Kelly Bean

Kelly Bean_head shot


Kelly is a local and international leader and encourager as well as an activist for positive change in the community and around the world. From United Nations Commission on the status of women panels, to mud huts in Rwanda, to conference stages across the country, to living rooms in her own city of Portland, Oregon, Kelly Bean encourages community building for the sake of a better world. Life changing stories unfold when we come together. When we honor and respect difference, join to work for peace and reconciliation and create global community that build bridges of hope we are all changed for good.

Kelly Bean is co-founder and Executive Director of African Road, an International NGO working in collaboration with African leaders who are creating community collectives with people on the margins in their communities.

African Road takes action guided by values of:

  • Friendship- Partnering with women, children and their communities.
  • Hope- Working for sustainable change.
  • Transformation- Breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation

A speaker, writer, mentor, activist, ‘minister at large’ and artist, Kelly is passionate about creating environments that seed deep community with diverse groups. Kelly has been creating and leading strategic networks for women in ministry for the past 10 years, four years with National Emerging Women Leaders Initiative and six years founding and leading Convergence. She is a member of the Parish Collective Portland steering committee. Kelly Bean served as Cultivator of Third Saturday organic community which gathered in her living room for 24 years. She is co-planter of Urban Abbey, an egalitarian inter-generational intentional community in North Portland. Urban Abbey is forming with values of sustainability, earth-keeping, authenticity and reconciliation with a commitment to learn from and root in this ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood.

She recently authored a book with Baker Books, How to Be a Christian Without Going to Church, to be released July 2014 and is contributor to a Fuller Seminary publication on the Church in Contemporary Culture and has written for E-Florescence, Mutuality and Idea-Lab magazines.

Kelly’s most remarkable endeavor is learning from her three children: Elliot the ace guitarist and mild mannered creative (age 18), Kate the adventurer (age 24), and Emilie the kind-hearted (age 28), gorgeous grandchildren Gabriel, Abby and Kiana, along with Kelly’s marvelous Harley riding husband, Ken.

For additional soul enrichment Kelly paints, rides her sky blue bike called “Libby”, cooks, eats, feeds others, naps, reads, travels whenever possible, establishes cross cultural relationships, retreats for spiritual direction at Mt. Angel Benedictine Abbey, cultivates good friendships and learns from a broad constellation of wise mentors and spiritual friends.

Wild Rastafarian puppy Maggie and three stealthy cats, along with an occasional infestation of sugar ants and meal worms keep the household lively most of the time.