David has a heart for service to the Kingdom. In 2015 when conversation with friends led to the idea of creating a retreat ministry, he was all in and Walking Stick Retreats was born. A gifted teacher, he is the central speaker at our retreats, sharing his hope and offering encouragement to walk in the powerful and authentic faith of a child.
Married for 34 years, David and his lovely wife Robin first served at a church in the hills of West Virginia. The years since have taken them through various ministry positions in five different states. A few years ago, God brought them back to the mountains and he now serves as Lead Preaching Minister at Colonial Heights Christian Church in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Though they have two adult married children whom they love, it's their granddaughters they adore. Spending time with family and friends is David's favorite past time, and it's even better if done in his Jeep on a drive through the mountains, on a golf course, listening to music or in laughter and conversation around a bonfire.
God's longing for all to know Him is David's heartbeat. Whether ministering at the local church or teaming with old friends in Walking Stick Retreats, his journey calls him to pour out his passion for the broken and wounded among us.
Sam started with the original staff when Walking Stick Retreats began in the fall of 2015. He leads a workshop at the retreats, sharing his wisdom and offering his insight.
Sam retired after 25 years as a Pharmaceutical Rep. He was ordained as minister after Bible College and served as an elder and teacher throughout his corporate career. When he retired, he started The Gathering in Carmel as a volunteer pastor while working as a consultant and entrepreneur. He is the Co-Founder of 3Oe Scientific, LLC.
He has been married to his amazing wife, Kim, for nearly 31 years. He has two daughters and a son, grandchildren, and a few other unofficial family members that have lived in his home from time to time.
Sam loves all the parts of his life: his work, family, friends and hanging out with the Walking Stick community a few times a year. He loves his caffeine and has been known to refuse to attend any meeting that does not serve coffee. He is always up for a great conversation or an invigorating debate.
Sam leads big, loves big and finds a way to blend all the various endeavors he undertakes into one gigantic “call”.
Kathy (also known as Sprinkle) in a way, was the instigator of this retreat idea. Having fallen in love with retreats in our college/Zion years, the cheerleader in her came out when the conversation surfaced in 2015. She was the emotional force behind Walking Stick Retreats becoming. A born trainer, she brings her life experience and tools to her workshops with wisdom, discernment and passion. A natural communicator, her energy for endless deep and life changing conversations can seem limitless.
After a lifetime of serving many communities in the roles of advocate for troubled youth, foster parent trainer, and therapist, she currently works as a trauma therapist in the greater Cincinnati area. She is also serves as a mentor and speaks at regional and national conferences.
Kathy lives in the Cincinnati area with her four legged boy, Theo - the Newfiedoodle and therapy dog. At our retreats, Theo comforts and loves on those whose hearts are hurting. Scratch his ears and he will follow you anywhere.
She loves time with friends, adventures, brainstorming and passionate debating (in a world where it was once safe to do so), Fridays at Findlay Market, road trips, plane trips, ship trips and pouring all she is into those God's given her to care for.
Sprinkle was born to help bring understanding to those who long to be seen - the wounded and broken - and has spent her life learning tools to best equip her to bring them hope and self awareness. Her generosity of spirit is a wonder and her heart for people is a force of love that helps fuel Walking Stick Retreats.
In 2015, one of the first “wonderings” about a retreat ministry was, “Who do we know whose first language is worship?” One name... Steve Brummer. David, Sprinkle and Sam all knew him from their time in Wichita, and exuberantly shared of their experiences of his leading, authenticity, listening for God, childlike spirit of joy and endless love of community. Amazingly, he was willing to come along side this group of crazies in this thing called Walking Stick Retreats. (There might have been a bribe of Skyline Chili in there somewhere.)
Steve served as a worship and creative arts pastor at Central Christian Church in Wichita for 25 years. He is now flipping houses for a living and coaching high school volleyball.
Twenty three years ago, he had the good sense to marry the effervescent Lisa. With their two daughters in college, they share their home with the requisite dog and cat.
This is a man who loves to laugh, listen and welcome into his being those whom God places in his path. He loves telling a great story, watching transformations of houses and people, music, all things Kansas - the Chiefs and the Royals - spending time with family and friends and eating Skyline Chili.
Steve's joy of life, love of finding new perspectives, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's leading all come together to create both a collective and individual time of praise and worship.
Elizabeth, (known to most as Beth) spent her college and Zion Ministry years with Rich (as in Mullins) Sprinkle and Sam. As many a weekend found her hanging at the Mullins' family home, a very young David (and Lloyd) - who had no say in who their big brother dragged home with him to inhale their mom's amazing vegetable soup and milk cake - became as kin.
As the language of musical harmony is her joy, she most often will help with worship throughout the retreats. She is captivated by the wonder of hearing folks laugh and listening to their stories. She prefers mountains to beaches, cocoa to coffee, her husband to any other man, vulnerably honest conversation to banter and a single vocal with an acoustic guitar to nearly anything.
In October, she celebrated 38 years of being married to an introverted, bearded pastor. They live on a 150 year old farm in Indiana where they and their 3 cats hide from humanity. Elizabeth spent most of the last 42 years working as a flight attendant and has only recently retired and kissed the less- than- friendly skies goodbye.
With a sometimes "much too" childlike heart, Elizabeth longs for wonder, recognizes joy always travels with sorrow, and lives in awe at God's glory, favor and mercy as it saturates her being in an unending melody.
Sharing Quaker roots, God had placed Damon in Richard's life and he ended up gathered into our fold as well. Forty plus years, and a couple of substantial "family" losses later, caught some of us missing the insanity of traveling and doing retreats together. Damon helped to organize and get the idea of Walking Stick Retreats from a concept to reality. He is a minister to everyone at the retreats, making sure they have everything they need and that things run smoothly.
For 35 years Damon has served in Christian higher education and for twelve years as a Friends (Quaker) pastor. He is back home again in Indiana helping out at Indiana Wesleyan University and Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends.
Damon has lived most of his life in community, and keeps his own life as simple as possible. Walkin’ along with folks through all aspects of life brings joy to his heart.
A few of his favorite things are: Cannon Beach, Oregon, thin crust pizza, Peanuts cartoons, & studying history.
Damon's deep abiding faith, paired with his steady, quiet ways of simplicity, ingenuity, and his generous heart are a few of the beautiful gifts God has given him to share. Each individual who crosses his path is encouraged in truth and loved well.
Sherri grew up in a “house with no walls”.. a place of deep conversations, laughter and mutual and varied relationships as their mom and dad created a “Howard Culture” that welcomed all into a place of kinship in Christ. Growing into a gifted storyteller and teacher, Sherri traveled with CIY during a time when Rich (Mullins) was there leading worship, giving opportunity for what became a true mentoring friendship that would wind through her life... her marriage, her music, and the building of her own family before he boarded his own chariot of fire and was gone from us.
Part of her early story finds Sherri in a small vocal band with several folks God would weave into the song of her life… Shannon, her husband of a gazillion years and the father to her four adult children... Nicki, her best friend, and our own beloved Steve, friend and fellow worship lover for life. So began what would become a life of telling and singing the story of Christ as their growing McCready family traveled across the country performing school assemblies, training students to be missionaries in their schools, doing student ministry, local Church ministry and stepping into the world of Church planting in North Carolina.
Being one of “the creatives” in the universe, Sherri is always finding her way into using the arts to tell lifegiving stories with a boldness inherent in both her “Howard” upbringing and her identity as a daughter of the King. In her storytelling, she is all in; fully committed to being, to discovering, and sharing her part in God's story. Each of our teachers here at Walking Stick Retreats share the extraordinary gift of storytelling, and we are honored to welcome Sherri into our own “house with no walls” where all our stories converge into one.
Small sized person with a huge voice and an even bigger heart. We welcome Nicki Lundgren to the Walking Stick Team! She has spent a lifetime using that powerful voice on many a stage with her and her husband's band, Avenue g and touring with Rich Mullins for a handful of years. Even more notably to this bunch of folks, she hit the road early in life in a small band with our very own Steve Brummer and our newest Walking Stick teacher, Sherri Howard McCready. How's that for “full circle”!
Raised in Wichita and married since 1986, Nicki and Lee have shared a life of music with 3 all-grown-up kids. They moved from the “Keeper of the Plains” to the lovely Blue Ridges of Asheville, N.C. nearly 7 years ago, where they rejoined some of their transplanted Kansas community. This new road of discovery not only found their youngest daughter recently married to Sherri's oldest son, but creating products for electric guitars in a new business called Magneto Design Lab, no surprise since Lee is a guitar and keyboard kinda guy.
To add to all the random “Rich Mullins” trivia littering the floor and coloring the air around this group of people, you can add one more bit of info: Richard wrote “Eli's Song” for their daughter, Eliza! Gotta love that guy. He's been gone for nearly a quarter of a century, yet this group of friends are a testament to something Nicki said best, “Knowing Rich was to know lots of different communities” and we're grateful Walking Stick Retreats is one of them. You can run, but you cannot hide, Nicki! We all think you're a bit crazy to join us, but there's not a one of us who isn't glad you did!
Though they don't share the last name of “Howard”, Greg Spillman does share “cousin blood” with Sam and Sherri. Since he also just happens to be David's best friend, it seems there was no escaping this Walking Stick community. Present at the beginning, Greg helped in the creation of this dream, was away doing life for a bit and returns to us with his much-needed gifts of order, detail, and informed process.
Greg shared some college years with Sam, Richard, Beth and Sprinkle, then headed to Wichita where he managed small groups in a large church and also established a counseling center. After Richard died, David and Robin left West Virginia to follow God's call to a work in Wichita, a move that would include the beginning of a lifelong friendship with a guy named Greg. A few years later, Greg took an Executive Ministries job at a church in Indy. David soon followed to accept a position in the same church. Greg then moved to Lexington where he did insurance and estate planning for a few years. David had taken a ministry in Florida, and soon the Spillmans also became Floridians. A couple years later, Kingsport called the Mullins' to Northeast Tennessee where it worked out for Greg to join them. What began as a part time Executive Pastor job next to David, is now full time and they now share in team ministry there.
Clearly, Greg takes relationships seriously. Along the way, he trained in offering Spiritual Direction and Executive Coaching, more tools for his “passion toolbox”… to inspire people to dream and be set free to become all Christ created them to be.
He and the soft-spoken Kate have been married for 28 years and have two adult children, one of whom has given them their first much celebrated grandchild.