Marie Alford-Harkey Selected as Next President and CEO

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 8, 2016
CONTACT: Religious Institute: (203) 222-0055,

Religious Institute Board of Directors Proudly Names New President and CEO

Marie Alford-Harkey brings years of experience, wealth of knowledge, strong relationships and a strong vision for the organization’s future

Westport, CT — The Board of Directors of the Religious Institute is pleased to announce the selection of Marie Alford-Harkey as its new president and CEO. Marie has been with the Religious Institute for five years and currently serves as the deputy director. She has been actively engaged in every aspect of the organization’s work during this time and will provide strong leadership for years to come.

“The Board of Directors of the Religious Institute is pleased and excited that Marie Alford-Harkey will be guiding us into our promising future as an organization that brings healing, insight, and hope to our world,” said the Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield, chair of the Board of Directors. “Marie has so thoroughly demonstrated her skills and creativity as educator, planner, and communicator as well as her vision, passion, and commitment to our mission for sexual justice that we are confident she is exactly the one we need to lead us.”

Carol McDonald, chair of the search committee notes: “While the board interviewed many talented and qualified candidates in our national search for this position, we feel that Marie is the best choice to lead the Religious Institute at this time. Her passion and commitment to the mission of the Religious Institute is unparalleled and her deep, intimate knowledge of the organization will ensure a smooth transition with the retirement of founding President and CEO Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner.”

Marie directs the Religious Institute’s work to educate sexually healthy religious professionals, including the Sexually Healthy Seminary Project and the Religious Institute’s online courses in sexuality issues for religious professionals. She directs the Religious Institute’s initiatives in Southern states and manages the Gilead Sabbath Initiative which encourages U.S. congregations to stand with activists around the world to end violence and persecution against LGBTQ people. Marie is the lead author of the Religious Institute’s most recent congregational guidebook Bisexuality: Making the Invisible Visible in Faith Communities, and directs the Bisexuality Initiative. Marie provides speeches, trainings, and workshops for faith communities, seminaries, LGBTQ organizations, and sexual and reproductive health organizations.

Marie holds a Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School. Prior to her work at the Religious Institute, Marie taught public school in Michigan for 14 years. She facilitated the creation of the first Gay Straight Alliance at the high school where she taught and championed LGBT equality and rights for students. She is currently seeking ordination in the Metropolitan Community Churches. Marie will assume the role of President and CEO of the Religious Institute on May 1, 2016.


To contact Marie, please email


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