Meet our Practitioners and World-Changers

From my interactions with some radical seminarians, pastors, and prophets; my time as a seminarian intern at Glide Memorial United Methodist Church; and my time with some amazing, radical, activists, healers, and spirits here in the Bay Area and in the Black Rock Desert, I have put together a dream-list of folks whose work, practice, and commitment to transformation inspire me toward the kind of person I want to be, the kind of work I hope to do, and ekklēsia I aspire to curate.

I will continue to fill up this page with the amazing folks and communities who will be a part of this incredible day of aspiration+praxis=inspiration. So stay tuned!

Practitioners

Blyth Barnow, MDiv

Blyth Barnow. HeadshotBlyth Barnow is a queer, white, cisgender, femme who was raised working class in Ohio. She now lives in Oakland, CA and is a harm reductionist, preacher, and community organizer. In 2015 she launched Femminary, an online ministry focused on reclaiming dignity by finding divinity in the profane. She has since graduated from Pacific School Of Religion where she received a Master of Divinity and the Paul Wesley Yinger Preaching Award. Learn more at femminary.com.
Blyth will be presenting “Naloxone Saves” Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Janetta Johnson

Executive Director, Leadership Team
Transgender, Gender-Variant, & Intersex Justice Project

Janetta Johnson.pngTGI Justice Project is a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex people—inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centers—creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom. We work in collaboration with others to forge a culture of resistance and resilience to strengthen us for the fight against human rights abuses, imprisonment, police violence, racism, poverty, and societal pressures. We seek to create a world rooted in self- determination, freedom of expression, and gender justice.

Rev. Christopher Drury

Lead Pastor
Greater Purpose Community Church, Santa Cruz

chris van hallChristopher came to Santa Cruz to plant a Progressive church with the Disciples of Christ. He has been in ministry for 15 years and is a skilled singer, musician, and speaker. Christopher has a passion for innovation in the church that appeals to younger generations, and he wishes to cultivate communities that are righting the course of American Christianity. He desires to offer a place of safety for those who have justifiably left the church, due to bigotry and hate-filled theology. He is the lead pastor of Greater Purpose Community Church. This community is opening a brewery in Santa Cruz that will split its daily profits with local charities and house its spiritual community on Sunday mornings.
Greater Purpose Community Church is a relaunch of Garfield Park Christian Church in Santa Cruz. All theological and political perspectives are welcome and our communion is open to all who wish to partake, regardless of beliefs! Here at GPCC they embrace othersgreater purpose regardless of faith, personal life choices, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political preference, social status, or economic standing. They love and value all equally and at Greater Purpose Community Church: ALL LITERALLY MEANS ALL! Radical love and unity are sacred in their community. For their worship, they sing modern contemporary guitar-driven music and they also enjoy hymns, but arrange them in a modern style. They also have amazing children’s programs. This community is opening a brewery in Santa Cruz that will split its daily profits with local charities and house it’s spiritual community on Sunday mornings.
Rev. Chris will be presenting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Hollywood Texas

hollywood texas promo (aprin 2018)As a Sacred Space and Love Maker, Hollywood Texas is the sacred way of the First Gender—a trans mojosexual healer that uses embodiment (with conscious movement) as a language of expression for the soul. The Mojo Dojo is where they are a teacher of health and fitness as an experience of being happy by producing change work within. For they believe that only within the human body does any source of knowledge and power truly exist.

Not only is Hollywood Texas curating our worship/celebration on the evening of May 5, they are bringing their practice into the space in an opening ritual titled Tao of The First Gender. As the Last Mojosexual, Hollywood Texas is guided by their ancestors through ceremony and ritual as well as rhythm. With soul love and queer vibes, may duality, the holy trinity, the four directions, the five senses, 666, the seven chakras, and infinity unite. Read more about their practice at http://www.mojosexual.com/. Hollywood will be leading two movement sessions on Saturday and is curating the evening Worship & Celebration.

 Sister Merry Peter

sister merry peter

Sr. Merry Peter, SPI found her vocation over 30 years ago through the Radical Faeries, and served as a missionary in Toronto before moving to San Francisco in 1999. Her life-long activism focuses on HIV-AIDS, queer youth, civil rights and social justice. As a Masters of Divinity student, she co-founded the first LGBT Student Union at the University of Toronto and led a successful national campaign against conversion therapy in Canada. Her efforts include partnerships to provide street-level health services to sex workers, legal aid for LGBTQ refugees and resistance to police violence. She is a poet, writer, and former sex-worker. As an ordained minister, she joined the fight for equal marriage in San Francisco in 2004 and regularly performs wedding ceremonies. She lives on the coast with her husband of 19 years. You can reach her directly via email at merrypeter@thesisters.org and friend/follow her on Instagram and Facebook at Merry Peter. You can learn more about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on the web at www.thesisters.orgSister Merry Peter will be presenting at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Mahawam (DJ Power Top Ramen)

Mahawam

Power Top Ramen wants you to dance. Not as if nobody is watching but exactly because they are. In the last few years the DJ and artist has become a fixture of queer nightlife in the Bay Area. Whether wading through throngs of cooly dressed 20-somethings at Starline Social Club or indulging yourself with a thirsty Thursday in the Castro chances are you’ve heard one of their sets. A smart mix of warehouse ready deep house is punctuated by splashes of jazz and hip hop one might not expect from an indie rock loving 20-something. That same penchant for sewing together seemingly disparate sounds shows itself in their output as Mahawam, a recording project that serves as a mirror to their work as a DJ. With a new EP titled “Is An Island,” co-produced by Akiyoshi Ehara of Bay Area band The Seshen and set for release summer 2018, DJ Power Top Ramen still wants you to dance, but they also want you to consider why you’re doing it.” Hear the beats of the resistance Saturday night starting at 8:30 p.m.

Sister Mary Media

sister merry media 2Sister Mary Media was one of the original Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence when the Order was founded in 1979. She was designer of many of the early flyers and promotional items, foremost among them 1982’s iconic “Play Fair!” safe sex pamphlet. After a number of years as a “passive” sister, she re-activated her vocation a couple of years ago and can now be found engaged cheerfully (mostly) in community service at any number of Sister events when not writing plays or toiling on her tell-all musical about the veiled origins of the Order.

Sister Tilda NexTime

Sister Tilda NexTimeBefore becoming Sister Tilda NexTime, Alisson Gothz was the Queen of Club Kids in her native country – Brazil – where she started doing drag two decades ago. Coming from the punk rock/goth subcultures, she started experiencing with make-up and gender bender when she was 15 years old, and her looks are majorly inspired by freak and surreal artists such as Divine, Leigh Bowery and Salvador Dali. Sister Tilda joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence after moving to San Francisco as a way to give back to the community, to provide support and joy to those in need, and to do it in a very creative way. Sister Tilda continues her work with subcultures such as the non-profit organization Punks With Lunch, and at the same time explores to idea of “drag” as an empowering spiritual tool for self-discovery and self-love.

Sister Amor Ah Quality

sister amor ah qualityI didn’t know it specifically, but I’ve always been a nun. If I see a person in need, I’m drawn to support them; that’s been the story as long as I can remember. From confronting bullies in grade school, to being an ally to a Gender Queer person in middle school, to challenging my Sunday school teacher who told me no gay person would ever ascend to the celestial kingdom, I have never been one shy to call “bull shit”. When I discovered the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, it seemed the perfect vocation for a theater brat who used humor and the absurd to address social issues.
My friends often suggested I become a Sister, but it was a “someday” idea until I met Queen Dilly Dally (aka Saint Tag-a-Long) who overcame my procrastination and engineered an introduction to Sister Angelina Holi. The moment I spoke to her about my desires and learned about the initiation process, my heart knew it had found its home.
As a Sister I discovered I can do good in ways my secular self, separated into the compartments of clinician and teacher, cannot access. As a nun, I draw on every aspect of myself and make connections beyond any of these conventions. To me that is the magic; and manifesting as a nun brings out my deepest self in service.

Patricia St. Onge

PSOPatricia St. Onge (Haudenosaunee and Quebecoise, adopted Cheyenne River Lakota) is a grandmother and mom. She’s also the founder of Seven Generations Consulting and Coaching, working primarily with social justice organizations. An activist for decades, she’s currently working with Idle No More SF Bay to protect Mother Earth and all of our Relatives and is a signatory to the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty. She is part of a growing community in East Oakland called Nafsi ya Jamii (The Soul Community), an Educational/Spiritual Center and urban farm. Patricia is adjunct faculty at Mills College and Pacific School of Religion and serves on the board of directors of Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee. Between them, she and her life partner, Wilson Riles, have six grown daughters and six grandchildren.

Inspired by the First Nations Idle No More movement, we are a group of Native Americans and allies working together to create positive change concerning Indigenous rights, the rights of Mother Earth, and the rights of the coming generations to a sustainable and healthy environment. We are all together in this time of shifting from human practices that are destroying our ability to exist to the beautiful and sustainable future that so many are not only imagining, but making a reality in communities around the world. It will take the best in all of us to create the best possible future for coming generations. Nafsi ya Jamii is located in Oakland, CA, which has a long history and strong legacy of generating movements for social change. There is a significant community of nonprofit organizations and neighborhoods who are deeply committed to progressive social change. There’s a growing urban farming community, and many threads of green technology. As part of the movement building that is happening in Oakland, we at Nafsi ya Jamii are creating spaces where people who are most negatively impacted by social injustice in their lives and communities come together to “reimagine” themselves and the systems which create the injustices to which they are targets.

Deb Cuny

NCLR #Born Perfect Campaign to End Conversion Therapy

deb cunyDeb Cuny is a Restorative Justice Coach in the Oakland public school system working to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. She is also an advisory member for the #BornPerfect Campaign to End Conversion Therapy. As a conversion therapy and “ex-gay ministries” survivor, Deb speaks out on behalf of the campaign having appeared in national media outlets such as Huffington Post, The Guardian, VICE, New York Magazine’s The Cut, and Mashable.
After years of pain and rejection from parts of the church, Deb has returned to her faith tradition graduating with an MDiv. from the Graduate Theological Union and serving on the board of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.

Lauren Jewett

PSR MDiv Candidate
PSR / Interfaith Liaison and Spiritual Care Coordinator at YSA

lauren jewettLauren Jewett is a third-year MDiv student at Pacific School of Religion and serves as the Interfaith Liaison and Spiritual Care Coordinator at Youth Spirit Artworks. Lauren is passionate about working with youth and in such a way that youth learn to realize their potential and gain skills for self-advocacy.

Frank Castro

Frank CastroGlide Harm reduction Outreach Worker