With us, not about us



Jorge Lockward was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and has been a member of the New York Annual Conference since 1989.  He currently works as Minister of Worship Arts at Church of the Village UMC. Jorge’s service spans multiple levels of the United Methodist Connection, including church planting (New Day UMC), Metropolitan District Board of Ministry, NYAC Board of Trustees, staff for the General Board of Global Ministries, General Conference delegate (2008, 2012), Jurisdictional Conference delegate (2004, 2008, 2012), the Commission on the General Conference, and the Study on Ministry Committee. In his service, Jorge strives to live into the values of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and our shared Wesleyan heritage. He also brings the prophetic witness and perspective of being an openly gay Latinx person. Most days, he is grateful for the journey of relationship with people across wide theological divides.


Dorothee Benz has been a Methodist since immigrating to the U.S. with her family in 1968. She was a delegate to the 2016 General Conference, where she helped lead the effort, on and off the floor, that led to the suspension of further anti-LGBTQI legislation, the creation of the Commission on the Way Forward, and the call for the 2019 special General Conference. She is a founding member of Methodists in New Directions and served as MIND’s chair from 2006 to 2014. Benz was the lead organizer for the 2010 My Brother’s Keeper: People of Faith Confront Hate Crimes symposium that brought together an unprecedented coalition of groups within NYAC (Immigration Task Force, CBCS, CCORR, MFSA, COSROW, and MIND). She is the winner (with Fred Brewington) of the 2012 Gwen and C. Dale White Award from the NY Chapter of MFSA. Benz works as the chief communications officer at Lambda Legal and is a lifelong social justice organizer in economic and racial justice struggles.


Karen G. Prudente is a third-generation Filipino United Methodist and has been a member of Christ Church NY since 1972. She served as Assistant Treasurer and Executive of the General Board of Global Ministries from 1989-2006, honing valuable skills; traveling extensively; developing  new budget, accounting and record systems; raising funds; implementing new initiatives; and building relationships with siblings from Central Conferences, Annual and Provisional Missionary Conferences, and UMW/GBGM mission and ecumenical partners in 100 countries and within the U.S. She worked with our bishops, GBGM missionaries and deaconesses, and with colleagues from various UMC boards and commissions. At times, she partnered with Mission Society missionaries.  She is a commissioned GBGM Earthkeeper and an avid United Methodist Woman serving in conference and local leadership roles. Karen is a member of the Paglago Commission of the National Federation of Filipino American United Methodists. Karen is the current chair of Methodists in New Directions (MIND).


QuiShaun D. Hill is a member of New Day Church in the Bronx, where he serves as co-director
of the Worship Arts Ministry, and is an employee of the United Methodist Church of the Village.
As a child of God, it is important to QuiShaun that all people feel welcomed and included in
God's Community. Straight, gay, and everything between, we are all God's children. As a gay, African-American man of faith, QuiShaun is no stranger to fighting for a place in the kin-dom of
God. Active in the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, of which New Day is an
affiliate, QuiShaun believes passionately in fighting for racial and economic justice. Above all,
he believes we are our brothers’/sisters’/siblings’ keepers. 1 John 4:12 – “No man hath seen
God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and [God’s] love is perfected in us.”


Ann Craig is a lifelong United Methodist. She served as a UD-2 Home Missionary in Virginia after attending Nebraska Wesleyan and is a graduate of Yale Divinity School. Ann served as a staff member in the General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women national offices from 1985-2006. She is a member of New Paltz UMC; has served as a district UMW officer; and as an alternate delegate to the 2004 General Conference. As the first director of religion at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Ann was instrumental in helping LGBTQI people in Presbyterian and Lutheran traditions drop their prohibitions against queer people.  Currently, Ann is


Tiffany French-Goffe is a lifelong United Methodist and a first-generation American, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants. She was raised in a household that stressed the value and importance of faith, familial love, and seeing the humanity in every person, knowing that each of us is a child of God. She is the Chair of the Conference Council on Young Adult Ministries (CCYAM) and the Secretary of the NEJ Young Adult Ministry; she also serves on the district’s Young Adult Ministries council. Tiffany is Vice Chair of the conference’s Nominations Committee and is a member of both the Connectional Ministries Vision Table and the Board of Laity. As a member of the Conference Board of Trustees, she is the liaison to the Committee on Episcopacy and Episcopal Residence Committee. She is active in the Young Clergy Debt Assistance Program and Black Methodists for Church Renewal. In addition, Tiffany serves on the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and the District Council on Ministries.


Fred Brewington has deep knowledge of the General United Methodist Church and the operation of General Conference. He has served as a delegate to the last four General Conferences. He currently serves on the General Church Connectional Table and the Standing Committee on Central Conferences Matters. Fred is Chair of the Jurisdictional Study Committee as mandated by the 2016 General Conference, is a member of the Northeast Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy, and a member of the team training local Lay Servants for ministry in the Long Island East District. He has also lent his expertise to the New York Annual Conference as one of its Parliamentarians. He is a Certified Lay Speaker for the Long Island East District and currently is an instructor for Local Lay Speakers. Fred is a civil rights attorney, and has pursued his commitment to justice and equality not only through litigation but also through writing and lecturing. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center since 1998.


Daisy Tavarez, has been an active United Methodist all her adult life. She attended City College and Manhattan Community College and worked in the financial industry for over twenty years. She currently works as a Medicaid Coordinator in a nursing home in White Plains.  Daisy is a certified Christian Educator from Union Seminary and served as UMW Director from 2012-2016. She has served in different areas of the local church and is currently Chair of Trustees at Grace UMC. Daisy was Camp Coordinator for the Hispanic Council from 2001-2010 and became Hispanic Council Chair after serving as Vice-Chair with the late Rev. Milca Plaud. She became the Metropolitan District Lay Leader in 2014 and serves in the District Lay Servant Ministries and the Superintendency Committee; she is also the Lay Member at Large. She was an alternate delegate to the 2016 Jurisdictional Conference and serves on both the Board of Laity and the Board of Ordained Ministry.


Kristina Hansen is a second career clergy. Since leaving a successful corporate career to answer a call to ministry, she has served churches in four of the conference’s six districts. She has served in multiple leadership roles on the conference and district level, including as Co-Chair of the Episcopacy Committee and Chair of the Connectional Ministries Vision Table. Kristina currently serves on the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Long Island East Committee on Ministry, and is a clergy mentor as well. Kristina was deeply involved in the effort to educate BOOM and bring it to its policy of being open and affirming of LGBTQI candidates; she is also on the Advisory Board of Methodists in New Directions (MIND). Kristina has been the Secretary for Legislative Section 3 at Annual Conference for the last 15 years, and served as an Assistant Secretary to Conference for four years. In 2013, she led St. Paul's UMC through the Reconciling Churches process, and in 2015 they declared themselves a Reconciling/Welcoming Church and signed the Covenant of Conscience.


Alex da Silva Souto has been a person of the “in-between space” since his childhood in Brazil. He’s lived in Japan and San Francisco, where he served as a lay leader in the California/Nevada Annual Conference, before joining NYAC while at Yale Divinity School. Alex is a queer, cisgender male and an immigrant of color. He helped spearhead the formation of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus and serves as one of its Co-Conveners; he is also on the Advisory Board of Methodists in New Directions. Alex is a consultant with the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry and an advocacy strategist with the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. He is a member of the NYAC Immigration Task Force, MARCHA, and the Connecticut District Committee on Ministries. Alex has a longstanding commitment to mission efforts, reflected in his service as Co-Chair for Mozambique-NYAC Sister Conference Connection and through mission partnerships with Acción Médica Cristiana in Nicaragua as well as local missions with UMARMY. Alex is also a passionate liturgical artist and serves as Co-Chair of the Annual Conference Worship Team.


Martha E. Vink was born and raised in NYAC and has participated in the life of the denomination at every level, from local church involvement through terms on district, conference, jurisdictional, and national committees. Martha attended High Point College in North Carolina, and received her MDiv from Yale Divinity School. She participated in the 1992 General Conference as an alternate, and spent time actively engaged as a voting delegate on the floor. Martha is the Vice Chair of Methodists in New Directions, in the leadership of the United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, and a member of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. She serves on the General Conference Strategy Team for the Queer Clergy Caucus, and was recently part of the witness at the Council of Bishops meeting in Chicago.


Sara Thompson Tweedy won the Henry Hallam Tweedy Prize [no relation] for "exceptional promise for pastoral leadership" from Yale Divinity School and followed in her mother's and uncle’s footsteps as a United Methodist minister. She served as the pastor of The Federated Church of Kerhonkson for seven years before moving on to her current work in extension ministry in higher education. Sara was a member of the 2016 General/Jurisdictional Conferences delegation and attended General Conference that year. She has served as the Chair of Methodists in New Directions and on the District Committee on Ministry and the Bishop’s Convocation Steering Committee. In 2013, an official complaint was filed against Sara accusing her of being a "self-avowed practicing homosexual," referred to counsel for the church, and eventually dismissed 14 months later. Sara was honored with the 2014 Gwen and C. Dale White Award from the New York Chapter of MFSA for her witness in the UMC while under complaint.


Vicki Flippin was baptized into the Taiwan Methodist Church, the daughter of a Chinese naval veteran and a Women's Division missionary. Vicki serves today as the Co-President of the national Board of MFSA, where she works to dismantle racism within the white progressive UMC movement. Elected to the NYAC 2016 General/Jurisdictional Conference delegation, she has also served on the leadership of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race and Methodists in New Directions. Vicki is transitioning this summer to become Pastor at First and Summerfield UMC, where she plans to continue living out her calling to invite new and younger people into communities that follow Jesus, center people of color, and affirm LGBTQI lives.


Sheila M. Beckford, a cradle Methodist, is an elder in the New York Annual Conference. Her deep roots in the life of the conference go back to her bake sales at Newman Memorial as a child, ushering, and Page Coordinator.  Sheila has served on the District Committee on Ministry, as a Cluster Leader in Long Island East District, and Dance Coordinator for NYAC and co-founder of New Day Church. Currently, Sheila serves as pastor of Westbury UMC, Chair of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, an organization that advocates for justice in the Global Connection especially as it relates to Blacks and those of the African Diaspora, and co-chair of the Conference Commission on Religion and Race, seeking equity for all of God's Children.


Wongee Joh responded to her call into ministry as a Korean-American woman after she understood that things needed to be different for her daughters. Inequities do not only harm those being discriminated against – they ham us all. Wongee actively engages in ministries to ensure all are welcomed to their just places at the table in the feasting kin-dom of God and not fighting for crumbs offered by the institutional church. She is a graduate of Drew Theological School, where she currently teaches Supervised Ministry as an Adjunct Professor. She serves on the Advisory Board of Methodist in New Directions, the NY-CT District Committee on Ordained Ministry, the Council on Missions, and the NYAC Immigration Task Force. Wongee’s past service includes terms as the Chairperson of the NY-CT District Council on Ministry, the Vice Chair for Board of Church and Society, and as a Board Member of the United Methodist Frontier Foundation.


Paul Fleck attended the 2008 General Conference as a reserve lay delegate from New England and the 2012 GC as a volunteer for the Love Your Neighbor Coalition. He was elected as an alternate to the 2016 General/Jurisdictional Conferences NYAC delegation, and at GC in 2016 helped edit the Discipline as a member of the Committee on Correlation and Editorial Revision. A lawyer by training before answering his call to ministry, Paul has drafted a number of briefs to the Judicial Council, most notably ones that helped to defeat church restructuring plans that would have diminished the witness of progressive agencies and ones to help advance the interests of LGBTQI individuals in the church.  Paul has also served as the head of the MIND’s Legal Team since its creation in 2010, and was a member of Rev. Dr. Thomas W. Ogletree’s defense team when Tom was brought up on charges in 2013 for officiating his son’s wedding.