Pastor Mak Kneebone is Coalition’s first transgender president

Pastor Mak Kneebone is Coalition’s first transgender president

The Rev. Mak Kneebone, pastor of Plymouth United Church in Spring, TX, is the Open and Affirming Coalition’s new president.

Kneebone was elected by the Coalition’s Leadership Team at its meeting in July in Baltimore.

“I’m  so pleased that Mak is willing to take on this role,” said Phil Porter, the Coalition’s outgoing president. “He will bring a strong commitment to justice and intersectionality, a pastor’s heart and a lively sense of humor to the job. It has been a delight to serve with Mak so far and I look forward to this new phase in the Coalition’s leadership.”

Pastor Kneebone is the Coalition’s first transgender president, and the second transgender person to lead the Coalition’s board of directors. Barbara Satin, an early leader of the transgender movement in the UCC, was elected the Coalition’s moderator in 2002.

Earning his M.Div. degree from Chicago Theological Seminary, Kneebone served as pastor for congregations in Chicago and Northern Indiana before his call to Texas last year.

Creating wholeness in our broken world by following the path of Jesus as Christ is Mak’s passion. Along with providing pastoral care and leading worship he feels called to work on peacemaking, crafting inclusive and nonviolent liturgies, and having conversations about privilege and the intersections of oppression. Mak also leads workshops on transgender spirituality, drumming and liturgy at local churches and at national and regional conferences. He describes himself as “a theology geek, a thespian and a euchre player.”

“It has been my pleasure to work closely with Mak since he joined the Coalition’s Leadership Team in 2013,” said the Coalition’s executive director, Andy Lang. “He takes up the mantle of president at a critical time in our life together, as we seek new ways to proclaim in word and deed justice not only for LGBTQ people, but with and for all whose lives are diminished by injustice and violence.”

Porter, who has served as the Coalition’s president since 2011, will continue on the Leadership Team as treasurer. “I’m delighted Phil will continue in leadership for the ONA Coalition,” Lang said. “He has been a steady, calm, creative and inspiring presence in our movement.”

Besides Kneebone and Porter, the Coalition’s Leadership Team includes the Rev. Kevin Tindell of Chicago, vice president, the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel of Minneapolis, secretary, the Rev. Lesley Jones of Cincinnati, and the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer of Cleveland.