Open Hearts

Open Hearts – Open Doors

Sunday, February 11

2:30 – 5:00 p.m.


Southminster’s Faith in Action team invites you to attend a discussion about the LGBTQ Community and the church downstairs in Fellowship Hall. Check-in and light refreshments at 2:30 p.m. will be followed by a discussion and Q & A from 3:00 – 5:00. Four guest speakers will share their personal experiences and journeys:

Rich Havard: A native Southerner, Rich grew up in Gloster, Mississippi, a small town of 960 people. While his hometown certainly has it’s bumps and bruises (#Mississippi), it’s also where he first experienced community, good food, slow living, justice, and Jesus. After leaving Mississippi at 18, Rich called Alabama and Georgia home for seven years before moving to Chicago in 2014 to work at Urban Village Church. Today, he is the Pastor and Executive Director of The Inclusive Collective, a vibrant, growing and diverse campus ministry in Chicagoland. Rich feels called by God to create faith communities where all people are both truly welcome and invited to follow Jesus with all they’ve got. He’s a big fan of blaring pop music, drinking a good (or not so good) cup of coffee, and trying to keep up with the septuagenarians at spin class.

John Hickey: John is a 30-year resident of Naperville, where he and his wife Mary Ann raised their two children.  He is the current President of the PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois, a volunteer based non-profit organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ people and their families and friends through its network of local chapters hosting monthly support meetings. His journey as an LGBTQ advocate and champion for diversity and inclusion began 10 years ago following his son’s coming out at age 15. John quickly decided he needed to learn more and engaged with PFLAG and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at work where he has served in a variety of volunteer leadership roles. John is a strong believer in the value of creating welcoming and affirming environments and is committed to that mission. In his free time, John enjoys swimming and cycling.

Zoie Sheets: Born and raised in a small, homogeneous town in Central Illinois, Zoie came to Chicago to attend UIC, hoping to engage with folks of all different backgrounds and experiences. UIC’s community brought that and so much more! Here Zoie found a love for teaching, a fierce desire to ensure healthcare is accessible and provided by culturally-responsive physicians, and a deeper connection with Jesus Christ. Her experiences teaching health education across Chicago, growing up queer in a space that wasn’t always welcoming, and engaging in conversations across her diverse city and campus have instilled a passion for ensuring spaces are inclusive and welcoming for every person. She is so excited to be serving as The Inclusive Collective’s Inclusivity Intern! When she takes time for herself, Zoie loves anything creative, dancing, painting, photography, writing, you name it!

The Rev. Emily Snowden: Emily has been the pastor at Congregational United Church of Christ since October 2017. Emily graduated from Elmhurst College where she studied History, Theological Studies/Christian Ministry, and Intercultural Studies. After graduating from Elmhurst, Emily served as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Los Angeles at a drop-in center for homeless young adults, many of whom were kicked out of their homes for being LGBTQ. She then earned her Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, where she focused on Queer Theology. Among other positions, she has served as a hospital chaplain in Michigan, a sabbatical pastor for a UCC church in Champaign, Illinois, and most recently, as the Interim Director of the Niebuhr Center for Engagement and Reflection at Elmhurst College. Emily shares her life with her wife Sasha, their dogs, Milo and BeeGee, and come June, baby twins! She loves drinking tea, listening to Americana and a capella music, and cooking. She occasionally plays the guitar, practices yoga, and travels.

We hope you can attend this event. Free childcare is available. An RSVP is appreciated. Please email Jan Tossman at or call the church office at 847.392.1060.

Click to view the invitation openhearts-invitation