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Chicago Conference on Bible-Based LGBTQ Inclusion

  • Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago 126 E Chestnut St Chicago, IL 60611 USA (map)

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. This year, we're thrilled to announce that our annual conference will be held in Chicago from October 26-28—and you're invited!

The conference will take place at the beautiful Fourth Presbyterian Church in the heart of downtown Chicago. Running from Thursday through Saturday evening, it is an ideal opportunity for anyone seeking to enhance their advocacy for LGBTQ inclusion in the church. Here's what to expect if you attend:

  • 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 keynote addresses and workshops from LGBTQ Christians and allies who are at the forefront of this movement in the church
  • An intersectional approach to LGBTQ inclusion, centering the voices of marginalized people within the LGBTQ Christian community and working to ensure our advocacy is for everyone in our community, 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.

Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of your theological beliefs. It costs $99 for early-bird registration, though the price will be going up soon, so if you're interested, go ahead and register today! We'd love to welcome you to Chicago this fall.

Academy for Racial Justice—Thursday, October 26

The Reformation Project's Academy for Racial Justice is a daylong program on Thursday, October 26, designed to meet people wherever they are at in their racial justice journey. Those who are newer to conversations about ethnic identity and systemic oppression will be encouraged in their next steps, and those who have been working on this for decades will be celebrated in their wisdom and expertise. The Academy will combine biblical teaching, interactive simulations, and significant cross-cultural dialogue around the intersection of racial and LGBTQ justice. Within the LGBTQ Christian community, many parallel 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 that your LGBTQ advocacy truly advocates for all LGBTQ people, including people of color. Separate registration is required for the ARJ.

Submit A Workshop Proposal

Would you be interested in presenting a workshop while you're at our Chicago conference? Complete thisproposal form by July 3rd, 2017 for consideration. If accepted, you will be notified by Friday, July 28th.

This submission process will ask you to provide the following:

  • A 150-250 word abstract
  • A 50-100 word program description
  • Complete contact information
  • A Brief presenter biography


The success of our conference depends greatly on our volunteers. We offer a discounted registration of $25 to those who are able to commit at least six hours throughout the three days. If you are interested in volunteering in Chicago, please send an email to to learn more about it. Volunteer slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


A limited number of scholarships are available to cover registration costs for attendees. To apply, please send this completed scholarship application in an email to by September 1, 2017. All decisions on scholarships will be made by September 15.

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.

Conference Testimonials

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.


It was the single most important, most life-changing weekend of my life. I finally felt welcomed into the family of God.

—Kevin Garcia, "Yes, I'm a Gay Christian"

Conference Speakers

 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

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.