Together in Toronto

Together in Toronto

July 27–30, 2006
Toronto, Ontario

A four-day conference for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and ages drawn primarily from the three hosting organizations coming out of Christian faith traditions: Lutherans Concerned / North America, Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests and Affirm United / S’affirmer ensemble.

Transcripts and Presentations

The following plenary transcripts and presentations in from Together in Toronto are available for download in PDF format:

Keynote Speakers

Rev Irene Monroe

Rev Irene Monroe is a lesbian African American theologian at Harvard Divinity School. She is a religious columnist and motivational speaker with articles appearing in such publications as The Advocate, The Boston Globe, and Venus Magazine. Her column, “Queer Take” appears online.

Rev Canon Dr Martin Brokenleg

Dr. Martin Brokenleg, is a gay Aboriginal professor at the Vancouver School of Theology. He has co-authored several books and he has extensive experience in teaching religion, gender, and native youth studies.

Plenary Panelists and Music Director

Anita Fast

Anita Fast studied theology at the Vancouver School of Theology, where she is now Registrar. Her thesis work explored the development of a Queer Theology from an Anabaptist / Mennonite perspective. She is on the Board of the Brethren / Mennonite Council of LGBT Interests, loves playing soccer, dancing to ABBA, and spending time with her partner, Kelly.

David Weiss

David Weiss is a theologian, poet, hymnist, and essayist. At Luther College, Iowa, he developed a course on “GLBT Voices in Theology.” Presently he teaches at Augsburg College, the College of St Catherine, and Hamline University and volunteers in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Reconciling in Christ program. He speaks locally and regionally on the intersection of sexuality and spirituality, assists with LC/NA RIC trainings, and has written resources and hymns used in RIC work across North America. He lives with his wife and their blended family of five children in St Paul, Minnesota.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams has travelled a bumpy and queer ecumenical journey which began with Salvation Army altar calls and brass bands. She then meandered through Baptist, Mennonite, and Unitarian communities and finally arrived in the United Church of Canada where she is now a member of Emmanuel Howard Park United Church and an inquirer for ministry. Legally married in June, 2003, she lives with her spouse, Catherine, and their three children (Phil, Heather and Hal) and two dogs. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation on Paul and teaches New Testament to seminary students at Emmanuel College as well as lay people in congregational settings. All of these aspects of her life are fuelled by her passion to stand in solidarity with those whose bodies and identities are seared by the disciplining gaze of normalcy!

The Rev Dr Cheri DiNovo

The Rev Dr Cheri DiNovo, minister at Emmanuel Howard Park United Church performed the first legalized same sex marriage in North America in 2001. Her book Qu(e)erying Evangelism (The Pilgrim Press) received the 2006 Lambda Literary Foundation, New York, Spirituality Award. She hosts “The Radical Reverend” a twice weekly radio show on CIUT 89.5FM, Canada’s only queer positive, multi-faith, activist radio voice. She was a featured guest on CBC’s “Tapestry” and subject of a documentary “Heretics” on 360 Vision. She was named Canadian Living magazine’s “Outstanding Woman” December 2005 and is the subject of a forthcoming CNN faith segment feature.

Katie Hochstedler

Katie Hochstedler is the full-time volunteer coordinator of Kaleidoscope – an LGBT youth and young adult college programme – of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests. She grew up on a farm in Iowa and is a recent graduate of Goshen College in Indiana where she studied Social Work and Women’s Studies. She currently lives in Minneapolis with six other volunteers through Lutheran Volunteer Corps. She identifies as a Queer Mennonite. Once Katie has kicked her voluntary service habit, she is thinking of turning her hobby of cooking into a career.

The Rev Maris Sants

The Rev Maris Sants was raised in a Latvian Communist family. Discovering his homosexuality at 11 he became a Christian at 17 years because of the sense of acceptance he found from God. Ordained in the Latvian Lutheran Church in 1994, he was involved in Exodus Europe, an ex-gay movement, lived in a heterosexual marriage and had two wonderful children. After graduate theological studies (1998Ð1999) at Middlesex University, London, he rejected the ex-gay movement. He returned to Latvia, came out to the Lutheran archbishop in 2002, and was excommunicated. He chose to make his excommunication a matter of public record rather than be silenced. Maris is the founder of a continuing Christian gay congregation in Latvia, and may be the only out gay Christian pastor in Eastern Europe. Maris is now a practising psychotherapist.

Dr Moon Joyce

Moon Joyce is a songwriter, performer and song leader currently residing in Fredricton, New Brunswick. She has been songleading for over thirty years in countless settings such as concert halls and schools, palliative care homes, wilderness expeditions, spiritual conferences, prison cellblocks, refugee camps – even Olympic hockey dressing rooms! In each setting, Moon’s work confirms the belief that singing belongs to everyone and can enhance every situation where life leads us. Having studied with a range of renowned song leaders from North America, Africa, and the UK, she uses an exciting array of methods from various aural traditions to introduce people of all ages and backgrounds to the joys of singing in group settings. Her academic research into the social and cultural forces that discourage people from singing informs her work as a musician, and her rich voice and vibrant presence inspires those who believe they can’t (or shouldn’t) sing to find their musical voices and build their own doorway into a rich and everyday singing life. Moon Joyce recently completed her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (U of T); her thesis was titled Bodies that Sing: The Formation of Singing Subjects.