The Board of Directors of Lutherans Concerned/North America met last night and elected new Co-Chairs, a Vice-Chair for Development and a Secretary to the Board, all officer positions. They will serve until the current board’s biennial term of office ends in July 2012.
Elected were Nicole Garcia and the Reverend Chris Berry as Co-Chairs, Jeannine Janson as Vice-Chair for Development, and Kurt Neumann as Secretary to the Board. All are highly qualified for their respective positions and quite familiar with LC/NA’s work. Information about these new members of the board is at the end of this announcement and will be in the next issue of Concord.
As you will see, we are still working on the three remaining board vacancies and there will shortly come another announcement as those positions are elected by the board.
Nicole Garcia, Interim Chair during the transition (and now Co-Chair), commented on the election, “I am very pleased to be part of the top leadership of the board and LC/NA and also pleased at the quality of new leadership. We all are Lutherans committed to the work of LC/NA towards full inclusion. We will hit the ground running, building on the successes LC/NA has had and the excellent programs LC/NA has for advocacy and ministry. Challenges we have, of course, but we have always had challenges — and risen to them. I thank you for your continued support and work. We truly are God’s Hands, doing God’s work.”
Elected by the Board:
Nicole Garcia to serve as Co-Chair, an officer position, a board member since 2008, having previously served as Secretary to the Board and Transgender Representative. It was in 2003 that Nicole first became involved with the Reconciling in Christ (RIC) program at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Denver. Since then, Nicole has presented workshops and participated in panels concerning gender identity and spirituality in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and throughout the Denver/Boulder (Colorado) area. Nicole holds membership in many LGBTQ organizations, to include: the Latino/a Roundtable sponsored by the PSR Center for Gay and Lesbian Studies in Religion and Ministry, Out Boulder, Boulder County PFLAG, Boulder Out Door Fund, One Colorado, TransFaith Online, the Interfaith Working Group, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and National Center for Transgender Equality. Nicole is halfway through a master’s program in counseling at the University of Colorado Denver with the intention of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. Nicole has served as a Voting Member at the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly and at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, and is looking forward to serving at the 2011 Churchwide Assembly in Orlando.
Rev. Chris Berry to serve as Co-Chair, an officer position, has been a member of the Goodsoil Legislative Team since January 2004. After serving as that team’s parliamentary consultant he was appointed the convener/chair of the team in December 2007. A member of LC/NA for almost 30 years, he received a BA in Classical Rhetoric and an MA in Interpersonal Communication from California State University, Fresno. He studied for his Mdiv at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and Wartburg Theological Seminary. His doctoral work was at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in Ancient Semitic Languages. He has served as a parish pastor in Joliet, Illinois, and Melbourne Beach, Florida. The Lutheran Campus Pastor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, for the past 18 years and an adjunct professor of counseling, health and wellness, he has research fellowships at Hebrew University, Jerusalem; University of Nice; University of Toronto; and was appointed a research fellow at the Pontifical Biblical Institute by Pope John Paul II. Chris has been a lifelong advocate and ally, working for farm labor equality in Central California as a high school student to working for full inclusion in our church. He is the Senior Research Fellow and Lead Trainer for the Pacific Violence Prevention Institute (PVPI), which works at preventing and ending all types of violence in society, concentrating on bullying and harassment prevention and preventing violence and suicide among youth and young adults. PVPI works closely with the US Department of Justice in aspects of ally-building and recognizing and responding to violence among youth and young adults in numerous violence prevention areas.
Jeannine Janson to serve as Vice Chair of Development, an officer position, has previously served as Co-Chair of LC/NA from 2002-2008, after serving as the West/Northwest Regional Director for two years. In addition to serving as Co-Chair, Jeannine was the Campaign Director for ONE VOICE, the $2,000,000 joint appeal to benefit LC/NA, Lutheran Lesbian & Gay Ministries (now Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries), and Wingspan Ministry of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church. In 2008 Jeannine was given LC/NA’s distinguished service award, which was renamed at that time as the Janson Distinguished Service Award. Jeannine has also served as President and Fundraising Chair of Friends of St. Francis Childcare Center in San Francisco. Jeannine worked in San Francisco as a legal secretary for 35 years. In 2006 Jeannine and her partner, Mari Irvin, moved to Yachats, Oregon. In 2008 Jeannine began working as Administrative Assistant at Yachats Community Presbyterian Church while remaining a Lutheran. Jeannine and Mari are still members of St. Francis Lutheran where they met in 1992 and were married in 1998.
Kurt Neumann to serve as Secretary to the Board, an officer position, served as the first Youth and Young Adult Representative for Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) from 2005-2008. After receiving a Dual Bachelor’s degree in European Studies and German in 2008 he worked for the U.S. State Department in Berlin, Germany. He returned to the U.S. later that year and has since been working at the Marriott Austin Downtown as a Front Desk Manager. Continuing his passion for International Relations, he began his Master’s degree in Diplomacy in 2010. While on the board of directors, he advocated at annual Lutheran Campus Ministry gatherings for greater youth participation in LC/NA. He also worked during the summers of 2006 and 2007 at the LC/NA St. Paul headquarters to prepare the organization for the 2006 Biennial Assembly in Toronto and the 2007 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Chicago. He lives in Austin, Texas and is an avid runner. His home congregation is First English Lutheran. He still participates with Lutheran Campus Ministry Austin while continuing his Master’s studies. He is excited to rejoin the LC Board in this leadership role.
Director Communications LC/NA
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