Meet Our Luminaries

leaders in their fields

Keynote Luminaries

Diana Butler Bass

religious and contemporary spirituality commentator

Rev. Sheila McKeithen

UFBL president

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel

Director of the Center for Sustainable Justice

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Founding member of Snowmass Group

Leading from the 2nd Chair:

The Importance of Implementers

Robert Griffin

Executive Minister

MDiv, Episcopal Divinity School; DMin, Florida Center for Theological Studies.

Dr. Griffin was a licentiate Baptist minister before becoming ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches. He has served as a youth pastor, a Religious Programming Specialist in the U.S. Navy, a founding pastor of a church in Western Maryland, and at Sunshine Cathedral he has been a Minister of Education, Social Justice Minister, Chief Operations Minister, and Executive Minister. Rev. Robert held various leadership positions within Metropolitan Community Churches (AIDS Field Ministry, Regional Elder’s Assistant, Clergy Development, Special Assistant to the Moderator) and has served on denominational, non-profit, and seminary boards.

Don Eastman

Leadership consultant

Former Vice Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches. Former Gap Pastor (Founder’s MCC in Los Angeles), Executive Pastor (MCC Toronto), Senior Pastor (MCC Dallas). Graduate of Central Bible College.

Meeting Human Needs:

The Importance of Helping Ministries

Anne Atwell

Minister of Connections

BS, Florida Atlantic University. MDiv, St. Thomas University. DMin, Boston University.

After a career in Human Resources, Rev. Anne answered the call to ministry, serving as a Board member, a Deacon, and finally, an ordained clergy person at Sunshine Cathedral. Dr. Atwell supervises our Food Sharing ministries, leads a bereavement group, oversees diaconal leaders, and serves as a member of the Executive Staff. She is also one of Sunshine Cathedral’s primary worship leaders.

Kevin Tisdol

Minister of Education

BS, Manhattan College; MA, St. Thomas College.

In addition to his Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries, Rev. Kevin also did additional coursework at the Episcopal Divinity School. He is retired from the NYC Transit Authority. While working in New York, Rev. Kevin was an active leader of a suburban church in New Jersey, becoming the Chair of the Deacon Board. After retiring to Florida, Rev. Kevin joined the staff of the Sunshine Cathedral where he assists with volunteer and educational programming and also is an administrator for the Divine Science Federation which is housed at Sunshine Cathedral.

Virtual Worship is Real Worship

BK Hipsher

Virtual Church Minister

Virtual Church Minister (Second Life). BS, California Coast University; MATS/Advanced Certificate/DMin, Episcopal Divinity School. Dr. Hipsher created and leads Sunshine Cathedral’s ministry in Second Life. Raised fundamentalist, she was confirmed Episcopalian, ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches, and is also a clergy spouse (her spouse is a Rabbi). BK was a student of feminist lesbian theologian Carter Heyward and a mentee of literary scholar and Queer, Feminist, and Trans* Theologies scholar, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. Justice focused, interreligious, technology capable ministry is BK’s passion and expertise.

Darren Loli

Executive Producer

Director of Communications, Producer of Sunday morning live-streamed worship, Network Chair of Happening Out Television Network (seen on YouTube, Facebook, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google TV, and Roku). BSM, BF.Com., BSTV Tulane University.

keynote luminary

Diana Butler Bass, Ph.D.

one of America’s most trusted commentators on religion and contemporary spirituality

Diana’s passion is sharing great ideas to change lives and the world—a passion that ranges from informing the public about spiritual trends, challenging conventional narratives about religious practice, enteri\ng the fray of social media with spiritual wisdom and smart theology, and writing books to help readers see themselves, their place in history, and God differently. Diana holds a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University. Her books include: Freeing Jesus, Grounded, Christianity for the Rest of Us, and A People’s History of Christianity.

keynote luminary

Rev. Sheila McKeithen

Sheila is the author of Twelve Steps to Your Healing.

Former Criminologist and Lawyer, Sheila is also the senior minister of Universal Centre of Truth for Better Living in Kingston, Jamaica and is the president of the global Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL), an international association of Bible-based New Thought Christian churches, centers, and study groups dedicated to spreading the abundant life teachings of Jesus the Christ. UFBL interprets the bible allegorically in order to discover the teachings embedded within the scriptures. UFBL was founded in 1974 by the Reverend Johnnie Colemon. As a Communion Head and dynamic preacher, Rev. McKeithen is a frequently sought after conference speaker. Rev. Sheila is the author of Twelve Steps to Your Healing.

keynote luminary

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel

currently serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Justice

Ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and currently serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Justice. Previously as the MountainTop Movement Building Consultant at Auburn Seminary, Interim Executive Director for PFund Foundation, Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, Interim National Coordinator for the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, pastor of Spirit of the Lakes UCC, and as Program Staff for the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence. Rebecca is the author of Carnal Knowledge of God: Embodied Love and the Movement for Justice (Fortress Press 2017), and other books. BA Earlham College; MDiv Yale Divinity School;  DMin United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

keynote luminary

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Founding member of Snowmass Group (an interreligious group of contemplatives led by Thomas Keating)

Rabbi Rami Shapiro explores “Perennial Wisdom” and teaches progressive Judaism and Contemporary Spirituality. Rabbi Rami studied Jewish philosophy, University of Tel Aviv; studied Buddhism, Smith College; BA Philosophy (UMass Amherst); MA Religious Studies (McMaster University); Rabbinic Studies (Hebrew Union…including working with the founders of both Reconstructionist Judaism and Humanistic Judaism); PhD Contemporary Jewish Studies (Union Graduate School). Former Air Force Chaplain. Founder of Temple Beth Or (Miami). Founding member of the Snowmass Group (an interreligious group of contemplatives led by Thomas Keating). Shapiro was initiated into the Ramakrishna Order of Vedanta Hinduism. Shapiro has been a contributing editor to Spirituality and Health magazine, a university instructor, and has authored many books, including: Holy Rascals; How to be a Holy Rascal; Minyan; The World Wisdom Bible; Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent; Judaism without Tribalism; The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature; Embracing the Divine Feminine; Ethics of the Sages; The Tao of Solomon; The Gospel of Chochma/Sophia; Proverbs Annotated & Explained; and Recovery: The Sacred Art.

Rev. Terri Steed-Pierce

an active spiritual presence in the days following the Pulse massacre

Rev Terri Steed-Pierce is the Senior Pastor of Joy Metropolitan Community Church in Orlando, FL. Teri is a graduate of Mars Hill College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She was an active spiritual presence in the days following the Pulse massacre and is a frequent collaborator with Sunshine Cathedral.

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Senior Pastor of the World's Largest Progressive Queer Church

Senior Minister of Sunshine Cathedral. President of the Divine Science Federation International. BA Henderson State University; MA Goddard College; MDiv Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York; DMin Episcopal Divinity School. Author: Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned, and Saved From Salvation.