Speakers - The Message


Here’s some more information about the speakers who will be joining us for Proximity 2021.

Bob Ekblad

Co-founder of Tierra Nueva that is all about sharing the good news of Jesus with people on the margins, Bob is passionate about seeing individuals restored through the word, the spirit and the street.

Josh Smedley

Josh works for Just Love, a movement mobilising Christian students across the UK for a whole-life, life-long pursuit of Jesus and justice. He and his wife Ruth have been part of an intentional missional community based on an estate in Durham for the last six years.

Rachel Gardner

Passionate youth ambassador and advocate Rachel is President of the Girl’s Brigade and Director of Partnerships at Youthscape. She is also a best selling author for youth and young adults.

Andy Hawthorne

Andy Hawthorne is Founder and CEO of The Message Trust and passionate about seeing the least, the last and the lost reached with the gospel. This has seen The Message launch Eden and reach out into the hardest-to-reach communities over the past 30 years.

Sam Ward

Director of Ministry at The Message, Sam is passionate about seeing the church reaching out and helping eradicate poverty in our country. He was part of one of the first Eden teams and still calls the estate his home 20 years on!

Sarah Small

Sarah is Head of Eden, and passionate about urban mission and equipping the church to reach out. She has spent the past nine years living as part of an Eden team in Manchester, planting churches, raising up local leaders and juggling family life too!

Toolkit Speakers

Shermara Fletcher

Shermara is the Principal Officer for Pentecostal, Charismatic and Multicultural relations at Churches Together in England, and co-founder of The Open Table at St George-in-the-East, Shadwell. She has a vision for having the homeless at the heart of the church.

Dai Hankey

Dai is a husband, dad, preacher, church planter, author, abolitionist, coffee roaster and Welshman. He also leads Red Community, a group that passionately and prayerfully seek to combat human trafficking and prostitution.

Mkhululi Letsatsi

Mkhululi coordinates The Message Nyanga hub in South Africa where he facilitates various programmes designed to impact the local community. Mkhululi has a powerful testimony of transformation and is passionate about raising up the next generation of future leaders in South Africa.

Rob McGibbon

Rob McGibbon is an Urban Evangelist in the Blackburn Diocese and co-leads a programme called M:Power, designed to train up leaders from urban communities to reach their neighbours and build church. 

Lynda Sterling

Lynda is a Socially Engaged Visual Artist living and working in Old Trafford. In the past two years she has set up OT creative SPACE CIC, a shared Artist Studios and community art space. She believes that art should be available and accessible for everyone and wants people to see beauty in their everyday surroundings.

Ruth Valerio

Dr Ruth Valerio is Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund. An environmentalist, theologian and social activist. She is Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral and her home church is part of the 24/7 Prayer Network.

Rob Waller

Dr Rob Waller is a Consultant Psychiatrist based in Scotland with over 20 years experience. He grew up in London, studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and then studied postgraduate psychiatry in Yorkshire. He has spoken widely on mental health and spirituality.