More Light Presbyterians is supported by a dynamic staff and board of directors. More Light staff are available to visit your congregation or community group, and for individual consultation about furthering LGBTQ inclusion. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or just want to say hi!

The More Light Presbyterians Staff

Alex Patchin McNeill, Executive Director

Pronouns: He/Him/His
@presbyqueerian

Alex Patchin McNeill has served as the Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians since 2013. During his tenure at More Light, he has equipped congregations to live into policy change for inclusion of LGBTQ people and has successfully enacted policies for marriage equality in the Presbyterian Church, USA. Under his leadership, More Light now serves as a capacity-building organization, equipping congregations to work intersectionally on justice issues. As a trained professional coach through the International Coaching Federation, Alex brings a coaching approach to his work with church leaders and congregations seeking to follow God’s call to widen their welcome, increase church vitality, or develop and implement new programs. In addition, he coaches leaders taking a leap of faith to launch a new project, stepping into a leadership role, or discerning a new calling.

As an openly transgender man with a wealth of experience both professionally and personally, he is a sought-after trainer and facilitator of workshops on gender identity and sexual orientation. He has over a decade of experience training hundreds of community leaders, and has played key roles organizing faith communities for marriage equality in Maryland and legislation to promote LGBTQ rights. Alex is a Candidate for Ordination in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and holds a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He currently lives in Durham, NC. Click here to contact Alex.

Joey Lopez, Organizing Manager

Pronouns: He/Him/His
@loeyjopez07

Joey Lopez began his career as a faith organizer with Reconciling Ministries Network and Methodist Federation for Social Action leading up the the 2012 General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and has organized UMC communities in Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas. Currently, Joey serves on the Board of Directors for Methodist Federation for Social Action, a progressive movement within the UMC.

Joey recently completed the year-long Tzedek Social Justice Residency at the Campaign for Southern Equality doing LGBT* rights work throughout the U.S. Southeast. In his role as Community Organizer, he worked to coordinate the 2015 LGBT* in the South conference convening almost 500 grassroots organizers, attorneys, healthcare providers, educators and other practitioners from across the South. With Executive Director Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, he developed the Southern Equality Fund, a micro-funding initiative for Southern groups and organizers to provide direct services and advocacy for the full lived equality of LGBT* people in the South.

Passionate about social justice and intersectional advocacy, Joey has worked with people of faith in Chicago, Detroit, and rural communities in North Carolina organizing and empowering them to claim their voice for justice in the world. His own intersecting identities shape his commitment to educational, economic, racial, ethnic, and queer liberation and justice both inside and outside communities of faith. Joey is excited to bring this dedication to his role with More Light Presbyterians. You should ask Joey about our work mobilizing Presbyterians in North Carolina. Click here to contact Joey.

jessbiopoicJess Cook, Program and Communications Manager

Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs
www.clatteringbones.com

Jess Cook is a candidate for ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA). A native of East Texas and lifelong Presbyterian, Jess holds a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary, a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from Baylor.

Prior to joining MLP, Jess was the Youth Programs Director at Side by Side, an organization in Richmond, VA serving LGBTQ+ youth. While at Side by Side, Jess worked with hundreds of young people through support groups, a leadership program, and various programs in the community. They created a parent support group and a meals program, and trained a wide variety of faith community leaders and service providers on best practices for working with LGBTQ+ youth.

Jess’s call is to help facilitate spaces where reconciliation is possible, with the acknowledgement that reconciliation is only possible if we are able to be honest with ourselves and one another about the ways in which we are broken. True reconciliation requires relationships, and relationships require trust and vulnerability. Jess sees their role as helping make spaces where that vulnerability is celebrated and trust can be built.

Jess loves poetry, liturgy, sharing meals, and pretty much any conversation about the ways we see the Spirit come to life in the world. They live in Richmond, VA with their lively toddler, dog, and cat. Click here to contact Jess.

Susan Robertson, Operations Assistant

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Susan Robertson has worked for MLP for almost 15 years as the financial assistant. Being on staff with MLP is important to her because she gets to work with a tremendous group of people and help to create change within the PCUSA. Susan has been with her wife, Brenda, for 17 years and have 2 adult children and 3 cats. Click here to contact Susan.

payton_biopicPayton McGarry, More Light Intern

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Payton McGarry is currently enrolled as a student at UNC-

Greensboro, where he will be graduating with a degree in May. In addition to being a student, Payton is known for his work in trans* advocacy and economic justice in the south. He has worked with organizations such as Ignite NC as a Gender Justice Fellow, and The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad as a Program Facilitator. Payton is also an inaugural board member for the LGBTQ+ Center of Greensboro, and spends his free time volunteering in Greensboro. As a result of his volunteer work and his commitment to advocacy, Payton is a recipient of two Presidential Volunteer Service Awards, the Spartan of Promise Award, the MLK Award, and was named a Champion of Liberty by the ACLU of North Carolina in 2017.

Payton is excited to join the More Light team for the semester and looks forward to working with the community! He will be with us throughout this spring.

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