A New Map

Navigating the Path of Scripture and Sexuality

Is the Bible anti-gay? What does it mean to be a good Christian? Does the Bible say women can’t be pastors? Can I question the Bible?

Your questions are our questions.
Let’s explore them together.

When and Where?

March 25 | 8:30 am-2:00 pm
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
2200 San Joaquin Hills Road | Newport Beach, CA


Cost: $10
Please bring cash or a check made out to St. Mark Presbyterian Church on March 25


Conference Schedule

8:30 am: Breakfast Bar 

9:00 am: Welcome and Introduction

9:15-10:00 am: David Lull, “Deconstructing” the “clobber passages” on homosexuality 

10:00-10:15 am: Break

10:15-11:00 pm: David Lull, “Reconstructing” sexuality through Scripture 

11:00- Noon: Small group discussions, and Q & A with David Lull 

Noon-12:45 pm: Lunch 

12:45-1:45 pm: Panel discussion with Denyse Barnes, Christopher R. Carter, Danilo Cortez, Frank Wulf, and Grace Yi-Hei Kao

1:45-2:00 pm: Closing Remarks

Conference Speakers and Panelists


Dr. David Lull
Retired UMC pastor and professor of New Testament

Since July 2013, David Lull and his wife Karen have been residents of Pilgrim Place, a retirement community in Claremont CA. David, who grew up in New York, is a retired ordained elder in the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. He received his B.A. at Iowa Wesleyan College, his M.Div. at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, and his Ph.D. in New Testament at Claremont Graduate University. He was the pastor of the United Methodist Church in Port Ewen, NY, taught New Testament at Yale University Divinity School and Wartburg Theological Seminary, was executive director of The Society of Biblical Literature, and directed the Bible Translation Unit of the National Council of Churches. He was the “creative consultant” for the documentary film The Bible Under Fire: The Story of the RSV Translations, which aired on at least one network and cable TV channel. His publications in Pauline studies include commentaries on Romans (with John B. Cobb, Jr.) and 1 Corinthians (with William A. Beardslee); and The Spirit in Galatia. He was one of the authors, with William A. Beardslee, John B. Cobb, Jr., and others, of Biblical Preaching on the Death of Jesus. His major review essay covered more than a dozen books on “Paul and Empire.” An abbreviated version of his 1999 presentation at a United Methodist Board of Discipleship and Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns consultation on “Homosexuality and the Authority of Scripture” was published in “Living Together Faithfully with our Different Readings of the Bible” (Norma Cook Everist, ed., The Difficult But Indispensable Church).



Rev. Denyse Barnes
Director of Justice and Compassion Essential Ministry Team, California-Pacific Conference, UMC

Rev. Denyse Barnes is the conference Director of Justice and Compassion Ministries. Born and raised in the UK, her first degree was in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. After following a career in computing and teaching in special education. She travelled extensively in Asia and Australia teaching English as second language before settling in California in 2003.

Denyse has served churches in Ojai, Hollywood, and Crescenta Valley and has been the LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator for the conference for the last three years. She has a heart for justice and equity for all and works hard at dismantling systems of oppression, rebuilding them into fair, equitable, and just ways of being instead.

She has been married to Deborah since 2020. They are both avid Dodger’s fans and they share their home with two dogs, Jiminy and Sheldon who love to visit the dog park.



Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Carter (he/him)

Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Carter (he/him) is pastor of the Loft, an inclusive church community in Westwood, Los Angeles, and a commissioned elder of the United Methodist Church. His teaching, research, and activist interests are in Black, Womanist, and Environmental ethics, with a particular focus on race, food, and nonhuman animals, and the author of The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith, and Food Justice (University of Illinois, 2021). He is also the co-creator of Racial Resilience, an anti-racism and anti-bias program that utilizes the combined insights of contemplative practices and critical race theories.

Danny Cortez

Rev. Danny Cortez, Executive Director, The Estuary Space

Danny Cortez was the founding pastor of New Heart, a former Southern Baptist church that became an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people. In 2018, he founded Estuary Space (estuaryspace.org), a non-profit that helps people and churches navigate through the complexities of faith and sexuality. He served as a board member of Q Christian Fellowship and authored the organization’s Relational Guide for Clergy. He also serves on the board of PFLAG SGV. He co-founded My Refuge House, a non-profit that restores survivors of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse. He also co-founded Bridges to Africa, a non-profit that is seeking to help LGBTQ communities throughout Africa. He currently serves as a hospice chaplain and co-pastors at Long Beach Christian Fellowship while directing Estuary Space. He earned his M.Div. at Talbot Theological Seminary, La Mirada, CA and is a graduate of Arrow Leadership, BC, Canada. 


Dr. Grace Yia-Hei Kao
Professor of Ethics at Claremont School of Theology, Visiting Professor at Loyola Marymount University

Grace Kao is Visiting Professor at Loyola Marymount University while on leave as Professor of Ethics and the Sano Chair in Pacific and Asian American Theology at Claremont School of Theology. She also co-directed CST’s Center for Sexuality, Gender, and Religion for over a decade. She is the author of Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World, co-editor of Asian American Christian Ethics, co-editor of Encountering the Sacred: Feminist Reflections on Women’s Lives, and has a forthcoming book entitled My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy that will become available in August. She is a second generation Taiwanese American and Presbyterian laywoman who grew up in Huntington Beach. She is now raising her two biracial sons with her husband in the City of Orange.

Rev. Frank Wulf
Pastor, Echo Park United Methodist Church

The Rev. Frank Wulf currently serves as the pastor of the Echo Park United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Prior to this appointment, he served at a variety of United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and Campus Ministries in Southern California and New York. As a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University he focused his studies and research on questions related to the biblical legal codes. He served as a teaching assistant at Union theological seminary, and adjunct faculty at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Auburn Theological Seminary, and Fordham University.

Rev. Wulf has served this annual conference in a variety of capacities, including reserve delegate to the General Conference, delegate to the Western Jurisdictional Conference, chair of the Commission on Equitable Compensation, chair of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, member of the Conference Leadership Team, co-chair of the Conference Committee on Welcoming. He has been a regular teacher for the West District’s Lay Servant Schools. In 2016, he was nominated by the Annual Conference as a candidate for the episcopacy. In addition, he has served the Presbytery of the Pacific as chair of the Mission Interpretation and Promotion Committee and a member of the Presbytery Coordinating Commission. He has provided leadership for Western Methodist Justice Movement, Cal-Pac MFSA, Cal-Pac Reconciling Ministries, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition, the United Methodist Association of Campus Ministers, and the University Religious Conference of UCLA.


Rev. Wulf lives in South L.A. with his husband, Nestor Gerente, and their two dogs, Caleb and Skully.

Contact SueJeanne Koh at sjkoh@stmarkpresbyterian.org


This conference has been sponsored in part by Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist), St. Mark Presbyterian Church, and a Ministry Grant from the California-Pacific United Methodist Foundation.