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Image courtesy of Henry Paul Photography


Dr Karen Pack is a religious historian, ordained Christian minister, Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrant, and current President of Spiritual Care Australia. For over twenty five years she has been engaged in training pastors, chaplains, leaders and teachers in Australia, North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Her doctoral research explored the marginalization and erasure of women and LGBTQ+ Christians from religious histories in Australia.

Karen is available to speak at conferences, churches and gatherings. Her most popular topics are "Forgotten Histories" about the historical erasure of Queer folx from Christian history, "Vital Connections" about the 3 relationships leaders need to cultivate, and "Trajectories of Hope" about creating safer, more inclusive churches.


Karen is passionate about creating safe space and safe leaders. She advocates for LGBTQIA+ people of faith, helping all to know and understand that they start loved, just as they are.


Karen lives in Sydney with her wife, Bronte, and their fish, Puppy. She specialises in the historical intersections of gender, faith and sexuality, but has also written numerous articles on pastoral ethics and cross-cultural missions. She has been appeared on 7.30 Report, The Drum, Queer Thinking (part of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras), and been interviewed in various TV, radio and print media.


Pronouns: she/her

Karen understands that growing up gay in the church is rough; it is hard to describe the fear of what might happen if people find out. There will be condemnation – both overt and implied – and loss of community. It may be soft exclusion, like no longer being able to lead services, sing up the front, welcome people at the door or work with kids. It might mean being ostracised from the community – no longer allowed to attend or make contact with others. That’s why for so many years Karen was terrified of coming out and hid her sexuality, denying it even to herself.

But here’s what most people don’t realise: coming out can also mean finding community. It means being able to live authentically; it means being embraced wholeheartedly by people who see you for who you are, and who love you. Many of these people are within the church.

There are some loud voices telling us that you can’t be gay and Christian, that the two are incompatible. But there is a chorus of inclusion that continues to grow louder. People who understand that Jesus Christ does not condemn or exclude or marginalise people like Karen, but welcomes us with open arms. People who understand that while the Bible condemns manipulative, exploitative, and abusive sexual practices, it nowhere condemns love between people of the same gender, or gender diverse people.

To young queer people of faith, Karen wants to insist that you do not have to choose between your sexual or gender identity and your faith. You are loved exactly as you are, and there are places where you can find acceptance, peace and love.

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