We, the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance, are members of the Body of Christ, called to join in God’s work of transforming the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) into a just and inclusive church that welcomes persons of all gender identities and expressions and sexual orientations into full life and leadership of the church.
At its November 2021 retreat, the Council made small, BIG changes to the AllianceQ mission statement and identified guiding values and organizational priorities.
We are members of the Body of Christ…
AllianceQ members and friends span denominational groups and/or do not affiliate with the Disciples of Christ (DOC) or any faith tradition. We emphasize that every body is part of the larger body, and we ground our connectedness, humanity, and divinity in scripture. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)
Gender identities and expressions and sexual orientations…
Gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are separate entities. Here’s a recorded webinar from AllianceQ and here’s a visual called the Genderbread Person. So many resources about all this.
The 2021 change in our mission statement from “the full life and leadership of the church” to “full life and leadership of the church” emphasizes our work supporting LGBTQ+ individuals and issues beyond the institutional church. We are claiming God’s call through Jesus for all to have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
REV. LUTHER YOUNG, JR.
Luther (he/him) is an artist, public theologian, and social justice advocate. He is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He serves as Council Moderator of the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance (AllianceQ) and a board member for Q Christian Fellowship.
He holds a B.S. from Belmont University, M.Div. from Vanderbilt University, and an M.A. from The Ohio State University. A Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at The Ohio State University, much of Luther’s academic and community work addresses class inequalities, racial injustice, and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community and other disadvantaged groups.
Jeff (he/him) a computer programmer for the City of Garland, Texas. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and was an atheist until 2018, when he had such a supernatural experience with God that he couldn’t deny God’s existence. He is a member of First Christian Church Plano where he enjoys worshipping the Lord and serving the church as a lay leader and board member.
The work of affirmation, love, and liberation for ALL is meaningful to Jeff because he has experienced rejection, hate/fear, and oppression. Jeff says, “I don’t want anyone else to go through that, and I want everyone to know that God loves them and that they are welcome. Jesus commands us to love our neighbor, not tolerate, or judge, but to love.”
Elijah (he/they) is a seminary student at Phillips Theological Seminary. Eli and his family are members at First Christian Church of Lansing where he is an Elder, sings in the choir, and is a member of the General Board. Eli and his wife Jessica are raising two kids, Lu who is non-binary and Alexis, and they are foster parents.
As a self-identified queer transman, Eli says he knows the struggle of finding an accepting and affirming church home. “I bounced between churches for years, all of which stated they were ‘open and affirming,’ but fell short of affirming me as I am. When I found the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and subsequently AllianceQ, I knew I had a found a place that was open, accepting and working to affirm me as a child of God.”
REV. RJ ROBLES
RJ (he/they/elle) is an Afro-Puerto Rican queer and trans community organizer, minister, movement chaplain, educator, and survivor living in the U.S. diaspora. RJ is among trans spiritual warriors as an ordained Disciples of Christ Christian minister and Puerto Rican spiritualist. They have also been trained as a movement chaplain and continue their training in movement trauma healing.
As a mad psychiatric survivor, they currently support trans youth through healing justice-based projects with the National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network. RJ also spends their day providing social services to unaccompanied minors and autistic children within mental health agencies in Nashville, TN, where they currently reside.
REV. DR. STEVEN BLINDER
Steven (he/him) is the senior pastor at Royal Palm Christian Church (DOC) in Coral Springs, FL. However, being a father and grandfather are his most important life roles. He is a student at Phillips Theological Seminary (PTS) and has graduate degrees in human resource management, curriculum, and leadership. He has published reading curriculum, bully prevention programs, and time management materials. Dr. Blinder has presented national workshops on faith-based bias. Dr. Blinder is an active member of his community and serves the Florida Region as personnel chair.
REV. ARI DOUGLAS
Ari (they/them) who is openly nonbinary-agender and bisexual (their gender and others), is the pastor of Portsmouth Union Church in Portland Oregon. Ari is an M.Div. graduate of Phillips Theological Seminary and is attending there for their D.Min. focused on teaching clergy and laity how to be public theologians (activists). They are the primary author of GA 2352, movement organizer in the Poor People’s Campaign, and has been the chaplain for a transgender and nonbinary support group. Ari is a tabletop gaming geek and loves all things Scottish. They father an eleven-year-old autistic child, and step-fur-parent two cats.
Erin (she/they) is a student at Phillips and plans to be ordained through the Illinois/Wisconsin Region. Central Illinois is where she calls home, mainly a small town called Mackinaw. Mackinaw Christian Church is where she was taught and learned the stories of Jesus and the meaning of the church, acceptance, affirmation, liberation, and love. Erin says, “This work is meaningful to me because that is what my theology says, that is what my faith stems from, and I feel called to spread that message in my work and in my life.”
Leticia (she/her) is a member of First Christian Church Plano where she serves as Chair of the Outreach Committee, Chair of Safety and Security, Youth Sunday School Teacher, Youth Sponsor, and a deacon. She has worked on projects for long-term care facilities and collaborated with City House, an organization that helps young teens experiencing homelessness. I also support Twelve 12 Ministries, an organization that supports women with infertility and pregnancy.
Evan (he/him) a lifelong Disciple and holds an MDiv from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is an alumni of the National Benevolent Association (NBA) XPLOR program. Evan was born and raised in Fort Worth, and after spending time in Louisiana, Missouri, am now living in Northern California again with his spouse.
Evan says, “I am excited about the opportunity to engage with AllianceQ because of my focus on justice-oriented ministry and my experience working in equity with the NBA.”