CenterPeace is thrilled to announce this fantastic speaker line up for our 2020 conference. Don't miss out - register today!

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e3 Speakers

Sean Palmer

Main Session 1 - Keynote

“A Small Prayer in a Hard Wind: Solidarity in a Shattering World”

Currently serving as Teaching Pastor at Ecclesia Houston, Sean is also a writer, and sought-after speaker across the country. He is the author of Unarmed Empire: In Search of Beloved Community and a contributing writer for The Voice Bible translation.


Sean attended Abilene Christian University, earning a B.A. in Youth & Family Ministry and a Masters of Divinity. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Rochelle and their two daughters.

Dr. Megan DeFranza

Main Session 2 - Keynote

“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Scripture and the New Science of Gender”

Megan DeFranza, PhD, is a theologian, author, speaker, and (most recently) director of the documentary film Stories of Intersex and Faith. She is a Research Associate at the Center for Mind and Culture, a non-profit, non-partisan think-tank in Boston and Visiting Researcher at Boston University School of Theology. She loves facilitating hard conversations about sex, gender, and sexuality in churches and Christian Colleges. With Lianne Simon, she co-founded the non-profit "Intersex  and Faith."

Find out more about Megan on her website, connect with her on Twitter (@MKDeFranza and @intersexfaith), and check out her books:

Don McLaughlin

Main Session 3 - Keynote

“Come to Me" 

Author of Love First, Don serves as the preaching Minister for the North Atlanta Church of Christ in Atlanta, Georgia. He is passionate about creating an environment in which others can meaningfully experience God's life-changing love. Don is especially focused on local initiatives to facilitate healing for fractured families, friendships and communities.


Don is a graduate of Harding University and continued his graduate-level studies at Emory University. Don and his wife Susan are a team that loves ministry and serving together. They have five adult children and two very special granddaughters.

Sally Gary

Main Session 4 - Keynote

“Still One of You”

Sally Gary is the Executive Director of CenterPeace, Inc., a non-profit that helps churches and families learn a more Christ-like response to LGBTQ+ individuals. She is also an educator with 20 years of experience teaching middle school through college. Sally’s work with CenterPeace grew out of her own personal experience as a gay woman growing up in the Church of Christ. She is the author of Loves God, Likes Girls.

Dr. Pat Bills & Matthew Vines

Main Session 5 - Keynote

“What LGBTQ People Need From Their Pastor”


Pat Bills is the Lead Minister at Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. He holds degrees in ministry from Harding University and Lipscomb University and completed his doctorate of ministry in 2017 through the Hazelip School of Theology at David Lipsomb University.  Pat’s family consists of his wife Deborah, and four boys: Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, and Andrew. He also has a Great Dane and an 18 year old cat.

Matthew Vines is the author of God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. He is the Executive Director of The Reformation Project, which he founded in 2013. TRP is a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that works to advance LGBTQ inclusion in the church while remaining grounded in a love for God, a love for the Bible, and a love for the church. Matthew currently lives in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Richard Beck

Main Session 6 - Keynote

“Eros and Agape: A Christian Sexual Ethic”

Richard Beck, PhD, is an author, speaker and Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. Richard's most recent books are Trains, Jesus and Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash and Stranger God: Meeting Jesus in Disguise.

Richard is married to Jana, who is a high school theater teacher, and they have two sons, Brenden and Aidan. The Becks attend the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX, where Richard serves as an elder and adult faith Bible class teacher. Richard also serves and leads at Freedom Fellowship, a mission church plant of Highland that reaches out to the poor and homeless of the city.

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