Chicago Conference on Bible-Based LGBTQ Inclusion
Since 2014, The Reformation Project has welcomed more than 1,500 people to our conferences on LGBTQ inclusion across the country. Last year, our annual conference was held in Chicago from October 26-28.
At Fourth Presbyterian Church in the heart of downtown Chicago, it was an ideal opportunity for attendees to enhance their advocacy for LGBTQ inclusion in the church. Here's what people experienced:
- First-rate teaching from leading biblical scholars and theologians to help you learn how to talk about the Bible and LGBTQ inclusion with non-affirming Christians;
- Inspiring keynotes and workshops from LGBTQ Christians and allies at the forefront of this movement;
- Intersectional approach centering the marginalized within LGBTQ Christian communities, including people of color, women, and transgender people;
- Worship, community, and new friendships with attendees from across the United States and the world who are also passionate about advancing LGBTQ inclusion in the church.
The event was open to all, regardless of theological beliefs.
ACADEMY FOR RACIAL JUSTICE—THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26
The Reformation Project's Academy for Racial Justice was a daylong program on Thursday, October 26, designed to meet people wherever they are at in their racial justice journey. The Academy combined biblical teaching, interactive simulations, and significant cross-cultural dialogue around the intersection of racial and LGBTQ justice.
Within the LGBTQ Christian community, many forms of marginalization exist based on race, ethnicity, ability, class, gender, and gender identity. It is all too common for LGBTQ advocacy to focus primarily, if not exclusively, on the needs of white, cisgender gay men, while leaving queer people of color, women, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming people behind. This workshop provides knowledge and skills needed to ensure your LGBTQ advocacy truly advocates for all LGBTQ people, including people of color.
If you would like to give to the scholarship fund in order to help others who would not otherwise be able to attend, please donate to The Reformation Project here.
Want to know what our conferences are all about? Hear from our attendees themselves! Take a look at these great testimonies and get a feel for all you will experience and learn our conference.
Alicia Crosby has always been the type of person to color outside the lines - a trait that comes in handy as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Center for Inclusivity (CFI). Her passions for justice, spiritually engaged activism, and community engagement led her to pursue a M.A. in Social Justice and Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. She also has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Hollins University. Through experiences within religious, social service, and community empowerment contexts and her navigation of the world as a queer, black woman, Alicia saw a need to address the spiritual, systemic, and interpersonal harm people experience through the promotion of inclusion and equity for all people through her work. She is proud that CFI is a place where people can bring the fullness of who they are forward and find community that gives them life.
Rev. Dr. Neichelle R. Guidry is a spiritual daughter of New Creation Christian Fellowship of San Antonio, Texas, where the Bishop David Michael Copeland and the Rev. Dr. Claudette Anderson Copeland are her pastors and where she was ordained to ministry in 2010. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University (2007, BA, Lambda Pi Eta) and Yale Divinity School (2010, M.Div.), where she was the 2010 recipient of the Walcott Prize for Clear and Effective Public and Pulpit Speaking. She is also a graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (2017), where she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in the area of Liturgical Studies with a concentration in Homiletics. Her dissertation is entitled, "Towards a Womanist Homiletical Theology for Subverting Rape Culture." Currently, she serves as the Liaison to Worship and Arts Ministries in the Office of the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on the South side of Chicago, where the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III is the Senior Pastor. She is the creator of shepreaches, a virtual community and professional development organization that aspires to uplift African- American millennial women in ministry through theological reflection, fellowship, and liturgical curation.
Alicia Johnston grew up in a conservative Christian denomination, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She was fully dedicated to her denomination, attending Adventist schools and centering her life around the church. Feeling the call of God, she eventually became a minister. After years of struggle with the church’s teaching about LGBT+ sexuality and gender as well as her own sexuality, she announced via a viral video that she is fully inclusive and affirming and that she is a bisexual Christian. The announcement resulted in a forced resignation from her church and the loss of her career as an Adventist pastor. Still, Alicia describes her life now as full of joy, harmony, and purpose. She wouldn’t change a thing. She speaks and writes about her story, queer insights on faith, and the intersection of Christianity and sexuality. Alicia has a master of divinity from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI and a master of arts in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in Phoenix, AZ. She can be found at aliciajohnston.com.
Austen Hartke is the creator of the YouTube series “Transgender and Christian,” which seeks to understand, interpret, and share parts of the Bible that relate to gender identity and the lives of transgender individuals. Austen is a graduate of Luther Seminary’s Master of Arts program in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies, and is the winner of the 2014 John Milton Prize in Old Testament Writing from the same institution. Currently Austen lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he is working on a collection of biblical and modern narratives from gender-non-conforming people of faith, to be published with Westminster John Knox Press in Spring of 2018. As a transgender person of faith his greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-non-conforming people see themselves in scripture.
Angie Hong will be serving as the conference's worship leader in Chicago. Along with being a worship leader, she is a writer and speaker. She currently serves as the Creative Director at the Chicago campus of Willow Creek Community Church, and most recently a contributing author of “Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World,” released in March 2017 through Judson Press, and “Soul Bare” released in Summer 2016 through Intervarsity Press. Angie has a background in music therapy and explores the intersection between worship, reconciliation, and identity on her blog, angiekayhong.com. She has led worship for The Justice Conference, Christian Community Development Association, and the Duke Divinity Center for Reconciliation.
Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an Associate Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion. Kim is the author or editor of 12 books, including Intercultural Ministry: Hope for a Changing World and Embracing the Other: The Transformative Spirit of Love. Grace Ji-Sun Kim is an ordained minister of word and sacrament within the Presbyterian Church (USA). Kim a member of the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Religion as an At-Large Director. She also serves on the American Academy of Religion’s (AAR) “Research Grants Jury Committee.” She is a co-chair of AAR’s steering committee, “Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching and Activism Group.” Kim writes for The Huffington Post, Sojourners, EthicsDaily.com, Wabash Center and Feminist Studies in Religion (co-editor). She is honored to be included in the Englewood Review of Book’s list of “Ten Important Women Theologians That You Should Be Reading” and to be included in their list of books to read under “Our God is Too White? Diversifying our Theology”. Eerdmans included her in Five Great Women Scholars (and Their Books). She has also written for TIME, The Feminist Wire, Feminism and Religion, The Forum for Theological Education, 99 Brattle and The Nation. She is married to Dr. Perry Y.C. Lee (Associate Professor of Mathematics, Kutztown University) and they have three children: Theo, Elisabeth, and Joshua.
Matthew Vines is the founder and executive director of The Reformation Project. He is also the author of God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, published by Convergent in 2014. In 2012, Matthew delivered a speechat a church in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, making the case that Christians should affirm gay Christians and their marriage relationships. His speech went viral, having been seen nearly a million times and leading to a feature story in The New York Times. In 2013, Matthew launched The Reformation Project and hosted an inaugural leadership training conference for 50 Christians from across the U.S. and Canada. He is now expanding his efforts with conferences and regular speaking engagements across the country. God and the Gay Christian has generated significant media attention, with US News & World Report calling it “profoundly important” and veteran religion reporter David Crumm writing that it “is going to be a classic."
Jarell Wilson is a graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a Twitter addict, a blogger, and a self-proclaimed Methodork. He attended Baylor University and graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Sociology. He’s a proud resident of Chicago; an activist in Chacos; a Slytherin; a Matt Smith Whovian; a scented candle aficionado; enneagram 4 with a 5 wing; and an obsessed parent of the most wonderful dog in all of God’s creation, Mia. While he isn’t working or studying, he can be found slacking off, prowling whatever city he is in for the best places to eat, reading, watching Netflix, and singing rather loudly. Jarell serves on the board of Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization dedicated to making the United Methodist Church LGBTIQ affirming. He is currently a certified candidate for ordained ministry in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church on the elder track and a Ph.D. student at Chicago Theological Seminary focusing on Theology and Cultural Criticism.
Events sponsored by The Reformation Project may be photographed or video-recorded by independent media outlets. We recognize some participants would prefer not to appear in media coverage or promotional material. Such participants will be given different colored lanyards for their name badges. While this effort has proven largely successful in other conferences, we cannot guarantee it. By registering for the conference, you are agreeing that your image may appear in media or promotional material.
All registrations are non-refundable.
Can’t make it to our conference but still want to support inclusion?