THE BONNER FAMILY
The Bonner Family is a group of singers that enjoy creating the sounds of peace, joy, and unity and consists of eight children; Nolong, Yunga, Mauli, Clotile, Yahosh, Conlon, Oyoyo, and Oba; and their two parents, Debra and Harry.
Debra Bonner, the matriarch of the Bonner Family, is a world renowned vocal coach, professional soloist, and the inventor of DebraTone. She is the director and owner of the Unity Gospel Choir and the executive director for the nonprofit organization Transforming Flint.
Debra and Harry were active members of the Baptist church, even serving as Baptist missionaries for two years in Libera, West Africa. Heeding the voice of the Spirit, Debra and Harry Bonner returned from their mission back to the United States. After they returned, they had the impression to move west. So, with $100, a three-year-old, a one-year-old, and being seven months pregnant with their next child, Debra and Harry Bonner relocated to Las Vegas. While living there, they joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While the Bonner Family has always enjoyed creating music together, their wider audience recognition came from an original song they wrote for Mother’s Day. Harry, the Bonner Family patriarch, requested that the whole family get together to sing to his wife and their mother. Mauli Bonner composed the original song “I Am Here” for this special event. All the siblings came from different parts of the country and spent one day recording it together. Subsequently, the Mormon Channel saw their video and asked if they could share it. “I Am Here” has since influenced over half a million people. The Bonner Family has blessed many lives with their ability to share the gospel through their music. (from “latest News”, Deseret Book official blog, October 2, 2018)
RABBI JOE CHARNES
Rabbi Joe Charnes received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge. He went on to study in traditional Jewish seminaries in Los Angeles, California; Brooklyn, New York; and Jerusalem, Israel, and was ordained by Rabbi Mordechai Finley, PhD, of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California. His teachings center around recovering and encountering the inner dimension of sacred, Jewish wisdom.
He is also deeply devoted to interfaith dialogue and engagement and has been involved in numerous Jewish-Christian interfaith, and multi-faith events. He has studied Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism comparatively for over 25 years, and more recently, Islam and Hinduism. He has lectured frequently at seminaries, universities, churches, synagogues, mosques, and military bases across the country, and is married to his beautiful wife Sarah Schechter, a Rabbi and Chaplain in the United States Air Force. They live in Monterey, California, with their lovely daughter Yael Emunah.
IMAM YAHYA HENDI
Yahya Hendi is the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the first American University to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain in 1999. Hendi is a Public Policy
Conflict Resolution Fellow of the Center for Dispute Resolution of the University of Maryland School of Law and the Maryland Judiciary’s Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office.
Hendi is the founder and the President of Clergy Beyond Borders, and the founder and the president of the newly founded organization, Imams for Universe, Dignity, Human Rights and Dialogue. Hendi became the first US Muslim to serve as a chaplain at the Navy Hospital, and the first to offer a commencement speech at a community College in the US history in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Islamic Jurisprudence Council of North America. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Science and Osher’s Lifelong Learning Institute of John Hopkins University, Fordham University and Hartford Seminary. Hendi also teaches a very popular course at Georgetown University called: Inter-religious Encounter.
Hendi’s undergraduate education was in Islamic Studies, and his graduate education was in comparative religions with interest in Christianity, Judaism, comparative religions and inter-religious dialogue and relations. He has written numerous publications on many topics, including women in Islam, women and gender relations in Islam, the second coming of the Messiah, Islam and biomedical ethics and religion and Islam in the United States. A sought-after speaker, Imam Hendi has presented a multitude of interfaith and general lectures in the USA, Asia, Africa, Europe, central Asia, Eastern Europe, Australia and the Middle East over the past 22 years and he has been to more than 63 countries and 45 US states for conferences.
Mr. Hendi was one of the Muslim leaders who met with President Clinton during his Presidency. He also met with President Bush in the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy and continued to meet him many times during his presidency. In 2009, he met with President Obama at the White House.
Hendi often visits and lectures at churches and synagogues hoping to create a new positive relationship between the followers of the three Abrahamic religions. In his lectures, Imam Hendi focuses on issues related to gender relations, domestic violence, world peace, social, economic and political justice, and inter-religious and interfaith issues. Imam Hendi appeared on many national and international television and Radio shows as an expert on interfaith dialogue and on Islam and Muslims (i.e. CNN, ABC, Fox, Kuwait TV, Nile TV, Pakistan Channel-II, RAI, MSNBC and Al-jazeerah). Yahya Hendi recently engaged nationally and internationally on raising awareness on the issues of the 21st century which include: 1) environmental responsibility, 2) a peaceful resolution to military conflicts, 3) eliminating poverty, 4) fighting against the growing sense of militarism, and 5) empowering Muslims to reform the way they practice and understand Islam.
In May 2002, Imam Hendi was chosen by Hartford Seminary to receive its annual James Gettemy Significant Ministry Award for his dedication to his Ministry and for his work to promote peace building between people of different religions. Imam Hendi received over 45 awards from organizations both in the US and abroad for his commitments to compassion, education and dialogue. In 2012, He was named as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims for his work as an interfaith dialogue activist and trainer.
REVEREND WILLIAM A. MILLS, JR.
Rev. W. A. Mills, Jr. served for 33 years as a pastor in the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, including 12 years in North Carolina and 21 years in Buena Vista, Virginia. W. A. has preached in camp meetings, revivals, men’s conferences, and pastors’ conferences within and outside the IPHC. He is a member of the Appalachian Conference, where he served one term as an executive councilmember.
Having served 12 years on the General Men’s Ministries Board, W. A. was appointed General Director of Men’s Ministries in February 2018, assuming office on July 1, 2018. His passion is to call men into authentic manhood on their journey of becoming like Jesus, men who, in the words of Robert Lewis, “reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and invest eternally.” W. A. serves as the IPHC Representative with the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of Holmes Bible College in Greenville, SC.
Huseyin is the current Executive Director of Dialogue Institute Dallas, a non-profit organization in Richardson that promotes cultural and interfaith dialogue and meaningful engagement with people of different backgrounds and is affiliated with the transnational hizmet community.
Before moving to Richardson from Orlando, Florida, in 2018, Huseyin had led the Atlantic Institute of Central Florida for six years.
Huseyin has organized many local and international programs along with his colleagues, leading to new institutional partnerships for businesses and educational institutes. He organized business, cultural and educational trips to including Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Europe, and Turkey for community and business leaders. Huseyin has also initiated many community and relationship-building programs that connect people.
Before working for the institute, Huseyin worked as a teacher then as an administrator responsible for events and parent engagement at a public charter school in Orlando for three years. He organized the first international trips for middle school students at his school. Huseyin and his wife Yasemin moved to Orlando in 2008 from Turkey. After moving to Orlando, they were blessed with two beautiful fruits of their lives Yusuf and Asuman their favorite family tradition is to go on long road trips with no cell phone reception. Huseyin is a board member for Compassion DFW, an organization committed to a compassionate way of life, whether in private or corporate, and the Richardson Interfaith Alliance promotes respect of all faiths through education and awareness. Huseyin also pursues his Master of Islamic Studies program at the Respect Graduate School.
Education & Certification
• Leadership Richardson Class XXXVI, Richardson Business Chamber Richardson, Texas (2021)
• Sheriff`s Citizen Academy, Collin County, Texas (2018)
• Central Florida Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Rollins College Orlando, FL (2014)
• Bow Valley College, Teaching English As a Second Language Calgary, AB, Canada (2006)
• Istanbul University, Bachelors of Arts, majored in Geography, Istanbul, Turkey (2002)
Few people living today have influenced as many people as has Dennis Prager. He has broadcast a national radio show for the last 25 years, written ten bestselling books, lectured on all six continents, and his Prager University, has become the largest producer and distributor of non-liberal video content in the world. It has garnered over five billion views, mostly young people, in 91 countries.
His books include Think a Second Time, 44 essays on 44 subjects; Happiness is a Serious Problem, Still the Best Hope: Why American Values Must Triumph, and The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.
In 2016 Simon and Schuster released a revised and updated 3rd edition of Why the Jews: The Reason for Anti-Semitism, the Most Accurate Predictor of Human Evil. The third volume of The Rational Bible, Dennis Prager’s five-volume commentary on the first five books of the Bible, will be published in the fall of 2022. A Bible scholar with a profound knowledge of Hebrew language and grammar, his Rational Bible is the bestselling Bible commentary in America today. The first two volumes, commentaries on Genesis and Exodus, have over 4,000 reviews on Amazon.
Elizabeth Tedford-Miller, affectionately known as “Liz,” is the sixth of eight children born to Ralph and Margaret Tedford of Flint, Michigan. “As for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord” was her parent’s biblically adopted model. Liz was raised in Christ Assembly Full Gospel Tabernacle Church and accepted the Lord at an early age. It was there she learned the art of being a Choir Director starting at the young age of 8 years old. In 1987 her parents joined Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Flint, MI.
Liz was very active in the music ministry there. On December 14, 1991 she married Joseph Miller and through that union she became a member of Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church where she served in the music ministry as a Choir Director. They moved to Maryland in 1994 and eventually became active members of Gethsemane Baptist Church in 1996. They remained there until 2008 when the Lord led them to move to become founding members of Fellowship Baptist Church in Baltimore, where The Rev. Michael W. Thornton, Sr. is Pastor.
Liz joined the Deacons Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity and its Auxiliaries in 2013 and was Consecrated as a Deaconess in September 2016. She became President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Deacons Conference of Baltimore in January 2017 and is currently serving in that position. Liz is the Institutional Advancement Director for the National Baptist Deacons Convention of America, Inc. (NBDC) and serves as Fifth Vice President of the Women’s Auxiliary to the NBDC. Liz joined the United Baptist Missionary Convention and Auxiliaries of the State of MD, Inc. in 2018 and served as Executive Secretary for UBMC from 2018-2022. While church was a major part of her family life, Liz’ parents instilled in their children the importance of having a balanced life, which included getting an education and using the gifts and talents God gives to be a blessing to the world. Liz graduated from Flint Central High School in 1987. While in high school she attended the Genesee Area Skill Center and received her PN License. She went on to Mott College where she studied Nursing. After school she worked in the Nursing field from 1985 through 1991. Since that time, she worked as a Reservation Sales Agent for Northwest Airline, Collections Consultant for Verizon, Finance and Accounting for Corvis Corporation/Broadwing. From 2006 to present she works for a Global Optical Network Company, Managing the office, handling US and International Site Coordination, Finance, Accounting and Global Auctions.
Liz grew up in a household where music was her family’s favorite pastime, she was born with a gift from God to bless people with her singing. She has used her gift not only as an accomplished and renown soloist, but also as a Worship Leader, Choir Director, Music Coordinator and Vocal Coach. She has had the opportunity to perform for and in showcases with Gospel greats such as Shirley Caesar, Timothy Wright, Yolanda Adams, Vickie Winans, Dottie Peoples, John P Kee, V Michael McKay, Marvin Winans, Williams Brothers, J Moss and the list goes on. She has sung in Bobby Jones New Artist Showcase in Las Vegas, opened for Kirk Franklin and recorded with Artie Dixon Mays. Liz learned early on that in order to execute the Gospel effectively you must have a relationship with God. It is this understanding that allows her to humbly and skillfully offer worship to God while blessing the body of Christ.
Her favorite scripture is, Habakkuk 3: 17-19. “17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
Liz lives a full and rewarding life. Along with her work in Ministry and her singing she enjoys being creative, cooking, traveling and her favorite pastime, SHOPPING! She loves to excel in everything she does. She is not afraid of a challenge and is always willing to learn new things.