We’ve had a number of guests on Return to Gilead over the seasons, between interview guests, guest hosts, and production associates. Here is a list of everyone involved with the podcast, apart from Michael and Ryan.

All guests from Eras 1 and 2a of Return to Gilead were acknowledged in the Era 2a finale review.

Interview Guests

Beth Culp is the creator of Down Gilead Lane and the most prolific writer on the series. A tragedy early in Beth’s life and the healing she found through God were the inspiration for the story of Down Gilead Lane, which she presented to CBH Ministries in the late 1990s. She served as the main writer and director from 2001 to 2005 (Seasons 1 through 6). Beth is currently writing a book based on her original story for Down Gilead Lane.

Lori Twichell is the primary writer for Beyond Gilead. Lori began working for CBH Ministries after moving to Texas and looking for a job in which to use her degrees in Creative Writing and Technical Writing. Along with John Fornof, producer Steve O’Dell, and executive producer Terre Ritchie, she created the stories that led to the continuation of Gilead with Season 7 in 2006. Lori is credited in every season of Beyond Gilead (especially Season 11, which she wrote exclusively by herself) until the series’ end in 2009 with Season 12. She was also the co-host for the Coleraine Connection Funcast with Steve O’Dell from 2007 to 2009. Lori went on to work in Hollywood as a producer and publicist for several films, and she provided the initial script for the film eventually titled A Horse Tale.

John Fornof is an extremely prolific writer for family-friendly audo drama and the secondary writer for Beyond Gilead. He has written scripts for Adventures in Odyssey, Lamplighter Theatre, new Jonathan Park, and many more productions over the years. John began working for CBH Ministries after hearing about a need for writers from John Campbell, the main composer of the series. John worked alongside Lori Twichell, producer Steve O’Dell, and executive producer Terre Ritchie on what is now known as Beyond Gilead from 2006 to 2009 (Seasons 7 through 12). John hosts a podcast called StoryChat, giving insights into story writing.

Randy Hekman was the first executive producer of Down Gilead Lane. He assisted in the transition of Children’s Bible Hour from a variety show to what eventually became Down Gilead Lane, and he also led the hiring process for the writers and sound designers. He is a former attorney and family court judge, and used his experience to help write the more “legal” episodes of the show and to give inspiration for John Morrison’s new profession as a judge. Randy is currently the executive director for The Grand Awakening in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has written a book about his experiences raising a large family.

Simon Guevara was the second executive producer of Down Gilead Lane. Simon joined CBH Ministries after marrying one of then-executive producer Randy Hekman’s daughters, and he was originally involved in the marketing and general production of the show. When Randy left CBH Ministries, Simon took over as executive producer for Season 6 of Down Gilead Lane. Simon was heavily involved helping map out the storylines for Seasons 5 and 6, including “force-landing the plane” when Beth Culp left after Season 6. Simon is currently the Associate Pastor of Congregational Life at Hinsdale Covenant Church in Hinsdale, Illinois.

Phil Ayres is the voice of Zach, the second host of Down Gilead Lane and Beyond Gilead. He began reading the wraparounds for the show in 2005 for Season 6 and has since recorded Seasons 6 through 12 for CBH Ministries, Seasons 1 through 12 again for Keys for Kids Ministries, and Seasons 7 through 12 again as Beyond Gilead. Phil still voices Zach for the Keys for Kids daily devotional and annual Word with Zach program. Phil is currently the lead pastor at LifePoint Christian Church in Longwood, Florida.

Laurie (Hekman) Krieg is the voice of Brooke Morrison on Down Gilead Lane and Beyond Gilead. Laurie is the daughter of Randy Hekman, and she voiced Brooke for all 12 seasons of the show. She is the president of Impossible Ministries, and she describes herself on her website as “a coach/consultant, speaker, author, and podcast host whose mission is to equip Jesus-followers with a gospel-centered approach to sexuality.”

Rodney TeSlaa is the voice of Tom Richter on Down Gilead Lane and Beyond Gilead. Rodney learned about the transition by CBH to what would eventually become Down Gilead Lane and worked alongside Randy Hekman and post-producer Steve O’Dell to cast a vision for the new series. He was eventually cast in the role of Tom Richter for the Season 2 finale, and he voiced Tom for the full run of the show. Rodney has become a stage actor since his time on Gilead.

Chris Blair is the voice of Michael Morrison on Down Gilead Lane and Beyond Gilead. Chris lived in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area and was cast as Michael when he went to audition for the show with his mother. He voiced the character from the first episode in Season 1 (2001) to the final episode in Season 12 (2009). Chris currently works in the purchasing department at UFP Industries in Grand Rapids.

Tom Casaletto is the voice of Jeremiah Key on Down Gilead Lane and Beyond Gilead. Tom began his acting career in high school, and has performed in 66 plays over the past 50 years. He was cast as Mr. Key for Season 1 of Gilead and was the exclusive voice actor for the character throughout the show. He also played some minor roles in various other episodes of Gilead.

Guest Hosts

Austin Peachey is a huge audio drama fan and is an active member of the family-friendly audio drama community. He is the producer of his own audio drama, FaithFilled Stories, has produced several other standalone episodes, and is an active member of the Audio Drama Alliance. Austin and his sister Natasha hosted an Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) fan podcast called the AIO Blogcast from 2009 to 2013, he started an AIO fan YouTube channel called Odyssey Geek in 2017, and he currently hosts his own AIO fan podcast also called Odyssey Geek. He and Michael are also the current hosts of the Paws and Tales fan podcast A Walk Through Wildwood. Austin was an active member of the DGL fan community in its heyday and appeared intermittently on the Funcast and on nearly every episode of the SWDGL.

Hannah Matlock is Ryan’s wife and has been a fan of Down Gilead Lane since her early childhood. She introduced Ryan to the show, who ended up introducing Michael to the show (or was it Austin who introduced Michael? We’re not really sure). In addition to appearing on Return to Gilead, Hannah has also guest hosted on several episodes of Michael’s podcast AIO Audio News.

Brendon McFarland has listened to Down Gilead Lane since its debut in 2001 and was a frequent contributor to the Coleraine Connection Funcast and the DGL fan community in the late 2000’s. Bren is also an avid fan of Adventures in Odyssey; he hosted The Whit’s End Podcast from 2008 to 2016 (along with Ryan Matlock towards the end of the show). Bren is an active member of the current DGL and AIO fanbases.

Jack Cashion is Michael’s roommate. He hates Apple. ’Nuff said.

Rayah Smith is a recurring guest on Michael’s podcasts, a friend from Liberty University, and is a member of Michael’s a cappella group. Rayah has appeared on several reaction episodes of AIO Audio News.

Ellie Hope is a music student from Liberty University, and was in two a cappella groups with Michael as of fall 2023. She is an Adventures in Odyssey fan and was introduced to Gilead through Michael.

Daniel Roth is a longtime Adventures in Odyssey fan and Facebook fan group admin. In 2023, he started the Your Fellow Odyssians podcast, on which Michael appeared as a co-host.

Mikel Collins was the Program Director at South Mountain Christian Camp in Bostic, North Carolina during the inception of Return to Gilead. Mikel grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family Radio Theatre, but was introduced to DGL by Michael for a review of “Summer Camp Blues.” He hosts his own Christianity podcast with his brother-in-law called Talking with Intention. Michael and Mikel worked together at summer camp in 2021 and 2022.

Allie Barrett is the co-host of the AIOWiki Podcast, a former contributor to the AIOWiki, and a digital artist. Allie assisted with the cover arts for Eras 2 and 3 of Return to Gilead.

Production Associates

John Lewis is a podcast music composer and father of an acquaintance of Michael’s at Liberty University. He arranged the music for Era 3 of Return to Gilead.

Israel Ownbey is a digital music artist and a former hallmate of Michael’s at Liberty University. He rendered the wraps music for Era 1 of Return to Gilead.

Bethany Burnett is a member of the Audio Drama Alliance as an illustrator and cover artist. She designed the covers for Eras 1, 2, and 3 of Return to Gilead.

JD Sutter is the host of Audio Theatre Central, the producer of the annual Seneca Awards for excellence in audio drama, and the head of the Audio Drama Alliance. He recorded the intro for Return to Gilead’s review of “The Best Christmas on Record.”

Micah Touchet is a member of the Audio Drama Alliance and the sound designer for The Jake Muller Adventures. He rendered the Secrets of Grace music for Era 1 of Return to Gilead.

Special thanks to Timmy Baze, Clint Brahms, Kathy Buchanan, Bella Christie, Leah Gartner, Melissa Howlerda, Jan Jones, Steve O’Dell, and Dominic Treis.