Welcome to Q Chats, a brand new way for members of the Q Christian community to engage with prompts, concepts, and thoughts! Our first chat asks: Have you ever been shamed because of who you are or what you believe? Visit to read our first Chat, and leave your response in the comments!
Want to learn more about the contributors? Read on to learn more about the people behind the perspectives you will hear this month.
Ray is a pastor serving in Manhattan, New York. He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a Master of Science in Mathematics from New York University. In his free time he volunteers with inner city Chinatown and LGBT+ youth. He has a heart for ending racial and sexual discrimination.
Kevin Garcia is a digital pastor, content creator and hot mess based in Atlanta, GA. They graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2013 with a BM in Music Education and they have been everything from a barista to a corporate office worker to a non-profit professional since then. After coming out in the fall of 2015 as a queer Christian, Kevin has reached thousands of individuals across the globe through his writing; his podcast, A Tiny Revolution; and through his YouTube channel. Kevin believes that by telling our stories, we set others free to tell theirs.
Kevin is presently a candidate for a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. In addition to LGBTQ advocacy, Kevin’s passions include vocal jazz, tacos, and really horrible dad jokes.
Rev. Erica Lea-Simka (she/her/hers) is a graduate of San Jacinto College, Texas A&M University, and Truett Theological Seminary. She has served Baptist and Mennonite congregations in Wyoming, Texas, North Carolina, and Washington DC. Pastor Erica became the first out lead pastor called by a congregation in her denomination when she began serving as Pastor of Albuquerque Mennonite Church in November 2017. When not at church or serving the community, she enjoys cooking, nature walks, British mysteries, traveling, and time with her spouse. Connect with Erica online: https://revericalea.org/ Twitter- @RevEricaLea
I first got involved with GCN in 2008 and attended my first conference in Anaheim 2009. The following year I took on the role of leading the Hospitality Team so I've now done that for ten years. It was a privilege to have this involvement recognized at conference 2014 in Chicago when I received the Brian Eckstein Faithful Servant Award.
LAURA BETH BUCHLEITER
Laura Beth Buchleiter was born and raised in a Christian, Military family. After graduating from high school in rural Pennsylvania, she studied at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and went on to earn a BA in Communications and Christian Ministry from Dallas Baptist University. She is currently working toward Masters Degrees in Divinity and Theological Studies at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, although she calls Dayton, TN, where her extended family has (finally) settled, “home”.
In a career spanning over 25 years, Laura Beth has worked with churches and not-for-profits as a pastor, communications consultant, event-planner, worship leader, trainer, and recruiter. More recently, she self-published her first book, “Shattering Masks” and has traveled the country speaking on behalf of LGBTQ+ people in faith communities.
Susan Cottrell is the founder of FreedHearts, a ministry for families of LGBTQ individuals, and former vice president of PFLAG Austin. She is a speaker and author, who has been married for twenty-seven years and is the mother of five children, including a queer daughter and a lesbian daughter.
Bukola is a first generation Nigerian-American who was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She grew up attending youth group and Pioneer girls in Baptist and nondenominational churches. As a young adult, she was also a member at Pentecostal and Presbyterian churches. Denomination was never a focus for her. Just Jesus. Bukola is a patent attorney, having studied Chemical Engineering at MIT and law at NYU. She was very active in Intervarsity at both schools. She is ordained as a deacon in her church, Riverside Baptist, where she leads the fellowship and social events team.
Joining the organization in 2012, she found a rainbow-hued oasis that reflected the fullness and diversity of the Gospel. Bukola can often be found playing tackle football, skiing, mentoring high-school students, bringing people together, eating skittles, hosting weary travelers and planning her next getaway. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her wife, Tonetta, and their son, Temitayo.
Sam re-connected with his faith while in the midst of coming-out, finding strength in Christ’s message of radical love at a time when many find themselves struggling to find a place for God. Working as a fundraising and marketing executive at the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the time, he was drawn into the reformed theology premise that we are chosen by God to be the recipients of unending grace. Since then he has entered the Presbyterian ordination process and is wrapping up his studies at Christian Theological Seminary while continuing to work as a fundraiser.
Sam is a graduate of Indiana University - Bloomington and the University of Wyoming. As a fundraiser, he has raised over $400 million for a variety of faith-based ministries, civil legal aid and political candidates. Sam is a former Air Force officer and was an active Hoosier politician, seeking statewide and congressional offices in the early 2010s.
Isaac has spent time as a seminary professor and now owns a counseling practice devoted to the LGBTQIA community and their religious families, specifically to help those navigating the road he’s journeyed.
Isaac’s work focuses precisely on our relational repair – whether that be establishing wholeness within one’s relationship with their self, another, or God. Isaac has a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He is invited to speak at conferences, churches, and forums across the nation, contributes to The Huffington Post, and hosts weekend seminars for couples, individuals, and religious parents of children in the LGBTQIA community. He has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR) and comes to Q Christian with a wealth of knowledge. Isaac’s pronouns are he/him/his.
David was born and raised in Commerce City, Colorado. Having received a B.S. in Biology from CU Denver, he went on to study film and theology, eventually succeeding in dropping out of seminary.
He was confirmed in the Catholic Church but transitioned to an Evangelical church in his teens where the bulk of his theology was formed. His religious journey has oscillated from deep faith to atheistic doubt and everywhere in eternity, but along the way he has learned to accept faith as a journey and not a destination.
Gay Christian Network was an integral part of his development as a gay Christian man, and he is grateful he can work with Q Christian Fellowship to help others who need support, like he did. He currently lives in Denver, CO.