Kristyn Komarnicki is director of dialogue and convening at ESA/Sider Center. The creator of our Oriented to Love dialogues about sexual/gender diversity in the church, Kristyn facilitates these two-day, intimate retreats that help Christians of different sexual orientations, gender identities, and theological convictions come together to get to know, understand, and love each other, unified by the love of Christ (a "unity that is deeper than agreement"). Fascinated and encouraged by what happens when we approach our [sexual, theological, political, cultural, _______ ] "other" in the posture of learner—with vulnerability, bravery, curiosity and humility—Kristyn enjoys helping people of all kinds have more generative conversations, reframing conflict not as something to be feared or avoided but as an opportunity for maturing in Christ.
Kristyn edited ESA's PRISM Magazine for 15 years, and she continues to delight in discovering and sharing the (extra)ordinary stories of Christians who put their faith into action. Her conviction that every life is precious and worth listening to fuels her work with people on the margins of the church and society.
Passionate about relational wholeness, she writes and speaks about both sexual justice and sexual exploitation. In 2011, she won Christian for Biblical Equality's Micah Award, which "honors those who exhibit courage, creativity, and tenacity in opposing abuse and advancing justice for women and children in Christ's name." Helping Christians understand that much of pornography is a form of hate speech and recognize its links to human trafficking is a particular concern of hers.
A xenophile who loves to travel and swap stories with people from around the world, Kristyn studied English literature—earning a BA from Wheaton College and an MA from the University of Toronto—and French language, literature, and culture in Aix-en-Provence and Paris. She began her journalism career in Hong Kong, where she lived on a small fisherfolk island for eight years (boats only—no cars!). She has three young adult sons and lives in Philadelphia with her husband of 29 years.
Kristyn's speaking topics include:
- Crossing the Divide: How to have–and survive–difficult conversations with those who disagree with us
- Oriented to Love–what it means to seek unity that is deeper than agreement
- Sexual Justice: Why what we do with our bodies matters
- Porn: An intergenerational dialogue
Here's some of the feedback Kristyn has received from her presentations/consulting:
- "Kristyn brought a wealth of resources to us during her recent trip to our university. She provided small-group presentations to specific campus groups as well as a keynote address. In her work, Kristyn demonstrated a keen ability to help people with varied theological perspectives to come together and engage in respectful and loving dialogue. She is a bridge-builder, and she helped us here to understand the Kingdom value of listening to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe that her visit will have a lasting effect as we aim to take the knowledge we have gained and put it into meaningful practice." – Christina Schnyders, Assistant Professor of Psychology and co-chair of Human Sexuality Task Force at Malone University in Canton, OH
- "Kristyn delivered a beautiful Sunday morning sermon that cast a compelling vision for interdependency in the body of Christ. And then she illustrated the point by hosting a dialogue that included Christians that included participants that were queer and straight . . . and traditional and progressive in their ethics. The dialogue was a groundbreaking, Kingdom-advancing moment for our church and for others in the broader community. Tears were shed on the left and on the right. And I spoke with numerous individuals in attendance who had not set foot in the institutional church for years, having given up on the possibility that the church could be a place of loving, honest encounter. I heartily commend Kristyn as a gracious faith-leader who is a trustworthy and skillful practitioner of the untapped power of dialogue in the midst of real differences. – Brad Wong, Lead Pastor at the River Church Community in San Jose, CA
- "I appreciated Kristyn's clarity, truthfulness, and authenticity; her courage to bring this hot/hard topic into difficult spaces (church!); and her gracefulness in treating the topic!"
- "I appreciated learning that pornography is prostitution for mass consumption, that porn is the most accessible part of human trafficking, and what websites to give my grandsons and youth group."