Keynote Speakers

Friday,November 13th-  
6:00 pm (PDT)

Pam Rocker is an atypical activist, award winning writer, speaker, and musician. Pam has worked for a decade for the full inclusion of LGBTQ2S+ people in faith communities and beyond. She was chosen as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Calgary, and as one of the top 30 activists in Canada. She is a frequent panelist on CBC Radio's Unconventional Panel, Chair of Broadview Magazine, and Co-Host of the Sacred and Profane podcast. She is currently the Director of Affirming Connections and speaks and plays across the country. More info at: pamrocker.com  

Saturday, November 14th- 10:45 am (PDT)

Over his eclectic journalistic career, Jeff Chu has interviewed presidents and paupers, corporate execs and preachers, Britney Spears and Ben Kingsley. As a writer and editor for Time and Fast Company, he has compiled an award-winning portfolio including stories on hit-making Swedish songwriters (a piece for which he went clubbing in Stockholm); James Bond (for which he stood on a beach and watched Halle Berry emerge from the waves over and over); undercover missionaries in the Arab world (he traveled to North Africa and went to church); and the decline of Christianity in Europe (he prayed). His acclaimed book, Does Jesus Really Love Me?—which earned the cover of the New York Times Book Review—features his reporting on Christianity and sexuality across America. One of Jeff’s prized possessions is a print of a quote from former Senator John Warner, who once told Jeff: "You're a good little interviewer!"

 

As a speaker, Jeff’s experience has been equally as compelling. He has stood before audiences in Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and an array of other denominational and non-denominational churches across the country and around the world. He has preached and lectured at major colleges, universities and seminaries, including (to name a few) Princeton, Yale, Fuller, Calvin, Syracuse, and Hope. He has also graced the stages of the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival in Washington and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored and Innovation by Design gatherings, as well as the Progressive Youth Ministry, Gay Christian Network, Why Christian?, and Room for All (Reformed Church in America) conferences.

 

Jeff grew up California and Florida. He went to high school in Miami, at Westminster Christian, where he sat behind Alex Rodriguez in Mr. Warner’s world history class. He’s a graduate of Princeton and the London School of Economics. And he will tell you that he is a writer today largely because of two people: Carmen Gonzalez, his second- and third-grade teacher at Black Pine Circle Day School in Berkeley, California, who first taught him about storytelling, and Charlotte Grimes, whose one-semester journalism seminar at Princeton—the only journalism course he ever took—taught him that he was not a terrible reporter and might even someday be a good one. Jeff has received fellowships from the Phillips Foundation, the French-American Foundation, and the International Reporting Project, and in 2012, was part of the Seminar on Debates in Religion and Sexuality at Harvard Divinity School.

 

Chu, the nephew and grandson of Baptist preachers, is an ordained elder in the Reformed Church in America. A graduate of Princeton University, the London School of Economics, and Princeton Theological Seminary, he served as a farmhand at PTS’s Farminary. He is now co-host, with Sarah Bessey, of the Evolving Faith Conference and alsoTeacher-in-Residence at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He hates marzipan and beets. He loves the San Francisco 49ers, the Book of Ecclesiastes, compost, and clementines.

To learn more about the rest of the Fall Virtual Retreat or to register for the whole weekend, click here!

Generous Space acknowledges that the workplaces of staff and spaces used for programming across Canada occur on Indigenous lands that are the traditional territories of many diverse nations. For more information about Generous Space’s commitment to Indigenous justice and decolonization and a full territorial acknowledgement, please click here. 

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