core team


Rachel Dawson // 



Rachel Dawson loves words-- writing them, reading them, doodling them, and using them to speak truth and share the Gospel. She has been at the helm of The Rising from the very beginning, working to bring people together through words and create a space for conversations that matter. She is a lover of stories, snail mail, sunsets, sharks, and social media.. Her days are spent in the heart of downtown Richmond, VA as the editor of You can always find her on Twitter and Facebook or in coffeeshops all around town, usually with her nose in a book and a braid in her hair.

Read more of her heart at

Read everything on The Rising from Rachel.

Emilee Clemons // 

assistant editor + Instagram manager


Emilee Clemons? She’s a hot mess and a sinner, dearly loved and made into a new creation by Christ alone. She’s a lover of rainy days, thick books, the Greek language, and classic movies. Her not-so-guilty-pleasures include Netflix marathons and dance parties along with one of her eclectic playlists. You’ll find pieces of her heart in countless cities and villages all over the globe. She believes in the power of prayer, a strong cup of coffee, authenticity, and long handwritten letters. Emilee’s prayer is that she would manifest God’s grace in her life and in everything she creates.

Follow her as she shares daily musings at @emyclemons on social media. You can find her writing about being born again and growing up in Christ at

Read everything on The Rising from Emilee.


Ashley Coker // 

assistant editor


Ashley Coker is a journalist by day and pop culture fiend by night with an intense affinity for Jesus, otters and art museums, in that order. When she isn't writing or binge-watching, you can find her scouting out the newest Nashville hot spots, jetting off on last-minute adventures or trying to convince her cat to play with her. You can follow her on Twitter at @theashleycoker, but be warned that she mostly live tweets local public meetings while pretending to live in Pawnee, thanks to her day job at a local newspaper. She keeps the fun stuff on Facebook and stalking is encouraged. Please say hi. 

Read everything on The Rising from Ashley.

current contributors


Dawn Acevedo

Dawn is a Texan girl, born and raised. She and her husband Gabriel live in SoCal where she spends her days studying ancient languages and working towards a Master’s degree in Near Eastern Archaeology. She studies at La Sierra University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from an A&M sister school. While she hopes that one day these beloved disciplines will collide, she seeks simply to illuminate God’s Word through the historical remnants of the places in which His pages were written. She loves white mochas and chai lattes, cooking, traveling, being in nature, and watching YouTube videos of baby animals.

Read everything on The Rising from Dawn.

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Kaitlyn Anderson

Kaitlyn Anderson is the worst of sinners with a love for words, truth and encouragement. Her passion is to ignite purpose in the hearts of women and spur others on to fiercely and authentically follow Jesus, as so many others have done for her. She's also a runner, carbohydrate enthusiast, and Air Force wife with a profound appreciation for dark coffee and a good conversation . Hear more from her at

Read everything on The Rising from Kaitlyn.


Lydia Anvar

Lydia Anvar is proud to call Kentucky her homeland. As a college student, she spends her days making quesedillas, writing papers for her English classes, and serving international students through her campus ministry. Lydia is an avid fan of road-trips and dance parties. She's thankful that there is so much beauty in language—she loves that the written word can explain truths about God in creative, poetic ways. She's passionate about restoring dignity to those who are victimized by unjust labor laws around the world, and she loves learning about God's heart for the neglected. 

IG: @lydiaanvar

Read everything on The Rising from Lydia.

Erica Boden

Erica is from the Midwest, goes to school in the South, and spends her summers in the Northeast. She’s a culprit of holding hugs for a second too long and has experienced the “release tap” more than once. She loves running by the water, eating big breakfasts, and wearing too many rings. She’s a Young Life leader and has a passion for the ministry that has saved her life.

A believer in authenticity, she believes in words that heal. She believes that we have the power to impact people and change the world through the threading of syllables. Her life is a testament and product of an overwhelmingly generous, grace-giving and loving God.

Read everything on The Rising from Erica.


Kaitlyn Boyd

Kaitlyn was born and raised in the Northwest, but she’s found her current home in Arizona is where she was always meant to be. She’s passionate about everything creative and is dreaming of the day (soon) when she will have her degree in Graphic Design. Kaitlyn isn’t your typical writer, but she’s found a love for sharing her messy, not-so-perfect, real life experiences as a way to keep moving forward and (hopefully) encouraging others along the way.

Catch her on Instagram @kaitlynboyd

Read everything on The Rising from Kaitlyn.

Ella Connolly

Ella is a tea-drinking Jesus-follower who reads lots, writes even more and knows too many Taylor Swift lyrics. You can find her here:

Read everything on The Rising from Ella.


Michael Davies

Michael Davies is former Training Director for Pais Global, a world missions organization, and has spent 10 years in non profit leadership. He is the author of the fantasy series, The World Of Pangea and regularly writes poetry, short informative articles, devotions and discursive essays. Currently he can also be found driving Uber around Dallas Fort Worth, the source of inspiration for his most recent blog series #PeopleOfDFW.

Read everything on The Rising from Michael.

Louise Funnell

Lou is passionate about seeing God’s grace work powerfully in people’s lives. She loves to partner with Jesus to see people freed into their God given potential. Often Lou does this through words. 

Based in Faversham, England, Lou oversees the youth work of a local charity helping youth express and discover their emotions and spirituality. In the other hours of her day, you will find Lou singing, writing, reading and baking; although not necessarily all at once. Lou makes incredible triple chocolate cookies, writes at and loves a good film or musical.

She probably drinks too much coffee!


Jordan Gage

Jordan is a twenty-something writer currently living in Nashville, Tennessee. When she’s not dreaming of writing and speaking truth to women across the world or new tattoos, she’s probably listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and co-leading impractical dreaming, an online community whose vision is to see every woman on the planet free from the bonds of shame, insecurity, and fear by having hard conversations in a space of unyielding empathy. Jordan loves discovering more about Jesus, and would appreciate knowing who allowed her to become an adult because she believes they made a terrible mistake.   

Read everything on The Rising from Jordan.

Jason Marshall

Jason is a Son of the one true God, a brother of the resurrected King of Glory, a saint, and an heir to the everlasting Kingdom. He has a really hard time believing these are true sometimes, but is REALLY thankful they are. He is a native Nebraskan who loves baseball (go Royals!), Husker football, books, traveling, scotch whiskey, good coffee, craft beer, and smoking his pipe. Jason is captivated by stories of bravery, adventure, redemption, and beauty. He kind of wishes that he lived in Narnia or Middle-Earth, but is also pretty happy with Earth. He wants to spend his life seeking justice and helping others become heirs to the Kingdom too.

Read everything on The Rising from Jason.

Caroline McClelland

Born and raised in the Middle East in Dubai, twenty-year-old Caroline has a strong passion for traveling and exploring more of God's world--she has two continents left: Antarctica and Australia. Even though she spent most of her early life abroad, Caroline now calls Nahville home, even though she currently attends Pepperdine University in California. Though Caroline is a self-proclaimed ritzy gal, as she often finds herself spending far too much on clothes and food, there is a much deeper adventurous side to her; nothing thrills her more than driving with the car-top down while blasting country music (Florida Georgia Line or Sam Hunt) at top volume, dancing unapologetically in public, kayaking, long mountain hikes, strolling down the aisles of REI, white-water rafting, and---her favorite-- skydiving. You could say that she's a naturalist and a bit of an adrenaline junkie-- she is definitely not afraid of heights (that's a first!). Moreover, she recently took a C.S. Lewis class whilst at college, which completely changed her perspective on the Gospel; she developed a newfound appreciation for the deeper intellectual and philosophical side of the Word. Deep thought-provoking conversations bring Caroline so much joy.

She recently started a blog, The European American, that touches on her more airy and ladylike side, fusing fashion and lifestyle with the Gospel. You can also--occasionally-- find her on Instagram: @carolineanisa

Read everything on The Rising from Caroline.

Lauren McHugh

Lauren McHugh is a newlywed, recent college graduate, and lover of words. She has been reading chapter books as long as she can remember and was always that girl who had at least one book in her bag. She loves tea lattes, classic novels, making lists, buying notebooks, sports, and is always looking for something new to learn. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @laurencatherinn

Read everything on The Rising from Lauren.

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David Miller

David was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and aside from a two year stint in San Francisco has lived there his entire life. He graduated from the University of North Texas which is where he met his wife Jacki. David and Jacki currently reside in Fort Worth with their four dogs. Jacki is an opera singer and voice teacher and David currently works for the YMCA in their corporate office. Living in the east side of Fort Worth, David and Jacki have seen firsthand many of the ways in which society does not look out for the least of these. One of the things that united Jacki and David in their love for each other was their passion and love for Jesus and the Gospel which has the power to transform individuals, families, and entire cities. It is David and Jacki’s prayer that they will be able to live out their passions in a way that brings God glory and blesses others. When David is not working at the Y, he enjoys writing and has a super secret passion for sports journalism. He can often be found at a baseball game or soccer match, covering teams for various local and national blogs. David is excited to be a part of The Rising and looks forward to sharing his thoughts with whoever may read them.

Read everything on The Rising from David.

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David Phipps

David lives with his wife, Kaitlyn, their son, Oliver, and their two pups in Southwest VA.  They do both college ministry and wedding photography together, and they both share a passion for any and all stories.  David is a self-proclaimed basketball junkie, but will truly embrace anything from a good Broadway musical or chick-flick to a good YA novel or biography.  His ideal day is any day he gets to spend with good friends and his family, and it doesn't hurt if coffee is involved!

Read everything on The Rising from David.

Rachel Romeo

Rachel is a born and raised native of NoVA, though a relatively new Virginia Tech alum learning her way through the world of federal contracting. In her spare time, you'll find her outdoors, digging into good literature, wedding planning (yay May 2016!), and learning how to play the ukulele (a la YouTube). A believer in embracing your own imperfections, Rachel relies on His perfect grace to get though this thing called life.

Read everything on The Rising from Rachel.

Matt Smelser

Matt Smelser is an avid reader, passionate mentor, and—according to his mom—is also quite handsome. Matt challenges his generation of millennials to live thoughtfully and virtuously on his blog "Get Your 20’s Right." His readers are also quite handsome, so you would definitely fit in if you dropped by.

Read everything on The Rising from Matt.


Janice Dotti Townsend

I am a serial entrepreneur, lover of all things coffee, and hopeful adventurer. For most of my life, my goal has been to avoid normalcy and take risks. This desire has led me all over the country, into and out of unique work situations, and to my wonderful husband, Matt. I feel most at home in a coffeehouse with a cup of black coffee in hand - this is where I have my deepest conversations, my most profound moments of grace, and spend most of my time.

Follow me into the adventure:

IG: @janandthetowns 

Read everything on The Rising from Janice.


past contributors