Our History

Hear the story from our founder, Rev. Dr. Thomas Boomershine. Learn More about Tom.

Our Mission
To encourage everyone to learn and tell biblical stories

We are an ecumenical, inclusive, openly welcoming community of pastors, educators, storytellers, and laity who have experienced the transformational power of embodying, and then performing, stories from the Bible. Grounded in an approach that encourages biblical scholarship, debate, and discovery, we aim to maintain the integrity of the original texts while welcoming multiple expressions and interpretations. As such, our storytellers have dedicated themselves to revitalizing the proclamation of scripture for worship, conferences, retreats, festivals, and other formational programs. 

Our Approach

Our roots are grounded in a tradition of biblical scholarship, most recently the academic discipline called biblical performance criticism (not criticism of someone’s performance but a methodology of analyzing, understanding, and interpreting the texts through critical thinking that recognizes the vast majority of these stories was originally embodied and then performed in community).

We encourage sticking close to the “script” and internalizing those words, and all that they represent, into our entire being—mind, body, heart, spirit, and soul—exploring connections between these ancient stories and our own contemporary lives.

We do not seek to determine or manipulate how God should or will move an individual through scripture experienced this way, nor in how the embodiment of these stories will ultimately look and sound.

As such, NBSI celebrates a diversity of expression: dramatic to subtle; single performer to a troupe of tellers; low-key to high-tech; use of music, props, or a lone chair … all encapsulate the multifaceted and life-giving dimensions inherent to our biblical stories of faith.

Meet the Board of Directors

We are a dedicated, passionate group of volunteers here to serve our diverse and growing membership.

Our goal is to train individuals to become ambassadors for spreading God’s word creating a connection to the Bible for an experience of “here and now” rather than “then and there."

If you would like to contact the Board of Directors, please fill out the form below or send a letter to 3301 S 14th St Suite 16 # 334, Abilene, TX 79605

Lisa Larsen Hill, Board President

Lisa is an author and president of the nonprofit Seeds of Faith for Women. She is a Certified Lay Speaker and seminar leader serving Long Island churches. Lisa joined NBSI in 1994 but then was climbing the corporate ladder and had to take a leave of absence. In retirement, she has become fully engaged with NBSI and is now thrilled to be on the leadership team with an excellent Board of Directors.

Cliff Barbarick, Vice President

Cliff lives in Texas, where he serves as the chair of the Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry at Abilene Christian University. He teaches undergraduate classes on the New Testament. He is also the convener for the NBSI Scholars Seminar, a group of "scholarly storytellers" and "storytelling scholars" who explore together the possibilities of biblical performance criticism.

Dina Ferguson, Treasurer

Dina is an Episcopal priest who retired as rector (lead pastor) of St. Michael the Archangel Episcopal Church in El Segundo, CA in 2021. She was president of the NBSI board of directors from 2010-11 and has served NBSI as treasurer since 2014. She is also a member of the NBSI Scholars Seminar and has a D. Min. in Biblical Storytelling from United Theological Seminary.

Debbie Weir, Secretary

Debbie recently retired from a staff position at her local United Methodist Church. Debbie holds a Master Storytelling certificate from NBSI's  Academy of  Biblical Storytelling (ABS) and a Master of Theological Studies degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC.  Recently widowed, she is blessed with two adult sons, a dog, and a cat!

Carole Danby, Program Chair

Carole is a past Chair of the Network of Biblical Storytellers Australia and is married to Clive with two adult sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. She is retired from her role in Children and Family ministry with the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane and is the author of Getting to Know Jesus.  She enjoys walking, aqua-aerobics and playing with the grandchildren and assisting Clive in a project to restore their 35ft sailing catamaran, Great Escape 11.

Ruth Elsbree, Membership

Ruth Elsbree fell in love with biblical storytelling during the 2019 Festival Gathering. During the pandemic, she trained in the Academy for Biblical Storytelling and earned her Masters Certification. Ruth thanks God for those years of spiritual growth and continues to offer biblical storytelling reflections and presentations as a lay person in her faith community of Transfiguration Catholic Church, Marietta, Georgia. 

 

Jim Sterner, Member at Large (Volunteer Coord)

Reverend Jim Sterner started telling biblical stories in 1987 at the West End Collegiate Church in NYC. He attended his first Festival Gathering in 2002 at the invitation of Eric Alderfer. Jim is the settled pastor of Webster UCC in Havre de Grace, Maryland and also works as a licensed tour guide in NYC.

Rachell Whaler Doll, Member at Large

Rachel is a mom to two amazing teenagers and a pastor serving the PC(USA) in Wilmington, NC. She loves her work with children and youth, and last year joined a band; playing keyboard and harmonizing with friends. Working to make more spaces, especially faith spaces, inclusive and safe for everyone is important to Rachel and is at the heart of her journey.

Tali Barbarick, Office Manager

Tali is the Education Administrator for the Texas Connections Academy and lives in Abilene Texas. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University and a Masters from Sul Ross State University. As an educator with varied experience, she has developed skills in teaching, administration, and data management. Each role has broadened her expertise and required her to develop proficiency with a variety of computer systems. Tali has a passion for serving others and hopes to continue learning and serving.

Contact the NBSI Board of Directors


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