Celebrates 50 Years of Advocacy

“These faith leaders acted and spoke out fearlessly and sacrificed greatly in the midst of strong condemnation and persecution.”  - Conference Coordinator, Mark Bowman.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - For the first and only time in history, the people who were the first to confront Christianity on homosexuality and gender in the 1960s, the 1970s, and beyond, will meet face to face on October 31 in St. Louis, at the Marriott Airport Hotel.

Pioneering pastors like Bishop Zachary Jones—founder of Breaking Ground and board member of Gay Men of African Descent; Rev. Troy Perry—founder of Metropolitan Community Churches; Naomi Washington-Leapheart—Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force; Rev. Cedric Harmon—Executive Director of Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay & Transgender Justice; and Rev. Carter Heyward--one of the first female Episcopal priests are among the honored activists and elders to attend.

“For over 50 years, these faith leaders acted and spoke out fearlessly and sacrificed greatly in the midst of strong condemnation and persecution, said Conference Coordinator, Mark Bowman. "These LGBTQ+ Christian movements have had--and continue to have--a profound impact upon religious and social institutions in the U.S. Too often their historic contributions have often been overlooked and not appreciated in both the mainstream media as well as in the LGBTQ+ media and political circles.” 

Nearly 200 LGBTQ+ faith leaders and conference attendees will participate in intergenerational conversations to celebrate half a century of faithful advocacy and strategize responses to contemporary justice issues.

"There would be no marriage equality in the U.S., nor LGBTQ+ rights, without the work accomplished by these very early Christian prophets," Bowman stated.

Program sessions will reflect on how LGBTQ+ history informs Queer Christian movements today. Session topics include "Communities of Color," Persecutions and Trials," "Lesbian and Trans Feminism," "Religious Right," "Sexuality," and "AIDS," among others.

LGBTQ+ Christian leaders from a variety of faith traditions will be in attendance including Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), and United Church of Christ.

“It is my hope that the culmination of this conference will encourage each of us to continue the work of those who have gone before us, to challenge ourselves to speak out and to act to eradicate injustices, and to model the Beloved Community where all persons are treated with equal respect and justice,” said Bowman.

Guests who have accepted the invitation to attend include: Michael Adee, Alison Amyx, Rev. Tom Baynham, Avery Belyeu, Peggy Campolo, Rev. Dr. Neil Cazares-Thomas, Ann Thompson Cook, Jimmy Creech, Rev. Ann B. Day, Donna Enberg, D. Darnell Fennell, Morris Floyd, Rev. Gwen Fry, Nicole Garcia, Rev. Darlene Garner, Chris Glaser, Jeannine Gramick, Rev. Jan Griesinger, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Marco Grimaldo, Rev. Cedric Harmon, Rev. Allen Harris, Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Ph.D., Haven Herrin, Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward, Malcolm Himschoot, Rev. Candy Holmes, Dr. Mary E. Hunt, Dr. Rick Huskey, Rev. Dr. William R. Johnson, Rev. Dr. Deborah Johnson, Rev. Jeff R. Johnson, Bishop Zachary Jones, Nancy E. Krody, Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Rev. Chuck Lewis, Jamie Manson, Rev. Dr. Renee McCoy, Keisha McKenzie, Ph.D., Brian McNaught, Alex McNeill, Randall Miller, Louis "L.J." Mitchell, Diann L. Neu, Chris Paige, Debra Lynn Peevey, Rev. Elder Troy Perry, Rev. Loey Powell, Larry Rodriguez, Barbara Satin, Rev. Elder Freda Smith, Rev. Dr. Jane Adams Spahr, Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson, Jonathon Thunderword, Leo Treadway, Nickie Valdez, Matthew Vines, Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Rev. Elder Dr. Nancy Wilson, Dr. Imani Woody, and Karen Ziegler.

The Rolling the Stone Away Conference will be held at the Marriott St. Louis Airport Hotel on October 31 - November 2. A complete list of invited guests and program information can be found at: www.rollingthestoneaway.org. Rolling the Stone Away: Generations of Love & Justice is a conference co-sponsored by 14 LGBT-affirming Christian organizations.



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