Biographies of keynote speakers at Housing God’s Beloved

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Housing God's Beloved event on Nov. 4 at Parkrose UMC in Portland.

Leading participants through a busy day of discussion (Nov. 4) on a faithful response to the housing crisis is a long list of experts, spiritual guides and community organizers.

As previously announced, keynote speakers are Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth, Revs. Julia Nielsen and Shalom Agtarap as well as Kelly Marciales and Nicki Olivier Hellenkamp.

Here is a short biography on each:

Nicki Olivier Hellenkamp is housing adviser to the Mayor of Boise. Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Hellenkamp has worked in the affordable housing world since her first job out of college as a volunteer coordinator for a housing and homeless services provider in Philadelphia. After graduating with her master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington, she served as a policy manager for the Housing Development Consortium Seattle-King County, where she supported local governments in analyzing and advancing policies related to affordable housing development, and as a senior civil rights analyst for the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, where much of her work was focused on allegations of housing-related civil rights violations. Hellenkamp has worked for the City of Boise as the Mayor’s Housing Advisor since July 2021.

Rev. Julia ‘Jules’ Nielsen (she/her) has training and experience in nonprofit management, community organizing, and participatory leadership, and is an ordained United Methodist clergyperson. Having pastored five churches of diverse sizes, economic realities, and contexts, Nielsen brings 15 years of pastoral and community leadership to the work of congregational re-development. She also is the director of organizing with the Leaven Community Land & Housing Coalition, a statewide interfaith collective of more than 60 faith communities building affordable housing on their land, and the former pastor of Portsmouth Union Church in Portland, Oregon, which has built 20 units of permanently supportive housing for veterans on the church’s land.

Kelly Marciales (she/they)directs Alaska Pacific University’s Kellogg Campus,teaches community organizing for ministry at Wartburg Theological Seminary, and is co-founder of Koinonia Mutual Aid. Kelly is part of the UMC’s Deaconess/Home Missioner community and lives with their partner and four children in Nuutah (Palmer), Alaska. Kelly enjoys making the perfect karaage and is currently learning American Sign Language. 

Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth is the episcopal leader for the Greater Northwest Area of The UMC. He was elected to the episcopacy by the Western Jurisdiction of The UMC on Nov. 5, 2022 and was assigned to the GNW Area, which includes the Alaska, Oregon-Idaho and Pacific Northwest Conferences. Bridgeforth is an ordained elder in The UMC, having served as the director of innovation and communication for the California-Pacific Conference immediately prior to his election. He has served as a local church pastor in diverse congregations and was a district superintendent, supervising multiple churches. He has served as a professor, is a published author and is a U.S. Air Force veterans. He and his spouse live in the episcopal residence in the Seattle area.

Shalom Agtarap is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church who builds community through relational organizing. Her roots are in the church but they are watered by many streams as she intentionally cultivates connection across racial/ethnic lines, religious traditions, and socioeconomic backgrounds for the common good. Agtarap currently serves at Tacoma First UMC Multicultural Hub in Washington.

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Kristen Caldwell
A mom, a writer, a wannabe runner, Kristen Caldwell calls Vancouver, Wash., home and loves getting to tell stories of the people and places that make up the Greater Northwest Area.

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