Rev. Gary Derechinsky grew up in a Jewish Orthodox home in northern Jersey. He was challenged by a friend to read the New Testament, and after doing so, he gave his life to Jesus in 11th grade. Gary went on to receive his B.A. from Northeastern Bible College and a M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He also completed coursework at Dallas Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School. Because of his love for the Jewish people and desire to share the Gospel with them, he served in Chosen People Ministries for 17 years. In 1992, Gary accepted a call to pastor New Hope Chapel in Arnold, MD, where he served for 18 years. In September 2010, Gary accepted a call to be the Congregational Leader for Beth Ariel Messianic Fellowship in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Gary has a strong gift of teaching and uses it regularly as he was a Bible teacher at Annapolis Area Christian School for 18 years. Gary has also taught at Bethel’s Seminary of the East as well as other locations such as Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s Camp Shoshanah – part of Ariel Ministries. Using his understanding to help explain the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, Gary founded Christianity is Jewish in late 2009.
Gary is married to his wife Marilou, and they have a son Joel who lives in Massachusetts. Gary and Marilou also have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels – Fenway (named in honor of Gary’s beloved Boston Redsox) and Dylan (named after Gary’s favorite musician – Bob Dylan).
A native to the Maryland area, Justin Hibbard grew up in a Christian home and gave his life to the Lord just before high school. He graduated from Annapolis Area Christian School and earned his B.A. from Houghton College, having completed some course work at Harvard University and in Sevilla, Spain. During junior high and high school, Justin took Bible courses under Gary Derechinsky and was invited to play on the worship team at New Hope Chapel. Music was a big part of Justin’s teen years, and in 2000, he joined the band Stained Glass, recording and touring around the country. Justin grew up in the 7th Day Baptist denomination, where he met his wife Karlene, and pastored Central Seventh Day Baptist Church before returning to New Hope Chapel in 2004 as the Worship Pastor. In 2011, Justin accepted the call to serve as the pastor of New Hope Chapel.
With a background in web development and writing, Justin worked with Gary Derechinsky to build Christianity is Jewish’ website. Under Gary’s mentorship, Justin developed a love for Scripture and the Jewish roots of Christianity, Justin now serves as the director of Christianity is Jewish.
Justin is married to his wife Karlene, and together they three children – Annalía, Naomi, and Xander.
Julie Coleman loves to teach the Word of God! With contagious enthusiasm, she brings hope and encouragement to her audience through rich biblical teaching. Her warm and insightful messages make her an effective and well-received speaker.
During her 20 year teaching career, Julie received professional recognition including being named Anne Arundel County Teacher of the Year. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Capital Bible Seminary. Julie and her husband, Steve, have four grown children, many grandchildren, and make their home in the Annapolis, Maryland area.
Between writing projects, Loris Nebbia has taught English Literature and Composition to young thinkers at Annapolis and Baltimore high schools. When she is not teaching or writing, she enjoys making a home for her husband, children and grandchildren.
Loris attended St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, but graduated with a degree in English from UMBC where she also earned her M.A.
Loris has written a number of books including Solomon’s Puzzle and Christmas in Thirty Minutes. Because she is a Christian her fictional characters and her essays are meant to respectfully portray authentic Christianity and to show the thoughtful Christian home as a wellspring of life. Her essays and short fiction can be read by visiting her blog www.eighthandsaround.blogspot.com.
Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum was born in 1943 in Siberia, Russia after fleeing from Hitler controlled Poland. With the help of the Israeli underground in 1947, the Fruchtenbaum family escaped from behind the Iron Curtain to Germany, where they were confined to British Displaced Persons’ camps. There, Arnold received Orthodox Jewish training from his father before the family finally immigrated to New York in 1951. Before their release, however, the family was befriended by a Lutheran minister; and it was this contact that eventually led Arnold and his mother to the New York headquarters of the American Board of Missions to the Jews (ABMJ). Five years later, this same meeting brought Arnold, at age 13, to saving knowledge of Jesus the Messiah.
Arnold earned a B.A. in Hebrew and Greek from Ohio’s Cedarville College. He then moved to Israel, where he studied archaeology, ancient history, historical geography, and Hebrew at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Arnold LATER returned to the U.S. and entered Dallas Theological Seminary for studies in Hebrew and Old Testament. The completion of his dissertation, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, was the culmination of 13 years of research for which he earned his Ph.D. at New York University in 1989.
Dr. Fructenbaum has worked in a variety of ministries, including serving as a minister at ABMJ (today, Chosen People Ministries) and the editor of the monthly publication “The Chosen People.” He served on staff of The Christian Jew Foundation as associate director of the largest Hebrew-Christian broadcasting ministry in the world. In 1977, Arnold began Ariel Ministries where he continues to serve as a director of the ministry and is in great demand as a conference speaker. Arnold is married to his wife Mary Ann.