Who We Are » Regional Coordinators and Directors

Regional Coordinators

Click on a Regional Coordinator/Regional Director's name to contact. If you are not sure which ELCA Region you belong to, please see the ELCA map

 Leo Bancroft

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Leo Bancroft
Leo Channing Bancroft (He/him), returned home to Oregon in 2009, after earning a Master of Arts in Theology in Berkeley, CA. While his day job involves solving technical problems, his passion is advocacy for both the HIV and LGBTQ communities. He is active in his congregation, St. Andrew Lutheran, as well as the Portland Metro Chapter of ReconcilingWorks, and enjoys training, preaching, and sharing his story to help make the church a safe and welcoming space.

In September 2013, Leo came out publicly as transgender (FTM – female to male). He is transitioning surgically and hormonally, sharing that process publicly with gratitude to those who have lived “out” lives before him, whether with their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.

 

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Kenny Callaghan
Kenny Callaghan, (He/him) a native of Southern California, is committed to living out his faith engaging the world in the justice Jesus preached.  He is active within the Los Angeles Lutherans Concerned Chapter, was a speaker at Prop 8/Marriage Equality rallies, and continues to speak regarding equality, full inclusion, and justice for all people. Kenny serves on the staff of Christ Lutheran Church in Long Beach and Living Faith Lutheran Church in Santa Clarita, California, as Director of Music and Worship. He enjoys composing music for his church choir and soloists, sings with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and enjoys discovering new bakeries, coffee houses, and restaurants sampling their dining delicacies.

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The Rev. Elaine Watskey
Elaine (She/her) is an ELCA pastor, having served as a parish pastor in Arizona and then as Assistant to the Bishop for Candidacy in the Grand Canyon Synod.   Because the Church should be a truly welcoming place for all people, Elaine has felt called to share the inclusive message of Jesus throughout her life and ministry.   A Kansas native and a former Missouri businesswoman, whom God called to public ministry later in life, Elaine lives with her husband Joe in Phoenix where they keep the airlines busy flying to Oklahoma City to see their beloved daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.

 

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TBA

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René García
René García (He/him) is the Region 4 Coordinator after serving six years as a Director and Co-Director of Multicultural Relations on the LC/NA Board of Directors. The son of a German-American Lutheran mom and a Mexican-American Roman Catholic dad, René and his brother were raised Lutheran. Attending Sunday School, confirmation classes, and vacation bible school in the summer were part and parcel of growing up in his family. In high school, René was part of the Southwestern Texas Synod Youth Board. Following graduation from Nordheim High School, René attended Texas Lutheran College earning a BA in Communication Arts-Media Studies and Spanish. He also earned the college's Certificate of Bicultural Studies. While at Texas Lutheran, René took on leadership roles with the Mexican-American Student Association, interned at a Spanish-speaking television station in San Antonio, and studied Spanish and Anthropology for six weeks in Querétaro, México. After completing requirements for a Texas Teaching Certificate in Secondary Spanish, he moved to Houston where he has been teaching for 14 years, currently at Cinco Ranch High School in Katy, a western suburb of Houston. René is a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Houston, the only RIC setting in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.  He and his partner Jason reside in Northwest Houston.

 

ruthalmenresized2

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Ruth Almén
Ruth (She/her) is the Region V Coordinator. Raised in a third-generation Lutheran Pastor family, she has been actively involved in working for full inclusion of the LGBT community in her home congregation of Messiah in Marquette, MI, as well as across the synod prior to accepting the position as Regional Coordinator for ReconcilingWorks. A member of her church council, she previously served as an advisor to the Synod Youth Council (currently known as LYO), a voting member of the inaugural ELCA Churchwide Assembly, on the Synod Sexuality Task Force, and is currently working with her own congregation towards becoming an RIC Congregation. Ruth is a social worker currently working for the Alzheimer’s Association, providing services throughout the Upper Peninsula of MI (the part connected to WI).  When not hiking the lakeshore or in the woods with her Newfoundland, Ruth can be found on Lake Superior in her kayak. 

 mert

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Mert is a life-long Lutheran starting his activist gig in high school as President of his home church’s Luther League! While his day job is in materials management for a hospice in Ann Arbor, MI his passion is for everyone to know there is a place for them here, in this place that is Christ’s church, this place we call Lutheran.

His first contact with RIC was at Lord of Light Lutheran church in Ann Arbor, already a long term RIC congregation, where he learned anew about God’s welcome for all people, a place, he says, that changed his life forever. That led to involvement with Lutherans Concerned at the local Great Lakes chapter and as a Regional Director for LC/NA in the 1990s. Currently he is a member of the SE Michigan Synod’s Diversity Task Force on Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression. He is passionate about RIC and excited about the work that still needs to be done, the widening and deepening of the welcome that RIC is.

Mert looks forward to meeting folks in Region Six and invites everyone to join him as we journey together to this new place.

 

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RC10-08 Binde

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Scott Binde
Scott Binde (he/him) was born and raised in rural North Dakota. He has long felt a call for social justice work, and after college went to Cameroon, Africa, to serve with the Peace Corps. Now Scott is a mathematical statistician for the Agricultural Marketing Service in Washington, DC. He first became involved with Reconcil- ingWorks through his local chapter fourth-Sunday worship service. Soon thereafter he attended the assembly in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2002 and then became more active with the organization. Scott has been the Regional Coordinator for Region 8 since 2008 and has enjoyed fulfilling his call to help the church live up to its calling to love and care for all God’s children.

 

RC10-09_Morris

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Wayne Morris
Wayne Morris (He/him) is a Florida native. He was raised in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod but left the church in the '80s.  For years, he felt God’s constant beckoning call to return, and finally he answered. Wayne chose the ELCA and became a member of St. Paul’s in Clearwater, Florida, in 2002. Three years later St. Paul’s became Reconciling In Christ. Wayne became involved in the movement for full inclusion after attending his first RIC training at St. John’s Atlanta. He has been the Region 9 RIC Coordinator since 2007. After years of prayer, Wayne finally met Steve, his life partner, in 2006. They were the first to hold a blessing service and commitment celebration in the Sanctuary at St. Paul’s. Wayne and Steve both work in laboratories at the local blood center and attend St. Mark Lutheran Church in Dunedin, Florida.

Bridget Radford

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Bridget Radford
Bridget Radford (She/her) was born in Baltimore, Maryland where she was baptized Roman Catholic. After serving as a VISTA volunteer with Catholic Charities of Baltimore with the Catholic Worker movement, Bridget accepted a Community Organizing position in Buffalo, NY where she became involved with Dignity, a group for LGBTQ Catholics. But after a papal encyclical was issued concerning homosexuality (you can be one just don’t act like one), Bridget found herself cast out of the church she into which she was born, raised, and educated.

Bridget eventually ended up in Nashville, TN where she met her partner, Teresa, who introduced me to the ELCA. Bridget got involved with and is a member of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Hendersonville, TN  – home at last. Unfortunately Teresa, died of ovarian cancer on December 31, 2012. Her life and death lead Bridget to the Reconciling in Christ program.  

By day Bridget works with the Limitless Libraries program of the Nashville Public Library, and four nights a week she teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages for Volunteer State Community College. She is also a shop steward at the library for SEIU local 205 and serves on the church council of St. Timothy as chair of the Evangelism committee. Bridget has attended two "Building an Inclusive Church" workshops in less than a year and believes in the message and mission of the RIC program.

 

Regional Coordinator for Region Canada

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