John Varden, a participant in the EP since 2002, and his wife Nancy Johnston Varden, a recent endorser of EP, are both United Methodist ministers serving in North Carolina. John is currently serving a small rural church near Pittsboro, NC while Nancy serves on the clergy staff at a suburban church in Cary, NC. With these ministries, as well as young children (Virginia age 5 and Hannah age 2, plus the shock of learning another one is on the way!) life for John and Nancy can be quite a ride. John found EP to be a lifeline after September 11, 2001, when he needed the friendship of like-minded pilgrims in a world mad with war and patriotism. Nancy officially became an endorser this summer, when the annual gathering spoke to her heart for racial justice and reconciliation.
A valuable aspect of EP for both John and Nancy is the dialog across denominational lines. They get their fill of Methodist gatherings, and have discovered that they need the expanded view of faith and faithfulness provided by Ekklesia. (Oct. 2008)