The Team

Matthew Vines, Executive Director of The Reformation Project

Matthew Vines


Matthew Vines is the founder and Executive Director of The Reformation Project. He is also the author of God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, published by Convergent Books in 2014.

In 2012, Matthew delivered a speech at a church in his hometown of Wichita, Kansas, making the case that Christians should affirm gay Christians and their marriage relationships. His speech went viral, having been seen more than a million times and leading to a feature story in The New York Times. In 2013, Matthew launched The Reformation Project to equip and empower Christians to advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in their faith communities. He speaks regularly at churches, universities, and conferences across the country.

Nancy Bartell


Nancy graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master of Divinity Degree. Her studies focused on the imago dei and how our image of God informs racial justice issues. She recently was the Director of a Federal Bureau of Prisons Transition and Treatment Center, aiding inmates in their transition back to their families and their communities.

Nancy is the first openly gay student to graduate from TEDS and she continues to be in dialogue with members of that community as well as future pastors being trained there regarding the LGBTQ Community and their inclusion in the church. She is an avid Cubs fan, loves the beach, and is looking forward to helping TRP continue to work for inclusion in the church.

Dr. James V. Brownson


Dr. Jim Brownson is the James and Jean Cook Professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, where he has served as moderator of the Commission on Theology, dean of Western Theological Seminary, and General Synod Professor. He has taught the New Testament for more than 25 years and is the author of a number of books. In 2013, Brownson published Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships, which was hailed by The Boston Globe as “perhaps the most extensive, accessible, and direct evangelical reckoning with the Bible’s passages on homosexuality.”

Darren Calhoun


Darren Calhoun is currently the Worship Leader at Urban Village Church – South Loop in Chicago and previously served as a volunteer worship leader at Willow Chicago for 9 years. Worship has been a central part of Darren’s ministry life, including leading choirs, dance teams, and visual arts ministries. Additionally, racial justice and LGBTQ+ inclusion are especially important to him. Darren is an Associate Fellow for Racial Justice with Evangelicals for Social Action and a long-time volunteer with The Marin Foundation. In 2015, he co-facilitated The Academy for Racial Justice at TRP in Atlanta, and led worship at TRP in Kansas City. He brings with him an intentional focus on the church being inclusive of a diversity of people and expressions as an authentic reflection of the Kingdom of God. Lastly, Darren is an extrovert who loves hugs, anything involving chocolate and peanut butter, and social media. Follow him on Twitter at @heyDarren or through his blog,

Pastor Candace Hardnett


Pastor Candace Hardnett is the Senior Pastor of Agape Empowerment Ministries in Savannah, Georgia. She and her wife Erika founded the church in 2009 and have worked diligently in the kingdom to bring about awareness of God’s inclusive love for all people. Pastor Candace served her country as a United States Marine for five years and then served as her squadron Lay Leader for the Marines and the Ministry of Convalescence at her church in San Diego, California. Pastor Candace has rallied in Washington, D.C. for equality, trained with GLAAD, marched and protested locally as well as worked with the Savannah city council and mayor to bring about equality within her city. She currently resides in Savannah, Georgia, with her wife and daughter, Maya, and is the proud mother of two older daughters who live on their own. Pastor Candace holds a BS in Religion from Liberty University and is currently in pursuit of her MDiv from her alma mater.

Kristin Romens


Kristin Romens is the director of the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services in Philadelphia, overseeing Pew’s grantmaking and support for Philadelphia-area nonprofits that serve some of the region’s most at-risk populations. She began her career as a human rights attorney. Before joining Pew, she was president of The Learning Agenda, a consulting firm that helps philanthropies, nonprofits, and educators across the country expand opportunities for youth in under-resourced communities. She has also served as vice president of research, innovation, and growth for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and as a consultant with the Bridgespan Group. Kristin holds a bachelor’s degree in social science from Biola University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.

Dr. Jun Young


Jun Young is the founder and CEO of ZUM Communications, an award-winning communications agency in Seattle. With more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, Jun’s passion is to help people and organizations communicate with remarkable impact. Prior to ZUM, he served as Microsoft’s Director of Communications, where he launched several flagship products, including Windows. Jun holds a Doctorate in Communication from the University of Washington and was named by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the region’s most notable entrepreneurs. Born and raised in the Philippines, Jun loves to travel the world with his two amazing teenage daughters.