Presenting… The exciting list of speakers and preachers in order of appearance for General Conference 2019!
Rev. Terri Steed Pierce
Preacher, Sunday Morning Worship
Rev. Terri Steed Pierce is the Lead Pastor of Joy Metropolitan Community Church. JOY has been a beacon of light in the City Beautiful for 40 years. Rev. Terri has been serving JOY as Lead Pastor for over six years. She’s also served churches in Raleigh, NC: Norfolk VA: Charleston, SC; Houston TX; Omaha NE.
Rev. Terri was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Mars Hill University and her Masters of Divinity with Languages from Southeaster Baptist Theological Seminary.
Rev. Terri serves on the One Pulse Foundation Task Force that will create a permanent memorial and museum. She serves on the board of directors for THRIVE-an LGBTQ non-profit and is part of an Orlando Pastor’s Coalition..
She is a lover of Jesus, a self-professed church nerd, and the wife of Kim Pierce and passionate about justice and equality. The night of June 12, 2016 changed her life forever as it did for most people in Orlando, Florida. The Pulse tragedy brought out a newfound passion to ensure that even though hate often tries, love wins. Love always wins.
Rev. Elder Troy Perry
Preacher, Opening Worship
Rev. Elder Troy Perry is our founder whose legacy lives on in every church service and gathering of openly queer, Christian people.
After serving in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967, Perry moved to Los Angeles. Having a renewed sense of spirituality—following a suicide attempt—he held the first MCC service in his home for a small group of 12 people, most of whom were homosexuals, on October 6, 1968 — the anniversary we celebrate at this conference. In 1969 he performed the first public same–sex wedding ceremony in the United States. In 1972 he published an autobiography, The Lord Is My Shepherd and He Knows I’m Gay.
MCC grew rapidly and eventually spread throughout the country and around the world. Rev. Tory retired from pastoral duties in 1973, when he became the first moderator of MCC, an elected position to serve as spokesperson, CEO, and primary visionary for the member congregations. He became a major national advocate of gay rights and AIDS awareness in the 1970s and ’80s and continues today. In 2003 he married his beloved, Philip Ray DeBlieck in Canada. Rev. Troy retired as moderator in 2005.
Rev. Mel Pace
Preacher, Tuesday Morning Worship
Reverend Melissa Pace is the Co-Founder and Pastor of Open Table Dinner Church in Cambridge, MA. At Open Table folks gather to share stories, song, and reflection over a meal that nourishes mind, body, and spirit. Guided by her understanding that everything is interconnected, Rev. Mel co-creates community where all people are celebrated as whole and holy just exactly as they are. Called to ministry on the margins, Rev. Mel finds God in relationship, nature, sex, intersectional justice work, and the radical act of being one’s self. As a Queer Theologian she challenges systems and continually seeks new ways to integrate sacred text, contemplation, and active practice in community.
Rev. Trent Thornley
Preacher, Tuesday Morning Worship
The Rev. Trent J. Thornley, J.D. educates spiritual care leaders in a clinical context using the Enneagram, and he facilitates Enneagram workshops. He is an ACPE Certified Educator Candidate at UCSF Health in San Francisco. Trent is an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Churches, and an ordained Buddhist Dharma Leader in the Nyingma lineage of Anam Thubten. Trent holds a J.D. degree from Indiana University, an M.A. degree in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Union, and a Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy from Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. Trent maintains the website www.LivingEnneagram.com
Bishop Yvette A. Flunder
Preacher, Tuesday Evening Worship
Bishop Yvette Flunder is a native San Franciscan and third generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ. Bishop Flunder is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and holds both masters and doctorate degrees in Ministry from the Pacific School of Religion and the San Francisco Theological Seminary, respectively. In 2003, she was appointed Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 56 churches and faith-based organizations from all over the world.
Bishop Flunder is a trustee and adjunct professor at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She is an active voice for the Religion Council of the Human Rights Campaign, as well as for the National Black Justice Coalition. Bishop Flunder is a highly sought after preacher and religious educator as evidenced by her having spoken at divinity schools nationwide including those at Duke, Yale , Drew, and the New York Theological Seminary. She is the author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic Radical Inclusion, published by Pilgrim Press. In addition to her memorable sermons, Bishop Flunder is also known for her beautiful singing voice, made famous through her gospel recordings with Walter Hawkins and the Family, the City of Refuge Choir and Chanticleer.
Rev. Beulah Durrheim
Preacher, Wednesday Morning
Rev. Beulah Durrheim has been the Pastor at Good Hope MCC in Cape Town, South Africa, since September 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of South Africa.
At denominational level Beulah served on the Moderator Nominating Committee. She’s the network leader for South Africa, and is a member of the 2017 MCC Judicial Pool. She attended the interim pastoral training in 2016.
Before joining MCC, Beulah was a Pastor in the Methodist church for 10 years. She served as the Spiritual Director for Africa Upper Room Ministries and has been in various leadership roles within the Emmaus/Chrysalis movement for Christian Leadership Training.
Beulah enjoys running, birdwatching and photography. She and her spouse Charmaine have been married for 10 years and they have five beautiful cats named Andor, Biyamiti, Adagio, Togi and Porto.
Rev. Wanda Floyd
Preacher, Wednesday Morning
Rev. Floyd began her journey with MCC at St. John’s MCC in Raleigh, NC in 1987 and served as a member, lay representative and clergy representative. In 1997, after spending ten years at St. John’s MCC in Raleigh, NC, she founded Imani MCC in Durham, NC. She has served as transitional pastor for MCC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC and MCC Las Vegas, NV. Currently she works for MCC as the Emerging Church Specialist. Rev. Floyd has been awarded the “Mutuality in Ministry,” the Trailblazer Award from the People of African Descent, and the 2016 Interim Pastor award. Rev. Wanda is a gay activist in her community. Having served as co-chair for the NC Coalition for Marriage Equality, a board member of PFLG and other LGBTQA organizations.
She received her M.Div. from Shaw University Divinity School in 2011 and a certificate of religious studies from MCC Samaritan Institute for Religious Studies in 1999. Currently, she lives with her wife, Collis, in Sanford, NC. Their family includes Collis’ daughter, Anna Ruth Nelson, a granddaughter, Adeline Jean Thomas and a four-legged child, Odie.
Keynote speaker, Wednesday Morning
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project. He works closely with the Center for Progressive Renewal/Convergence, the Wild Goose Festival and the Fair Food Program‘s Faith Working Group. His most recent joint project is an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story.
Brian’s books have been translated into many languages, including Korean, Chinese, French, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. He has written for or contributed interviews to many periodicals, including Leadership, Sojourners, Tikkun, Worship Leader, and Conversations. He is an active and popular blogger, a musician, and a songwriter, offering a variety of resources through his website, www.brianmclaren.net.
Presbyterian Disaster Relief Organization
Sponsoring Organization, Wednesday Afternoon Workshop
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables (PDA) congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic event. PDA is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The core budget, including staff and administrative costs, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing, and its program work is additionally funded through designated gifts.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance:
- Focuses on the long term recovery of disaster impacted communities.
- Provides training and disaster preparedness for presbyteries and synods.
- Works collaboratively with church partners and members of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) internationally, and nationally with other faith based responders.
- Connects partners locally and internationally with key organizations active in the response — United Nations, NVOAD (National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster), World Food Program, Red Cross, FEMA and others.
Preacher, Wednesday Evening Healing Service
Alexya Lucas Evangelista Salvador is Assistant Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the first transgender Pastor of Brazil. She has been married for almost 10 years to Roberto Salvador Júnior and together they have adopted three children, two of whom are transgender girls. She is the first transgender woman to adopt in her country. She has been a teacher for 15 years in the state education network. She is in the process to finalized to be ordered as the first Transgender Clergy Person of Latin America. Alexya is a human rights activist and has run for state deputy last year with nearly 11,000 votes.
Rev. DeWayne Davis
Preacher, Thursday Morning Worship
Senior Pastor of All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church, Rev. Davis is ordained in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) with expertise in social justice analysis, advocacy, and organizing. He serves on the MCC Global Justice Institute’s Public Policy Team, representing the denomination’s public policy advocacy initiatives at the state and federal level. Rev. Davis previously served as the Domestic Policy Analyst in The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations where he represented before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Office of the President the domestic social policies established by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and Executive Council.
Rev. Davis holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Howard University and an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park. Rev. Davis received
his Master of Divinity degree with honors from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He has more recently been appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee of the
Kaleo Center at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and serves on the Board of
Directors of Clare Housing and OutFront MN.
Rev. Davis currently lives in Minneapolis with his husband of twenty-seven years, Kareem.
Dr. Leah Gunning Francis
Keynote Speaker, Accidental Activism, Thursday Morning
Dr. Leah Gunning Francis is the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dr. Gunning Francis is also the author of the book Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community (Chalice Press, 2015). She interviewed more than two dozen clergy and young activists who were actively involved in the movement for racial justice in Ferguson and beyond. Dr. Gunning Francis researched and wrote Ferguson and Faith while serving as the Associate Dean for Contextual Education and Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2012, Dr. Gunning Francis was awarded the prestigious Engaged Scholars Fellowship to study issues of risk among middle-class African American young men. She argues that the meta-narrative about young black men puts all of them “at risk,” regardless of socioeconomic class, and utilizes the narrated experiences of black mothers to construct a new narrative about young black men that honors their humanity and is concerned for their well-being.
Dr. Gunning Francis’ additional research interests focus on transformative education as reflected in her doctoral dissertation, Beyond “Band-Aids” and Bootstraps: Toward a Womanist Vision of Christian Education as Social Transformation. Her writing reflects her commitment to the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of women, men and children; and highlights her particular interest in underserved and minority communities.
A native of Willingboro, New Jersey, Dr. Gunning Francis is married to Rev. Rodney Francis. They live in Indianapolis with their elementary school aged children. To learn more about Dr. Gunning Francis visit www.leahgunningfrancis.com.
Rev. Alex Pittaway
Preacher, Thursday Evening Worship
Rev. Alex Pittaway is Pastor of MCC Brisbane, a growing community that for 40 years has shined a light for the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ in the city of Brisbane. MCC Brisbane is one of only 3 fully affirming churches in a city of 2 million. In the past 3 years the congregation has tripled in size particularly amongst the under 30 demographic making up more than 50% of the congregation of 60. Pastor Alex completed his Ministry training under Rev. Jeff Miner at Life Journey Church whilst studying in an intentional community at Christian Theological Seminary at Indianapolis. He identifies as a Progressive Evangelical and is passionate about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Alex is also ministers to university students as a Chaplain at the University of Queensland Emmanuel College. Alex grew up in Hillsong Church in Sydney in the pentecostal tradition. He brings passion, energy and the fire of the Holy Spirit in his preaching and in his ministry. He also spent time in El Salvador on a pilgrimage walking in the footsteps of Bishop Oscar Romero. He has a strong desire to combine justice traditions of Romero and William Barber with the best of inclusive evangelical passion.