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My name is Daniel Payne, and I facilitate a six-hour seminar on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the Church. I am a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Bachelors) and Nations University (Masters), and grew up in the Free Will Baptist denomination, so I am closely acquainted with conservative, non-affirming views. I am also a gay Christian (now in the Episcopalian tradition), and through a life-long study of scripture in its cultural, historical, and linguistic contexts, have come to understand that the Bible cannot be said to unequivocally condemn homosexuality or other non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities.
The conversation about LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church is perhaps the most divisive Рand crucial Рconversation among Christians today. My seminar, entitled Why the Bible Does Not Condemn Same-Sex Relationships, focuses on the seven passages traditionally used to condemn homosexuality (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9; and I Timothy 1:10) as well as various passages that can be understood to support the inclusion of sexual minorities in the body of Christ.
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Rev. Jason Carson Wilson is an authorized United Church of Christ minister. Wilson serves as Justice & Peace Policy Fellow in United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries’ D.C. office, where he lobbies for just domestic policies. He also serves as adjunct minister at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Wilson is also a member of Dignity Washington. He’s a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, where he founded the Bayard Rustin Society. Wilson is a former newspaper reporter.

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Dr. Chloe Schwenke is a Quaker human rights activist, development practitioner and academic with over three decades of international experience, nearly half of it while living in developing countries. She has worked in a senior capacity with some of the leading American development organizations, and as an independent consultant, on projects of USAID, the US State Department, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Her scholarly interests include human rights and human dignity, LGBTI issues, gender equality & female empowerment, and leadership ethics.

Chloe is also openly transsexual, and works closely with transgender activists around the world. She currently is a member of the adjunct faculty at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and also undertakes a variety of consulting assignments in international development and human rights. In prior employment, she served as vice president for global programs at Freedom House in Washington, D.C. and earlier still as a political appointee for the Obama Administration at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Chloe received her Ph.D. in public policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was chosen as Alumnus of the Year for 2013. She was also a recipient of theNational Center for Transgender Equality?s National Public Service Award in 2013. She is the parent of two children.

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Jackie DeCarlo has lived in the DC area for almost 20 years. Her volunteer activities have revolved around her faith community at the Friends Meeting (Quaker) of Washington and professionally she has been a leader and manager of nonprofit programs focused on economic justice. A frequent public speaker and published author, Jackie is interested in helping build awareness and understanding between faith-based and other groups committed to pursuing American values of freedom, respect for difference, and equality.

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Guy-Oreido Weston has worked full-time in HIV/AIDS programs since1986. At present, he is a consultant in private practice that assists community-based organizations with developing and evaluating organizational infrastructure and programs. He is also a writer of essays, op-ed, and short stories about HIV and LGBT issues, whose work appeared the Philadelphia Gay News, Arise Magazine, and the Washington Informer, among others. As a speaker and workshop facilitator, he has presented on a broad array of topics, including, but not limited to various HIV/AIDS issues, cultural competency, HIV and LGBT issues with faith communities, community mobilization, and community planning.

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Elise Roy lost her hearing at the age of 10 and doctors have never been able to explain why. Determined to continue to live the normal life that she had already begun, she refused to lower herself to the new sub-par standards that society began placing on her. Teaching herself using only her textbooks, Elise was accepted to Brown University. While at Brown, she was recognized as one of the nation’s elite athletes. At 24 she became one of just 44 deaf lawyers in the United States. At 25 she became an advocate working at the United Nations, where she helped to author the first international Human Rights treaty of the 21st century. Since then, she has traveled the world working with diverse groups, speaking, motivating, and advocating on their behalf. She has had her personal essays published in Curve magazine, in Eyes of Desire 2: a Deaf GLBT Reader, and has spoken at Pride events.

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Dr. Selma Massey is the Founding Pastor of WHOSOEVER Ministry which began 1996 as a Christian television show for the LGBT Community in Southeast Michigan. In 2003 Dr. Selma, as she is known, opened the first of two churches in Detroit, Michigan and in an area suburb.

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Deedria Faulkner has been a committed public health advocate at the local and national level for nearly a decade. She is currently working as an International Health Educator for a health education and health screening provider. Along with providing outreach in Haiti, she was nominated and became a member of the Western Conference International Committee which builds teams for volunteer missions. Her overall passion is to help change the lives of individuals and family??s worldwide living with HIV/AIDS through education and awareness with the focus of eradicating HIV and AIDS. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from The University of North Carolina where she also worked as a Peer Health Educator for The Public Health Department. In 2008, she worked with the Ujima Project, a mobile STD screening clinic and Needle Exchange Program aimed at identifying HIV and STD-infected individuals and linking them into care and prevention operated by the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also worked to improve the health and wellbeing of the citizens of East Baltimore City while working as a Community Health Worker for Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. Furthermore, she is committed to preventing new HIV infections and eradicating AIDS through research, advocacy, and treatment. She has completed the NCDHHS HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral Certification along with several refreshment courses. She presently volunteers for several HIV/AIDS organizations in NC and Washington, DC. She is presently developing a non-profit organization which provides free testing, counseling and referrals while focusing on a holistic approach to care that supports the spiritual, physical, mental, and social wellness of all that are affected by HIV and AIDS.

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Ed Andrews is a psychotherapist, lecturer, and writer with extensive experience working with the LGBT Community with issues of mental health and addictions, aging and development, illness and loss. He specializes in working with the mental health and recovery issues of gay men across the lifespan usign both CBT and DBT techniques

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Aaron Anson is an inspirational writer and new thought coach who is married and lives in Washington, DC with his partner Oliver. He has appeared on several radio shows and spoken at a number of literary events around the country. Raised a black devout christian in the south and endeavoring to uphold instilled beliefs, he married and fathered two children before accepting that he was inherently a gay man. His fascination with the arts, world cultures, and all of humanity has led him to travel six continents. He has participated in relief efforts around the world and several missions that address homelessness.

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