Our Team

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 get in touch with us at info@mlp.org.  Jump to Board of Directors here.

The More Light Presbyterians Staff

Alex Patchin McNeill, Executive Director

Pronouns: He/Him/His

@presbyqueerian

Alex Patchin McNeill is the first openly transgender person to head a mainline Protestant organization. He is an openly transgender man, a life-long Presbyterian, and a nationally known educator and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Christians. He has trained hundreds of Christians to become community leaders through the Institute for Welcoming Resources and the Reconciling Ministries Network. He played key roles organizing faith communities for the passage of Amendment 10A in the PC(USA), and for marriage equality legislation in Maryland. McNeill has also campaigned for ballot measures and legislation to promote LGBTQ rights. His journey to ordination is currently being chronicled in the documentary, Out of Order. Alex 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 Asheville, NC with his wife and three dogs. Click here to contact Alex.

Joey Lopez,
Program and 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

http://www.clatteringbones.com; @clatteringbones

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, Financial Assistant

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Susan Robertson has worked for MLP for almost 10 years as the financial assistant. She continues to work full time in a Physical Therapy Office where she manages two clinics in Minneapolis, MN. 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 life partner, Brenda, for 11 years and have two adult children and two cats. Click here to contact Susan.

 

National Board of Directors

Board spring 2017
More Light Presbyterians National Board of Directors, Spring 2017

The More Light Presbyterians National Board of Directors consists of 15 persons elected by the membership of MLP or appointed to fill vacancies per the requirements in the by-laws.

Nominations to the National Board of Directors are made by a Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee solicits the MLP membership for suggestions for nominees and considers both within its composition and its proposed slate of nominees the diversity of sexual orientations, differing abilities, racial-ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and expression, ages (in conformity with applicable laws), synod of residence, and MLP membership categories.

If you would like to contact a board member, please send an email to alex@mlp.org. He will forward your request to the appropriate board member(s).

Co-Moderators

Rev. Kyle Walker (2017)

Rev. Kyle Walker is a Texan by birth and a gay man by the grace of God. His ordained life in ministry began in 1997 as an Associate Pastor for Youth and Christian Education at Springdale Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Since that time he spent 14 years in student ministry on behalf of the PCUSA and UCC at Texas A&M University where the Department of Student Life honored him with their Rainbow Award for helping the university create a climate of inclusion for LGBT persons. Recently, Kyle has been called as the pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. Faith joined the More Light Movement around 2005.

Kyle was a commissioner from Mission Presbytery to the 221st General Assembly in Detroit. As the PCUSA has moved to include LGBT persons to greater and greater degrees, Kyle has a passion for looking back at where we as a church continue to fall short for women, people of color, and those who do not fit our continuing cisgender biased ethos as a church. Believing we will find Jesus increasingly at the intersections and margins, Kyle is excited about More Light playing a big role in the future church. Kyle is a graduate of West Texas A&M University, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and Columbia Theological Seminary where he received his Doctor of Ministry examining young adult involvement in church life. Kyle and his partner Nelis Potgieter enjoy traveling, seeing historical sites, cooking, and pretending they are the reincarnation of Siskel and Ebert at the movies. No, really.

*Rev. Dr. Kyle Walker has been appointed to fill an unexpired term and is joining the board class of 2017

Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks (2019)

Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks serves as the Director of Spiritual Formation at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  She is an enthusiastic, creative and thoughtful woman always open to new opportunities to support and sustain the life of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Amy Kim, along with her husband Justin, children Natalily and Isaiah enjoy life together in OH-IO learning new things everyday about living it the mid-west.

Additional Board Members

Ashley Birt (2018)

Ashley Birt is a recent graduate of Union Theological Seminary where she obtained her M.Div. She also holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Ashley currently works as the Director of Christian Education at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York, NY with some of the most fun kids she’s ever met. Her interests include the intersections of racial justice, children and youth, interfaith communication, LGBTQ+ issues (particularly the B), and Christianity. When she isn’t at church or doing social justice work, she enjoys writing, sound editing and theatre tech.

Charlie Sunyoon Shin (2019)

Charlie Sunyoon Shin is currently working as a Director of Children’s Ministries at Zion Presbyterian Church in Shoreline, WA. It is a church of Korean-American immigrants and their children. I have been married to Wonho Shin for 8 years. I have two children, Noelle Yejae (6) and Navy Dajae Shin (2). We live in Seattle, WA. I like getting my hands in lots of different things. I like to read, garden, watch Korean dramas, sing, and eat and learn how to cook healthy and delicious food! I am currently a Candidate for teaching elder in the PC(USA) and in October will be a Candidate Ready to Receive a Call.

Rev. Scott Clark (2017)

Rev. Scott Clark serves as Chaplain and Associate Dean of Student Life at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS).  Scott is a graduate of SFTS, and also has worked with the seminary’s Program in Christian Spirituality.  Before going to seminary, Scott practiced law for twelve years in Birmingham, Alabama, where he worked mainly on cases involving employment discrimination and constitutional law.  In addition to his ministry at the seminary, Scott preaches frequently in Bay Area churches.

Scott’s ministry in the broader church includes advocacy for the full inclusion of all people – including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer – in the full life of the church.  In that work, for a number of years, Scott represented pastors who were prosecuted in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for celebrating the marriages of same-gender couples, before the PC(USA) officially recognized those marriages.  Scott celebrates the PC(USA)’s recent moves toward marriage equality, and the community that led the church to a more loving and expansive understanding of the gospel.  Scott also serves on the board of More Light Presbyterians.  At the heart of Scott’s ministry is the conviction that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people.

Vikki Dearing (2018)

Vikki Dearling is a life-long Presbyterian and is ordained as both an elder and a deacon.  She is a member of Connecting Point Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City where she is a member of the session  and chairs the Worship Experience Committee.  A former co-moderator of the MLP board, Vikki was invited to rejoin the board in 2016.  She serves on the Governance Committee. In her “civilian” life Vikki has been in some form of workforce development for over 40 years.  Vikki and her wife, Deb Bunting, have been together for 34 years.

Jenny Hardin (2017)

Jenny Hardin is currently enrolled in the M.Div. Distance Program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.  She is under care of the Presbytery of Great Rivers as an inquirer, looking soon to move to candidacy.  Jenny has been serving the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, Illinois for two and a half years as their Director of Christian Education and Lay Ministries.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time outdoors. She and her spouse, Abbey, currently live in Carlinville, Illinois.


Ethel Hornbeck (2019)

Ethel Hornbeck is the Director of Spiritual Formation and Campus Ministry at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church, where she has been shaping education and spiritual formation programming for the last 12 years (including a series of events that culminated in SPC formally affiliating with More Light Presbyterians in 2014.) She also works with students at Shepherd University in a campus ministry project called Connections. A spiritual director, she is a graduate of the Shalem Institute’s Spiritual Guidance program where she also served on staff for several years, and holds a Masters of Theological Studies in Spirituality Studies.  A recovering economist and escapee from Washington DC, she is blessed each and every day to live in eastern West Virginia on the beautiful Potomac River with her husband Jeff and a motley collection of critters.

 Rev. Derrick McQueen (2018)

Derrick McQueen is a Ph. D. Candidate in Homiletics and New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He entered the Ph. D. program after completing his M. Div. with a focus on Theology and the Arts, also at Union. He earned his B.A. in Theatre Arts at Drew University in 1987. Within the Presbyterian denomination he worked on the successful campaign for LGBTQ inclusion in church life while serving on the boards of Presbyterian Welcome and That All May Freely Serve. He is currently serving as the Moderator Elect of the Presbytery of New York City where he is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian Church USA. Currently he is the Assistant Director of Community Partnerships for the Center on African American Research, Sexual Politics and Social Justice (CARSS) at Columbia University. Derrick has worked as a community activist, social worker and is currently an Arts and Culture Poverty Scholar with the Poverty Initiative/Kairos at Union.

Mark Olson (2018)

Mark Olson is a ruling elder and a member of First & Central Presbyterian Church, a More Light congregation in Wilmington, Delaware. As immediate past moderator of New Castle Presbytery, he currently serves as chair of the presbytery Council and has also served several terms as a trustee of New Castle Presbytery, including as chair of the trustees. Mark is a lawyer, concentrating in the areas of taxation, and trusts and estates, and has worked on legal issues affecting same gender couples. He is the father of five, the grandfather of four, and is married to Jenny Warren, a Presbyterian pastor. He has been known to support losing causes, most recently the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies.

Rev. Drew Paton (2019)

Rev. Drew Paton is pastor of South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry, New York – a More Light congregation since the late 1980s. Before joining South, Drew served for five years as pastor of St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Spencertown, NY – an eclectic community of spiritual seekers with country roots and progressive values. Previously Drew worked for Jan Hus Presbyterian Church (NYC), Bridges to Community (Nicaragua), The Center for Human Options, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Interfaith Worker Justice, and The Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice. Drew also serves on the Committee on Representation for the Presbyterian Synod of the Northeast. Across many and diverse settings, Drew has been guided by a deep-seated belief in God’s special concern for historically marginalized and oppressed groups. Born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, Drew holds degrees from Hunter College and Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Daniel Williams (2019)

Daniel Williams has been organizing in his communities since he was a teenager in Albuquerque, NM. His organizing experience includes work on student mobilization, worker justice, LGBTQ inclusion, reproductive justice, and numerous electoral campaigns. He is a ruling elder, an aspiring circus artist, an Inquirer under the care of the Presbytery of Santa Fe, an aficionado of scented candles, a committed Aaron Sorkin fan, a member of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, and a 2016 Master of Divinity graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

mati_morosDr. Mati Moros (2020)

Matilde Moros, PhD, is a theological social ethicist working in the field of gender, sexuality and women’s studies. The ethics of resistance and subversion of hegemonic world-views and narratives of power lead her teaching and learning toward a counter-narrative “testimonio” method of decolonial, transnational feminist ethics. Feminist social ethics must respond to sexual and gender violence and the multiple intersections of which race and its various social constructions has led to the exclusion from centers of power of many peoples including Latin American and Latinx communities. Dr. Moros’ research on the communal and historical effects of organized resistance to gendered and sexual violence has led her to an approach to liberation ethics in which recovery of resistance methods has become the primary focus.  Dr. Matilde Moros is Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in Richmond, Virginia.

bruce_reyes_chowRev. Bruce Reyes-Chow (2020)

Bruce is a pastor, author, consultant, and coach. A 3rd Generation Chinese/Filipino, armchair sociologist, and technology enthusiast Bruce speaks and teaches on faith, race, parenting, and technology in a variety contexts from seminaries to conferences to congregations to pre-schools. While he speaks to both religious and secular audiences, he committed to living and expressing a Christian faith that is beautifully complex, unimaginably just and excruciatingly gracious.

Bruce has been a Presbyterian pastor for over 20 years and served as the founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco from 2000-2012, a church of young, multicultural and progressive Presbyterians. In 2008 he was the youngest person ever elected as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the highest elected office of the 1.8 million member denomination.

flo_watkinsRev. Floretta L. Watkins (2020)

The Reverend Floretta L . Watkins graduated from Mercer University in Macon, GA, where she earned a BA in Communications. In 1993, she graduated from Johnson C. Smith Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Seminary with an emphasis in Homiletics and Christian Education.

After serving as a campus minister at South Carolina State University and Claflin College, she received a call to serve Pleasant Ridge of Lancaster, SC and Hermon Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill, SC. In 1997, Rev Watkins was commissioned to the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force National Guard as the first African American female Chaplain. In June 2017 she retired from the 145th Air National Guard. In 2002 Reverend Watkins began her service at well known Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church.  Known for its interracial make-up, Reverend Watkins opened the doors for more inclusion and acceptance of all of God’s children. With a strong emphasis on leadership development,  Reverend Watkins concentrates her efforts on  a decentralized ministry style so that she can pour her energy into  equipping lay leadership for ministry.

Rev. Watkins is currently a Doctoral Candidate for a Doctorate of Education in  Organizational Leadership.  Her work will be around Clergy women and role congruity: The lived experiences of Female Clergy in the PCUSA. Reverend Watkins continues to serve the church with heart and soul.  She has served on the Presbytery Council and served and chair of the Mission and Justice Committee of Council. She also proudly served as the first African American Clergy woman Moderator of the Presbytery of Charlotte in 2013.