Rev. Stephen R. Parelli, formerly an ordained evangelical Baptist minister who pastored in the states of New York and New Jersey, became the Executive Director of Other Sheep in 2005. Other Sheep (othersheep.org), founded in 1992 in Latin America by Rev. Dr. Tom Hanks, an American missionary, author, and contributor to the Queer Bible Commentary (Romans and Hebrews), is a multi-cultural, ecumenical Christian ministry that works worldwide for the full inclusion of LGBT people of faith within their respective faith traditions.
Jose Ortiz, a school guidance counselor in the New York City Public Schools since 1997, has served as Other Sheep Coordinator for Asia and Africa since 2005. He is fluent in four languages.
Having met in 1997 in New York City’s historic Calvary Baptist Church’s ex-gay support group, Steve and Jose became a live-together couple the same year and subsequently registered with the city of New York as “domestic partners.” In 2008 they were legally married husband and husband in California.
Since 2005, volunteering their summer time to Other Sheep, Steve and Jose have worked with pro-LGBT organizations and individuals in seven countries in Latin America (2005, 2006, 2008, 2012), three countries in East Arica (2007, 2008, 2012), and six countries in Asia (2009, 2010, 2011). Together, throughout the world, they have distributed hundreds of copies of the book The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships (by Miner and Connoley) and have conducted seminars and small group studies on topics relating to the intersecting of homophobia and religion including topics on the Bible, psychology, religious freedom, contextualized homosexuality, and the “ex-gay” movement. They (or, at times just Steve) have been featured live on national TV in Paraguay and Uruguay; prerecorded TV in India and St. Lucia, both countries twice; live on radio twice in Nairobi, Kenya, once in Hong Kong and St. Lucia; prerecorded TV and radio in Martinique and St. Lucia; and in articles, both in print and in digital form, from interviews with journalists throughout their travels, including a major article in India Today by M. G. Radhakrishanan, the number one weekly national magazine in India (September 26, 2011).
Steve has represented Other Sheep at three ILGA world conferences (2006, 2008, 2012), one UN HIV/AIDS world conference, an MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) Europe-Africa regional conference (presented), and a US State Department Roundtable discussion. Steve has spoken at Evangelical Theological Society (2006), Yale (LGBT society, 2010), Union Theological Seminary (2011), The Riverside Church (LGBT society, Maranatha), Reconciling Ministries Network national conference (2009), MCC General Conference workshop (2010), and Connecting Families (2012). Steve was featured in the 2008 Reasons to Believe (HarperCollings Publishers) by journalist John Marks. In 2007, The Gay & Lesbian Review featured Steve's article on the evangelical ex-gay movement. In 2010, Steve was awarded the MCC “Profiles of Courage Award.” In 2012, the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.com published Steve’s commentary on how evangelicals “love” gays and his comments/video of his address before the New Jersey Judiciary Committee on Civil Unions vs. Marriage Equality.
Steve has four biological children from a previous marriage. Steve and Jose currently make their home in the Bronx, New York.
Steve (born 1953) holds a BRE (Bachelor of Religious Education) and ThB (Bachelor of Theology) from Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania; an MDiv. (Master of Divinity) from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and an MA (Master of Arts) in Applied Linguistics (TESOL) from Queens College, CUNY (City University of New York).
Jose holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from Columbia International University in the state of South Carolina, and a Masters in Applied Psychology from NYU (New York University).
Having been defrocked as an ordained Baptist minister after coming out, in 2009 Steve received “extraordinary clergy credentials” from Rev. Nancy Wilson, the Moderator of Metropolitan Community Church.
(This biographical statement provided by Stephen Parelli.)
Biography Date: March, 2006
Evangelical | Hanks, Tom | Wilson, Nancy | Other Sheep | Conversion Therapy | International Human Rights
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