Maria currently serves as Director at Hatchery LA working towards innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship informed by asking new questions of God, community, faith and church after a 10 year tenure of working with theological schools that include Bethel University, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Twin Cities School of Theology. She holds a Master of Arts in Religion and Theology as well a Master of Arts in Christian Thought. She is currently engaged in Doctoral work with Wesley Theological Seminary in the Cambridge track studying the intersection of faith, theology and culture in a world where the philosophical landscape is ever changing. As a teacher of things Christian and Post Christian, a purveyor of story and faith futurist, Maria is passionate about moving into the future with a contextual faith that matters. Maria has gone from native New Yorker to transplant Minnesotan to the last year and a half in the South of France and now lives in Los Angeles.
Spencer is Founder of Hatchery LA. His career passion for Church Innovation spans 35 years. He’s had a front row seat with the Jesus people movement, as a teaching pastor in a mega church, with the emerging church disruption as creator of TheOOZE.com and now directing a Spiritual Entrepreneur Incubator in Southern California. As a speaker and author you might find him at the Lean Start Up conference in San Francisco doing a workshop on “Lean Faith“ or in a local pulpit (because he’s also an ordained minister with the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ). His desire is to help people discover their passion and develop a plan to create new spaces, projects and communities that are addressing the new needs of spiritual people and new questions about God in the 21st-century.
Barry Taylor is a theologian, writer and thinker who explores the intersections of faith and culture. He teaches theology and culture at Fuller Theological seminary, is an artist-in-residence for Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts, and also teaches advertising and design culture at art center College of Design in Pasadena CA. He has authored and co-authroed a number of books and has contributed to numerous theological and missional journals. Taylor also writes and performs music, leads an alternative community in Los Angeles and is the founder of the Secret Philosophical Society, an innovative experimental gathering exploring philosophy and life. He holds an MA in Theology and Mission and a Phd in Intercultural Studies. He currently divides his time between London and Los Angeles.
Victoria Sun Esparza is a Dallas, TX native and currently works as the Director of Family Ministries at White Rock United Methodist Church. She also works as a freelance consultant using Human-Centered Design with non-profits and religious organizations. Victoria’s non-traditional background in theological education, vocal performance, and design-thinking gives her a unique perspective on the world and its problems. Her work aims to connect churches and nonprofits to better tools for solving problems and meeting the needs of the people around them. Victoria holds degrees from Abilene Christian University and Southern Methodist University. She is in her final year of a Masters of Divinity and a MA in Design and Innovation.
Hatchery LA is an initiative of the Disciples of Christ of the Pacific Southwest Region. Being integrally passionate about spiritual communities, churches and projects that are thriving in serving the needs of people and promoting sustainability and viability, the Disciples' Regional Ministers along with Executive Director, Spencer Burke, dreamt up Hatchery LA.
As an initiative of the Disciples, we are available as a resource to the region both in terms of existing churches and communities that are in need of revitalization as well as new projects that are seeking new frameworks for the way ministry is done in the 21st century.