Mark Bowman has been involved in the development of LGBT-RAN since its founding in 2001. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology. He first became active in Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns in the late 1970s. He was instrumental in the formation of the Reconciling Congregation Program (United Methodist) and the magazine Open Hands and headed these programs for fifteen years. He played a key leadership role in initiating several cooperative ventures in the ecumenical “Welcoming Church” Movement, including the historic, massive Witness Our Welcome (WOW) Conference in 2000. He was also one of the original members of the National Religious Leaders Roundtable of the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Jess Delegencia, MA, MDiv, a citizen of both the United States and the Philippines, is currently the executive director of World Bridges, an Oakland-based non-profit serving young adults of color affected by US urban poverty. He is also a PhD candidate in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA, where his research is focused on Filipino leadership and LGBT advocacy in Christian organizations. Jess was a full-time minster with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for over 12 years, serving as Area Director (2002-2004), Regional Program Director for the Global Urban Trek program in the Philippines and Asia (2004-2008), and a national diversity consultant (2002-2008) in API leadership development and ministry.
Jess is the co-founder of Kapwa, a Filipino American para-church organization in Berkeley, CA. He is also a sought after speaker and teacher, having preached or facilitated workshops in Mexico, Thailand, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, and the Philippines. Jess has travelled to over 50 countries in all regions of the world, having lived, studied or worked in southern Africa, southeast Asia, India and Mexico.
Jennifer Fernandez is a current Masters of Divinity student at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She has worked as a hospital and hospice chaplain specializing in the spiritual care of elders. Her current academic interest focuses on the intersectionality of theology and critical theory. Jennifer lives in Berkeley with her Australian Cattle Dog, Porter, who often comes to the CLGS office to help with filing.
Deseree Fontenot earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature from the University of Southern California. During her four years as a student organizer, she worked to expand diverse and thoughtful programming as the director of the GLBTQ student assembly at USC. She formerly served as the Administrative Assistant at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank focused on advancing critical thought in the field of sexual orientation law and public policy. She has also volunteered with sustainability and spirituality focused organizations in South America. She is thrilled to be a part of an organization working towards social change for GLBTQ communities. Deseree is also a practicing yoga instructor and completed the Integral Health Fellowship Yoga Teacher Training with Niroga Institute in Berkeley.
Jakob Hero received his MDiv, MA, and Certificate in Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in 2011. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Christian Theology and Spiritual Direction from Cardiff University in Wales, and a BA in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Islam, from the University of South Florida. Jakob has led trainings on human rights and participated transgender advocacy throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Central and Eastern Europe. Currently living in Tampa, Florida, Jakob is the Director of Education and Programs at the Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa.
Jennifer Oliva has been deeply influenced by the immigrant/migrant community that she was brought up with in Los Angeles. She earned her B.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focused on Central American social movements, mapping immigration processes, the Latin American diaspora, and the modes that communities create beauty and continue resistance despite their multiple struggles. She has worked with a wide range of organizations to advance the education and well-being of children, youth and the LGBTQ community. All of which have informed and fueled her continual involvement in a movement that seeks to create “a world in which many worlds fit”. In her free time, Jennifer loves to read, dance, cook, eat, craft, and watch movies.
Justin earned his M.Div. degree at Harvard Divinity School and his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. His dissertation was published in 2003 by Pilgrim Press as Transgendered: Ministry, Theology, and Communities of Faith and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award that year. That book was also the first in the CLGS book series. He has also contributed chapters to the Queer Bible Commentary and Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible. An artist and photographer, Justin has had a lifelong passion for the arts. His scholarly interests include the theology expressed by LGBT visual artists, which is the focus of his PhD studies here at the GTU.
After receiving his PhD from Yale University in the history of Christianity and teaching on the East coast, Bernie became one of the original staff members of the Center when it opened its doors in the fall of 2000. Since then he has held a number of positions at CLGS, including Program Director and Interim Deputy Director, before becoming Executive Director in July 2009. In addition, he directs the development and advancement work of the Center, teaches in the Certificate of Sexuality and Religion Program (CSR) at Pacific School of Religion, and serves as an editorial consultant for the CLGS/Pilgrim Press Book series.
Rev. Roland Stringfellow earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Indiana University. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in Ministry from Grace Theological Seminary and in 1990 became a licensed minister in the Baptist Church. In 2005, Roland was ordained with the Metropolitan Community Church and in 2006 he earned his Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion with a certificate in Religion and Sexuality. In 2011, Roland became licensed with the United Church of Christ and The Fellowship churches, a predominately African-American denomination with an outreach to LGBT individuals. He has worked as a pastor in Indiana and California. In addition to all his work within church contexts, Roland also worked in the field of education in a variety of capacities – teacher, guidance counselor, college advisor, and vice-principal. Roland is currently based in Detroit, Michigan.