Meet Our Members
Founder and President of The Alan and Leslie Chambers Foundation
Alan is the founder and president of The Alan and Leslie Chambers Foundation, an advocacy group focused on spreading the gospel of grace within the global church, creating greater inclusion in faith communities for LGBTQIA people, especially youth, and ending Reparative Therapy for minors. He served as the final President of Exodus International, the largest worldwide network of ex-gay ministries—a ministry he closed due to a change of Christian ideology.
Alan has been interviewed by every major media outlet in the world, writes periodically for online and print publications, and is a speaker and an author. His most recent memoir, My Exodus: from Fear to Grace was published by HarperCollins/Zondervan in 2015. Alan’s family and friends know him best as Leslie’s husband, Isaac and Molly’s daddy, for his great sense of humor, love of decorating (both homes and people), and vast shoe collection. The Chambers are founding members of Grace Church Orlando and live in Alan’s historic hometown of Winter Park, Florida.
ROBERT COTTRELL is the co-founder of FreedHearts - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit freeing hearts of faith parents to love, accept and affirm their LGBTQI children; freeing hearts of LGBTQI to heal shame from family, religious and community wounds; and freeing hearts of those in the church to be lavishly inclusive. He founded and served ten years as president for a nonprofit bringing hope to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Rob is an author, a national speaker, has nearly 30 years experience in nonprofit development and management, has been married for 30 years and, most importantly, is the father of five children, two of whom are part of the LGBTQI community.
Founder & President, FreedHearts.org
SUSAN COTTRELL, the prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children, was featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, on The Advocate Magazine’s National Coming Out Day videos, and on The Advocate’s Out in Left Field with Dana Goldberg. She is an international speaker, author and spiritual director. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, as she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that love—of God and others—is the foundation of faith. She spent 25 years in the nonaffirming Evangelical church, is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas). Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith (published by Westminster John Knox Press), True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, and the soon-to-be-released My Coffee with the Pastor: Building the Vision for Full Christlike Inclusion, are endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband Rob have been married for 30 years, have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community, and live in Austin, Texas.
Rev. Dr. Paula Stone Williams
President, RLT Pathways
Rev. Dr. Paula Williams is the president of RLT Pathways, Inc., a non-profit organization providing counseling and coaching services. She is also the Pastor of Preaching and Worship at Left Hand Community Church in Boulder County, Colorado. Paula isa coach with the Center for Progressive Renewal, and serves on the board of the Gay Christian Network. Paula has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio, and a number of other media outlets. She is also a blogger for The Huffington Post. For more information visit paulastonewilliams.com.
Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart
Faith Work Director, The National LGBTQ Task Force
Naomi Washington-Leapheart, a daughter of Detroit, is the Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, the country's oldest national LGBTQ justice and equality group. She is also a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University.
Before joining the Task Force, Naomi was the suburban community organizer for POWER, a multi-faith, multi-racial network of congregations in Metro Philadelphia. From 2013-2015, she served as Co-Pastor and Minister of Music at the Wisdom's Table at St. Peter's United Church of Christ. She is affiliated with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and the United Church of Christ, and earned the Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 2016.
Naomi delights in singing with the Philly Threshold Choir, a group whose mission is to bring audible comfort and kindness to people in hospice care. She is a board member of Roots of Justice, a collective of anti-racism trainers and organizers, and the Pennsylvania Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Since 2016, Naomi has served as a member of the Faith and Spiritual Affairs Advisory Board of the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, and in 2017, she was appointed by Mayor John Kenney to the Philadelphia Commission on LGBT Affairs.
Naomi's work is included in the volume, "From Generation to Generation: A Commemorative Collection of African American Millennial Sermons from the Festival of Preachers 2010-2015," a rare and unique compilation of what the nation's most promising young African-American ministers are thinking and proclaiming about the Christian faith (Chalice Press, 2015).
Naomi shares her life with her wife, Kentina, a chaplain and religious educator. Together, they are raising a curious, energetic, future Oscar-winning 5th grader, Sophia.
Co-Founder, Tyler Clementi Foundation
Jane Clementi cofounded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to help end all online and off line bullying in schools, workplaces and faith communities; through educational research, legislative advocacy and awareness programming. Her desire is to change hearts and minds, because everyone should be allowed to live and thrive in an environment that is free of harassment, intimidation and humiliation. Her hope is to ignite a culture shift where all people will experience kindness, respect and consideration.
Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins
Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs, Union Theological Seminary
Currently, Dr. Harkins serves as Senior Vice President for Innovation in Public Programs at Union Theological Seminary. Harkins develops programming aimed primarily at those not enrolled in Union’s degree programs. This includes continuing and online education, public events, and the work of the institutes and initiatives housed at Union. Most recently, these initiatives have included outreach about Islamophobia, LGBTQ public policy and intersectionality issues, and criminal justice reform.
Dr. Harkins previously served as National Director for Faith Outreach for the Democratic Party, as well as Senior Pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington DC, and also as Directorof Faith Outreach for Enroll America. In addition, he has been an informal advisor to the Obama Administration on faith related issues, and has been a guest lecturer on the church and social action at a number of colleges and universities, including Bucknell, Cornell, Iona College, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Fox News, and NPR. An active voice in the debate for comprehensive immigration reform, he has worked to expand the combined immigration reform efforts of the African American and Hispanic communities. He has been extensively engaged in relief and development work in Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Jamaica, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Faith in Public Life, and Sojourners, and is currently a member of the Board of Odyssey Television Networks.
The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis Senior Minister
Middle Collegiate Church; President, The Middle Project, Inc.
When she was eight years old, Jacqui Lewis hid under her bed as bullets flew in her Chicago neighborhood following the assassination of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In that moment, she felt called to work for racial equality in the United States.
It has been said that her 1,000-member congregation, Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, has diversity that looks like the subway, but its legendary love feels like home. Jews, Buddhists, atheists, and Christians pack its sanctuary to standing-room-only capacity. Millennials and boomers, trans and gay, singles and families all call Middle their own. Middle Church is celebrated in Robert P. Jones’ book, The End of White Christian America, as an example of what revolutionary love can do to combat racism and xenophobia.
Believing faith communities can lead the way to racial reconciliation, Dr. Lewis co-founded The Middle Project with her spouse, The Rev. John Janka, which trains leaders to create a more just society. More than 300 faith leaders attended the 11th annual conference, “Revolutionary Love – Disruptive Ethics to Dismantle Racism” last April, with speakers such as Van Jones, Valarie Kaur, William J. Barber II, Zainab Salbi, and Bill Moyers on faculty. Revolutionary Love--Complete the Dream, is April 6-8, 2018.
Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Lewis is the first African American and first woman to serve as senior minister in the Collegiate Church, which was founded in New York City in 1628. She hosted “Just Faith,” an on-demand television program on MSNBC.com and is a frequent media commentator. In 2016, Dr. Lewis completed the six-city Together Tour with best-selling author Glennon Doyle Melton, Seane Corn, Valarie Kaur, Jennifer Randolph, and special guest Alicia Keys. Her books include The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-racial, Multi-cultural Congregations, The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for Multiracial Churches (April 2018) and the children’s book, You Are So Wonderful! She is currently at work on a book about a path to revolutionary love.
Lead Pastor, Denver Community Church
Michael, is the Lead Pastor of Denver Community Church. He is the author of, Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For and Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts and Choices About the Unchanging God. Michael, his wife and three children live in Denver, Colorado.
Lead Pastor, Missiongathering Christian Church; Executive Director, Nomad Partnerships
Brandan is the Lead Pastor of Missiongathering Christian Church in San Diego, CA and the author of Nomad: A Spirituality For Travelling Light (DLT Books, 2016), True Inclusion: Becoming Communities That Embrace All (Chalice Press, 2017), and the editor of Our Witness: The Unheard Stories of LGBT+ Christians (Cascade Books, 2018). He has published numerous articles in respected outlets such as TIME Magazine, Huffington Post, NBC, The Washington Post, Religion News Service, and Dallas Morning News. As sought out commentator of faith, culture, and public life, he is a regular contributor to national media outlets and has been interviewed by outlets such as MSNBC, NPR, TIME Magazine, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Associated Press.
Acclaimed as one of “the most hope-inspiring young Christian leaders”, Brandan speaks to diverse audiences around the globe and has been an honored guest speaker at a wide range of venues, from lecturing on spirituality at Oxford University, teaching on LGBT+ rights at the Parliament of the Worlds Religions, to speaking at the White House on the impact of religiously-motivated bullying. He is a leader in the interspiritual and interfaith movements, previously working with Interfaith Alliance of Colorado and with The Convergence, an evolutionary spirituality collective. He is the host of the popular Traveling Light podcast, where he explores the deep questions of life with some of the most influential though-leaders in the world today.
Brandan is the founder and executive director of The Center for Social Renewal, a non-profit working to foster spiritual and social evolution around the world. He is a guest lecturer at San Francisco Theological Seminary's Center for Innovation In Ministry, where he teaches courses on sexuality and spirituality. He served as the immediate past national spokesperson of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and has served on the U.S. State Department's Working Group on Religion and LGBT+ Rights, The Democratic National Conventions LGBT+ Advisory Board, and the Humane Societies Millennial Faith Leader Advisory Board.
Brandan earned his Bachelors Degree in Pastoral Ministry & Theology from Moody Bible Institute and his Masters of Theological Studies from Iliff School of Theology. He currently resides in San Diego, California.
Founder, BALM Ministries (Born Again Lesbian Music)
Maybe you know Marsha because she wrote a song you love, or because she came to your church to do a concert. Maybe you know her because she’s written theme songs for every Metropolitan Community Church General conference from 1985 to 2013 or because she’s paid for someone from your church to be on a recording with her, or brought her music ministry training program, upBeat! to your church. Christian Century Magazine has called her “Conservative Christianity’s worst nightmare: a Bible-believing, God-fearing, Jesus-loving lesbian Christian.”
The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music, which reviewed thousands of Christian musicians has this to say:
“If Larry Norman is to be called the father of Christian Rock, then Marsha Stevens certainly deserves to be known as the mother of contemporary Christian music… She was the leader of what is considered to be the world’s first contemporary Christian music group, Children of the Day, and she has continued as a solo artist to produce albums of worship-oriented and edifying adult contemporary pop. A pioneer of pioneers, Stevens would be one of the only artists from the early Jesus movement to be still recording and touring fulltime at the end of the millennium. And yet – she would remain virtually unknown to potential fans to her music, ostracized by an industry whose limits of ecumenicity had been tried and found wanting. Born Marsha Carter, the talented performer wrote what would become Children of the Day’s classic hit, “For Those Tears I Died (Come to the Water)” when she was just sixteen. One of the most popular songs of the Jesus movement, “For Those Tears I Died” is a moving testimony to God’s saving grace, replete with images of baptism and liberation…the song was featured on what was destined to become the most important Christian music album of all time, Maranatha’s The Everlastin’ Living Jesus Music Concert, the record that put the Jesus movement revival into high gear …
In 1984, Stevens became the first major singer in the contemporary Christian music subculture to identify herself publicly as a lesbian…”
In 2003, Marsha and her wife, Cindy Stevens-Pino, began working between tours to open a music ministry training school for those in the glbt Christian community. An outreach of BALM (Born Again Lesbian Music), the program is called upBeat! and they have produced two albums and had 46 students complete the program.
Marsha and Cindy are currently centered in Nashville, TN, where they have “tentmaking” jobs. Although they miss touring fulltime, they continue to travel out from Nashville for music ministry and events. More important to them is the far-reaching effect of the students who longed to be do Christian music and through upBeat! found a voice of their own to continue to reach out. Marsha speaks extensively at churches and conferences about the importance of being able to “give an answer, a reason for the hope that is within us.”
Founding Pastor, Solomon’s Porch
Doug is a Pastor, Broadcaster, Organizer, Instructor and Author.
Doug is the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch (www.SolomonsPorch.com), A Holistic Missional Christian Community in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Doug is the founder and director of Greater Things (www.GreaterThings.us) Greater Things empowers the human spirit and fosters life-giving community for a more beautiful, inclusive common good in faith and civic life through advocacy, messaging, leader coaching, training and education.
Doug is the founder and director of The Progressive Evangelical Institute a think-tank organization that exists for the Study and Advancement of Progressive Evangelical Thought and Action. TPEI engages in research and advocacy on behalf of the, broadly defined, Progressive Evangelical movement.
Doug is the founder of the OPEN MDiv in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary providing innovative means for earning an MDiv.
Doug is the founder of MasterLab -MasterLab connects world-class Master Teachers with High Capacity Learners around crucial topics in settings conducive for exceptional learning and transformation.
Doug is a speaker and consultant for churches, denominations and businesses throughout the United States and around the world on issues of Inventive Age culture, social systems Christianity and Leadership.
Executive Director, Canyonwalker Connections; Board Member, The Reformation Project
Kathy is an author, speaker, and educator at the intersection of sexual orientation and gender identity with faith.
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder
Presiding Bishop, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries
Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, a San Francisco native, has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years. This call to “blend proclamation, worship, service and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in 1991. In 2003, Rev. Dr. Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity. Rev. Dr. Flunder and her staff founded the Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland and Restoration House in San Francisco through Ark of Refuge, Inc., a non-profit agency dedicated to serving persons affected by HIV/AIDS. Rev. Dr. Flunder is on the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry and DEMOS and has taught at many theological schools. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry and Master of Arts programs at PSR, and received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is also an award winning gospel music artist and author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.
Assistant Director, Duke University Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
Angel grew up in rural North Carolina and, before joining the team as the Assistant Director of the Duke University Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, spent his days working as the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-CH. His return to UNC (where he received his BA in Religious Studies with minors in both Women’s Studies and Sexuality Studies) came after obtaining a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School.
Angel is a member of the MCC Governing Board, the LGBT-Religious Archives Network Advisory Committee, The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies Transgender Roundtable, the Freedom Center for Social Justice board, MCC’s Trans and GNC working group, and is on the steering committee for the National Religious Leaders Roundtable of the National LGBTQ Task Force. Angel is proud of his involvement in the 2006 and 2007 Soulforce Equality Rides and the nine years he served as staff with MCC. Most recently, he was honored to be included in the 2014 “Trans 100.”
Angel’s favorite thing is to travel and he has done so extensively, often through his work as the intersection of spirituality, sexuality and gender identity & expression. He is super excited to be back in the Southern part of heaven where he lives with his partner, two cats, and an Australian Shepherd named Scooter.
Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas
Senior Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ
The Reverend Dr. Neil G. Cazares-Thomas is Senior Pastor of Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, one of the largest congregations of the United Church of Christ and the largest church in the world with a primary ministry to the LGBTQ community. Well known for his activism, prior to coming to Dallas, he was instrumental in establishing numerous services including homeless shelters, safer sex initiatives, a drop-in center offering counseling and support to the LGBTQ community, drug and alcohol rehabilitation houses, and a women's refuge. Since his arrival in Dallas in June 2015, he has been equally active in his congregation and the Greater Dallas Community. He is married to Isai Thomas-Cazares and they have a daughter, Sofia Thomas-Cazares.
Dr. Sharon Groves
Vice President, Partner Engagement
Dr. Sharon Groves joined Auburn’s team in August 2015 as its Vice-President for Partner Engagement. In that capacity Sharon engages with movements, leaders, and organizations doing justice work grounded in faith and moral courage. Prior to joining Auburn’s staff, Sharon served as a Senior Fellow for Auburn Seminary working at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ equality, and social justice, specializing in breaking down cultural barriers between those on opposing sides of the “culture wars.” Sharon is the former Director of the Religion and Faith (RFP) Program at HRC, where she worked from 2005-2014. Under her leadership, Sharon doubled the RFP staff, built a scholarship and mentorship program for LGBTQA religious scholars, engaged in breakthrough conversations with conservative religious leaders, and oversaw statewide faith organizing efforts in Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Maine, Maryland and Washington State.
Sharon received her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Maryland in 2000 and has furthered her theological education through extensive course work at Chicago Theological Seminary, Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. She is an active lay member at her local congregation, All Souls Church in Washington, D.C. Currently Sharon splits her time between New York and her home in DC where she lives with her spouse Ann and her very mischievous puppy, YoYo.
Isaac G Frank
Director of Worship & Operations, Christ Church Portland
Born and raised in Montana, Isaac has a Creative Arts Degree from New Hope Christian College in Eugene, OR. Finding home and chosen family with Christ Church Portland has empowered him to sing about the all encompassing, life-changing, love of God through singing, art, and theater.
Rev. Paul Raushenbush
Senior Vice President, Auburn Seminary
Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush is the senior vice president and editor of Voices at Auburn Seminary. From 2009-2015 he was the Executive Editor Of Global Spirituality and Religion for Huffington Post‘s Religion section and formerly served as editor of Beliefnet. From 2003-2011, Raushenbush served as Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University, and served as President of the Association Of College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA) from 2009-2011. An ordained Baptist minister in the American Baptist tradition, he served at The Riverside Church in New York City, Seattle First Baptist Church and Madison Avenue Baptist Church. Raushenbush is a graduate of Macalester College and Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Independent Faith Consultant; Founding Director, (un)common good collective
After working the past seven years with faith and political organizations across the nation at the intersection of faith, gender and sexuality, Michael Kimpan has most recently expanded his life's work in the creation of a resource-sharing organization known as (un)common good collective. UGC seeks to leverage the gifts of time, treasures and talents across a broad network of leaders and organizations, equipping and assisting leaders in articulating a more just and generous expression of faith in today's world while leaving behind the traditional trappings of competition for donor dollars and platform.
Michael also works extensively with OPEN Network, which seeks to organize and mobilize progressive non-denominational and evangelically-rooted individuals, organizations and communities of faith.
Co-Founder, Incarnation Ministries
In 2016, Max Kuecker co-founded Incarnation Ministries, a national Christ-centered, Bible-based, LGBTQ-inclusive and deeply multi-ethnic college campus ministry. Incarnation has chapters on 8 campuses across the country. Max previously helped Matthew Vines start up The Reformation Project, helped lead InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Chicago Urban Program, served as a pastor in a Korean/Black evangelical church and worked as a community organizer of churches in the Midwest. He holds a seminary degree from Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and a B.S. in Education from Northwestern University.
Rev. Adam Phillips
Founding Pastor, Christ Church: Portland
Adam Phillips is a Pastor who has been been a leader in congregational ministry and national mobilization for 15+ years. Formerly of the ONE Campaign, where he led National Interfaith advocacy mobilization around extreme poverty & treatable, preventable disease, Adam founded Christ Church: Portland in 2013. Originally a church plant partnership with the Evangelical Covenant Church, Christ Church was totally stripped of its funding and support for its inclusive stance around LGBTQ. Christ Church continue to grow and become an open, active & inclusive faith community near downtown Portland, Oregon.
Rev. Michael Piazza
Executive Minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Michael Piazza is a spiritual visionary, author, and social justice advocate. Under 23 years of his courageous leadership as senior pastor and later dean, the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas made religious history by reclaiming Christianity as a faith of extravagant grace, radical inclusion, and relentless compassion while becoming the world’s largest liberal Christian church with a predominantly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender outreach. A native of Georgia, Rev. Piazza has served churches in Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, and, now, New York. He comes to Middle Collegiate Church to be executive minister after serving Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta for six-and-a-half years, a congregation that is five times larger today than when he started. He holds bachelor’s degrees in history and psychology from Valdosta State University and a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta and is a doctoral candidate at Hartford Seminary, where he is an adjunct professor teaching church growth.
Once named by the “Advocate” magazine as one of the most influential people in the gay and lesbian movement, he also was honored by Pacific School of Religion with its “Leading Voice” award for his social justice work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. His published books include Vital Vintage Church; Liberating Word, A Daily Reflection for Liberals, Volume One: The First Testament; Liberating the Gospel; Gay by God: How to be Lesbian or Gay and Christian (formerly Holy Homosexuals); Queeries: Questions Lesbians and Gays Have for God; The Real antiChrist: How America Sold its Soul; and Prophetic Renewal: Hope for the Liberal Church. He is the co-author of Liberating Hope: Daring to Renew the Mainline Church, which was released by Pilgrim Press, and currently is co-writing Fishing in a Shallow Sea with Dr. Scott Thumma, Academic Dean of Hartford Seminary. In his spare time, Rev. Piazza enjoys online prophetic advocacy and agitation and can be found on Twitter (@RevMikePiazza) and Facebook (Rev. Michael Piazza). He also writes a daily blog/devotion called “Liberating Word.”
Rev. Piazza and his late partner, Bill Eure, met in 1980 and were married for 35 years. Together, they raised two wonderful daughters.
Board Member, The Reformation Project
Kenji Kuramitsu is a writer and Master of Divinity student at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Kenji currently serves on the national board of the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights group in the US, and the board of the Reformation Project, an LGBTQ Christian grassroots organization. He is the author of the newly released A Booklet of Uncommon Prayer.
Assistant Faith Work Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
Barbara Satin is a transgender activist who has been deeply involved with LGBTQ issues, locally and nationally, particularly around issues of faith and aging. She currently serves as Assistant Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force. Barbara is also on the boards of non-profits serving LGBTQ people in the area of philanthropy, HIV/AIDS services and aging. An active member of the United Church of Christ, she was the first trans person to serve on the denomination’s Executive Council and was involved in the Church’s 2003 decision to affirm the inclusion of transgender people in the full life and ministry of the UCC. In 2016, Barbara was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Faith-based and Neighborhood Advisory Council.
Pastor Danny Cortez
Co-Pastor, New Heart
Danny Cortez is a co-pastor of New Heart, a church that has adopted a Third Way approach on disputable areas of theology and practice. He currently serves as a board member of The Gay Christian Network (GCN). He co-founded My Refuge House, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit ministry that aids survivors of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse. He also works with NQAPIA on Family Acceptance and Faith Initiatives. He co-founded Estuary, a safe space for LGBTQ people navigating issues of faith. He also serves as a hospice chaplain with Evergreen Hospice. He earned his M.Div. at Talbot Theological Seminary and is a graduate of Arrow Leadership, BC, Canada. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife Abby and their 4 children: DJ, Derrick, Drew and Alyssa.
Board Member, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality
Rod Snyder is a former national president of the Young Democrats of America (2010-2013). During his tenure, he co-founded the YDA Faith & Values Initiative and has written and spoken frequently on the intersection of faith, politics, and sexuality. He has made appearances on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CBS News, C-SPAN, and Al Jazeera to offer political analysis and currently serves on the advisory board of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality. Snyder has a B.A. in political science from Eastern University and resides in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.
Organizing and Programs Director
AnaYelsi Velasco-Sanchez is an Indo-Latinx interlocking mujerista, which is just a fancy way of saying she's a Christian feminist trying to survive life in the Latin diaspora. She has been working as a faith-based community organizer for nearly a decade now. She currently serves as The Reformation Project's Organizing and Programs Director as well as oversees their Academy for Racial Justice. She is also an educator with the Racial Justice Institute, an initiative of Evangelicals For Social Action.
An artist and writer, AnaYelsi's paintings have been featured in shows in Orlando and D.C. and she has written for outlets such as Believe Out Loud and the CCDA Theological Journal. She has been featured as a speaker and panelist for organizations such as The Gay Christian Network, Human Rights Campaign, Wild Goose Festival, The Krista Foundation and more.
She enjoys teaching others to cook, reading everything she can get her hands on, and watching an absurd amount of problematic made-for-tv holiday romcoms. You can find her on twitter as @Brwneyedamzn.
Pastor Amy Butler
Senior Minister, Riverside Church
Pastor Amy Butler is the seventh Senior Minister and first woman to serve at the helm of the Riverside Church. She holds degrees from Baylor University, the International Baptist Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary. Pastor Amy’s professional ministry career began as the director of a homeless shelter for women in New Orleans, Louisiana; she later became Associate Pastor of Membership and Mission at St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in the city of New Orleans. In 2003, Butler was called to the position of Senior Minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown, where she was also the first woman to lead that historic congregation. When she’s not busy leading the church, Pastor Amy enjoys exploring New York, taking in a concert or a Broadway show, or hosting friends for dinner. Pastor Amy is a single mom to three amazing young adults who are each making their way in the world. Follow Pastor Amy on her blog www.talkwiththepreacher.org or on social media @PastorAmyTRC.
Lauren Ileana Sotolongo
Writer and Organizer
Lauren Ileana Sotolongo is a writer and organizer who works in Washington, DC, where she networks with organizers across the country to advocate for and with LGBTQ students at Christian universities. For more information about her work, visit liturgicalspace.co, or follow on Instagram @laurensotolongo.
Writer and THERAPIST
Candice Czubernat is a speaker, writer and licensed therapist. She's also a married lesbian, Christian woman and mother of two. She's the founder of The Christian Closet, a web-based counseling practice where she specializes in seeing those needing a safe place to reconcile their faith with their sexual and gender identities. She's been in the mental health field for 14 years and counts it a privileged to be an affirming presence for those who need it.
Dr. Kathryn Lee
Kathryn Lee is professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. She has taught for over thirty years in Christian higher education, including Eastern University and Seattle Pacific University. Her Ph.D. in political science is from Johns Hopkins University, and she also has a law degree from Temple University. Her research areas focus on gender and American politics.
Her recent publications include an essay titled, “CCCU Tries to Thread the Needle,” published in Sightings for the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School. In the essay, she discusses the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ membership policy which now requires full-voting members to affirm that marriage is to be between a man and a woman. She was also a contributor to the online conversation, “Respectful Conversations: Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality,” hosted by Dr Harold Heie, a former administrator at several Christian colleges.
Carolyn Reyes is Youth Policy Counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), where she coordinates the #BornPerfect campaign to end conversion therapy. She is a national expert on issues related to LGBT youth in child welfare and juvenile justice who has spent over two decades working on behalf of marginalized children, youth and families in various capacities, including children’s attorney, child welfare worker, children and family therapist, and school counselor. Carolyn received her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law, her M.S.W. from San Francisco State University, her M.A. in Theology (Religion & Society) from Pacific School of Religion, and her B.A. from Wheaton College (IL).
Alicia Crosby addresses the spiritual, systemic, and interpersonal harm people experience through teaching, writing, speaking, and curating space that explores and unpacks topics related to intersectional equity. This native New Yorker turned Chicagoan lives into this through her work with her nonprofit Center for Inclusivity and through her writing and speaking. You can find out more about the Center via www.centerforinclusivity.org and follow Alicia's other work at aliciatcrosby.come or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram via @aliciatcrosby.