Rev. Nicolette Peñaranda

Rev. Nicolette Peñaranda serves as the Program Director for the African Descent Ministries of the ELCA. One of Rev. Nicolette’s most recent projects include being the Illustrator of God’s Holy Darkness, a children’s book that “deconstructs anti-Blackness in Christian theology by celebrating instances in the story of God’s people when darkness, blackness, and night are beautiful, good, and holy.” Rev. Nicolette holds an MDiv from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and an MBA from Wagner College.

Bishop Brenda Bos

The Rev. Brenda Bos serves as Bishop of the Southwest California Synod and is looking forward to being a speaker and the host Bishop at Western States! Bishop Bos is the first woman to serve as bishop in the Southwest California Synod, and the first openly lesbian bishop to serve the ELCA.

Bishop Bos attended Claremont School of Theology and Pacific Lutheran Theology Seminary, receiving a Masters of Divinity and Certificate of Theological Studies. Before entering the ministry, Bishop Bos was a television producer at Warner Bros. studios, working on sitcoms such as “The George Lopez Show” and “The Golden Girls.” She holds a bachelors degree in Broadcasting from Pepperdine University.

Rebekah Bruesehoff

Rebekah is an award-winning activist and author who is passionate about inclusion and authenticity. Her journey into public advocacy began at 10-years-old when a picture of her holding a sign at a rally went viral. She made a bold statement that transgender people aren’t scary, and she’s spent the last six years working with legislators, schools, businesses, and faith communities to build a more inclusive world.

In 2018, she was the first openly transgender person to speak at an ELCA Youth Gathering. She is co-author of a A Kids Book about Being Inclusive and a contributor to Raising Kids Beyond the Binary now available for pre-order. She’s been featured by Disney, Nickelodeon, Time, Marvel, PeopleGood Morning AmericaThe Today Show, TeenVogue, and USA Today among others. Rebekah inspires people of all ages and identities to show up fully as themselves and dare to make the world a better place.

Rev. Jaz Waring

From life as a former evangelical Children’s pastor, to a queer Lutheran rabble-rouser, Rev. Jaz Waring (they/them) has spent their adult life pursuing the call of God and creating spaces where people feel they belong. Rev. Jaz is an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the ELCA, and has a Master’s of Divinity from Luther Theological Seminary. Currently, they are Pastor and Mission Developer at The Table OC in Fullerton, California. In January 2019, they launched an LGBTQ+ centered ministry called Queerfully & Wonderfully Made, an inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people to explore faith in creative ways.

When Rev. Jaz isn’t manically obsessing over ministry and queer theology, they like to spend time with their gracious partner, Melanie, and their dog, Bowie.

Rev. Libby Denton

Rev. Libby Denton (she/her) serves as Pastor of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Lakewood, California. Rev. Libby holds an MDiv from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and she believes that God loves all of God’s creation – including all races, genders, and sexualities. In her free time, she loves reading, spending time with her dog, Granola, and soaking up the California sun.

ComedySportz Los Angeles

ComedySportz, CSz LA’s most popular show, pits two teams of comedians against each other in friendly competition. Played just like a sport, the show is complete with referee, Astroturf, a ballpark organ and the national anthem. The audience helps pick the games, yells suggestions and ultimately decides the winners.

The 2023 Western States Youth Gathering Guidebook App is now LIVE

This app holds vital information for all participants attending WSYG and WYLE

All adult chaperones, youth participants, and volunteers are strongly encouraged to download the app

To download, go to your App Store and download the "Guidebook" app

Open the Guidebook App and search "Western States Youth Gathering"

Select "Download Guide"

The Guidebook App will be updated throughout the event and be your primary source of on-site information