Board of Directors

James R. Granberry

Founder, Board CHAIR

James Granberry, a 2004 graduate of Furman University, is one of the co-founders of Mere Christianity Forum, having been involved with the organization since its inception as a book discussion group on his freshman hall in 2000. Since these humble beginnings James has been able to use his background in management and finance coupled with his passion in religious and philosophical inquiry to help continue to grow the organization.

James is a Managing Partner at OakPoint Properties — a boutique real estate investment and advisory firm in Nashville, TN which he co-founded with two partners. Before OakPoint, he played an integral role in the acquisition, asset management, and disposition of over $200 million in commercial and multi-family properties for Freeman Webb Companies, a large privately-held real estate investment firm.

James has a BA in Business Administration from Furman University and holds an MBA from Vanderbilt, where he focused on Finance and Strategy with an emphasis in Real Estate Investment/Development.

James served as the Financial Director for Mere Christianity Forum, Inc. from 2003 until 2005. He continues to serve Mere Christianity Forum as Treasurer and as a Board Member.

James grew up in Dallas, Texas, and enjoys reading, philosophy, playing golf, running, and the never-ending pursuit of Faith, Reason, and of course…Tomfoolery.

Shawn Plunkett

Founder, BOARD DIRECTOR,
Chief tomfoolery officer

Along with James Granberry, Shawn Plunkett created Mere Christianity Forum in the fall of 2000. Leveraging mediocre Photoshop skills and a willingness to talk to anyone, Shawn grew a weekly book discussion into an thriving community thoughtfully exploring Christian faith at Furman University. Recognizing the need of a dedicated space to explore faith in lived community, Shawn founded Vista House, MCF's intentional Christian community on an eight acre property just outside of Furman's campus in 2003. 

Shawn served the first Executive Director of Mere Christianity Forum from 2003 until 2005 and served as Board Chair from 2003-2015. At some point during his time at Furman University, Shawn found time to major in Philosophy with a concentration in Classics. He then studied ethics and comedy (!) graduating with honors from Duke University Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina in 2008. After a few years in non-profit consulting, Shawn dove head first into leadership coaching after completing a program at Georgetown University in 2011.

Shawn now lives in San Francisco where he coaches seed-stage startup founders.

Gary Eichelberger

BOARD DIRECTOR & TREASURER, Former Executive Director

Gary Eichelberger, who previously served as Mere Christianity Forum’s first Executive Director from 2005-2007, is a recently-ordained Episcopal priest currently serving in his first call as the Associate Priest for Faith Development and Worship at Christ Church in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Prior to his ordination to the priesthood in January 2014, Gary practiced law for over a decade primarily focused in civil litigation at law firms in Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina.  Gary also has experience in international missions having spent a year living and working in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he served as a theology lecturer at two seminaries, as well as three months in Lilongwe, Malawi, where he served as guest lecturer at the Anglican seminary there.

Gary graduated from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994 and subsequently earned joint degrees from the Schools of Law and Divinity at Duke University (Juris Doctor/Master of Theological Studies) in 2009.  In preparation for ordination to the priesthood, Gary spent a year in an Anglican Studies program at the School of the Theology at the University of the South and is currently completing thesis work toward a Master of Sacred Theology.

Gary grew up on a horse farm in the small town of Ninety Six, South Carolina, and now lives in Greenville with his wife and three children.

Donna Meyer

BOARD DIRECTOR

Donna Meyer is originally from Massachusetts and is Director of Mission/Ministry Formation/Spiritual Care for the Bon Secours St. Francis Health System.

From an early age she was interested in health and spirituality and felt called to serve others. Donna has a diverse nursing background.  She worked in critical care areas, community and college health, and an inner city clinic.  The work at the clinic reinforced this call as she learned to find grace in places where it seemed absent.

Donna’s attraction to spirituality led her to study theology where she developed an interest in spiritual direction and formation, which she continues to do. She is grateful for all the stories people have shared with her, for her teachers, her spiritual directors, friends, and family—all have made an impact on her life.

Donna is an RN, has a BA (magna cum laude) from Smith College, Northampton, MA and a Masters of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, now part of Boston College. She completed 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education and the Ministry Leadership Intensive of University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Executive Education and the Bon Secours Center for Ministry Leadership. She’s a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a lector in her church, a Bon Secours Associate, and serves on various committees in the health system.

She likes to read, cook, and garden. She and her husband, Paul, have three adult children, four grandchildren, and one very large goldendoodle.

bryan mitchell

board director

Bryan previously served as interim Assistant Director of Mere Christianity Forum for two different stints where he grew to love the mission and work of the organization. A native of East Tennessee, he now finds his home with his wife and daughter on the other side of the mountains in Asheville, NC. He graduated      from Furman University in 2003.

Bryan most recently graduated from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. During his time there, he focused extensively on different residential intentional community models (including the Vista House!) and how to implement a series of them in Asheville. He works for Missional Wisdom Foundation as a prior of residential intentional communities and as a cultivator of community at Haw Creek Commons. His vocational history is as varied as they come – city planning, campus ministry, small business entrepreneurship, fundraising, church staffing, consulting. After a long, experimental, and revelatory journey, he can say that he has been led by the Spirit to where he is today.

Bryan is in the ordination process with the United Methodist Church. Along with MCF, spending time at his church, Haywood Street Congregation, allowed him to live into his calling more fully. He likes to spend time in community, hike, cook, read, and take on adventures.

chris babcock

board director

Chris graduated from Furman University in 2003 with a degree in Religion and a concentration in the Classics.  He connected early on with the Forum through its initial book study in 2000 – and even went on to lead a book discussion group on his favorite C.S. Lewis work, “Till We Have Faces” as the Forum grew through Shawn and James’ leadership.

Since graduation, he has worked with his family’s now fourth generation real estate development and investment firm where he was in charge of acquiring, entitling, developing, and selling more than $50MM in residential subdivisions, industrial parks, commercial REO and notes, retail centers, and single-family rental portfolios.

In 2015, Chris and his wife Kacy and two children Hays and Evie Mae returned to Greenville and are grateful to be back involved with the Forum and its work at Furman and the greater Greenville community.

Julia britt

student member

 

peyton roth

student member