GCN Conference 2013: The Lineup
Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel has served as the Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn since 2004. Before that she spent fourteen years in Connecticut, growing up, going to grad school, raising a family and leading two churches.
An editor at large for the Christian Century Magazine and a contributing editor at Leadership, her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post, Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, Books and Culture, The Journal for Preachers and in the daily email devotionals available at ucc.org. Her third book, When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough, comes out January 2013.
Lillian is married to Lou Weeks, a labor union organizer who chose not to take her name when they got married back in 1991. She is the mother of two teenagers, Calvin and Abigail Weeks, and therefore in need of constant prayer. In her spare time, Lillian enjoys the following hobbies...
Wait, there is no spare time.
Emily Eastwood is the Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation (formerly Lutherans Concerned/North America), an organization committed to the full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners. She began with the organization in 2002 as director of its Reconciling in Christ Program and became the executive director in 2004. During her tenure, she has expanded the organization's budget and added seven full-time staff.
Emily has been active personally and professionally in the Lutheran church her whole life. She is a graduate of Texas Lutheran University and attended Gettysburg (Pa.) and Luther (Minn.) Seminaries, all higher educational institutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as United Seminary of the Twin Cities. Prior to coming to ReconcilingWorks, she worked for 23 years in corporate finance in the Twin Cities.
She is widely known in the LGBT community as a speaker, preacher, storyteller, strategist, negotiator, fundraiser, trainer and expert in faith-based community organizing. She is also known for her no-nonsense approach and for bringing an audience to laughter and tears--sometimes with the same sentence.
Emily and her partner, Jan Baily, have been together for 25 years and are legally married in the State of California. In her spare time, Emily enjoys gardening, fishing, traveling, singing, and spending time with family.
Justin Lee is the founder and executive director of The Gay Christian Network (GCN), a nonprofit, interdenominational organization serving LGBT Christians and those who care about them.
Justin grew up as a conservative Southern Baptist, preaching against homosexuality until questions about his own sexuality forced him to reevaluate everything he thought he knew. Today, he focuses on building bridges between those who disagree. He has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television venues including Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper 360, NPR's All Things Considered, and a front page article in The New York Times.
Justin speaks frequently across the country using his own unique blend of humor, personal stories, and biblical analysis. His first book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, was just published by Jericho Books to glowing reviews.
Jennifer Knapp spent her Christian music career challenging religious cultural stereotypes both on and off stage. Candid and compassionate in heart, rock-n-roll in her confrontational style, Jennifer's impact on Christian audiences took a new turn in 2010 when she made public her long-standing same-sex partnership. The revelation sparked much public debate amid cries for immediate rejection from Christian music leaders, retailers and fans alike. As a direct response to supporting LGBT people of faith and their faith community allies, Jennifer currently advocates through Inside Out Faith. By publicly claiming her faith, her sexual orientation and encouraging others to do the same, Jennifer continues to inspire life-imitating art.
Namoli Brennet was quietly working as a church music director in 2001 when she decided to begin her transition from male to female; she was subsequently fired, which inspired her song "Thorn In Your Side" and compelled her to pursue her career as a singer/songwriter. Since then she's released 9 CDs, and her poignant, introspective and sometimes hard-hitting folk has won praise and accolades from critics and fans alike. She's been dubbed "One of the best folk-rock artists in the country", and Zocalo magazine calls her music "Gorgeous and introspective." Her music has been nominated for numerous OUTmusic awards and is also featured in the film "Out In The Silence" which details the struggle of a gay teen growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Namoli spends 8 to 9 months a year touring and performing, and she's currently working on a live CD with a release date this fall.