Professional Speaker, Author,
Candace Chellew-Hodge is a recovering Southern Baptist. Born in 1965 as the grand finale of five children to a Southern Baptist minister and his wife, she comes by her need for recovery honestly.
Chellew-Hodge literally grew up in the church, playing with her G.I. Joe dolls and Tonka trucks in the sanctuary aisles. Her family was still shocked when she came out as a lesbian years later, despite the obvious clues.
Like so many GLBT people she gave up her faith at age 17, believing the lie that she couldn’t be both a lesbian and a Christian. At the insistence of her first girlfriend she returned to the church in her early 20s. She describes her first service at a Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia as “coming home.”
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Chellew-Hodge entered seminary in 1998, a couple of years after she founded Whosoever: An Online Magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Christians. The magazine had drawn the attention of many in opposition to GLBT equality in church and society and Chellew-Hodge sought the tools to answer her critics.
What she discovered in seminary was a whole new way to approach the question of homosexuality, gender identity and spirituality and a new way to answer critics that incorporates sound biblical teaching with a touch of humor and a lot of humility.
Her approach has led her to develop what she calls a "bulletproof faith." Her workshops, keynote speeches and presentations are designed to help others who struggle to reconcile their sexuality and spirituality develop their own bulletproof faith. Some of the presentations and workshops she has delivered around the country include:
- Spiritual Self-Defense for GLBT Christians
- Not a Strange Love: How Gays and Lesbians Can Stop Worrying and Start Loving the Bible
- Just As I Am: Healing Images of God and Self
- A Slimmer Soul in Seven Days: How to Banish Negative Thought
- Simon Says vs. Mother May I: The Role of Permission in the Church
- A Grace Too Far: Homosexuality and the Christian Church
Chellew-Hodge, a graduate of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, currently serves as the associate pastor at Garden of Grace United Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina.
Her first book, Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians, will be published September 2008 by Jossey-Bass.