At least once a year we do a "Voices" series at Central, where we bring in unique speakers on a particularly relevant subject matter. Prior "Voices" topics have been world religions and social justice matters. This installment of "Voices" will feature Christian LGBT+ activists. The goal of this four week series is to: 1. Inform our community about the work of Christian LGBT+ activists. 2. Deepen our understanding and appreciation of their unique stories. All presentations are free will be given on Sunday morning as part of our regular service. The only exception is Kathy Baldock's six-hour Saturday workshop. A $20 fee is associated and a separate Eventbrite link is provided below for tickets. However, she will also be presenting a condensed version for free on Sunday AM the next day. For all events, childcare is provided. Here are the bios and dates of the speakers:

Feb 4th: Jarell Wilson
Jarell is a graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 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. 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.

Feb 11th: Amber Cantorna
As the daughter of a Focus on the Family executive, Amber Cantorna grew up homeschooled by parents who modeled the group’s conservative Christian and family values. In 2012, after struggling for years with the fear of rejection, Amber came out to her family as gay. That transparency cost her everything. She recently published her story in the acclaimed book, “Refocusing My Family: Coming Out, Being Cast Out, and Discovering the True Love of God” (Fortress Press, 2017). Amber is a regular conference speaker and founder of Beyond, a non-profit dedicated to helping LGBT+ people through their coming out process.

Feb 18th: Bianca Louie
Bianca Louie is an educator, researcher, and community organizer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a queer Asian Christian, she teaches regularly on the intersections of race, queer identities, and faith among youth, college students, and churches. Her research is on “Queer Asian American Christians: Redemptive Reclamation and Subversive Imagination.” Bianca holds an MA in Asian American studies. She has been quoted in Time Magazine and written articles for Sojourners Magazine and other publications.

Feb 24th & 25th: Kathy Baldock
Kathy is a straight LGBT+ activist and the founder and director of Canyon Walker Connections, a non-profit dedicated to repairing the division between social and Christian conservatives and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community through education, training, encouragement, and dialogue in both secular and religious environments. Kathy is the author of, Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach between the Church and the LGBT Community (Canyon Walker Press, 2014). Because of her groundbreaking research and expertise, she is a much sought after conference and seminar speaker.


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