WELCOME GUEST SPEAKER REV. APRIL LEWTON
Rev. April Lewton serves as the Vice President of Development and Marketing with the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the health and social services general ministry for the Disciples church. She oversees the fundraising activities of the ministry, which include annual giving, major gifts, special campaigns, and the stewardship of legacy and planned gifts. Along with a team of colleagues, she helps to share NBA stories of compassion and care that are happening each day with ministry partners in local congregations and communities across the life of the church.
If asked, one of the first truths that April always claims about herself is that she is a “West Coast person” at heart. April is the daughter of two ministers and grew up in the Yakima Valley of Washington state, surrounded by four mountain peaks and the Cascade Range. She proudly claims her connections to the land and orchards of the valley, as well as the heart and spirit of the Filipino and Latino farmers and members of the Yakama Indian nation. They were her childhood communities who helped shape her worldviews, cultural foundations, and values. April is 1.5 generation Asian-American with heritage in both the Illocano and Igorot Filipino communities.
She earned her Master of Divinity degree at the University of Chicago Divinity School and was a house scholar and resident with the Disciples Divinity House of the University of Chicago during her studies. As both an ordained minister and fundraising professional, she has felt called to work with those seeking to make a difference with their gifts and commitments. She understands that giving is a spiritual practice that ought to be as meaningful and sacred as prayer, worship, and theological reflection. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Disciples Divinity House.
April is also a trustee with National City Christian Church Foundation Board in Washington, D.C., and has been a lifelong member of the North American Pacific Asian Disciples (NAPAD).
However, perhaps most importantly, part of April’s “West Coast roots” are from the four years she spent at Chapman University. She was shaped by the teachings of Marv Meyer, Don Will, and Mark Mattern, as well as the mentorship of Ben Bohren, Elaine Schoepf, Dan Oliver, and Christy Newton. Some of her closest “spiritual and soul supporters” were made with friends in Disciples on Campus (DOC), and she is deeply grateful for the generosity and accompaniment of Disciples churches and members in the Pacific Southwest Region during her years at Chapman.
April lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her spouse and partner, Rev. Dr. Garry Sparks, who is a professor of religious studies at George Mason University and an ordained Disciples minister.