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2017 #GCNConf Reflection by Elyse Kitrakis — “The Inspiration to Move Forward”
Once I was set free from the bondage of a fear-based faith, my life became full, and my faith has grown these last 20 years to be more inclusive and less judgmental. In 2004, I became more politically involved, recognizing the important role we, the people of God, must play in the governance of God’s world and the care for the things God cares about.
2017 #GCNConf Reflection by Jennifer Kane — “A Most Inspiring Story”
Many of the stories of the conference were new. But as I reflected on my conference experience as a whole, I was aware that, though the stories felt new, they also reminded me of the most inspiring story I have ever heard. The story of God becoming human and dwelling among us and then suffering and dying so we could be made new and be made whole.
2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 3
There are lots of reasons for women to leave parish ministry, I’d say. Complicated family circumstances and fewer openings because of the implosion of the American church experienced first in the mainline but followed now by the evangelical church, as well, to name two. The bias that blights women’s service is one among them, in my experience.
2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 2
... the PC(USA) cannot confess sin against LGBTQ people with any integrity. First, this action would not include those Presbyterians who do not feel that they are sinning when they judge the LGBTQ person. Second, people with these judgments are still hurting LGBTQ people in the PC(USA). We are not of one mind in the PC(USA).
2017 #GCNConf Rev. Janet Edwards Interview, Part 1
My tradition is Reformed, always being Reformed (which is why we tend to protest what is traditional). Coming to a more expansive understanding of marriage is our generation’s experience of reforming our grasp of God and God’s will for us.
Rev. Janet Edwards, Ph.D. — #GCNWomenConnect Speaker
Identification with and support of LGBTQ people began, I would say, with the effort to make sense of my uncle coming with Johnnie from their home in Southern California to enjoy the fall change of season and to visit family. Nothing was ever said except that this was his friend, Johnnie, and my grandmother loved them both.
2017 Gay Christian Network Conference — Introduction
Again, in 2017, CFT will be partnering with the Gay Christian Network to present their WomenConnect women's retreat at the 2017 Gay Christian Network Conference. Several CFT members will participate.
2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Kirsti Reeve
I'm grateful that the space of GCN exists for those people who do desperately need it, for whom the weekend was spent in tears and overwhelm, and who can, hopefully, leave with a little more of a belief that they are loved and accepted by God and by others just as they are.
2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Bastian Bouman
When those in my group started talking about their hopes and dreams for future relationships and discussed models of relationships, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. The Side B people I had dismissed were exactly the people I’d been looking for.
2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Sam Koster
I worshiped in a community of strangers that felt like family. I cried in front of a crowd of parents who held me in their arms like I was their own child. I felt like I was being given a glimpse of what heaven feels like, or maybe what I hope heaven feels like: open arms of strangers full of love and grace.
2016 #GCNConf – First Timer Reflections – Jann Aldredge-Clanton
As I listened to people’s stories, my heart ached over the pain they have suffered from denunciation and rejection by church and family, and I felt inspired by their courage in claiming who they’re created to be and working to liberate their churches from homophobia and unjust, unloving actions.
2016 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Emmy Kegler Interview
I believe the church at its core can also be a place of healing (and it breaks me when it's a place of trauma). We have confession and forgiveness, peacemaking and reconciliation, prayer and offering going back to the earliest days of Christianity. Self-examination and self-giving isn't something we can do without community...
2016 #GCNConf – “weconnect” Featured Speaker Emmy Kegler
She connected deeply to the true good news of Christianity’s two-thousand-year-old story. Over and over, she witnessed both the church’s capacity to wound and to heal, and she grew more convinced that she had to be a part of the transformation and recommunication of God’s love as shown in Jesus.
2016 Gay Christian Network Conference — Introduction
This year’s GCN speakers will include: Allyson Robinson, Baptist preacher and national trans leader; Broderick Greer, Episcopal curate and social justice advocate; Misty Irons, nationally-acclaimed blogger and theologian; and Justin Lee, the Gay Christian Network Executive Director.
The Gay Christian Network Conference: The Kingdom of God Unfolding
At the GCN conference, in spite of current cultural tableaus, these two unlikely identity categories converged: LGBT-identified people and Christian-identified people. We worshipped. We prayed. We nurtured one another in the sharing and receiving of our stories. And the results were luminous.
Precious God, Forgive Them, Because They KNOW What They’re Doing
With all the LGBTQ people courageously coming out in conservative Christian settings, with all the information available freely on the internet and through print and broadcast media, with our new host of educators and speakers (both LGBTQ people and allies) reaching out to conservative and evangelical Christians, it would be impossible for someone to miss the obvious wounding of our people.
The Words of the LGBTQ Christian Experience
The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is not my sexual activity. The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is with whom I am most comfortable establishing my primary intimate partnership.
Together At the Table: Inclusive Communion and Intimate Conversations
The challenge each of us faces is in learning how to maintain our convictions while also respecting and appreciating a sister or brother's differing approach. Maybe the key is to start from a trusting place, believing that we all deeply desire to do what is good and right.
Our Job Starts and Stops with Loving Each Other
There’s no safe choice. The wounding is pervasive. And we all are perpetrators when we project our expectations and our own unique experience onto other people we consider more like us than not. None of us is the same. None of us knows the heart and mind of any other. As LGBTQ people, it is certainly our calling to become all we are meant to be. But that’s an internal process for the person looking out into the world. Where we stand, looking into each other’s eyes, our job starts and stops with loving each other.
Trauma and the LGBTQ Christian
When someone involved in conservative or evangelical Christianity experiences the trauma and wounding associated with coming out, generally they do not have access to sympathetic witnesses or good support systems. Often nearly everyone around them believes that to be lesbian, gay, bi, trans*, queer, or questioning is sinful and shameful.
An Opportunity to Practice Grace and Love
When I realized this was the Wall of Love, I was overcome with emotion. As they formed what would ultimately become a Tunnel of Love, the tears rolled down my cheeks. I had to turn away from them so I could gather myself because the feeling of unconditional love was so overwhelming in the moment.
2015 #GCNConf — “weconnect” Wendy Gritter Interview
My hope is that we will come to the day that our communities are places where LGBTQ+ people can be fully themselves and fully pursue relationship with Jesus without any hindrances. I wish I knew how long this season of transition will last— but I don’t.
2015 #GCNConf – “weconnect” Featured Speaker Wendy Gritter
After I finished Wendy Gritter's book and spent some time reflecting on what I had read, I realized that she had chosen a very difficult path. She is now regarded with suspicion by people on all sides. Many conservative Christians believe she has been deceived and has departed from the “truth” of the scriptures. LGBT people like me find it difficult to forgive her involvement with Exodus.
2015 Gay Christian Network Conference – Introduction
This year’s GCN speakers included: Vickie Beeching, British theologian, singer/songwriter, and media personality who recently came out as a lesbian; Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?; Danny Cortez, Southern Baptist pastor and father of a gay child; and Wendy Gritter, author of Generous Spaciousness and Executive Director of New Direction Ministries of Canada.
weconnect – Rachel Held Evans’ Presentation Summary
Why can't we go along with God? We're scared that if we get out of God's way this whole grace thing might get out of hand— just the way it got out of hand when Jesus looked out from the cross and said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."
weconnect – And There Was Singing
When we sing together, we draw ourselves closer to the Expression of God. God is in each of us, certainly, but She is magnified exponentially, She becomes more Herself, when we express Her presence as a group. The best practice we have, the gateway drug to the magnificence of God, is singing together.
weconnect – We are Broken
When we talk about brokenness I want to feel the pain of naked truth. I want the words to be untamed and un-groomed. I want to hear the crimson bloom of shame in our voices. I want to feel the emotional morass of untenable situations caused when we responded without grace, without patience, without compassion.
weconnect – There Will be Some Tears
I cried for me and I cried for everyone I was going to meet. I asked Divinity to be present with all of us as we sought and found a way through our pain and longing to reconnect with Her love. Not just Her love for us, but Her love for everyone, especially those who cause our pain.
weconnect – Susan Shopland Interview, Part 2
And if my son could take the risk, how could I not? I will say it makes a huge difference to have support; I am deeply grateful to the members of GCN who have mentored, inspired, supported, equipped, and empowered me.
weconnect – Susan Shopland Interview, Part 1
I know what it is like to try to “fly under the radar,” keeping silent so people won’t notice the way I speak, trying to avoid the inevitable ignorant questions when people found out I had lived in Egypt: “Did you live in a pyramid? Did you ride a camel to school? Did you like it over there?”
weconnect – Speaker Susan Shopland
Now I celebrate having a gay son, and consider it one of the greatest blessings of my life. His journey to a more authentic existence has been the catalyst for my own journey toward greater authenticity. It has forced me to confront my own deceitfulness in living a compartmentalized existence...
weconnect – Audrey Connor Interview, Part 3
When I write, I am usually writing to the movable middle. Those are the hearts that can possibly change. We will not be able to convince those who are decidedly against homosexuality that they are wrong. But we can build up the group who know it is not wrong by reaching people in the middle. But let me end by saying even our allies don’t fully understand the insidiousness of homophobia in their churches, their communities, their workplaces, and in our government.
weconnect – Audrey Connor Interview, Part 2
I think the days of being a minister as a career are numbered, even for straight, white men. The truth is that the church is on shaky ground even for those at the center. But the good news is that walking over shaky ground often leads us to find more sure footing with God.
weconnect – Audrey Connor Interview, Part 1
"I continue to find ways to serve the church as I try to be faithful in my love of God and God’s church. I am thankful for the people who are called to ministry inside the church. But most churches are not ready for me to respond to a call as their minister. For that, I am sad.
weconnect – Featured Speaker Reverend Audrey Connor
“When it is all said and done, I realize the irony of ministry is that after you learn what gifts you have, then you have to learn to give them away. I was called into existence by a God who loves much, laughs much and surprises all the time. I know that God calls each of us, and I continue to believe that God will help us all form a community of love and support for all people.”
The Gay Christian Network’s “weconnect” Women’s Retreat
The weconnect Women's Retreat will feature speakers, discussions, games, giveaways, and an all-female praise and worship band. Hasty-Zander stresses that her primary goal is building community and creating a safe space for conversation. She hopes the retreat will build lasting connections among GCN's female-identified attendees.