The purpose of the Jubilee! Board of Directors is keeping the main thing, the main thing.  The Board serves the Community by:

  • Holding the vision of loving kindness to all for the Jubilee! Community
  • Maintaining a personal spiritual practice and support the spiritual life and growth of the Board and the Community
  • Providing oversight of and guidance for the Ministers and Staff
  • Participating on Committees to perform the operations work of the Community, and be receptive to recommendations from Committees, Teams and the Community
  • Using a consent decision making process
  • Listening and responding to the Community’s wishes in a manner that is respectful and congruent with Jubilee! values including compassion, authenticity, and generosity
  • Encouraging the development and nurturing of Teams
  • Mindfully communicating with each other and with the Community about our decisions while remembering to be clear and to differentiate when representing the opinion of the Board and when expressing one’s individual perspective
  • Honoring the process, giving collaboration the opportunity to work, enjoying time together and treating one another with compassion and respect while moving to solutions
  • Being fully accountable for all we do, including our fiscal responsibilities
  • Being steadfast in our fiduciary responsibilities ensuring Jubilee remains financially sound and prosperous
  • Providing the strategic direction and financial and business acumen to guide staff and the community to a fruitful future
  • Participating in Board meetings, which typically take place on the third Monday night of each month from 6:00 to about 8:00 p.m., and participating in an annual Board training
  • Being fully prepared for Board meetings by, prior to the meeting, reviewing any agendas, minutes, financial statements, or other relevant documents that have been shared electronically; then providing any suggestions or comments electronically prior to the meeting

You can email the board at

Board meeting minutes (beginning in February 2021) can be found here.

Board Members

Laura Billings, board chair, is a life-long educator who taught grades 6-12 in Florida for 10 years (five years in a suburban white school and five years in an inner-city black school), and served as the associate director of the National Paidela Center for 20 years.  She has co-authored four books and several articles on the relationship between classroom discussion, student authority and authentic assessment.  A native of Southern California, Laura attended WCU and received her PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is a life-long student of philosophy and spirituality, a certified yoga teacher, and a recent graduate of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. An avid bicyclist, she once pedaled about 300 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway during a mid-life holy-shift.  She also loves birds, reporting that during peak migration times, she and her partner, Paula Sims, get up before sunrise to take in the songs and features of wood warblers.  She and Paula have been part of the Jubilee! community since 2013, are on the Prayer team, have helped with prayer flags, and Room In The Inn. In Via Creativa of 2019, they presented on world religions to accentuate the new wall plaques. Laura brings deep listening, problem solving skills and financial contributions to the community, and says her commitment to Jubilee! is “to “serve this community, come what may, and keep her focus on the Main Thing.”

Michelle Smith, board co-chair, has attended Jubilee! Community off and on for over 10 years. She was a member of the Earth Team and participated in the visioning of the World Cafe. More recently, you may have heard her "gifts" during Sunday services, where she has shared the eight holy days on the indigenous European Wheel of the Year. She calls herself a Societal Transformationist working to create a world that works for all in the tradition of Dr. Shariff Abdullah. She is a consultant, coach and facilitator in consent-based collaborative governance, as well as a minister and celebrant. 

Tim Moran, board treasurer, has been a Jubilant for about 15 years.  He is a Certified Public Account who owns his own business in Mars Hills helping clients manage cash flows, minimize taxes, and achieve their financial goals.  Tim grew up in Maryland and lived in California before settling down in western North Carolina.  He received his BA in Marketing and Logistics at the University of Maryland, then studied accounting at the University of North Carolina Asheville.  He is an avid hiker, mountain biker and surfer. Tim was attracted to Jubilee! because it is a loving and friendly community that encompasses many different religious and spiritual practices. Jubilee! founder Howard Hanger married Tim and his wife, and baptized their children.  Tim hopes to use his knowledge of accounting and operational systems to help Jubilee! succeed in keeping the main thing the main thing.

Nancy Ellington, board secretary, attended Jubilee!’s very first Sunday celebration on August 11, 1989, providing her with wide insight into the threads that weave this vibrant community together.  This is her sixth year on the Jubilee board, including serving as its co-chair and treasurer.  She has been part of many Jubilee! teams, including Outreach, Prayer Chain, Community Life, Service and Wellness, and helped coordinate Carol Greenspan’s Room in the Inn program.  Nancy worked in the wine world for many years.  She owned her own wine shop, and later was a partner in a statewide distributor, travelling widely throughout Europe and South Africa.  She also served as a church administrator in Black Mountain and was assistant Dean of students in an international boarding school in New Mexico. She attended Eastern Michigan University and San Francisco State University.  She has been an Asheville area resident since 1983, loves the outdoors, cooking, playing the piano, gardening and volunteering. A person who likes to “get things done,” Nancy brings to the board an understanding of the importance of communication, listening to others’ opinions and sometimes respectfully disagreeing, with the ability to move forward and complete tasks.

Jenny Farthing has a career background in outdoor education and psychology, is a certified health coach, and owns a business cleaning Airbnbs.  She is a busy mother of “two awesome girls and wife of a wonderful husband,” who loves nature, bikes, hikes, trail runs, swimming and meditation.  Jenny first attended Jubilee! about 10 years ago, found it a bit “strange,” and church-shopped’ for another year.  She ultimately returned to Jubilee! nine years ago because she realized that it was the spiritual place where she found true community.  She says that when she returned, she jumped in and joined the Care & Compassion team, then did Pathways with Howard Hanger.  She says “Jubilee! has just become a huge part of my life. There really isn’t anything that compares. What changed for me is when I started joining Jubilee!’s social groups and realized that helping others is the way to be.”  This is Jenny’s first year on the Jubilee! board, and she brings an open heart and listening ears to help make decisions based on what is best for what she call “this big wonderful, loving community”.

Marc Foster’s spiritual journey started in earnest during his nine-month trip to Morocco in 1970, after which he went to bible college, completed an AA in Theology and a BS in Organizational Management, and was ordained in 1979. For the next 15 years, his full-time ministry took him to 25+ countries; he taught and counseled in churches, colleges, prisons, hospitals and city streets; and has conducted over 250 ceremonies as an end-of-life and wedding celebrant. A second 15-year career was in four different hospitals as patient representative, hospitality and HR trainer, volunteer manager and director of chaplains. Marc discovered Jubilee! on a cross-country motorcycle trip in 2013, and knew from that first service that it would play a significant role in his life. During 2020, Marc regularly attended Jubilee!'s Sunday Zoom celebrations, contributed a gift of a story, took part in the special ‘pick a number’ fund drive, and made an annual financial pledge. He lives in Asheville with his loving wife, Linda Siegall, and has three adult sons and two grandchildren. He self-published his 300-page memoir in 2010, and is completing his first historical novel. His smiles come when he is playing percussion, listening to live music or gardening. Marc brings to the Board deep listening, empathy and compassion; as well as consensus building, fiscal management and planning. He hopes that Jubilee!’s future will be filled with loving personal fellowship, financial stability, and progressive responsible citizenship that will continue to impact the greater Asheville community.

Elizabeth Likis first attended Jubilee! in 1997, but says she was so freaked out by the dancing and touching, that she didn’t go back for three years.  When she returned in 2000, she never stopped attending. She and her then-partner adopted two daughters who were raised and baptized at Jubilee! She has served on the Nurture Program Parent team, the Service team, was co-leader of the Social Justice team for three years, and has sung with Jubilee! Singers for eight years before joining the board in 2019. Born and raised in Birmingham, AL as the middle sibling in a progressive social activist family, Elizabeth attended Wofford College in SC, earned her Master’s in Counseling from Western Carolina University, and practiced as a licensed counselor for a dozen years. She then completed her PhD at UNC Greensboro and currently teaches at WCU in Asheville. She loves live music, dancing, playing trivia, gathering with friends and family, walking her dog, swimming, kayaking, and playing tennis. As a long-time Jubilee! member who has raised children here who are now “launched” and out of the home, she offers a unique perspective on the middle ground between the older retired crowd and the younger families with kids.

Michael "Brian" McGowan says Jubilee! has been a solid presence in his life since childhood, with its passing of the peace, uplifting music and messages helping to form him into the man he has become. A high energy, multi-talented hard worker, he is excited about engaging his many skills to benefit Jubilee!  His background encompasses financial consulting with a strong emphasis on sales; running a high performance, three-person team that covered seven Southeastern states for Bank of America; providing resource development for an affiliate of an international nonprofit with over 1,800 offices; and running a hotel in San Juan, Costa Rica, that he grew from #27 to #1, winning the TripAdvisor Award of Excellence. During his many years as a Jubilant, Brian has been an innkeeper for Room At The Inn, regularly attended functions at Hanger Hall, and given generously to the hunger basket and general fund. Now he looks forward to helping Jubilee! find its voice as we move forward as a community.

Bruce Mulkey chairs the Jubilee! Board. He is a jack-of-all-trades, master of some. He has been a school teacher, log-home builder, writer, and public relations and communications professional. He says that in the early 90s he realized his true life’s purpose is to work for a more compassionate, just and sustainable world. At 65, he was the eldest member of Obama’s 2008 field organization.  He also served as campaign manager for several North Carolina congressional and local races. More recently he has focused on writing, and served as an editorial columnist at the Asheville Citizen Times, and contributed to the Washington Post, Huffington Post and other publications. He is currently working on his memoir “Finding My Way Back Home,” which he says describes his evolution from an authentic, gentle, vulnerable little boy to his indoctrination into our racist patriarchal culture, and finally back to authenticity.  Born in Fort Worth, TX, he grew up in Tullahoma, TN.  He enjoys meditation, mountain trail running, and, most importantly, connecting with his wife, Shonnie, and their daughter Gracelyn.  Bruce has been a Jubilant since 1999, and Jubilee!’s founder Howard Hanger performed his marriage ceremony and baptized Gracelyn. He served as a board member from 2002 to 2006, and is now starting a new three-year term.  He played a key role on the Website team, served as a greeter, and is currently board liaison with the Communications team. As a board member with strong planning, problem solving and organization skills, Bruce’s intention is to complete every task impeccably, on time, within budget, and without drama.

John David Short is one of those rare folks who grew up in Asheville.  He was born and raised in Montford, and has made western North Carolina his home for most of his life. David’s work is multi-faceted, ranging from serving food and drink and hosting special events and celebrations to writing copy for various clients in finance, customer services and non-profit development.  He says when it all get too much, he can be found in the woods near water, usually in the Big Ivy or Shining Rock Wilderness, or by a fire with a volume of Hafiz, Tolkien or Leonard Cohen, and a notebook close at hand.  With an eclectic spiritual upbringing ranging from Sufism to the new age cult of personality rooted in the work of the Master DK, he discovered and was baptized in the United Church of Christ and studied traditional canon bible while a student at Appalachian State. He said that discovering Jubilee! was like discovering the middle ground that allows full expression of both his soul’s personhood and desire to serve the authentic love that he has always felt for all creation. He has been a Jubilant for seven years, and has served on the Social Justice team, Service team, and regularly works with Homeward Bound and Room in the Inn, both within Jubilee! and without.  Of his contribution to the board he says ”As a dad, I look forward to encouraging Jubilee! to use our space, talents and position in the community to offer more opportunities to connect, learn and serve as a congregation, especially during the week as many us must consider Sunday a workday.”

Michael Smith was born in Alabama and grew up in the Atlanta area.  He and his wife, Anne Marie have lived in Asheville since 2011.  He discovered Jubilee! when Matthew Fox spoke here in 2016, and was excited to learn that Jubilee!’s theological foundation is linked closely to Fox’s Creation Spirituality.  He has been part of our Social Justice team, led the “fair wages” focus group, and represents Jubilee in the Raising Wages NC’s WNC Coalition. After seminary, Michael was ordained in the Christian Church Disciples of Christ tradition, and has spent most of his career in faith-based, international service.  This has included living more than a decade in Ethiopia & Indonesia, and serving international agencies in support and administrative roles such as major gifts officer, chief operations officer and chief executive officer for 20 years.  In retirement, Michael served a term on the board of local nonprofit, Just Economics. He enjoys hiking, biking, photography and riding his motorcycle. He has cultivated a mindfulness practice over the past ten years that he says enriches his life in big ways.  Michael says he is a “process visionary” who brings to the board his commitment to the community, and a passion for justice.