Austen Hartke is the author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, a book on theology and personal narratives published by Westminster John Knox Press in 2018. He is also the founder and director of Transmission Ministry Collective, an online community dedicated to the spiritual care, faith formation, and leadership potential of transgender and gender-expansive Christians. He is a graduate of Luther Seminary’s Master of Arts program in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Studies. As a transgender person of faith, Austen's greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-expansive people see themselves in scripture.
Fred Quivik has worked most of his adult life as a public historian working in the fields of historic preservation, environmental history, and the history of technology. He has degrees in art from St. Olaf College, architecture from the University of Minnesota, historic preservation from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science (focus on the history of technology) from the University of Pennsylvania. Professionally he works in the field of historic preservation (establishing his own preservation firm in Butte, Montana) and in the litigation arena as an expert witness. His expertise is in industrial history, mainly of the extractive industries, like mining, and he has worked mainly on Superfund cases and related environmental cases, usually for the U.S. Department of Justice. He also taught history of technology and environmental history at Michigan Technological University for 5.5 years. Fred is married to Melinda Quivik, an ELCA pastor and liturgical scholar. Now living in Saint Paul, their educational and professional pursuits have taken them to many places, ranging from Philadelphia and Alameda, CA, on the coasts, to Froid, MT, a town of 190 on the high plains. Fred has loved being an active pastor’s spouse in those various settings.
Raisa Tolchinsky writes about love, grief, and the wisdom of the body. She is a winner of the Henfield Prize for Fiction and a 2x Pushcart Prize nominee in poetry. Raisa received her B.A. in English Literature & Italian Studies from Bowdoin College & the University of Bologna. She has previously lived and worked in Chicago, New York, Italy, and Iceland and is trained as a boxer. Currently, Raisa is a Poe/Faulkner Fellow in poetry at the University of Virginia, working on her first book. More at www.raisatolchinsky.com.
Maren Haynes Marchesini
Dr. Maren Haynes Marchesini serves as Director of Worship, Music, and Art at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, and directs choral ensembles at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Washington, where her research explored the role of punk, grunge, and indie rock music in the rise and fall of Mars Hill Church, a controversial Seattle-based megachurch. A musical polyglot who has studied with expert musicians from Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and Indonesia, Maren is insatiably curious about diverse musical expressions and how they shape and are shaped by, religion, ethics, value structures, and other aspects of culture. With her expansive and flexible approach to liturgy and music, Maren curates rich experiential tapestries, interweaving diverse music genres and multisensory arts for transformative, enriching, embodied experiences of the Holy. Maren is an accomplished cellist, playing in classical, folk, indie rock, and progressive rock ensembles, a choral composer, and a published scholar, most recently writing chapters in Christian Punk: Identity and Performance (2020) and Ethics and Christian Musicking (2021). She brings along her husband Michael and their two kiddos, Asa (3) and Kaj (1).
Elizabeth Decker is a land use planner with a decade of experience based in Portland, OR, deeply committed to the questions of how we plan and build our communities to support the growth of all our members. Her project focus for the past several years has been expanding opportunities for the development of housing alternatives in cities across Oregon through zoning code reforms and engagement at the state level to debate and influence policy. In addition to detailed technical work, she has developed quite a repertoire of zoning and planning jokes in her work communicating policy issues to diverse communities. She is motivated by the mismatch she sees between communities’ stated values, community needs, and available housing options. Her background includes service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Azerbaijan teaching English. She enjoys spending time indoors and out with her 5-year-old daughter, exploring her neighborhood, and practicing yoga.