I’ve been thinking recently about just what Kinship means to its members. What does Kinship do, and who benefits from Kinship’s existence? In fact, it made me think about what it would be like to do a Kinship version of It’s A Wonderful Life (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/).
Strategic planning for any organization can be daunting, but it’s a necessary thing for the growth and health of that organization. In past strategic planning sessions for Kinship, we’ve talked about how much an all-volunteer organization can do, how we can encourage more members to be involved and to lead, what our goals are regarding the Adventist denomination, and what our goals are regarding our members and their needs.
I don’t think it’s any surprise that no organization can be everything to everybody. But I feel that Kinship has often tried to do that; and, when we do, it can become harder to meet members’ needs. It’s certainly made even more difficult when you realize that fewer than 15 people on the international board lead all the member interactions, almost all the programming and projects, and all communications. Thank goodness for all the coordinators around the globe who also offer their time and energy to stay connected to members in their regions and respond to their needs locally.
Kinship’s mission statement is to provide a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists, their families, and those who support them. We provide community and advocacy for LGBTIQ individuals; and we pledge to stand with you, no matter where you are in your journey.
For over 40 years, Kinship has advocated for our members who remain within the Adventist denomination. I’m all for that. But in almost every one of those 40+ years, the denomination has continued to turn its back on its LGBTIQ members. They have talked about us, but not with us, no matter how many times we’ve asked, invited, and appealed. We’re grateful for the few congregations, clergy, and educators at our Adventist institutions who have embraced our community; and they’ve done that while the denomination behind them has rejected us.
My personal desire is for Kinship to spend less energy on trying to change the denomination’s opinion of us, and to spend more energy on making sure our members know just how amazing and wonderfully made they are, just the way they are. Our members do not need to change who they are to be loved by God, and Kinship stands with them just as they are! I’m grateful every single day that Kinship is composed of Adventists, atheists, Christians, non-Christians, spiritual people, and secular people in all of our variations. Each one of us is valuable.
So what would It’s A Wonderful Life, Kinship Edition look like? If SDA Kinship International had never formed, what would the impact of that absence be on you? For me, I can’t even imagine! I have found such a home, such a loving family, and lifelong friends. I realize that there are many allies who embrace me and the Kinship community, too. If all that was just gone from my life, I can see just how alone and lonely I would be.
Thank God I don’t have to imagine. I know what Kinship means to me. I am embraced by Kinship, just as I am. I hope you feel that embrace, too. It’s your continuing support for Kinship that will allow other LGBTIQ Adventists and friends to feel it as well.
Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International, Inc.
Join us on May 7for Kinship Worship- an inspirational program for us, by us. We have an amazing program for you and your friends. Please share this with your friends!
Kinship is led by volunteers who want LGBTQ current and former Adventists to feel loved and affirmed wherever they are. Everything—from our social media, Zoom events, member groups, and outreach projects—is led by volunteers. The Kinship board determines the direction and next steps for Kinship to take. We are looking for people who support our cause to serve on the Kinship Board. This year the positions open for election are:
Serve as CEO leading the Kinship Board and guiding the future direction of Kinship
Represent Kinship publicly with other organizations, as well as sign contracts and authorize purchases
Communicate regularly to members to affirm our community, promote various projects, and advocate for greater inclusion in the Adventist world and beyond
Maintain records of Kinship Board meetings and leadership directory
Ensure Kinship follows its by-laws and work to update the by-laws when necessary
Director of Women’s Interests
Facilitate events for networking, connection, and engagement among women members
Advocate for women’s issues and concerns on the Kinship Board
Assist Member Services and Communications in creating content, events, and inclusive messages for women members
Director of Church Relations
Serve as the chief liaison between Kinship and the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Chair the Advisory Council of allied Adventist leaders and pastors and friends
Lead projects that promote collaboration with, and outreach to, leaders in Adventist communities
If you are interested in running for a Kinship board position OR volunteering in any capacity, please contact Floyd on Facebook or send email to email@example.com.
THE UNCLOBBER PROJECT
We have sent out almost 900 copies of UnClobber to LGBT people AND to families and Adventist Church leaders.
We thank you for your support of this project, and we are aiming to have more conversations and create change in ourselves, our families, and our local communities.
If you would like your pastor or a family member to learn how welcoming LGBT+ people are supported by the Bible, order this book for them.
How To Support the Project
Order a free book today.
Connect with others—some LGBT+, some Adventist pastors—who are also reading the book, to share your thoughts and ask questions about the material. bit.ly/unclobberfacebook.
Pray that people will allow the Holy Spirit to open their hearts and minds, and that it will result in more loving actions toward the LGBT community within the local churches, schools, and communities.
Join us every second Saturday on our Facebook Live at 5 pm Eastern. We will talk about the project, tell people how to get involved, and answer any questions you may have.
Kinship Europe Zoom Meeting with this year's EKM speaker to showcase the venue and location in the Netherlands and the speaker will talk about the theme of the European Kinship Meeting
VIRTUAL KINSHIP KAMPMEETING 2021
EUROPEAN KINSHIP MEETING
EKM2021 will be held in a natural environment in the little community of Westelbeers, between the cities Eindhoven and Tilburg in The Netherlands.
Our excellent and energetic guest speaker is a Seventh-day Adventist scholar at one of our colleges in Europe. The name of the guest speaker will not be disclosed until the meeting, in order to protect his position in the church. But be assured you will be blessed and uplifted by his presentations.
EIGENTIJDSERF is surrounded by nature but is certainly easily accessible from the direction of Eindhoven, Breda, and Tilburg. Parking is free and charging electric cars is possible. We will also try to set up a pickup service to meet you at the station in Tilburg or Eindhoven. Eindhoven airport is a hub for low-budget flights.
The conference center offers special diets if we know in advance. The atmosphere is peaceful and friendly.
Pricing: €400 (double occupancy) and €450 (single occupancy)
Wow, it’s springtime already! Our wildflowers are springing up in the foothills, green grass is bursting out for our deer to enjoy, and the male turkeys are busy attracting some girlfriends.
Carolyn and I greatly enjoy the arrival of spring! Winter has ended, the gray wintry days are over, and we can feel new life—see new life—and hopefully enrich new life for all our Kinship families, friends, and wonderful members. Yes, we know COVID-19 is still wandering around; but it, too, will soon become a memory of learning to adjust, be patient, and stay optimistic.
MONTHLY FAMILY & FRIENDS ROUNDTABLE ZOOM GATHERINGS
Remember, every third Sunday you are all invited and welcome to join our worldwide roundtable gatherings. It’s growing, and at the last gathering, several families shared their enjoyment to connect and chat with other families. After many gatherings, families have been connecting directly with other families to share and support. Families and allies from across the United States, Canada, England, Netherlands, Germany, Africa, and Central and South America have gathered, shared, and thanked everyone else at the table. What an exciting blessed and connecting time.
Every roundtable starts with meeting and greeting, sharing the blessings and positive events some have enjoyed. Others also can share their challenges and emotional experiences they may encounter. Then we let anyone and everyone around the table offer a short prayer asking Jesus and His angels to surround all of us with comfort and love.
Each gathering can be unique. Sometimes we will have a specific subject for sharing and discussing. Other times we may shift from a planned subject because an attendee may share a significant event or situation and everyone around the table would like to expand and enrich that special event or situation. We are very flexible; none of us may have the perfect answer, but around that loving and caring table brilliant suggestions and ideas flow out to all of us.
At this moment, we plan our May roundtable discussions will feature Kris & Debbie Widmer as they revisit the wonderful musical, Fiddler on the Roof, with its meaningful songs and dialogs. But we are all flexible, so we can weave other topics and ideas into the discussions.
Please join us! Encourage other families you are connected with to join us. It will enrich that table and make it a great happening.
UNCLOBBER BOOK - FREE
Carolyn and I have shared several free UnClobber books with family and faith or employee friends with excellent results. Many have shared their enjoyment from reading Pastor Colby Martin’s personal life woven into his personal theological examination and evaluation of the six “clobber texts” often used to bruise families and their LGBTQ+ family member(s). Pastor Colby and his wife struggled with how to support and help LGBTQ+ folks. Today they have their own church in San Diego where they welcome and support all folks.
We invite you to visit the Kinship website for all details. You can order books for all of your friends, and Kinship will send it to them for free. Please help Kinship share all the UnClobber books we’ve had printed.
Send books to your friends! Many angels will smile!
Masks are now part of our lives. That’s why SDA Kinship has designed these reusable face masks to give all of us the comfort, quality, and peace of mind we need to go out and show our Kinship pride! Add our masks to your collection and enjoy!
This product has not been FDA cleared or approved, but has been authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use as source control by the general public and by health care providers in healthcare settings as to help slow the spread of infection or illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW!CHAPTER 25 OF JOURNEY
AboutJourneyby Jerry McKay
Most of what characterizes my life today—work, family, and faith—looks little like what I thought it would when I graduated from college in 1980.
Naturally, people want to know when and how I first became aware of my orientation. Others are interested in my spiritual experience and how my faith and my orientation intersect and perhaps collide. Many questions revolve around my reparative therapy journey and how that impacted my belief in God and my relationship to the church.
I am often asked about the pivotal moment I decided to stop trying to change my orientation and the events that led up to that moment. Related to that decision is the question of short- and long-term consequences. I’ve been asked about where I see God in the whole journey—before counseling, during counseling, and since accepting my orientation.
And, finally, others want to know about my relationship, how it has evolved over the years, and the impact it has had on my life.
SDA Kinship continues to work to connect our members in communities where they feel most comfortable. We have both Facebook and WhatsApp groups for members to join.
There are many groups by location for chapters, regions, and countries. Groups based on language such as Española, French, and Russian. There is also a Spiritual Group led by the Kinship Chaplain and a Women’s Group for the women of Kinship.
AmazonSmile is now available as an app. A great way to support SDA Kinship at no cost to you and you can do all your shopping online from the app. You can find it in the App Store for IOS or Google Play for Android.
When making purchases on Amazon.com, remember, if you use smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the eligible purchase price to the non-profit that you select! As we provide support and representation within the LGBTIQ community, every penny counts!
When first visiting AmazonSmile, customers are prompted to select a charitable organization from almost one million eligible organizations. To browse or shop at AmazonSmile, customers must first select a charitable organization. Please select Seventh-Day Adventist Kinship International Inc.
Our mission is to provide a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists, their families, and those who support them.
We are here to provide community and advocacy for LGBTIQ individuals with a Seventh-day Adventist connection, their families, and those who support them because of this important truth—everyone is created in the image of God.