and bicultural as a Mexican-American.


Well known for challenging her audiences using enthusiasm and wit, Doctor Murph has appeared on television, radio and broadcast programs. She is the author of the acclaimed book, “LeaderSpeak: 7 Conversations that Create Sustainable Success.” An avid runner and accomplished woman of laughter, Lucía lives in Lancaster, Pa., with her husband and children.


Mr. Dustin Sauder

Director of Youth Ministries, Manheim Brethren in Christ Church, Manheim, Pa.



Dustin is a licensed Brethren-in-Christ Pastor, who has served as Director of Youth Ministries at Manheim Brethren-in-Christ Church since 2000. During is tenure, he has helped lead the church’s youth ministry to new levels of growth and facility expansion. 


The youth ministry facility and concert venue located at Manheim BIC church is called Warehouse54.  Currently more than 250 students [5th-12th grades] and leaders are involved in midweek ministry.  Dustin's favorite youth activity is taking youth teams to work with homeless in Philadelphia, in collaboration with Urban Hope Discipleship Center, and attending either Circle of Hope Church or Epiphany Church for worship services.


He holds a Masters in Social Work degree from Temple University and was a caseworker and counselor at Bethany Children's Home in Womelsdorf, PA. for four years prior to entering full-time ministry.  Dustin has also served as the chaplain for the Manheim Central High School football team since 2003.



Dr. Phil Thorne

Senior Pastor, West Shore Evangelical Free Church, Mechanicsburg, Pa.



Phil Thorne has been Senior Pastor at West Shore Evangelical Free Church, Mechanicsburg, Pa. since September 1992. He came to the church after having served in ministries in Philadelphia [including a stint as youth pastor at Church of the Saviour] and Denver and after completing his PhD in Theology at Cambridge University.


His ministry passion is "to teach with clarity and power, and to lead the church."  Phil also serves on the Board of Trustees at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pa. 


Although dedicated to serving the church, Phil's highest priority and deepest personal joy is his family: Cindi, his wife to whom he's been married for thirty years, his daughters, Rachel (married to Adam) and Sarah and his first grandchild, Naomi Elizabeth.  Phil also enjoys trout fishing (when he can find the time), watching movies with his wife, and reading books from his personal library of over 4000 volumes.