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Building a Real Welcome for All God’s People: LGBTQIA+ People and the Church
June 11 @ 10:30 am - 2:30 pm
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and many of its congregations and councils – including the Presbytery of the Highlands of New Jersey–have embraced a focus on Matthew 25, the radical call of Jesus in Scripture to a life of loving all God‘s people, most especially those who have traditionally been excluded, passed by, or left out.
This interactive event, led by Brian Ellison of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, offers biblical and theological foundation and practical help in ensuring the church‘s full embrace of LGBTQIA+ people. We‘ll consider how we as Presbyterians have historically thought about issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, and how we have changed. And we‘ll consider particular acts of hospitality we can take with our words and deeds to strengthen our congregations and our common life, faithfully living out life extending the Matthew 25 love of Jesus to all.
Part 1: 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon
The history of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the church: Some basic understandings around sexual orientation and gender identity – What is at stake: A theology of welcome, including the biblical and ethical conversations around sexuality
Lunch from 12 to 1: Time for discussion around tables of people’s understandings of how welcoming their own church is (and a little break time)
Part 2: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m
Reflecting on table conversations – LGBTQIA+ people and those who love them in our congregations share their stories – Practical steps toward welcome (including pronouns, language in worship, facilities issues, how we show hospitality, promotions/marketing around inclusion, community engagement) – The Covenant Network of Presbyterians – our work and how congregations and individuals can engage with it
Brian Ellison has served since 2012 as executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a national organization engaging, educating and equipping congregations and councils toward an equity not yet fully realized for LGBTQIA+ people in church and society. He is also stated clerk of the Synod of Mid–America and a host/contributor at KCUR, NPR in Kansas City. Brian was previously pastor of a congregation in the Kansas City area for 13 years, where he still lives with his partner, Troy, and their lovable but recalcitrant dog daughter Willoughby.