Donna Coletrane Battle is a native of Yanceyville, NC and is currently the Chaplain at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She previously served as the Executive Pastor of the Way Christian Center in Berkeley California, as well as, a Life Coach and Associate Dean of the Chapel at Shaw University. For the past 12 years, Donna has been engaging and facilitating groups in the areas of building healthy relationships, identity, cultivating ethics, values, diversity, conflict resolution and justice. She is married to Dedrick Nathaniel Battle and together they have two tremendously terrific children Caio, 6 and Coletrane, 2. Meditating, spending time with her family, reading, movies, counseling, preaching and teaching are among Donna’s greatest joys in life.
Kaitlin Curtice is a Native American Christian author, speaker and worship leader. As an enrolled member of the Potawatomi Citizen Band and someone who has grown up in the Christian faith, Kaitlin writes on the intersection of Native American spirituality, mystic faith in everyday life, and the church. She is an author with Paraclete Press and her recently released book is Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places. She is a contributor to Sojourners, and you can also find her work on Patheos Progressive Christian.
Theresa S. Thames
The Rev. Dr. Theresa S. Thames is the Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University. As an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, Theresa served as a local pastor in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for nine years. She is a graduate of Howard University and received her Master of Divinity with a concentration in Gender, Theology, and Ministry from Duke University Divinity School. She has a Doctorate of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Leadership Excellence which explored how best to equip young clergywomen of color to thrive in ministry. Theresa is passionate about the intersections of theology, gender, organizational development, and social justice. She is a challenging preacher, thoughtful theologian, and devoted friend. Theresa is a lover of life and music who prioritizes self-care and believes that radical joy is resistance.
Gail Song Bantum
Gail is the Executive Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, WA. Her passion is to prophetically call individuals, groups, and organizations to become all that God says they are, through the lens of Identity, Leadership Development, and Discipleship. As a second generation Korean American, formed in the Korean immigrant and Black Pentecostal traditions, she seeks to faithfully embody advocacy and justice surrounding issues of race and gender within the life of the Church. Gail is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church, received her M.Div. from Duke Divinity School, and her Bachelor of Music from The Eastman School of Music. Gail, her husband Brian, and their three sons reside in Seattle.
Tuhina Verma Rasche
Rev. Tuhina Verma Rasche has a complicated relationship with Jesus. She lives a hyphenated life as a second-generation Indian-American woman raised in a devout Hindu household and often finds herself in liminal spaces. She is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and is the Networker for—and co-conspirator with— #decolonizeLutheranism, a grassroots movement working for the representation of God’s full diversity in the church. Her work focuses on dismantling white supremacy and conversations on the complexity of identities. She loves stories and believes sharing narratives are integral to building relationships. She blogs at This Lutheran Life and Medium, is a contributing writer to
The Salt Collective, and tweets at @tvrasche. When she’s not writing or working to decolonize mainline Protestant traditions, she is reading anything she can get her hands on, listening to podcasts on politics and pop culture, or watching movies with her spouse.
Emmy R. Kegler is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis (gracenempls.org) and the founder and editor of Queer Grace, an encyclopedia of online resources around LGBTQ life and faith (queergrace.com). She was raised in the Episcopal Church and spent some time in non-denominational congregations before finding her home in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She lives in Saint Paul and enjoys biking, board games, books, beer, and babysitting her fiancée’s dogs.
Kate Bowler is an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke Divinity School. She is the author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, 2013), the first history of the popular modern movement with promises of divine health, wealth, and happiness. For over a decade, she researched and traveled Canada and the United States interviewing megachurch leaders and everyday believers about how they make spiritual meaning of the good or bad in their lives. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, The New Republic, The Guardian, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Post, NPR, and the BBC.
In 2015, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at age 35. In her viral New York Times op-ed, she wrote about the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill. Her subsequent memoir,Everything Happens for a Reason (and other lies I’ve loved) (Random House, 2018), tells the story of her struggle to understand the personal and intellectual dimensions of the American belief that all tragedies are tests of character.
Nicole M. Garcia (she/her/hers) identifies as an out and proud transgender Latina of faith. She has a Master of Arts in Counseling from the University of Colorado Denver and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. Nicole is a gender specialist who helps people explore who they are as a gendered or non-gendered being. She also helps people navigate the complexities of a gender
Nicole is a Candidate for Ordained Ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Nicole is pursuing a Master of Divinity through a Distributed Learning program at Luther Seminary in St. Paul MN. Nicole is currently serving as a pastoral intern at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Littleton CO. She is on track to be awarded an M. Div. and be approved for ordination in the spring of 2018.
Nicole was featured in an article by the Religious News Service which was picked up by The Huffington Post, Washington Post, and The Christian Century. She was also interviewed for a podcast on Religion for Life (# 62). Nicole has had articles posted in the New York Times and OnFaith by faithstreet.com. A detailed biography of Nicole can be found on the LGBT Religious Archives Network. Nicole has been a keynote speaker, facilitated workshops, and/or participated in panels concerning gender identity and spirituality in Boston, Charlotte, Duluth, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Paul, Washington D.C.,
and throughout the state of Colorado.
Rachel Kurtz - Musician
Rachel Kurtz is an incredible singer/songwriter with a beautiful voice and an amazing story. Rachel shares personal testimonies of tragedy and triumph with a vulnerability that captivates her audience. She has performed at the last three ELCA Youth Gatherings and has had the opportunity to travel to Africa, Germany and India with her music ministry. She has a strong desire to make a difference in the world through her music and a passion for global justice.