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.
Barry Taylor is a theologian-philosopher, musician, artist, academic and writer who has spent more than thirty years challenging traditional notions of religion and church and creating alternative communities built on the idea that life is uncertain, the future is unwritten and that none of us has the answer. He has worked across the spectrum of churches from mainline denominations to more alternative religious communities. As well as working with existing churches he planted a number of independent churches in and around Los Angeles, each of them experiments in deconstruction and the reframing of what it means to gather in community. Taylor also taught at Fuller Theological Seminary for over fifteen years, lecturing on Theology and Culture for the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology and the Arts. As well as campus and online classes covering a wide variety of classes on elements of theology, church and culture, he also taught immersive classes on theology and popular music at the SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas and classes on theology and the modern world in Orvieto, Italy. He also taught in the School of Advertising at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. He travels globally speaking at numerous conferences and theological events. Taylor has written a number of books, most recently The Aesthetics of A/Theism and a forthcoming theological memoir. His early career trajectory was in the music business where he worked as a stage technician and sound engineer for many famous artists and worked for a number of years exclusively for the Australian band AC/DC. He has continued to explore his love of music and has created new music for various recording projects, including various independent film soundtracks as well as music supervision in films such as The Third Miracle and Method. Most recently he wrote and performed a song called Wild World for the Nine Beats musical collective and has seen the song get great reception on its release in France and other european countries. In 2019 he launched the European Radical Theology Network-a think-tank for Europeans seeking to advance radical theological ideas in the European contexts. Taylor recently returned to London after many years of living and working in 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.
Daniel was born in Mexico City. At the age of sixteen he started serving in his local church. He ministered in this congregation as the worship leader for over four years. While serving this congregation he got an invitation to take the lead of the worship team and youth group at Centro Familiar Cristiano Restauración in the City of San Bernardino California where he has been for more than sixteen years. Since the 2003 he has worked in this congregation as the Music Director, youth leader, and as a coordinator for programs of outreach and evangelism. In addition to this role he is also the sound technician for First Christian Church San Bernardino and the technology supervisor for the Young Adults Leadership Legion (YALL) from the Pacific Southwest Region from the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Daniel took the Certificate on Ministry Studies at Disciple’s Seminary Foundation. Currently he attends Claremont School of Theology where he is studying the Master of Divinity program. He is seeking ministerial ordination from the Disciples of Christ denomination.
Luke grew up a pastor’s kid and followed his DNA into ordained ministry work and church planting with a passion for community, social media, digital identity and branding. Ultimately, it is all about how we tell our story to and in the world. Luke loves networking and believes our common need for human connectivity can be achieved through the art of building vibrant and meaningful communities while using social media platforms to advance relationally, storytelling and lifting up work and ministry that is meaningful. Luke is a freelance social media and communication expert and works with social enterprise ventures, nonprofits and faith based work to grow their brands and expand their reach to the appropriate audiences organically. Luke is also on staff at Oceanside Sanctuary serving as Communications Director as well as founder of social media platform, The Spiritual Nomad. He lives with his wife and two children in sunny SoCal and is currently seeking ordination within the Disciples of Christ Christian Church.
Hatchery LA is an initiative of the Disciples of Christ of the Pacific Southwest Region. Hatchery LA is integrally passionate about spiritual communities, churches and projects that are thriving in serving the needs of people and promoting sustainability and viability into the future. This project has been an initiative of the Pacific Southwest region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
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.