Heads up! This information pertains to our 2018 conference in Denver. Updated information for the 2019 conference in Chicago will be available later this year!


Conference Schedule

Tentative schedule below, subject to change.

Thursday, January 18

Friday, January 19

Saturday, January 20

Sunday, January 21


Keynote Speakers

From left to right:
Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rev. Dr. Yvette A. Flunder, Rev. Asher O’Callaghan, Julie Rodgers

Speaker Bios


Nadia is the author of two New York Times bestselling memoirs: Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (2013) and Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (2015). She is an ordained Lutheran pastor (ELCA) and still works as the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. Nadia travels domestically and internationally as a speaker and has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, On Being with Krista Tippett, Fresh Air, CNN and in the Washington Post, Bitch magazine, The Daily Beast, More magazine and The Atlantic. International media coverage includes BBC World Service and The Guardian and magazine features in Germany, Poland, and Switzerland. Nadia lives in Denver with her family and her Great Dane, Zacchaeus.


Yvette is an unapologetic disciple and proponent of the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ, who has raised her voice for justice from the church house to the White House and steps of the Supreme Court. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry Studies and Master of Arts programs at Pacific School of Religion, and she received her Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, CA. A native San Franciscan and third-generation preacher with roots in the Church of God in Christ, Bishop Flunder - ordained in both the United Church of Christ and the Metropolitan Community Church – has successfully united the message of the gospel with social justice ministry and action for over 30 years. This call to blend proclamation, worship, service and advocacy on behalf of the most marginalized in church and society gave birth to City of Refuge UCC which Bishop Flunder founded in 1991. Responding to the needs of the AIDS epidemic, Bishop Flunder and her staff opened Hazard-Ashley House and Walker House in Oakland and Restoration House in San Francisco through the Ark of Refuge, Inc., a non-profit agency which provided housing, direct services, education and training for persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the Bay Area, throughout the USA and in three countries in Africa. In December of 2014, Bishop Flunder served as the keynote speaker for the White House observation of the 26th Anniversary of World AIDS Day.


Asher is currently serving as Program Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, a non-profit which believes that the public witness of LGBTQ+ leaders transforms the church and enriches the world. There he works to create community, accompany, and engage in ministry with queer Lutheran leaders across the country. Previously, he served as Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, a small mountain-town congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) located in Idaho Springs, Colorado. He’s bisexual and transgender. After a fundamentalist upbringing, Asher thought he was done with organized religion. He fancied himself spiritual but not religious. But then he stumbled into a church called House For All Sinners and Saints in Denver where God screwed up all his plans. There he heard an invitation he couldn’t help but go share. From Christ’s open Table he heard: “Behold who you are. Become what you receive.” It changed everything. He earned a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary and has become the first openly transgender person to be ordained through the regular process of the ELCA.


Julie is a writer, speaker, and a leader in the movement working toward full inclusion for LGBTQ people in the church. She has served as an advisor to religious leaders, college administrators, and LGBTQ students at Christian colleges. She was the first openly gay Christian hired at a conservative Christian university when she served as an Associate Chaplain at Wheaton College, and she's been an advisor to Christian colleges during a time of tremendous cultural transition. Through her work as a writer and speaker, Julie also played a key role in shutting down Exodus International. Julie's writing and her story have been featured in TIME, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Her advocacy is rooted in her passion for Jesus, and her hope is that the church will become a place where LGBTQ people feel wanted. You can follow her work on her website at julie-rodgers.com or on Twitter at @Julie_Rodgers.

Thursday, January 18



Each year, we give back to the local community that hosts our conference by volunteering at soup kitchens, food pantries, senior citizen homes, and other places around the community.


Volunteers will be ready to welcome you! Make sure you have everything you need to participate, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. We’re here to help!

WomenConnect Retreat — 2 pm to 6:30 PM


The WomenConnect Retreat offers a unique and inspiring conference experience to any female-identified attendee of the GCN Conference.

Taking place on the Thursday afternoon before the first general session of the GCN Conference, the retreat will include:

  • Three Terrific Speakers
  • Worship music by Rachel Francis
  • Bible Study
  • Fellowship and Testimony
  • Great Gifts and Prizes
  • Emcee Aimee Kelley
  • Dinner

Come prepared to learn more about how you can grow with God and with your sisters in Christ. Purchase your ticket today! Registration includes dinner.

2018 WomenConnect Speakers

Rev. Dr. Jenny Morgan

Jenny Morgan likes playing Tama drums and she’s an avid road cyclist. Jenny grew up a coal miner’s daughter, the oldest of four kids, in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She discovered a real and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ sometime early in the 70’s under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, some Pentecostal friends, and reading the Bible voraciously.

She loves people, particularly her 13 nieces and nephews, most of whom live far too far away. She earned a bachelors degree in music from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. After serving happily for 23 years in Youth for Christ/Campus Life, along with doing a bunch of writing, speaking, and teaching, she finally became a pastor.

Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto
First openly lesbian bishop to be elected in the United Methodist Church.

On July 15, 2016 Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto became the first openly lesbian bishop to be elected in the United Methodist Church. She was elected as bishop of both the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Conference of the UMC. Prior to that she was the senior pastor at the fifth largest UMC congregation in the US.

“My task is to listen to lives that are different from my own, to hear their challenges and concerns as they encounter the world. Together, we can protect each other’s humanity, rights, and freedoms. Together, we can stand for peace and justice. Together, we can push back the forces of hatred and inhumanity.” — Read more on her blog

Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder

Bishop Flunder has been a tireless advocate of our community and an unapologetic disciple and proponent of the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ. We are thrilled to honor her legacy and express our gratitude. Bishop Flunder will accept the 2018 Mother Eagle Award during the WomenConnect retreat and share some of her thoughts with those present. The award will be officially presented on the main stage during General Session 1 in conjunction with her keynote speech.

2018 Mother Eale Award Recipient
The Mother Eagle Award was jointly created by GCN and Christian Feminism Today in 2017 to honor women who have taken the lead in advocating for LGBTQIA equality in Christianity. The name of the award comes from Deuteronomy 32:11: “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft”

The first award was presented at the 2017 WomenConnect Retreat in Pittsburgh to author and professor Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, for her many contributions to LGBTQIA Christian scholarship, and a lifetime of courageous advocacy for equality in the church.

Rachel Francis
Worship Leader

Rachel Francis is an artist and worship leader living in Dallas, Texas, where s he is pursuing a degree in music performance at Southwestern AG University. Her influences range from jazz to R&B to gospel. Currently, Rachel is on staff at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, where she has had the opportunity to perform with artists such as Jonathan Traylor and Anthony Evans.

Aimee Kelley

Aimee Kelley is excited to be attending her sixth GCN Conference. Her first two GCN conferences were spent being the drummer for the worship band.

Aimee has been a worship and youth leader at several churches over the last decade, and currently spends her days hanging out with a diverse bunch of sixth graders as a founding staff member of a new public charter middle school. She is passionate about education and closing the achievement gap.

A music lover, and fan of super heroes and the NBA, Aimee lives in Seattle with her partner Juliana and her two cats Kesha and Zeke. This is Rachel's third GCN retreat and conference, and she feels extremely fortunate to be apart of a space that radiates such love and belonging.



With ASL Interpretation

Meet people; hear more about the conference, speakers, and ways to get the most out of your experiences. Thursday’s meeting includes ASL interpretation. No special registration necessary!


General SESSION 1 — 8 PM

We’ll open with worship and music. Keynote: Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, founder, City of Refuge UCC and Ark of Refuge, HIV/AIDS supportive services organization.

Special Presentation by Interim Executive Director, Isaac Archuleta and Board members to reveal our new name!



Join us back at the conference hotel Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings for some fun opportunities to socialize, recharge, and get to know other attendees after the official schedule ends each day. Thursday night is game night! No need to bring your game face! It’s all in good fun.


Friday, January 19



Meet people; hear more about the conference, speakers, and ways to get the most out of your experiences. No special registration necessary!



Worship, praise, music and more. Keynote Speaker Rev. Asher O’Callaghan, Program Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries, a non-profit that  believes that the public witness of LGBTQ+ leaders transforms the church and enriches the world.

Group Photo, immediately following Session 2



Share a meal with other attendees who share your interests and understand your background! We will have designated rooms on Friday for you to bring your lunch and get to know some folks in a more intimate setting. In an effort to make the community lunches more accessible, we are providing space where groups can come together. Participants can bring their own lunches or purchase meals at one of the restaurants on-site at the Colorado Convention Center. There will be space designated for the following affinity groups: Ministry Leaders, People of Color, Side B, and Parents.



Choose the small group breakout session that speaks to you:

  • Q&A with Asher O’Callaghan
  • Our Transformation: How Everything Changed
  • Coming Out about Mental Illness
  • Sexual Ethics: Finding Our Way as Followers of Jesus
  • Jesus Wants You to Be Happy: The Narrow Road to the Expansive Gospel
  • Gospel of Mark: Learning to Read & Live Scripture as an Act of Resistance
  • LGBTQ 101
  • “Openly Me” – Understanding and Affirming Unique Perspectives of Bi+ People


  • Q&A with Yvette Flunder
  • History of Human Sexuality from Patriarchy to the Turn of the 19th Century
  • Radical Love: How to Embrace All of Yourself & Move Through Internalized Homophobia
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Being Transgender But Were Afraid to Ask
  • Eunuchs for the Kingdom of God
  • Open Mic: Life On the Margins - Intersections of race, faith, and sexuality
  • Waiting Until Marriage (WUM) Workshop
  • Just As They Are: Protecting Our Children from the Harms of Conversion Therapy
  • Trans Retreat


New in 2018, the Trans Retreat offers trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming attendees an opportunity to connect with others, fellowship together, learn, and exchange resources and encouragement. The retreat will take place starting during Breakout Session B and last through dinner. Registration is required, but there’s no additional cost for this retreat.

The 2018 Trans Retreat is a community event in three parts. For the first hour we’ll be exploring scripture together, talking about ways of interpreting the trans-specific “clobber passages,” and diving into verses that affirm gender-diverse people in ancient times.

The second hour will focus on crafting and sharing our own faith and gender narratives. During this time we’ll also get to hear testimony from Nicole Garcia, a transgender Latinx woman who grew up Catholic, left the church, and is now pursuing her call to ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Finally, in our third hour, we’ll be creating resource nets—lists of organizations, books, podcasts, people, therapists, doctors, etc. that we can learn from and lean on throughout our journeys. We’ll end in time for communal prayer and fellowship.



Gather for a time of quiet reflection to honor those in our community who have experienced violence, and to pray for an end to violence. Location to be announced.



Grounded in Family Acceptance Project’s groundbreaking research and work with families with LGBTQ children, this moving documentary chronicles the journey to acceptance of a very religiously conservative family with a young gay son. The video has received 20 awards and accolades from Salt Lake City to Memphis to Istanbul to Mumbai, India and is a “Best Practice” resource for suicide prevention. This session includes a brief overview of some of FAP’s work with religiously conservative families, a film screening and panel discussion on challenges and approaches to increase family acceptance among Christian families with LGBTQ youth and adults.


AFTER HOURS LOUNGE: Karaoke — 10 pm

The perfect way to relax after a long day! The After Hours Lounge offers attendees a space to socialize and recharge after the official schedule has ended each day. Friday night is Karaoke!


Saturday, January 20



Back for more music, worship and praise! Keynote Speaker: Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint (2013) and Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (2015) and pastor, House for All Sinners and All Saints, Denver, Colorado.



The Imago Dei: Created for Relationships

The last several decades have been filled with theological debates that have paved way for LGBTQIA inclusion in the Christian Church. Although debating has forced us to examine Scripture with maturity and depth, many of us have not yet integrated new insights into our relationships. Many of our relationships remain unchanged. The panelists have been strategically chosen to bring an illuminating dialogue--that builds upon Scripture—so that you can live authentically as the relational being you were created to be, specifically to build the type of relationships that are healthy and supportive for you. Whether you hold celibacy or a healthy sexual ethic as your way of exercising righteousness, this panel discussion will enlighten your sense of self and will empower you to live in the satisfaction you desire.



  • Bridge Over Battle Lines: Moving the Conversation Beyond Debate
  • How to Minister to LGBTQIA+ Individuals 
  • Increasing Family Acceptance & Support for LGBTQ Youth and Adults 
  • LGBTQiA: i is For Intersex, Not Invisible 
  • Is There Room for the Bigger Questions? 
  • The Horizon: Where Sexuality and Gender Meet Spirituality
  • The Hows, The Whats, and The What Nots of Mixed Orientation Marriage


  • Navigating Life and Relationships with Non-Affirming Parents
  • Growing Beyond Boundaries of Religion: Understanding
  • Fire in Your Bones: So You Want to Go to Seminary 
  • Building a Sexual Ethic that Belongs
  • Making Meaningful Links with Pastors and Leaders
  • Love at the Intersection: Supporting the Faith Development of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Christians 
  • Bi the Way: Bisexuality in Marriage and Singleness 
  • "What Does The Lord Require Of Me?" For Side B Parents & Friends


Come together with other conference attendees to share your 1-2 minute testimony of what God is doing in your life and what the conference experience has meant for you. In this supportive space, connections are deepened and reflections give rise to a sense of community that can last long after the conference comes to a close.



The perfect way to relax after a long day! The After Hours Lounge offers attendees a space to socialize and recharge after the official schedule has ended each day. Saturday night is open-mic night! Your time in the spotlight. Appreciative audience members also welcome!


Sunday, January 21



As part of General Session 4 on Sunday morning, we will close out our weekend together with a special interdenominational liturgical service. Sunday’s traditional-style celebration will include singing and a choir, responsive readings, and more. Keynote Speaker: Julie Rodgers, writer, speaker, and a leader in the movement working toward full inclusion for LGBTQ people in the church. 



Immediately following General Session 4, closing activities provide a great way to say farewell to your friends—and to find out the location of the 2019 Conference!