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Towards a Welcoming & Inclusive Church

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IWR Resources

A Time to Build Up

A Time to Build Up

AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!


All in God's Family: Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families

All in God's Family: Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families

Giving you opportunities to gather with other members of your congregation to pray, to learn, to share, and to work together to transform your lives, your congregation, and your world into a loving place in which God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families can thrive.

AVAILABLE NOW!


To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations

To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations

In order to both highlight the vibrancy, faithfulness and power of the Welcoming Movement and to counter the 'false witness' of those who seek to quash this movement of hospitality and justice, the Institute for Welcoming Resources surveyed pastors and leaders of 1,200 Welcoming congregations to ask them about their work and witness.

AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!


transACTION

A Transgender Curriculum For Churches and Religious Institutions

transACTION - A Transgender Curriculum For Churches and Religious Institutions

AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!


Liturgical Resource

The Institute for Welcoming Resources
A Place in God's Heart...
A Place at Christ's Table

Worship Resources for the Welcoming Church Movement

Additional IWR resources


Contact IWR

Faith in Action


Loves Makes A Family: IDAHOT 2017

May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. This year's theme is "Love Makes A Family." This year the central educational resource dispells the myth that homosexuality or being a LGBTI person is a "Western product" which counters the primary argument against acceptance of LGBTI people across Africa and around the world.

The United Nations' Free and Equal Campaign and the researchers at the Burke Center for International Relations at UCLA created this new educational resource for IDAHOT 2017.

We encourage you to share this educational resource within your social networks and on social media. The myth that being LGBTI is “from the West” invalidates the existence and human dignity of LGBTI in their country of origin. This myth contributes to stigma, discrimination and violence. So, dispelling this myth will help to create respect and safe places for LGBTI people and their families within their own communities, cultures and countries.

Click here for more information.

Innterconnectivity: Where Do We Go From Here? March 20

Everyone is invited for this LGBT faith and justice event on March 20 -- in person or live stream -- for a program exploring the intersectional connections of peace, justice, LGBTQ issues, environmentalism with faith.

Rev. Dr. Jane A Spahr, LGBT activist and pastor; Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Civil Rights icon and author; Annanda Barclay, More Light Presbyterians; and Floyd Thompkins, Center for Innovation in Ministry, SFTS will be exploring these issues together.

Join us from 7-8:30pm at First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto, CA or watch the live stream at innovation.sfts.edu. For more information, to RSVP for the event, or the online live stream please go to this link.

Welcoming Church Program Leaders meet in Washington, DC

The Welcoming Church Program Leaders held their first gathering of the year in Washington, DC from March 9-10. The organizations represented at the gathering were the National LGBTQ Task Force, Believe Out Loud, More Light Presbyterians, Open and Affirming Coalition UCC, Affirm United, GLAD Alliance, Reconciling Works, Room for All, Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, and Welcoming Community Network (WCN).

40th Celebration of LGBTQ Lives at Kirkridge

Erin Swensen

Over 40 years ago, Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center offered a clarion call of welcome to LGBTQ persons in faith communities. A special retreat celebrating the LGBTQ-affirming faith movement to mark this historic anniversary is being held on September 8 - 10, 2017.

Many of the “firsts” that have occurred in faith, nation, and military LGBTQ communities can trace their threads of origin back to the mountain. This is where leaders found their courage, strength, and voice. This is where their convictions were strengthened by the spiritual, emotional, and political awareness that blossomed during their time at Kirkridge. Virginia Mollenkott, John McNeill, Mary Hunt, Chris Glaser and Bishop Gene Robinson are among the faith leaders who are part of Kirkridge's LGBTQ history.

This celebration gathering will cast a wide net of welcome to all who wish to celebrate our 40-year LGBTQ history. Longstanding programs who have gathered at Kirkridge will also be invited to join the conversation, including: Sisterly Conversations, The Gay Men’s Event, Agape, and the historic Gay and Lesbian Christian program. Along with creating space for spiritual reflection, we will ask ourselves and each other: what’s next? What’s next for LGBT faith and justice work at and beyond Kirkridge?

We will seek to equip our conference participants in more effective ways to counter the religious exemption laws and efforts to rescind the hard-earned LGBTQ equality achievements of the last three decades. We will also work to equip our conference participants with effective strategies to counter religious exemption laws and efforts to rescind the hard-earned LGBTQ equality achievements earned over the past three decades.

The retreat leader is Rev. Erin Swenson. Erin is a Presbyterian minister. She has served as pastor, counselor, chaplain, educator, and administrator within a variety of faith communities, including Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. Erin was the first transgender Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians, a LGBT-affirming network in the Presbyterian Church (USA). As a transgender woman she confronted the Presbyterian Church with her own transgender reality. Ultimately, she became the first-known mainstream Protestant minister to make a gender transition and retain ordained office, an event that was covered by USA Today and Newsweek.

For more information and to reserve your place at this retreat, go to: http://www.kirkridge.org/?e=event&eventId=26746&rDate=9/8/2017

Groundbreaking Documentary "From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?" to Screen in Dallas at Multiple Venues Feb 7-12

The recently released and acclaimed documentary, "From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?", which focuses on the intersection of race, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, will screen at several venues in Dallas between February 7-12, 2017, accompanied by panels discussions with diverse local and national advocates and faith leaders addressing the issues in the film.

Director Marilyn Bennett, author and lesbian activist, created the film as a vehicle to explore the Civil Rights Movement and the LGBTQ Equality Movement with longtime friend and collaborator Rev. Gil Caldwell, an 83-year old straight Black retired United Methodist pastor and Civil Rights foot soldier. After meeting while working to change the policies of the United Methodist Church in 2000, Bennett and Caldwell created the film to document their journey exploring the Civil Rights Movement and the LGBTQ Equality Movement from their differing perspectives and life experiences.

Click here for more information about the film, showing locations and times.

Task Force TV Interview - Shower of Stoles

From our recent Creating Change conference. This includes the donation of the very first Muslim piece to the collection from Imam Daayiee Abdullah, the only out Imam in the western hemisphere!


Launch of The LGBT Institute at The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

On the evening of September 2nd, over 250 people poured into The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta for the premiere of a new exhibit. The LGBT Institute at the Center was launched during the premiere of this exhibit, “Forward Together: A Look at Atlanta’s LGBT History Since Stonewall.”

The mission of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is “to empower people to take the protection of every human’s rights personally. Through sharing stories of courage and struggle around the world. The Center encourages visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the role they play in helping to protect the rights of all people.” The Center seeks to harness Atlanta’s legacy of civil rights to strengthen the worldwide movement for human rights.

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Body and Soul: The Intersection of Faith and Sexuality

The intersection of faith and sexuality is one that is often traveled with misconceptions and anxiety because the Church has mostly failed to offer thoughtful, helpful information and education. The Church has been more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to affirmation of our creation as God’s children of flesh and spirit. Gratefully, this is changing.

All of us have bodies and sexualities in addition to our souls, beliefs and faith practices. And yet, it seems the reality for too many of us a dilemma exists of “body versus spirit” dilemma rather than a reconciliation of “body and spirit.” The reconciliation of one’s faith and sexuality is a key to living happy, healthy and whole lives. It is an essential foundation to loving, faithful relationships and healthy families. It also goes a long way in establishing safer faith communities and safer societies.

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LGBT Rights in the USA and Across the Globe

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta was first imagined by civil rights legends Evelyn Lowery and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. It was launched by former Mayor Shirley Franklin. It has become one of the few places in the world educating visitors on the bridge between the American Civil Rights Movement and contemporary Human Rights Movements around the world.

The Center is offering a historic program, "LGBT Rights in the USA and Across the Globe" on October 3. Dr. Michael J. Adee, Director of the Global Faith and Justice Project, is one of the speakers.

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Because You Are, Therefore I Am

“Because you are, therefore I am,” was the greeting that Dr. Ezra Chitando from Zimbabwe expressed to our amazing group of African scholars, theologians, faith leaders, activists and students at the Thorn Tree Lodge, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Dr. Chitando’s words to us were more than a greeting as they are often spoken in the context of a common African identity and an affirmation being known, understood and respected in community.

Dr. Chitando shared the justifiable suspicion of this statement by African women scholars: “Because I am a man and you are a woman, you are not” and extended it to “because I am a heterosexual and you are a homosexual, you are not.” He concluded that this traditional African statement must be used to include, rather than exclude people.

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Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible

Based on his one-person play, theatrical performance activist Peterson Toscano unearths transgender Bible characters - those people who do not fit in the gender binary - and who, in transgressing and transcending gender, find themselves at the center of some of the Bible's most important stories. Over five sessions, you will watch videos of Peterson's Bible study sessions at RMN's national convocation. It is designed for small group sessions in which discussion will play a major role. Discussion Guide available for free download.

For the videos and the discussion guides, click here.

For more information on Peterson Toscano or to book a performance, visit http://petersontoscano.com/.


Multi-Faith Work

NEW DOCUMENTARY!

"In Our Fullness: Faith and Activism Across Difference"
presents conversations with activists about faith-based work for radical social change around issues including sexuality, gender, race, class, and age. The video includes powerful testimonies from activists representing Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Native spiritualities, presenting challenges and successes in faith-based progressive-left coalition building.

Produced by the Institute for Welcoming Resources, a Project of the National LGBTQ Task Force, in partnership with the Macalester College Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellowship.

For more information: info@WelcomingResources.org

Additional Ecumenical & Multi-Faith Groups Convened by IWR


New & Timely Resources


Bisexuality: Making Visible the Invisible in Faith Communities

Bisexuality: Making Visible the Invisible in Faith Communities

A multifaith compendium of stories and resources to help congregations as they take the next step toward full inclusion of LGBT people. This comprehensive guidebook helps congregations minister to bisexual people and their families. Bisexuality is often invisible in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations, society as a whole, and in faith communities and denominations. Although many mainline denominations and congregations have made great strides in welcoming and affirming lesbian and gay people, and some have even begun to respond to the specific needs and concerns of transgender people, the “B” in the LGBT acronym is still largely ignored. Helping faith communities embrace bisexual persons and reflect theologically on bisexuality brings gifts to congregations and to the practice of faith.

Read more...
Your People Shall Be My People

Your People Shall Be My People: Ministering to and with Same-Gender Couples and their Families

Your People Shall Be My People opens with several models for conversation and some helpful practices to shape discussion. You will meet six Lutherans from a variety of backgrounds, each with a story to share about how support for marriage for same-gender couples matters. Following these stories you can find a collection of answers to common questions about marriage in the ELCA, as well as a list of resources for study, pastoral care, wedding liturgies, and widening the church’s welcome.

Read more...


Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible

Based on his one-person play, theatrical performance activist Peterson Toscano unearths transgender Bible characters - those people who do not fit in the gender binary - and who, in transgressing and transcending gender, find themselves at the center of some of the Bible's most important stories. Over five sessions, you will watch videos of Peterson's Bible study sessions at RMN's national convocation. It is designed for small group sessions in which discussion will play a major role. Discussion Guide available for free download.

Read more...

Breaking Open: Sodom and Gomorrah

A liberating approach to the Bible that transforms scriptural weapons into sources of power. This booklet goes deep into one of the “clobber passages” in the Bible, which are so named because they are the ammunition most often used to harm LGBTQI people through spiritual violence. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is weaponized against our people all across the Abrahamic traditions, making this resource applicable to multiple contexts. The Breaking Open Series not only provides guidance on the challenging scriptural conversations that are used to harm our people but also support you in building a just and life-giving theological framework that is based in principles of liberation and solidarity in order to be ready for any conversation.

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Transitioning to Inclusion: Embracing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in Faith Communities

This resource was written by Kelsey Pacha for CLGS, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion, and made possible by a grant from the Atkinson Foundation. Through their generosity, CLGS has worked with congregations, parents, and religious educators in San Mateo County and beyond to create this resource.

Read more...

Resources from IWR Available

NEW RESOURCE NOW AVAILABLE!!!

Kol B'mishpachat Elohim

Kol B’mishpachat Elohim

All in God's Family: A Jewish Guide for Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families

National LGBT Rights Organizations Launch First-Of-Its-Kind Jewish Curriculum for Faith Leaders

New Resource to Help Jewish Faith Leaders with Creating A Welcoming Community for LGBT people

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 28, 2014-Today, the National LGBTQ Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, Keshet, COLAGE, and Family Equality Council released a curriculum designed to help Jewish congregations support and embrace lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members and their families. Titled "Kol B'mishpachat Elohim / All in God's Family: A Jewish Guide for Creating Allies for Our LGBT Families," the multimedia curriculum provides tools to support Jewish congregations in their efforts to create inclusive institutions for LGBT people and their families.

"Our work to secure basic rights and full equality for LGBT people has advanced thanks to the commitment and compassion of our faith leaders and communities of faith," says David Lohman, Faith Work Faith Resource Manager at the National LGBTQ Task Force. "For people of faith, their religious community is the bedrock of their work for fairness, justice, and equality. We believe that LGBT people and their families deserve the same love and honor as all of God's beloved families. This curriculum will help congregations extend God's extravagant welcome to all of God's families - particularly LGBT families."

"Kol B'mishpachat Elohim" includes concrete tools to help leaders, including a step-by-step guide to supporting LGBT families of faith, and frameworks for facilitating group learning, community dialogue, text-study, and community action planning to highlight LGBT families in our communities. Additionally, the curriculum utilizes "Families Like Mine," a book about adults with LGBT parents written by Abigail Garner, whose father is gay; the youth-produced documentary "In My Shoes: Stories of Youth with LGBT Parents"; and a phototext exhibit "That's So Gay: Portraits of Youth with LGBT Parents."

"LGBT families are a part of every Jewish community," says Idit Klein, Executive Director of Keshet. "We are thrilled to make this new resource available together with our partners and look forward to seeing our families embraced and honored. Full inclusion makes a community stronger and more vibrant for all of us."

"Finding a welcoming and inclusive faith community is a priority for some LGBTQ parents," says Gabriel Blau, Executive Director of Family Equality Council. "And that can be difficult in many regions of our country, even today. Although these parents may want to raise their children in a community that shares their values and beliefs, they also want their children to be embraced. That's why we partnered to put together 'Kol B'mishpachat Elohim.' We know that there are increasing numbers of congregations out there that want to welcome our families and we want to give them any tools that we can to do so more fully."

"For youth and adults with LGBTQ parents, finding a faith community where your family is respected and reflected can be a challenge," says Meredith Fenton, previous program director for COLAGE. "COLAGE is pleased to be a partner on 'Kol B'mishpachat Elohim' and invites your faith community to use these tools to move beyond acceptance to full inclusion and celebration of LGBTQ families."

Companion Resources:


Building an Inclusive Church

Training and a Toolkit

Building an Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit version 2.0

A Welcoming Toolkit 2.0 – Updated and greatly expanded!

Drawing upon thirty years of experience within a variety of Christian denominations, this Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to help facilitate a Welcoming Process in your local congregation. Biblically and theologically based, it uses tools of relational organizing, congregational assessment, conflict management and change theory.

AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!

Building an Inclusive Church
Training Opportunities


Hearts Unbound: Engaging Biblical texts of God’s Radical Love through Reader’s Theater

Hearts Unbound: Engaging Biblical texts of God’s Radical Love through Reader’s Theater by David R. Weiss

by David R. Weiss

The overwhelming message of the Bible, in story after story, is that of God’s radical love and welcome. Every time we think we know who’s in and who’s out, God does something to challenge those assumptions, to unbind our hearts and minds from old ways of understanding, and to draw the circle ever wider.

HEARTS UNBOUND invites you to explore ten of those inspiring stories of radical love and welcome. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and participatory, each session looks in-depth at the story, the historical context out of which it came, and some of the insights to be gained.

Designed to be used as a small-group Bible study, HEARTS UNBOUND uses the format of Reader’s Theater. But fear not… no costumes, sets, or refined acting chops needed! All you need are six to eight people around a table, reading the script, having fun, all the while learning a great deal in the process.

All ten sessions are available for free download below.


National LGBTQ Task Force, HRC y UNID@S presentan nueva guía bilingüe dirigida a familias e iglesias latinas para educar sobre la orientación sexual, la identidad de género y la Biblia

A La Familia: A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

En un esfuerzo por promover el diálogo dentro de las familias e iglesias latinas sobre la orientación sexual, la identidad de género y la Biblia, el National LGBTQ Task Force, la Campaña de Derechos Humanos y UNID@S, presentaron hoy una nueva guía bilingüe, A La Familia, Una Conversación Sobre Nuestras Familias, la Biblia, la Orientación Sexual y la Identidad de Género en una conferencia de prensa durante la 82va convención nacional de la Liga de Ciudadanos Latinoamericanos Unidos (LULAC por sus siglas en inglés) en Cincinnati, Ohio.

"LULAC está en contra de todo tipo de discriminación. Me siento muy orgullosa de mi estado natal al aprobar los matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo", dijo Ralina Cardona, directora estatal de Nueva York para LULAC. "Como americanos, tenemos que aceptar nuestras diferencias. Es lo que separa a este gran país. No todos somos de la misma cultura, color, orientación sexual o religión, pero todos somos americanos y en nuestra unidad está nuestra fuerza, pero en nuestras diferencias está nuestro poder".

Leer más en español...

Más artículos sobre A La Familia en español

HRC, National LGBTQ Task Force and UNID@S release new bilingual guide on sexual orientation, gender identity and the Bible for Latino/a families and churches

In an effort to foster a dialogue with Latino/a families and churches on sexual orientation, gender identity and the Bible, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and UNID@S, unveiled today a new bilingual guide, A La Familia: A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at a press conference during the League of United Latin American Citizens' 82nd National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people often face unique challenges in Latino/a families and churches. To help in the process of acceptance and inclusion, A La Familia is born out of a profound desire to faithfully integrate an excluded group of people back into the life of their churches and families. This guide is written for two primary audiences: heterosexual people honestly struggling with LGBT issues and the Bible, and those whose sexual orientation and gender identity have marginalized them within their family or church or even both.

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Before God, We Are All Family: a companion film for A La Familia

In 2011, the Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources, in close collaboration with Unid@s, the national Latin@ LGBT Human Rights Organization and the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, jointly released A La Familia, a bilingual conversation about our families, the Bible, sexual orientation and gender identity.



For more information about Before God, We Are All Family, click here.


Go to the Believe OUT LOUD web site

The Institute for Welcoming Resources is delighted to be a partner in the transdenominational Believe Out Loud campaign. Believe Out Loud provides a much-needed national network for churches committed to welcoming and affirming lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as beloved children of God.

Believe OUT LOUD is based in a simple truth: Privately believing that LGBT persons should have an equal share in our church and society is not enough; we must publicly proclaim that belief. Believe OUT LOUD gives the congregations, parishes and missions of our denominations the means to do exactly that.

New Believe OUT LOUD web site!


Organizational Partners

Affirm United/S'affirmer Ensemble The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists Brethren-Mennonite Council for LGBT Concerns Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance Integrity USA Reconciling Works
More Light Presbyterians Open and Affirming Program of the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns (ONA) Reconciling Ministries Network Room for All - Reformed Church in America Welcoming Community Network - Community of Christ