The DreamPanel Series brings together speakers with the goal to further conversations related to important topics that impact our community.
The Rev. Ann E. Helmke – Moderator
Ann Helmke is an ordained ELCA minister and serves as the Faith Liaison for the City of San Antonio. Prior to that she served as the Director of Spiritual Services at Haven for Hope. Ann’s 30+ years of service in our city includes teaching theology and spirituality at the University of the Incarnate Word and Texas Lutheran, workshop and retreat leadership, mission development, co-founding of the all-volunteer and interfaith San Antonio Peace Center, co-authoring a couple books, and always social justice with civic engagement. Rev. Helmke considers Peace is Our BirthRight as her most important book which pales in comparison to the seven babies she is passing peace onto in her life – 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-love, 2 gorgeous grand-boys and 1 vivacious grand-girl!
- Pastor Charles Flowers
Pastor Charles E. Flowers is originally from Troy, NC. He has been married to the love of his life, Janice, from St. Louis, MO for 40 years and they have four wonderful and talented children; ranging from 35 – 40 years of age. He and Janice are the grandparents of 6 amazing grandchildren. Pastor Flowers is a Veteran who honorably served 12 years in the United States Air Force. During a great portion of his Air Force tenure, TSgt. Charles Flowers served as a Professional Military Education (PME) Instructor who was awarded with many Military Honors throughout his Military career.Charles Flowers served many years as Assistant Pastor before becoming the Senior Pastor of Faith Outreach Center, International on March 11, 2001, when his Father in the Ministry, Dr. Dewey “Bud” Gardner, transferred the mantle of leadership to him. Pastor Flowers is convinced that Believers must *Recognize their unique spiritual gifts and assignments *Realize their potential through disciplined training and personal intimacy with God then *Organize themselves to ignite the synergistic power among the Saints and *Become mobilized, in order to Advance the Kingdom of God.He is a Highly Respected Spiritual Advisor to many San Antonio Pastors and Ministry Leaders. He has served on Advisory Boards for many well-respected Organizations. He has been a leader in rallying unity among San Antonio Pastors and Leaders. He has led the charge in addressing many causes that perpetuate freedom of speech, freedom of religion and he is not afraid or ashamed to address topics which may be considered “taboo” to some.Because of Pastor Flowers’ tremendous Social and Spiritual impact in our City, he will be ordained as “Bishop Charles Flowers” in March of 2022.
- Rabbi Mara Nathan
Mara Nathan is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Texas where she has served since 2014. She is the first woman to serve as senior rabbi of a major congregation in the State of Texas. Rabbi Nathan has made community building, social justice, worship innovation and community outreach her main priorities.Rabbi Nathan was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York in 2000. She was a recipient of the Steinhardt Fellowship; a scholarship awarded to rabbinical students to further informal education with teens and college age students, and received academic awards for Hebrew, History and Talmudic studies. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in history as well as certificates in Jewish studies and women’s studies from Northwestern University in 1993. Rabbi Nathan has served on the board of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, served as co-chair for the CCAR Chief Executive Search Committee and is the Chair of the 2023 CCAR Israel Convention. She is also a member of the Women’s Rabbinic Network. Rabbi Nathan and her husband Larry Nathan are the parents of Isaac, a Freshman at UNT, Solomon a Sophomore at Alamo Heights High School and Miriam a 6th grader at Alamo Heights Jr. School.
- Ferhat Ozturk
Dr. Ferhat Ozturk is the events coordinator of Raindrop Foundation San Antonio since 2019. He received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Currently, he is an assistant professor of Integrative Biology at UTSA. His research is mostly focused on biomedical usage of honey for wound healing.With his diligent colleagues at Raindrop Foundation, Dr. Ozturk organized various events bringing people of San Antonio from different religious and cultural backgrounds, such as Colors of San Antonio, Dialogue and Friendship Dinner, Sharing Faith, Muslim Townhall for Vaccine Awareness, Health Education Team, Blood Drives, Food for Heroes at Hospitals, Ramadan Iftars, and Turkish Festival.Dr. Ozturk is the spokesperson of Scholars Rights Watch (SRW), which focuses on raising awareness about the persecuted academicians.
As an Imam, he gave weekly sermons and led the Jum’ah (Friday) prayers for the Muslim community of SA.