New Workshop Tool Helps Congregations Open Conversation with LGBT Adventists
From News Release, March 9, 2016: Can Adventist congregations create safe spaces for positive, healing, informed and authentic conversation on a topic often ignored? A Sanctuary for Conversation: Listening, Loving, and Learning is a three-hour workshop that helps to answer that question. Through this workshop, congregations will be introduced to a model for engaging in conversations that lead to clarity, hope, and healing.
This workshop responds to the Statement on Human Sexuality, from the denomination’s North American Division (NAD). The NAD stated, “The vital and opportune role of the Adventist Church is to educate its members about sexuality and purity within the context of grace.”
A Sanctuary for Conversation also addresses the Call for Peace, from the General Conference (GC). The GC stated, “There needs to be dialogue and discussion in place of diatribe. In particular, Christians should always be ready to ‘reason together,’ as the Bible says.”
The workshop opens with active learning activities and includes interviews with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and parents of LGBT children. Also, a professional psychologist defines terms and answers questions about orientation and gender. Participants will learn better listening skills, statistics about LGBT youth, the difference between acceptance and agreement, and signs of safe and unsafe churches. At the end of the workshop participants brainstorm practical ways to transform their church into a sanctuary for Jesus and for God’s Holy Spirit.
For more information or to purchase copies of the leader’s guide and workbook, visit OpenDialogueResources.org or email OpenDialogueResources@gmail.com.
A Sanctuary for Conversation has been tested with pastors, youth ministries leaders and local churches. Here is some of the feedback from people who were part of the workshop:
“I have grown because of the time I spent listening to the presentations, discussions, and panel. As a result of this workshop, I have taken away an understanding of how to become a better minister to all.”
“The spirit of loving, humble discussion was filled with opportunities to sense and share God’s Holy Spirit.”
“We asked [those who attended] to become more empathetic, not to change their beliefs.” (a presenter)
“During my 27 years in Adventism, I have never seen such a spirit of humility expressed from the leaders of the church. No one came to prove ‘I’m right, you’re wrong,’ or to ‘school’ someone else on their theology. Instead, we all came to learn, be honest, and work together to improve the lives of our LGBT youth.”
“If you want your church to be a true community that is loving and compassionate, then do this workshop—it will make everyone more aware of their humanity.”