Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos was ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches in 2002. She served for nine years as the Senior Pastor of MCC of Northern Virginia before taking the position of Associate Director of Formation and Leadership Development for MCC, where she has served for 3.5 years. Kharma has a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry (Queer Ecclesiology) from Episcopal Divinity School. Kharma lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her partner, Rev. Elder Diane Fisher.
Rev. Dr. Tom Bohache has been clergy in MCC since 1988 and has served congregations in California, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey, where he is currently pastor of MCC Christ the Liberator. Tom has Bachelor’s degrees in classical languages (UCLA) and theology (Samaritan), Master’s degrees in New Testament/Christian Origins (University of Virginia) and Liberal Studies/Religion (Georgetown University), and a Doctorate in feminist liberation theologies (Episcopal Divinity School). He is the author of Christology from the Margins (SCM, 2008), and contributor/co-editor of The Queer Bible Commentary (SCM, 2006) and Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians (Praeger, 2014). Over the years Tom has served MCC at the regional and denominational levels, currently as online faculty for the Office of Formation & Leadership Development and as member of the Theologies Team.
Marie Alford-Harkey is the Deputy Director of the Religious Institute, a national multifaith nonprofit dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. She is the lead author of the Religious Institute publication Making the Invisible Visible: Bisexuality in Faith Communities, and has led workshops on faith and sexuality at Creating Change, the Wild Goose Festival, and at seminaries and theological schools. An educator with twenty years of classroom experience, Marie holds a Master of Arts degree in French literature from Wayne State University, and earned her Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2010. Marie is currently in care with Metropolitan Community Churches, and is an intern at MCC Hartford, CT.
Dr. Xochitl Alvizo is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in the area of Women and Religion and the Philosophy of Gender (LGBT), Sex, and Sexuality at California State University, Northridge. She received her Ph.D. in Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology. Her areas of interest include feminist and queer theologies, congregational studies, ecclesiology, and the emerging church. Xochitl is co-founder of “Feminism and Religion,” an online project that brings together multiple feminist voices from around the world to dialogue about feminism in religion and at the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community. She is co-founder of the Pub Church, Boston. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, and although she lived happily in Boston for 11 years, she is excited to be back home in Los Angeles.
Rev. Daniel Borysewicz is a chaplain, spiritual guide, Reiki practitioner, social activist, U.S. Navy veteran, and an ordained minister in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. He brings over 20 years of experience and knowledge into his ministry to seek radical inclusion for all people; regardless of race, nationality, sexual or gender identity, or socio-economic class. As an ally to the Transgender and People of Color communities, Rev. Daniel utilizes his diverse experience as a natural networker to connect people, ideas, and resources for mutual benefit and to be a presence in the world to bring the radically inclusive love of God to all people. He graduated from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, with a Masters in Divinity and a Certificate in Sexuality and Religion, having previously received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, with a focus on Religious and Queer Studies. Rev. Daniel currently serves as a hospice chaplain in Walnut Creek, California, an Assistant Night Minister with San Francisco Night Ministry, and volunteer clergy at MCC San Francisco.
Rev. Rachelle Brown is an Emerging Church Specialist for the MCC Office of Emerging Ministries. She has served as an Intentional Interim Minister and the North Central MCC Network Leader, and often facilitates the online MCC Sexuality Studies course. As an educator, she is an adjunct professor in both university and seminary settings. Rev. Brown holds a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO and Master of Communications from Missouri State University, and is currently working on her PhD at Chicago Theological Seminary. As a theologian and educator, she explores intersections of queer ethics, theology and human sciences, with an interest in the historiography of modern religious thought and practices.
Rev. Denise Burke is a former American Baptist pastor who has served churches in Maine, Minnesota, and Alaska, and is now in care at All God’s Children MCC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary in 1989 and is now a Doctor of Ministry student at United Theological Seminary (New Brighton, Minnesota) in pastoral care and counseling with a special focus in trans and recovery ministries. Her dissertation is currently in process, in which she develops a new theological praxis for pastoral care of trans and gender non-conforming people based in queer theology and, in particular, the work of Marcella Althaus-Reid. She enjoys traveling extensively with her partner and speaking on trans issues.
Rev. Joe Cobb is Pastor of MCC of the Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia (2009-present). Joe has been MCC clergy since 2006, serving as Pastor of MCC Winston-Salem (2007-08), having previously served as clergy in the United Methodist Church from 1985-2001. Joe is co-author of the book Our Family Outing: A Memoir of Coming Out and Coming Through, and author of the progressive faith blog “This Pastor is Out: Adventures of a Queer Shepherd.” Joe’s family includes his partner, James, and their four children, Emma, Taylor, Ginny and JJ. Joe is a writer, singer, pastor, prophet, and activist.
Dr. Susannah Cornwall is Advanced Research Fellow in Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, UK, and Director of EXCEPT (Exeter Centre for Ethics and Practical Theology). She is the author of Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology (Routledge, 2010); Controversies in Queer Theology (SCM, 2011); and Theology and Sexuality (SCM, 2013). She is the editor of Intersex, Theology, and the Bible: Troubling Bodies in Church, Text, and Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); and, with John Bradbury, of Thinking Again About Marriage: Key Theological Questions (SCM, forthcoming). She recently contributed the theological section to Sexuality: The Inclusive Church Resource (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2014). Her current book project is provisionally entitled Un/familiar Theology: Generativity and its Reconception. She is an executive committee member of the Society for the Study of Theology.
Rev. Dr. Edgard Francisco Danielsen-Morales is the Assistant Pastor for Congregational Life at MCC New York. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Edgard Francisco’s spiritual journey began in the American Baptist and Disciples of Christ (Charismatic) traditions. Because of his sexual orientation, his church stripped him of his lay ministry, and any future possibility of entering the ordination process. In 1996 Edgard Francisco found his spiritual home in MCC, where he reclaimed his call to the pastoral ministry. He was ordained in 2002 and began his pastoral work at ICM Cristo Sanador in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In the academic world, he held a tenured position as Full Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico for 16 years, as well as 6 years as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. Currently, in addition to serving at MCCNY, Edgard Francisco is a Psychoanalyst-in-Training at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. Edgard Francisco has participated in many committees and teams at the denominational level of MCC, including working with those preparing for ordination, conference worship planning, translation of documents, the Theologies Team, and the Hispanic Church Plant Team.
Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas is an Episcopal priest and leading womanist theologian. She is currently Professor of Religion at Goucher College, after teaching for many years at Howard University School of Divinity. Her publications include The Black Christ, Sexuality and the Black Church, The Black Body and the Black Church: A Blues Slant, and, most recently, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (all from Orbis Books).
Rev. Beulah Durrheim is currently the Pastor at Good Hope MCC in Cape Town, South Africa, where she has been serving since September 2012. Prior to this she worked as a Pastor in two Methodist churches for a period of 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of South Africa. Beulah also served as the Spiritual Director for Africa Upper Room Ministries and attended a conference where she presented an Africa awareness piece in North Carolina, USA. She has been in various leadership roles within the Emmaus/Chrysalis movement for Christian Leadership Training. She has contributed on a denominational level by serving on the Moderator Nominating Committee. Beulah has spoken at interfaith gatherings and is an advocate for LGBTI Rights. Speaking on behalf of Africa is a privilege for her and she believes that God has called her to participate in this symposium in order to offer a broader perspective on the subject of spirituality and sexuality.
If you were to ask Rev. Elder Diane Fisher to describe herself, she would likely say, “I am a lesbian Christian pastor of Gentle Shepherd Metropolitan Community Church in Tallahassee, Florida, and I am a mother of a fabulous daughter, Karli, and partnered with Rev. Dr. Kharma Amos, who delights my heart.” Diane is a queer activist, proudly Canadian, who had her daughter with two gay men (Bill and Walter). She is best known within MCC as someone who is passionate about local churches, cares deeply about God, and advocates tirelessly on behalf of young people and the LGBT community. She is known internationally as the “lesbian bishop” and for her justice ministry with LGBT people, especially in Eastern Europe and Africa. Thanks to her tireless work in Eastern Europe, MCC became identified as the Human Rights Church. Rev. Elder Fisher was presented with MCC’s Human Rights Award in 2010. She joined the board of Other Sheep in 2013. Her passion is working to change systems that encourage or reinforce marginalization of those who have been caught “outside the system.”
Rev. Dr. Joseph N. Goh holds a PhD in Arts from Monash University, Malaysia, with a specialization in gender, sexuality, and theology. An ordained minister with the North American Catholic Ecumenical Church (NACEC), Goh is also a member of the Emerging Queer Asian Pacific Islander Religion Scholars (EQARS).
Rev. Dr. Robin Hawley Gorsline is engaged in a new ministry of writing, consulting, and assisting unchurched persons who seek support from clergy. He is the former President & CEO of POFEV: People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, a statewide movement for justice he co-founded in 2005. From 2003-2013 he was Pastor of MCC Richmond, Virginia. A native of Michigan, where he served as a local and county elected official, Dr. Gorsline earned the Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, and the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He identifies himself as a spiritual activist for social justice who builds bridges across social and religious divisions. Dr. Gorsline co-edited Disrupting White Supremacy from Within, and is the author of articles on sexuality, anti-racism, and theology. He has been married to Dr. Jonathan Lebolt, LCSW, for 17 years, and they are settling into a new home in Greenbelt, MD; they are grateful for three daughters and two sons-in-law, two glorious granddaughters, and Cocoa, their standard poodle.
Rev. Dr. Karl Hand is the founding pastor of Crave Metropolitan Community Church in Sydney Australia, where he has ministered since 2008. He has taught Exegesis and Greek courses at United Theological College as well as Australian Catholic University, and the University of Newcastle. He holds masters degrees in theology and philosophy, and a PhD in Theology (New Testament Studies) through Charles Stuart University. Karl has an evangelical theology, a pentecostal spirituality, and a liberationist hermeneutic. He enjoys provocative and playful readings of the scripture which trigger spiritual transformation and cognitive growth. He is passionate about social transformation, and has been involved in campaigns for marriage equality and refugee rights in Australia. He has published a number of articles on these topics in theological journals worldwide.
Rev. Kate Rowley Harford works as Ecumenical Chaplain at Oxford Brookes University, where she coordinates a multifaith team on campus who lead worship, and offer spiritual and pastoral care to students and staff. She was recently approved for ordination in UFMCC, serving at MCC of North London. Kate studied for a BA in Archaeology, Classics, and Classical Art at University College London (UCL) and spent a year studying theology as a postgraduate student at St. Stephen’s House, University of Oxford. She worked in student welfare at UCL, and volunteered for many years with the online charity YouthNet, where she supported vulnerable young adults. She is trained in pastoral psychology, mental health first aid, and the spiritual dimensions of mental health care, and her lived experience of mental health difficulties informs her work.
Rev. Jakob Hero was ordained as MCC clergy in 2013 after receiving his Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion. He is a transgender activist and has served as a hospital chaplain for a number of years. He was recently selected as the pastoral candidate for MCC Tampa, FL.
Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches in New York City. Miller’s thesis, “Every Woman Who Will Make Herself Male: Genderqueer Expression in the Early Church” was deposited in the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary in 2004 and earned him the Roswell Dwight Hitchcock Prize in Church History. He has worked for LGBT civil rights with Lambda Legal Defense; for anti-violence justice and meditative practice at the Brooklyn-based Center for Anti-Violence Education, one of the first all-women organizations to include trans women and, later, all trans-identified people; as a counselor and advocate for domestic violence and rape survivors with organizations in New York and Pennsylvania, including state-wide violence prevention efforts; as a mentor to local queer and trans youth in NY and PA; and as the pastor of MCC congregations in Binghamton, NY, and currently Open Door MCC in Boyds, MD. Mind-body-spirit connections to social justice and the connectedness of all forms of physical, emotional, and spiritual violence deeply influence his theology and ministry. Miller is a contributor to The Huffington Post, and his writing explores the places where personal action meets and impacts social change.
Dr. Siân Jones is an Early Career Fellow at Goldmiths College, University of London, UK. She obtained her degrees from the University of Exeter and Cardiff University. Her research has primarily been in the areas of social and educational psychology, with a specific focus on friendships in schools. Her research has three key strands. The first strand concerns how peer group memberships and school ethos affect children’s responses to, and willingness to report bullying, including bias-based discrimination (e.g., homophobic or transphobic peer victimization). This research also speaks to the role of bystanders at bullying incidents, including cyberbullying incidents. A second strand of research concerns how children deploy humour in friendship groups, either to maintain or resist bullying. A third strand of research focuses on children with physical disabilities, and concerns how children’s imagined play, using Playmobil TM figures affects their responses to children with disabilities.
Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson is a national voice of progressive Judaism and longtime LGBT activist. He is an affiliated assistant professor at Chicago Divinity School, and holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and nondenominational rabbinic ordination. The author of five books and more than 300 articles on religion, sexuality, law, and contemplative practice, Dr. Michaelson is a contributing editor to The Daily Beast and the Forward newspaper. His 2011 book, God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality, was an Amazon bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist. His next book is The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path, to be published in September, 2015.
Rev. Elder Jim Mitulski has been an MCC minister for 32 years in New York City, San Francisco, Guerneville CA, Glendale CA, Berkley CA, Dallas, and Denver. He has been an associate, a solo pastor, a senior pastor, an interim pastor, a campus pastor and chaplain, and a denominational executive. He has a BA in Women’s Studies and Religion from Columbia University, an M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion, was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard Divinity School and received an honorary doctor of theology form the Starr King School for the Ministry. He has published on topics of sexuality, religion, HIV/AIDS and literature in Christian Century, Lambda Literary Review, the Bay Area Reporter , and has articles or chapters in Take Back The Word, Sex as God Intended, Out in the Castro: Desire Promise and Activism, The Church with AIDS: Renewal in the Midst of Crisis. Jim holds ministerial credentials with MCC, the United Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, and the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
Rev. Dr. Ngeo Boon Lin is Chinese Malaysian. He is a staff pastor of MCC New York, he teaches gender studies and sexualities at Hunter College City University of New York and sociology at St. Peter’s University. He was an award-winning journalist before he came to the United States in 1997. He has published extensively in the Chinese language since 1999, and is the author of more than 40 books and numerous bestsellers in Malaysia. He holds a BA degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, a MA degree in sociology from Minnesota State University, a Master of Theological Studies from Episcopal Divinity School, and a doctoral degree in theology from Boston University. He is also a doctoral candidate in sociology. Rev. Dr. Ngeo is the first openly gay minister in his native country Malaysia, and the first and only openly gay minister who holds a doctoral degree in theology in Asia; he isone of the most sought after speakers in LGBTI Chinese communities in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Rev. Elder Troy Perry is the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and a pioneer in GLBTQ activism in church and society. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees and is the author of several bestselling books, including The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows That I’m Gay and Don’t Be Afraid Anymore. After serving as the Moderator of MCC for almost forty years, Rev. Perry retired and continues to speak and preach around the world. He and his husband Philip were among the first to sue the government over marriage equality.
Rev. Mykal O’Neal Slack is the founder and lead organizer of 4LYFE, an ecumenical, consultative ministry of Metropolitan Community Churches that develops anti-racist and anti-oppressive frameworks for church life and provides pastoral and educational resources to address sexual orientation and gender identity issues in faith communities of all kinds, inviting everyone to Live Your Faith Everyday. He also recently joined the staff of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh as their first Director of Congregational Life, where he will focus on newcomer welcome, membership and communications. For his commitment to multicultural culture-building in communities of faith, Mykal has been selected to serve as a Movement Fellow for the Southeast House of Soulforce for 2015-2016. Mykal is a member of the Advisory Group for the Center for African American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice, the Trans*/GNC Advisory Council of Metropolitan Community Churches, and the steering team of the Trans People of Color Coalition, the only national organization that seeks to promote the social and economic equality of all black and brown transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Theresa Ines Soto is a candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry and the ministerial intern at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, Oregon, where she will be leading the congregation in an exploration of interfaith engagement. Theresa’s principal theological research focuses on a liberatory Unitarian Universalist theology of disability that seeks to distill to praxis the truth that all bodies are good and beloved of God. She is grateful to combine this work with the practical work of access and inclusion in various ways throughout the denomination.
David Williams, M.D., M.P.H., a clinical emergency and trauma physician and surgeon, has extensive professional work experience which he has brought to Metropolitan Community Church. He has served as a member of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council since 2012, providing technical support on the recent developments in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. He currently serves on the board of directors of MCC Christ the Liberator in New Jersey and as MCC’s HIV/AIDS Advisory Council’s Program Officer. Dr. Williams worked for more than 20 years as a doctor in the United States and overseas, as well as a public health officer within governmental organizations. As part of his duties as a public health officer and hospital administrator, he has studied various aspects of the U.S. healthcare system. In his day to day activities, he has found that there are glaring disparities in access to care within communities of color and socioeconomic levels. Dr. Williams resides and practices in the greater New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. He was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica; he travels extensively, lecturing internationally on the topics of emergency medicine, trauma surgery, and public health.