Rosaria Butterfield, a former tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University, converted to Christ in 1999 in what she describes as a train wreck. Her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert chronicles that difficult journey. Rosaria is married to Kent, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in North Carolina, and is a homeschool mother, author, and speaker.
Raised and educated in liberal Catholic settings, Rosaria fell in love with the world of words. In her late twenties, allured by feminist philosophy and LGBT advocacy, she adopted a lesbian identity. Rosaria earned her Ph.D. from Ohio State University, then served in the English department and women studies program at Syracuse University from 1992 to 2002. Her primary academic field was critical theory, specializing in queer theory. Her historical focus was 19th century literature, informed by Freud, Marx, and Darwin. She advised the LGBT student group, wrote Syracuse University’s policy for same-sex couples, and actively lobbied for LGBT aims alongside her lesbian partner.
In 1997, while Rosaria was researching the Religious Right “and their politics of hatred against people like me,” she wrote an article against the Promise Keepers. A response to that article triggered a meeting with Ken Smith, who became a resource on the Religious Right and their Bible, a confidant, and a friend. In 1999, after repeatedly reading the Bible in large chunks for her research, Rosaria converted to Christianity. Her first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, details her conversion and the cataclysmic fallout—in which she lost “everything but the dog,” yet gained eternal life in Christ.
Rosaria’s second book, Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ, addresses questions of sin, identity, and repentance that she often encounters during speaking engagements. She discourages usage of the term “gay Christian,” and she disputes “conversion therapy,” in part because heterosexual sin is no more sanctified than homosexual sin. Her heart’s desire is for people to put the hands of the hurting into the hands of the Savior, who equips us to walk and grow in humility.
Rosaria’s third book, The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in our Post Christian World, blends memoir and theology to warmly invite readers into her home, sharing from her life and experience how “radically ordinary hospitality” can allow strangers to become neighbors, and by God’s power, those neighbors can be part of God’s family.
Rosaria is zealous for hospitality, loves her family, cherishes dogs, and enjoys coffee.
Dr Tim Chester is the pastor of Grace Church Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire, a faculty member of Crosslands Training and chair of Keswick Ministries. He is the author of over 40 books including A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community And Mission Around The Table. His latest book is Enjoying God: Experience the Power and Love of God in Everyday Life. He was previously Research and Policy Director for Tearfund and has been an adjunct lecturer in missiology and reformed spirituality. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.
Morning Bible Teaching
Gilbert Lennox grew up in Armagh under the influence of godly parents and committed his life to Christ in his final year of primary school. He has an honours degree in Modern Languages from Queen’s University and trained as a schoolteacher. It was during his time as a student that he developed his involvement in Bible teaching and church planting. In 1995 Gilbert left teaching to devote himself to Bible teaching and leadership within Glenabbey Church which he helped to found in 1988. He has taught widely at conferences and churches in Ireland and overseas. He is married to Heather and they have 4 children, 7 grandchildren. Now retired from Glenabbey he is focussing on teaching, writing and having more time with family. He enjoys movies, music, gardening and lots of coffee drinking. A keen landscape photographer he is often to be seen wandering the Causeway Coast and remote headlands in Donegal.
New Irish Arts
New Irish Arts is a Christian Charity which organises around 30 public events per year. Whether performing on the stage of the Belfast Waterfront, on BBC Songs of Praise or in a simple concert, their aim is to use the Arts to encourage people to worship God. They have been involved in New Horizon for a number of years and are delighted to be returning, led by Jonathan Rea, Suzanne Bennett.
Rebecca Wright and Ian Vennard
Rebecca Wright and Ian Vennard have been serving as part of the Livewire band for several years. Hailing from Portadown, they are delighted to be bringing a new band to the New Horizon MainStage on Wednesday evening.
Other Guest Appearances
Guest appearance by friends of New Horizon, Keith & Kristyn Getty on Sunday night and Ian Hannah on Thursday night.