The Covenant Network of Presbyterians is grateful for the Presbytery of Chicago‘s cosponsorship of Covenant Conversation: Chicago at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Together, we discussed opportunities to move beyond words of welcome and create spaces of true belonging for all God’s children, particularly those marginalized for their racial, sexual or gender identities.
Our keynote was provided by the Rev. Jamie Frazier, pictured above, Lead Pastor at The Lighthouse Church of Chicago. A celebrated orator, Jamie addressed the historic March on Springfield for Marriage Equality, as well as helped open the 2014 LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Summit with words of encouragement and hope. He’s appeared on CNN and several local Chicago news affiliates, been featured in Newsy, and his church work was referenced in The Washington Post. in 2019 Rev. Frazier organized a movement for Black Queer liberation into an organization Lighthouse Foundation, which is a non-sectarian, nonprofit social justice organization that advances justice for Black LGBTQ+ people across Chicagoland through empowerment, education, and entertainment.
Our time together in worship lifted up expansive and hopeful prayers, music and liturgy as we claimed our shared identity in Christ. In the afternoon, we worshipped with preaching by the Rev. Marci Glass. Before joining Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, CA, Marci served as Pastor & Head of Staff at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Boise, Idaho. She has served as Co-Moderator of the Board of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board, Columbia Theological Seminary’s Alumni Board, and the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
Workshops led by leaders at CNP, Fourth Church, and the local community covered a variety of topics. The Rev. Michael Kirby, Senior Pastor at Northminster Presbyterian in Evanston, Illinois, discussed ways to support LGBTQIA+ people who live in areas with fewer legal protections from discrimination.
Jeannine Forrest, Ph.D., R.N. and Annette Mileski, Director of the Center for Life and Learning at Fourth Presbyterian Church, led an interactive on strategies to attract, engage, and support aging LGBTQIA + folks in church ministries – both with and without cognitive impairment.
The Rev. Nanette Sawyer, a PC(USA) pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago leading the LGBTQIA+ fellowship group (Widen Our Welcome – WOW), reexamined Biblical texts used to condemn the LGBTQIA+ community in light of the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s expansive love.
Other workshops offered spiritual formation workshop for queer Christians, community outreach, hospitality practices, and vocabulary for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Check the Covenant Conversation: Chicago page to download resources from workshops as they become available. Visit our Events page to learn more about our upcoming Covenant Conversation: New Castle Presbytery.