Meet the Advisory Board
Andrew Kalemkarian Chair of Advisory Board
A straight, cis man, during the 2010s, Andrew (he/him) felt the Spirit nudge him to engage with the LGBTQ community and to do something other than remain silent about sexual diversity in the church. Regardless of theological positions on sexuality, he believes the church is called to re-examine its theology of love and become intentionally and radically inclusive. His heart is to leverage the gifts God has given him and the privilege he has to be a radical, assertive listening presence, to create safer spaces, and to tell stories in places where the original storyteller may not be welcome. Andrew co-leads First Friday with Mr. King on the First Friday of each month. Andrew is a lifelong Presbyterian (PC-USA)). He is presently a full-time Dad and part-time Software Engineer. Andrew resides outside of Philadelphia, PA with his wife and son.
Kara Ferguson Advisory Board Member
Kara graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Kutztown University and has grown professionally in both conventional and unconventional settings. After being in the corporate field for more than 15 years, Kara set on a new path as an entrepreneur. She built a small business from the ground up, both owned and operated for five years. Kara has since joined the non-profit world as a career and volunteer. Kara has become a community advocate for marginalized groups through her role as a board member, leader and volunteer for three nonprofit organizations. Being a member of the LGBTQIA community, Kara is no stranger to the challenges faced by the community every day. More specifically the challenges faced by those who hold on to their faith through their journey. Kara has taken steps to continue to help others reconcile their faith and sexuality while healing trauma, most recently by pursuing a certification in Trauma and Spiritual Care. Psalm 139:14: "God makes not mistakes, God knit you together perfectly." I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know them full well.
Byron Walker Advisory Board Member
Byron Walker (he/him) is currently studying to become a youth pastor at Princeton Theological Seminary with a focus in teaching. He has worked with youth with a focus on queer identity for 8 years now, was on the founding team of Beloved Arise and Affirming Youth Ministries, and was a final editor for a queer inclusive children’s' story bible. Byron continues to work in LGBTQIA+ Christian education cherishing that vital work as a Bi person himself. God has blessed Byron Walker with quite the adventurous life. A 4th generation son of missionaries, he was raised in a few different places, making the question of where he is from always a fun one. He has called Bethlehem, Jordan, Guam, and the Pacific Northwest home, and has roots in Central East Africa besides having visited dozens of other countries. Byron also feels a strong call to international Christian cooperative ministry, particularly in Japan. A few fun facts that are always good for a story is that he has walked barefoot for 8 years as a spiritual discipline to honor all of God’s creation as Holy Ground, and he has sung in choirs for 18 years, his undergraduate degrees are in Oceanography and Theatre Performance. He sees his spiritual calling as one of crossing bridges and bringing together disparate identities and topics on race, class, orientation, gender, age, ability, and more, all with the fun and integrous energy of the incarnate Christ. "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." -Psalm 119:105
Kristyn Komarnicki Advisory Board Member
Kristyn is director of dialogue and convening at Christians for Social Action. The creator of their Oriented to Love dialogues about sexual/gender diversity in the church, Kristyn gathers Christians of different sexual orientations, gender identities, and theological convictions together so they can begin to know, understand, and love each other, in search of a unity that is deeper than agreement. Fascinated and encouraged by what happens when we approach our “other” in the posture of a learner—with vulnerability, bravery, curiosity and humility—Kristyn enjoys helping people have more generative conversations, reframing conflict not as something to be feared or avoided but as an opportunity for maturing in Christ. A xenophile who loves to travel and swap stories with people from around the world, Kristyn has studied and worked on three continents, having made a home in Paris, Toronto, and Hong Kong. Today she lives in Philadelphia with her husband of over 30 years.
Theresa Bramwell Advisory Board Member
Theresa Bramwell (She / Her) is currently entering her 30th year of teaching at Northeast High School in the School District of Philadelphia where she teaches senior level English and Theater arts courses. She is also the coach of the NEHS debate and mock trial teams. She has been active in the LGBTQIA community through her training in Policy 102 with the school district. The purpose of this policy is to ensure safety, equity, and justice for all students regardless of gender identity or gender expression so that they can reach their fullest human and intellectual potential. Ms. Bramwell has also received leadership training from Members of The Attic, a place where LGBTQ youth are given a safe space to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults. This training along with leadership training from the Philadelphia, Writing Project (PhilWP) and Seeking Equity and Educational diversity (SEED) allowed Ms. Bramwell to be one of three founding teachers for the NEHS ALLY group. ALLY is a group which promotes a safe space for all LGBTQIA youth in our school. In her personal life, Ms. Bramwell is a life-long Episcopalian and a member of The African Epsicopal Church of St. Thomas. As a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia, our church is a christ-centered community that welcomes all people. Ms. Bramwell is a proud member of several groups at St. Thomas including the Chancel Choir, The Girls Friendly Society, The Altar Guild, and the Daughters of the King. She is proud of St. Thoms inclusion of all members of society including members who identify as LGBTQIA. In her view, Ms. Bramwell believes that all persons are created by God and are deserving of love, happiness and inclusion.
Reverend Nikki Passante Advisory Board Member
Reverend Passante was born in Richmond, VA , earning dual degrees at Union Presbyterian Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education in 2004. She has served Presbyterian churches in Ashland, Oregon; Media, Pennsylvania; and has served as one of the pastors at First Presbyterian in Haddonfield, NJ since March of 2020. It is noteworthy that during her 18 years of ministry she has served with 12 Heads of Staff. She is a certified Interim and Transitional Pastor and has served as a consultant for congregations and presbyteries in conflict. She considers her primary calling to be truth-telling in the midst of systems in denial.