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2023 Speakers

Art Bass is a Vocational Deacon at St. Luke Episcopal Church in Cleveland, TN. Ordained since 1994, he is the most senior active deacon in the diocese.  A graduate of the UT College of law and University of the South, his secular vocation is practicing family law in Cleveland, TN. He has a keen interest in evangelism and it’s intersection with social media. Art is best known as the creator of the popular Facebook page “Episcopal Church Memes”. Before ordination, Deacon Bass attended the Episcopal Churchmen’s conference many times.

The Rev. Dr. Michael T. Justus is a native East Tennessean with a life-long love of teaching and ministry. He has a B.A. from Carson Newman, M.A. from the University of Georgia, PH.D. from the University of Florida and currently serves on the Faculty of Truett McConnell University in Georgia as a History Professor and Dean of the School of Humanities. He is the editor and annotator of Charles M. Sheldon’s In His Steps: What Would Jesus DO? (TMU Press, 2021).  As an ordained minister, Michael has pastored churches in Missouri, Tennessee, and now serves a church in rural Mt. Airy, GA. 

Sam Venable has written for Tennessee newspapers since the late 1960s. His principal medium is humor, although he is not above taking a serious stand when the mood strikes him. In 2014, he retired after 44 years with the Knoxville News Sentinel yet continues to write a Sunday column for the newspaper’s Features section. He is the winner of more than three dozen state, regional and national writing awards. After originally majoring in forestry and wildlife management at the University of Tennessee, Venable abruptly switched directions during his junior year and earned a B.S. in journalism — “the perfect college degree for a professional smart-alec,” he insists. Sam and his wife Mary Ann attend the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Knoxville.