TMC Staff

Micah Melody Taberner
Micah Melody TabernerCo-Executive Director of Community Engagement
Micah Melody Taberner (she/her) is the Director of Community Engagement for Transmission Ministry Collective. As a transgender and bi-racial Latina follower of Jesus, her greatest passion is helping individuals and communities explore the intersection of their identities and faith. In all her work, Micah loves using art and music to build relationships and stir cross-cultural dialogue. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Social Transformation and a Master of Divinity at Pacific School of Religion. She is also an On Being Social Healing Fellow for her work in the gender-expansive Christian community. When not at work, Micah Melody can be found exploring the San Diego culinary scene with her wife, getting into late-night theological discussions with her friends, cuddling with (and annoying) her cats, and playing movie soundtracks on piano.
Miche van Essen
Miche van EssenCo-Executive Director of Operations
Miche van Essen (she/her) is the Director of Operations for Transmission Ministry Collective. She is a Jewish, Asian, Queer, and Transgender woman. As an Intersectional Theologian, she strongly desires bridge-building and understands the world through the lens of ambiguity that queer folks are all too familiar with. She hopes to defend her DMin in late 2023 at Pacific School of Religion and has also finished her MA in Global Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, specializing in Resonant Leadership. Miche is also the host of the Models We Live By podcast and loves to sing and play guitar.
Peter Clare
Peter ClareDevelopment and Communications Coordinator
Peter Clare (they/them or he/him) is the Development and Communications Coordinator for Transmission Ministry Collective. Peter is a queer follower of Jesus who believes that God uniquely reveals Herself in the voices, bodies, and lives of trans and gender-expansive people. Peter belongs to Zao MKE Church, a Jesus rooted, justice centered, radically inclusive Christian community in Milwaukee, WI. They are also active in the world of theatre as a director, performer, and designer. Peter tries to see all their work through an abolitionist lens and is committed to dismantling carceral systems and building liberative communities of care. In their free time, you can find them playing the fiddle, immersing themselves in sci-fi and fantasy universes, or hosting dance parties.

TMC Board of Directors

Leo Seyij Allen
Leo Seyij AllenBoard Minister
Rev. Leo Seyij Allen (they/them or he/him) is a Baptist minister working at the intersection of faith and justice. Their passion for mobilizing faith communities toward advocacy and action inspires their ministry in and beyond the pulpit. Prior to joining Transmission Ministry Collective, Leo Seyij served as a congregational minister for two Atlanta-based churches. They also worked with organizers across the South to lead campaigns on ending racial trauma, immigrant rights, and LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity. Leo Seyij is the Georgia Campaigns Manager for Faith in Public Life. They are an alumnus of Howard University and a graduate student at Columbia Theological Seminary. You can find out more about Leo Sayij by following them on Twitter and Instagram.

Leo Sayij serves as TMC’s Board Minister, and assists with developing our spiritual formation programming and provides spiritual care to our staff and volunteers.

Emmy Kegler
Emmy KeglerSecretary-Treasurer
Rev. Emmy Kegler (she/her or they/them) is a pastor, author, and speaker called to ministry at the margins of the church, especially among LGBTQIA+ Christians. She serves as pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Northeast Minneapolis. She is also the founder and editor of the Queer Grace Encyclopedia, a curated collection of online resources around LGBTQ+ life and faith. Her first book, One Coin Found: How God’s Love Stretches to the Margins, tells her story as a queer Christian called to ordained ministry and how it formed her relationship with Scripture. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and enjoys biking, board games, books, and spending time with her wife Michelle and their two dogs and cat. You can find out more about Emmy at

Emmy serves as TMC’s Secretary-Treasurer, and assists with budgeting and policy documentation.

Myles Markham
Myles MarkhamBoard Developer
Myles Markham (he/him or they/them) has worked for almost a decade in grassroots faith organizing to advance LGBTQ inclusion and racial justice in evangelical and or conservative churches. Myles is based in Atlanta, Georgia where they are pursuing a Master of Arts in Practical Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary. Myles loves feminist and postcolonial theologies, exploring their Japanese American/Native Hawai’ian identity, and their most recent work has been helping to create and implement impact strategies for justice driven documentary films. You can find out more about Myles at

Myles serves as TMC’S Board Developer, and assists with grant and fundraising.

Laura Bethany Buchleiter
Laura Bethany Buchleiter
Laura Bethany Buchleiter (she/her) is a speaker, writer, advocate, and consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in various Christian ministry settings. She speaks on topics ranging from gender identity and sexual orientation to self-care and wellness. In all her work, Laura Beth draws heavily on her own experiences with PTSD, gender dysphoria, suicidal ideation, the challenges that come with those when working in faith communities. While Laura Beth is currently living in Indianapolis where she is pursuing graduate degrees, Laura Beth has lived all over the USA, including Puerto Rico. In addition to writing, speaking, and studying, she keeps herself busy as an artist, musician, parent, and grandparent. You can find out more about Laura Beth at
Nora Huxtable
Nora Huxtable
Nora Huxtable (she/her) is a public defender based in Minnesota. As the child of a Presbyterian pastor and church administrative assistant, she has an intimate understanding of religious organizations and structures. On weekends, you can find her running around in the woods with her dog and a backpack full of books, tea, and baked goods. You can learn more about Nora and her work here.
Kai (Sarah) Ngu
Kai (Sarah) Ngu
Kai (Sarah) Ngu (they/them) is a freelance writer who’s written on queer Asian traditions, and is also an MA student at Yale Divinity School where they are researching missionary interactions with queer indigenous, religious leaders in Southeast Asia. Born in Borneo, Malaysia, they now split their time between New Haven and Brooklyn. They co-founded, a database that scores church websites for clarity regarding policies for LGBTQ people and women in leadership, and served on the Executive Council of Forefront NYC Church, a progressive, non-denominational church in Brooklyn. You can find out more about Kai at

TMC’s Founder

Austen HartkeFounder
Austen Hartke (he/him) is the founder and previous Executive Director of Transmission Ministry Collective. He is the author of the book “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians,” and holds a Master’s degree in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible studies from Luther Seminary. Austen is the creator of the “Transgender and Christian” video project, and was a 2019 Bush Foundation Fellow. He is a big fan of pastries and his dog Mowgli, and generally identifies as a Bible nerd. As a transgender person of faith, Austen’s greatest passion is helping other trans and gender-expansive people see themselves in scripture. You can learn more about Austen at