Beth Carlson-Malena grew up in the prairies, moved to Vancouver to do an MDiv at Regent, where she met her wife Danice. They recently spent 3 years in Toronto, and have just moved back to the place that feels most like home to them: Vancouver. Beth is the Director of Community for Generous Space Ministries, offering pastoral care and community connection to LGBTQ+ Christians across Canada, and is also co-planting a new church in Vancouver. She enjoys reading science fiction and is learning to play jazz piano.
Danice Carlson-Malena has about 15 years in Youth Ministry – first in the context of Canadian Baptist churches, and more recently (since coming out as queer and marrying her favourite redhead) with LGBTQ+ youth across the country. She loves reading stories through a queer lens, throwing dance parties, and meeting thoughtful youth who have questions and ideas about life, faith, sexuality, and Beyoncé (among other things). She is currently living in Vancouver and working for Generous Space Ministries, connecting with queer youth and creating new video resources.
Eric Van Giessen is a queer cisgender man with a passion for poetry, paradox, people, problems, and social justice. He lives in Toronto, working as Operations Manager for Generous Space Ministries alongside other LGBTQ+ Christians, and can often be found sipping a hot/cold beverage at a local watering hole with a furrowed brow whilst humming to himself. Grief, rest, anger, home, and flourishing in faith are some of the present ponderings of his day to day being.
Gabrielle O’Neil is a writer/artist, eternal student, athlete, mental health activist, speaker, performing arts consumer and captain of all things silly! Gabrielle has worked as a peer specialist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also partnering with MHA and WISE, presenting on lived experience, stigma reduction and suicide prevention. She is also passionate about youth mentorship, volunteering and activism. Although a Wisconsin native, with her whole family in the Milwaukee area, Gabrielle, an avid traveler, has wanderlust and has called many places “home” in the last year. Through sharing her story she wants people to feel less alone, to feel a sense of hope.
Kathy Kwon hails from California, but in the last decade has happily made Vancouver home. “America is scary.” She is a proud alum of Cal Berkeley and a reluctantly deeply grateful alum of Regent College where she did her MDiv. Kathy enjoys bouldering, laughing louder than is necessary, singing praises to the Lord, riding motorcycles, and disguising her cynicism as “idealism” and “realism.” On Sunday mornings, she worships at Artisan Church.
Lisa Salazar finds it almost impossible to provide a short bio in 100 words or less. Being a professional graphic designer, she resorts to bullet points. • Born in Colombia • Grew up in California • Moved to Canada after college (1973) • Fathered (*record player scratch SFX*) 3 sons • Met Beth Carlson-Malena in 2005 on their church’s worship team in Vancouver • Transitioned at almost 58 in 2008 • Published her memoir in 2011 • Completed an MA in public and pastoral leadership in 2015 at Vancouver School of Theology • Trained as a chaplain • Serves as director on several boards • Advocates and Educates on Trans Issues • Loves vegetarian Mexican food.
Sarah Bessey is the author of “Jesus Feminist” and “Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith.” She is a sought-after speaker at churches, universities, and conferences around the world as well as an award-winning blogger from right here in Canada. Sarah also serves on the board for both Help One Now and Heartline Ministries. She lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their four children. You can find her on Twitter @sarahbessey where she tweets about everything from Christian feminism to Doctor Who to ecclesiology – sometimes all at once.