Roundtable Members and Staff
Reverend Mari Castellanos, Roundtable Member and Co-founder
Mari Castellanos served at the United Church of Christ as Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues at the Washington Office of Justice and Witness Ministries. Before she answered this call, she served a local congregation. In Washington she focused on different areas of legislative concern, including immigration and climate change.
She completed her studies at the Florida Center for Theological Studies where she obtained her Doctor of Ministry Degree and at Barry University in Miami where she received her Master’s Degree in Theology. Her doctoral work focused on developing an institute for multi-cultural studies for pastoral ministers.
Carolina Alcoser Ramos, Roundtable Member
A native of San Diego currently working as the Director of Training and Chief Diversity officer at The SD LGBT Community Center. Currently serving on the Sheriff’s LGBT Advisory Council, and the San Diego Mayor’s LGBT advisory committee. Served on the Human Relations commission, formerly worked as the Regional Director of Bienestar Human Services. Has worked as a Domestic Violence Advocate for Palomar Pomerado Health System’s Family Violence Program, working primarily with immigrant women.
She worked as a Case Manager for the Homeless G.L.B.T youth at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. Worked at the Polinski Children’s Center for abused and neglected children for 9 years.
Seeking to make things better for children with gay and lesbian parents, she founded Moms & Me N Dads Too in 1991. She was on the S.D. Unified School Districts Superintendent’s Committee on L.G.B.T. issues on education. Additionally, she conducted sensitivity trainings on L.G.B.T. issues for S.D. County Dept. of Social Services and a frequent speaker on L.G.B.T. issues at San Diego area schools and universities, and military bases. Was a volunteer with AIDS Project San Diego, PACTO Latino, CHAC, and AIDS Walk.
Carla Roland Guzmán, Co-chair
Rev. Carla Roland Guzmán was raised in Puerto Rico and is ordained in the Episcopal Church. She serves an inclusive, bilingual, and multicultural congregation in New York City.
Rev. Roland has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Cornell
University; Master’s of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the
Pacific; Master of Arts in Church History from the Graduate Theological
Union; and is currently finishing her PhD in Theology form the University of Exeter (UK) and Hartford Seminary.
In the early 1990s she was involved with the LGBTQ+ community while at Cornell University, and the work done at that time led to the creation of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, one of the earliest in the country. She recently served one year on the board of the Cornell University GALA.
Current interests lie in bringing the voices of people of color to LGBTQ+ institutions, as well as, bringing LGBTQ+ voices to the Latino/a/x Hispanic Community, including Churches.
She has been a member of the CLGS Latino/a/x Roundtable: Fe, Familia, Igualdad since its inception.
Reverend Floren“Tino” Cordova, Co-chair
Reverend Floren“Tino” Cordova, M.Div., BA, CSR, CIPS: was ordained through the denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches and dually affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He currently serves as the Interim Pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Watsonville, California. He is also a Human Rights Campaign – “A La Familia” trainer, former board member of the Northern California Council of Churches – Impact Board, and a member of ALPHA which is a Hispanic ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Northern California/Nevada Conference.
He was the 11th child, born in Tucumcari, New Mexico. He was raised in the Roman Catholic faith tradition and was first connected to religion through singing old Spanish Church hymns with his mother. As a child, he struggled with being gay because he felt a tension between his attraction to other boys, and what he was being taught in church. In addition, he didn’t have the vocabulary to express what he was feeling because these topics were taboo in his church and culture. But he learned that being gay is who he is and who God made him-not a mistake, not a sin.
His current work in Watsonville includes creating a faith community that heals the divisions of racism between neighbors, reconciliation, ministries of justice, reengaging the youth, and learning to live into the open and affirming church status. They are partnering with other congregations, building relationships with key community leaders, police department, and introducing programs such as the Teatro del Espiritu-Theatre of the Spirit so youth can bring their truths of their experiences through artistic expression. The church is striving, once again, be a church that is “part” of the community, not “apart” from the community.
In his own words, “I strive not to repeat the mistakes of the church of my ancestors, not to be silent or complacent in the midst of injustices, and to lead boldly as a community that will fight for and celebrate all people. The old tired church of oppression must and will eventually die, as the new emerging church of justice must be willing to take on a new, courageous and different role as a just church for all people.”
Elba Goostree, Roundtable Member
Elba Goostree was born and raised in the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies at Patten University and completed her Master’s Degree in Systematic and Philosophical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She is deeply passionate about the intersections between queer identities, religion, and race.
Elba is currently the Communications and Development Manager at Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, an organization that provides permanent, affordable housing and vital support services to homeless and at-risk families in Contra Costa County.
Reverend Rosa Frias, Roundtable Member
Reverend Rosa Frias is the senior pastor of the First United Church of Christ in Joliet, Illinois. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she achieved her dreams of coming to the United States and becoming an educated professional who consistently gives back to her community. Rosa is the co-founder of Come and Grow Social Services Inc., a full time social worker with the state of Illinois, and ministers in close partnership with her husband Miguel Frias, a retired Episcopal priest. Reverend Rosa Frias received her M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary and her M.A. in Social Work from Aurora University. Her passions include teaching her kids how to cook the delicious foods of the Dominican Republic, traveling with her family, and spending quality time with her sweet poodle Sylvia.
Reverend Rhina Ramos, Roundtable Member
Rev. Rhina Ramos was born in El Salvador, and arrived in the US at age 14. Since very early in life, Rhina learned that fighting for justice is a lifelong struggle. Being an immigrant, Rhina experienced first-hand the pain of invisibility. Her professional life includes being a labor rights lawyer, a social justice organizer and trainer. Fueled by her dream and passion to fight for social justice, Rhina graduated from Hofstra University School of Law in 1995. She led the legal department at a workers’ center in Long Island, New York, where her team recuperated over half a million dollars in unpaid wages and benefits owed to immigrant workers. During her 20 years of work in the non-profit sector, she has worked tirelessly for education justice, ending mass incarceration of people of color, labor rights, immigrant rights, domestic violence prevention, environmental justice and international solidarity. She holds a Masters in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. Rhina became an ordained minister by the United Church of Christ (UCC) in May 2012. In December 2011, she created and is still leads the first Latinx Immigrant Open and Affirming LGBTQ UCC congregation of Northern California. She currently serves on the board of ALDES (Legal Assistance for Sexual Diversity in El Salvador).