Leadership

Peniel Bible Conference celebrates more than 80 years of ministry to the body of Christ. When you come, you become a part of Peniel’s history, ministry, and future.

The entire ministry of Peniel Bible Conference is directed by the Prayer Council (who serve as our Board of Directors), made up of fourteen members who are committed to the preservation and promotion of Peniel’s ministry.

Prayer Council Members:

 

Jan Goodwin - President

Home State:  Arizona    

Church Affiliation:   St. Mary's Episcopal, Lake Luzerne

Education:  Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education, Masters in Elementary Education, Masters in Counseling.  

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference:   Peniel is my spiritual home. I want to be a part of its ministry and continuing influence on young people's spiritual walk. 

Favorite Bible Verse: Jeremiah 29:11 - "He knows his plans for me - I need to free myself to trust that He knows what is best."

Interests or Hobbies:  Reading

Bio:  Midwestern upbringing; came to Peniel as a college student; now a retired teacher; married; two wonderful children. 

Important message for Constituents:  Peniel has been a major part of my life, sometimes very challenging, sometimes very painful, always resulting in blessings. I would invite everyone to come here and expect to see God "Face to Face". 

 


 

Hilliard Davis III - Vice President

Home State:    New Jersey

Church Affiliation:   Calvary Gospel Church, Newark, NJ

Education: Calvary Christian School, Pre-K-8th grade; Eastern Christian School, high school; B.F.A., Kean College/Univ., Union, NJ

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: Calvary Gospel Church and my own family has had a long relationship with Peniel, and I began attending summer camps here from age 10. I then became involved as a high school worker and counselor, general staff, a Young Adult Weekend staff member, Memorial Day weekend volunteer, and in varied other ways, including Dining Hall Director and maintenance.  My parents were, themselves, moved by the Lord to aid New Jerseyans in getting to Peniel. Churches from different parts of the state often sent their children to Peniel via the family van(s). My mother has served on the Prayer Council. Most importantly,  I have experienced a close and growing relationship with God at Peniel and have a heart for sharing the Gospel.

Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 23:6-  "Surely goodness and love shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Interests or Hobbies:  As a student of fine arts, I don't want to narrow this down to specifics, but just say that "I like to make beautiful things."

Bio:  I am one of four siblings who grew up with Christian parents committed to Calvary Gospel Church in Newark, NJ,  and to Peniel's ministry.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior at age 4 and was involved in children's church, teen ministry, and later as a Sunday School teacher.  I taught for 12 years at Calvary Christian School in Newark.  I also spent years doing open air evangelism as a part of Calvary Gospel Church's (CGC) ministry and as a part of Calvary's Conquerors' Club Gospel Team.  Whatever I do, I try to see where God is guiding me and can use me to share the Good News of his love and plan for our lives.

Important message for Constituents: God seems so close to us at Peniel that we have to remind ourselves and others that God is EVERYWHERE ELSE as well as Peniel. 

 


 

Beth SweeneyBeth Sweeney - Secretary

Home State:   New York  

Church Affiliation:   Adirondack Christian Fellowship, Saratoga Springs, NY

Education:  Diploma, Amsterdam HS

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference:    I want to join God in what He is doing to change the lives of those that come to Peniel by meeting Him Face to Face.  Our family became aware of Peniel when my daughter Katiebeth worked for a summer as a LAMP counselor. We have been here ever since.  Because both my husband and I have a heart for serving, we were drawn to join the volunteers at Peniel.

Favorite Bible Verse:  The 23rd Psalm.  It has brought me closer to God since I was a young child by teaching me of God's protection, provision and love for me.

Interests or Hobbies   I enjoy sewing, embroidery, and I am interested now in learning how to knit and crochet.  I am part of a worship dance ministry called The Glorious Praise Dancers here in Lake Luzerne.  Dancing and praising God brings me closer to Him.  My most important hobby is being a wife and mother and I am very blessed by my husband and my children as God daily teaches me how to serve them.

Bio:  After graduating from Amsterdam High School in N.Y., I attended Siena college in Latham N.Y. for a year and a half before I left to get married to my husband Tom. I have served several churches as a member of the Board of Christian Education. I have directed several children's musical melodramas, taught Sunday School, organized women's retreats, and organized a nursery program. I currently volunteer at my church nursery. I currently work as a study hall and lunch monitor at the King's School in Hadley, Luzerne, where my boys attend school. I have been married to Tom Sweeney for 36 years and God has blessed us with three lovely children: Katiebeth, James, and John. We moved to Peniel in the winter of 2014 to support the team that performed daily operations and it has blessed our family in many ways.  

Important message for Constituents:  As I look back over my life, I do not have a miraculous account of how I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I was baptized in my teen years but my first memories of knowing there was a God came to me when I was a young girl in Kindergarten and 1st grade in the later 60's, when the Bible and the name of Jesus were still allowed in schools.  In school we sang of this Jesus that loved the little children no matter what color their skin was.  When we moved to Amsterdam, I was drawn to attend a church and learn more about Jesus and His love for me.  That is when I was introduced to the 23rd Psalm.  As I think about it, I realize that maybe my journey to faith in Christ is more of a miracle then I realized, because just a few years later they removed God from schools and had I not been introduced to God through those early prayers and songs I may not have come to know that there is God who loves me. My faith walk has been a journey of learning more and more of who God is and the importance of Jesus' death for my sins.


 

Kristen Coltart - Treasurer

Home State: New York

Church Affiliation: Church of the Nations, non-denominational

Education: M.A. Degree Special Education. Roberts Wesleyan College & Niagara University

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: I want to spread the word of God and his good news of salvation to children. I also love having my own children involved in this ministry. 

Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 37:4-5 - "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:"

Interests or Hobbies: Camping, travel, game night with friends, teaching children, missions.

Bio: I grew up near Peniel. My mother worked in the kitchens of Peniel in the 90's. My husband, Philip, and I have three children and we live in the Lake Luzerne area. When the children's camps at Peniel were being revived I decided to get involved once again. I earned my teaching degree at Roberts Wesleyan College and I currently teach at King's, a private Christian school. Philip and I also work with a mission in Kenya, Africa. 

Important message for Constituents: My family is very involved with Hope for Kenya. This is a non-profit organization started by a small group in our home church. We work to bring the gospel of God's salvation & love for the people there by providing clean water and education for orphaned and at risk children. Our whole family has been to Kenya! My passion is to see children here and abroad come to know our Savior! 


 

TLKTobias Kipp - Council Member 

Home State: New York  

Church Affiliation: Rockwell Falls Presbyterian Church, Lake Luzerne 

Education: Diploma, Chazy H.S. 

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: I feel that God has called me to be in this ministry because of my childhood experiences growing up and living at a Christian camp. 

Favorite Bible Verse: John 14:3 - “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Interests or Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, carpentry, music, & family time.

Bio: I was born in Cambridge, N.Y., raised in West Chazy, N.Y. My parents were the caretakers of the Champlain District Wesleyan Camp. After graduating from Chazy School, I worked as a manager at McDonald and then went into construction. After learning the trade, I then moved to multiple management positions in the plastics and automotive fabrication industries. After gaining more management training, I re-entered the construction industry and began my own business, which eventually lead me to the caretaker position at Peniel Bible Conference.

Important message for Constituents: What is really important to me is that everyday I live in God's will and try to be honest in my heart and in front of the Lord.


 

TimTimothy Woodruff - Council Member

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Dianne Spelter - Council Member

Home State: New York

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AlissaAlissa Weaver Council Member 

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Diane PCDiane Babcock - Council Member

Home State: Florida

Church Affiliation: Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Education: Nurse

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: My late husband Paul Babcock, and I desired to serve Peniel over the years of our marriage to continue the teaching that had enriched and encouraged our lives in Christ. I serve to advance God's Kingdom and serve Him as my Lord.

Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are His (God's) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Interests or Hobbies:   Music, walking 5Ks, travel, visiting family, connecting people

Bio:  I have been active in the church since I was a child. It has been my joy to sing in children's, youth, and adult choir. Youth programs, church sponsored camps, and Christian study programs were my delight. I was invited to be a guest at Peniel in 1978 and I returned the next summer to work as the Camp Nurse. I met my husband, Paul Babcock, at Peniel that summer and the rest is history!

Important message for Constituents: I have been on Prayer Council for one year. I think my role is helping with fund-raising to continue Peniel's existence. I would like to ask for prayer for guidance in my role as a prayer council member.


PhilPhil Allen - Council Member

Home State: New York

Church Affiliation: Community Church of Conklingville

Education: Pastor of Community Church of Conklingville

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: To help out the Kingdom of God in anyway possible and to bolster local ministry.  

Favorite Bible Verse: James 1:22 - "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

Interests or Hobbies: World travel, agriculture, business, ministry.

Bio: My wife Laura and I are lifelong residents of the area. I am the owner and operator of a small construction business. 

Important message for Constituents: Life is short, live without regrets. There is nothing so satisfying as serving God.  


 

Faith GrossoFaith Grosso - Council Member 

Home State: Pennsylvania

Church Affiliation: Presbyterian

Education: B.A., The College of Wooster, OH;  M.M., the Cleveland Institute of Music (in Vocal Performance); 3 yrs. doctoral studies in Music, UNC-Greensboro; Lay Pastor certification, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: In 1987, While working in N.C. on a doctorate in music, I was invited by my future husband to go with him to a Ministers' Conference at Peniel as a way to get to know each other!  It took more years of long-distance letters before I knew that I loved Peter, but I immediately fell in love with PENIEL:  the teachings, the people, the prayer times, and singing.  I believed I had met God face to face & hoped that I could return again, whether or NOT I married a pastor!  I've been back for over 20 conferences and even delivered four papers with my husband, Pastor Peter.  I've also volunteered to sing, compose, lead worship, and play piano, and would love to keep making these talents available for God's use in Peniel's ministry.  Peniel is special!

Favorite Bible Verse: My pastor grandfather named my aunt "Faith," and my Mom passed the name on to me, so I especially like Hebrews 11:1  "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (NIV) My favorite hymn is “The Church's One Foundation”.

Interests or Hobbies: Music (singing, playing piano & organ, composing), drama, research and writing, public speaking, ping-pong, miniature golf, and watching baseball with my husband.

Bio: As a shy little girl in the Cleveland suburbs, singing and doing drama were my way of coming out of my shell.  I was active in church and school choirs and plays, studied piano and found my first voice teacher at high school music camp. From there, I became a voice major and sang in operas while working on bachelor's and master's degrees in Voice.  Altogether I studied voice 15 years, taught voice lessons for over 30 years (including the voice majors at Limestone College, SC), was a professional church soloist/chorister for at least 10 years, and church choir director for seven years, and directed cantatas and five children's musicals, one of which I wrote and composed (along with some choir anthems),  My biggest vocal honors were being a regional finalist in Met Opera Auditions, and the success of former students Jennifer Check, leading lady of the Met (NYC) and pop singer Marsaisa Byrd in Los Angeles.

While single, I worked on a radio show project on the history of hymns and gave several talks at churches on hymnody.  As a pastor's wife, I grew in my commitment to ministry: becoming a deacon, president of the Women's Association, being the drama lady for VBS, helping lead Youth Group, retreats, going on mission trips, and then becoming an elder and training as a Lay pastor.  At one of our churches, I substituted as church secretary, as organist, and as guest pastor, while already being the choir director.  God has worked wonders in a  young girl who used to be too shy to answer the telephone!

Important message for Constituents:  Never underestimate what the power of God can do in our lives and in this ministry!

 

PPeter Grossoeter Grosso - Council Member 

Home State: Pennsylvania

Church Affiliation: Presbyterian (retired Pastor)

Education: B.A., Dickinson College; M. Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Why I volunteer at Peniel Bible Conference: Over the years, God has met me at Peniel in life-changing ways-guiding and empowering me to serve in Christian ministry.  Since my teens (in the 60's), I have come to Peniel most summers: in youth camp, as a high-school worker, as a college camper, at 20+ Ministers' Conferences and several Growth-in-Truth Conferences.  I served on Peniel's Finance Committee after the 2008/09 Great Recession, and, as a pastor, delivered papers at Ministers' Conferences and Growth-in-Truth.  I feel called to give back to this ministry that has given so much to me.

Favorite Bible Verse: John 3:16- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (NIV)

Interests or Hobbies: History, hiking, research, and global finance and geopolitics

Bio: Early time with God in the church and at Peniel led me to start a "Bible Club" in high school, to major in Greek and history in college, and then to go to the seminary where Dr. Richard Lovelace (who introduced me to Peniel) was on the faculty.  Before serving in full-time ministry, I worked with the Fellowship Foundation and National Prayer Breakfast ministry in D.C. (helping establish the C.S. Lewis Institute). After "tent-making" ministry in New Jersey, I became an Associate pastor in Pittsburgh (1 block from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary), and then solo-pastored four other PA churches (city, rural, small town, and suburban) in three counties.  I enjoyed leading Youth Group ministry, helping VBS, Young-Adult and Couples ministries, and small groups, with an emphasis on discipleship.  I've also had fun as a tenor and actor/narrator for my wife Faith's choirs and dramas.  My last church assignment included live weekly televised ministry and planning annual 3-hour live-telecast Community Good Friday services in east Pittsburgh.  I am now enjoying retirement while managing rental property.

Important message for Constituents: We live in dangerous and divisive times; confusion and anxiety abound.   Peniel is where I first understood the need for and power of prevailing prayer warriors, who can stand strong in committed faith against dark spiritual powers: worldliness, idolatry, lies and deceit, and our own spiritual and moral weaknesses.  I am excited about spreading the light of God's love, forgiveness, and power in these challenging days! 


Sarah Maynard - Council Member 

Home State: New York

Church Affiliation: Cornerstone Bible Church of Fort Ann, NY

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Chic Blowers - Council Member 

Home State: New York

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