|Building Safe Places - for Everyone
Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Kinship Europe Meetings
Book and the Beach Mini-Kampmeeting
Living Eden's Gifts
Message from the President
This month, I want to share some important information with you.
Over the last few years, it’s been harder and harder to find Kampmeeting venues that are affordable for our members. And each year, Kinship has subsidized its annual meeting so that members don’t bear the full cost of the event. We also have offered scholarships to those who really want to attend but can’t afford the registration fee.
Each year, we offer several opportunities to you to give funds through GiveOut Day in May and Giving Tuesday in late November or early December. We’ve had limited success with those and other requests for donations throughout the year. Many Kinship members are just not in a position to donate right now. More than that, when organizations like ours attempt to raise funds to keep resources, sites, programs, books, and films available, pleas, shame, guilt and the like don’t work well to motivate folks to donate. I think the only thing that actually works for successful fund-raising is when people believe in the mission of an organization and/or are grateful that the organization exists and when they also have the means to help sustain that organization.
[In case you missed the June article, you can read it online on the SDA Kinship blog at http://sdakinship.org/news-blog/entry/315-from.html]
One thing I’ve noticed is that many of our long-time members have already gotten what they need from Kinship and moved on. These members, usually further along in their careers, have historically been the ones who can more afford to contribute to keep Kinship afloat. Alongside them are newer members, who very much need what Kinship offers, yet are less likely to be financially able to support the organization. It’s been quite a dilemma.
In just a couple of short weeks, our 37th annual Kampmeeting will begin. There is something I think you should understand about this particular Kampmeeting. This year will be the very last Kampmeeting where we offer an all-inclusive experience, and next year’s Kampmeeting will have the format of most other conferences. Kinship will charge a lower fee to cover the cost of the meeting space and programming, and members will need to find their own accommodations and meals. We will also identify specific hotels for attendees where they can stay and hang out together between sessions.
We’ve made this change because a number of members have said this is a format that would allow them to attend and they have enjoyed it at other meetings like the Gay Christian Network conference, which has an enormous member turnout each year. The Kinship board hopes that if we move towards this new type of format, members will find Kampmeeting more affordable and make plans to attend. I hope that all of the members who have never felt they could afford Kampmeeting will now realize the options they have and plan in advance to be there. We’ll have more information on next year’s event very soon.
Sometimes change is hard. I have to admit that for me, the thought of having Kampmeeting with a completely different structure makes me a little sad. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed having our group all together in the same venue, staying together, eating together, and hanging out together. The thought of that changing makes me a bit apprehensive because it was that close environment that hooked me at my very first Kampmeeting in Menucha, Oregon. The camp was beautiful but the people were amazing! From the first moment I met them, I was finally home with my “family” and that is the experience I’ve always wished for each one of you.
Now, just because the style of our gathering is changing, I don’t want to lose feeling so connected with my Kinship family. I’ve also learned over the years that I’ve been a part of this wonderful community that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I’m still connected to you!
I want you to know that feeling too. There’s still time to register for our last all-inclusive Kampmeeting this year: just go to the website and register now. Also, make plans now to attend next year as we try a different approach to Kampmeeting. The most important part of Kampmeeting is you!
Just a few days ago, President Barack Obama proclaimed June 2016 as the United States’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. In celebration of the great diversity of the LGBT community, there are Pride celebrations around the country and beyond!
Each June for more than a dozen years, my Kinship region, U.S. Region 2, has been marching in the Washington, D.C. Pride parade to let people in the community know that SDA Kinship exists and that we also know how to have a great time! Year after year, attendees along the parade route with a Seventh-day Adventist background have excitedly come up to us to introduce themselves, thankful that there is an organization for LGBT people with an Adventist background. It’s been particularly awesome to see these newcomers join Kinship and Region 2 themselves!
I hope to see you at Kampmeeting outside of Baltimore, Maryland this July. Kampmeeting is best when you’re there!
Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International
Naveen Jonathan, Vice President
The Member Services team receives many requests to include options of gender non-conforming and pansexual on member profiles and the application for membership. If you identify with either or both, please visithttp://www.sdakinship.organd update your member profile.
Member Services also would like to take this opportunity for all members to visit our website and update your membership information. Please visit http://www.sdakinship.org.
- Go to http://www.sdakinship.organd click on the yellow "Member Login/Logout" link in the upper right side.
- Log in with your username and password. If you forgot either of these, click on the "Forgot Login?" link in the middle of the page and follow the instructions.
- Once logged into the MEMBERS AREA, click on the blue "Edit Profile" button on the right side above the birthdays.
In your profile, click on the "About Me" tab and there you can update your Member Type as well as any other info about yourself.
Family and Friends
Debbie Widmer, Family & Friends Coordinator
It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without fireworks. The dark sky lit by whites, blues, reds, yellows, and greens. The sounds of bangs, crackles, hummers, and whistles fill the quiet night. All around you are people of all kinds oohing and aahing as the music and light show explodes all around you.
Although invented in China back in the 7th century, firework displays have spread to other cultures and societies. They have become the focal point of many cultural and religious celebrations. America has been celebrating Independence Day with fireworks since 1777.
Since we have a daughter born on the Fourth of July, fireworks have been a part of our lives for the last 25 years, with deeper meaning. For years, our daughter thought the fireworks were for her birthday and that all kinds of people came together to celebrate this special day with her. We look forward to the Fourth every year; the picnic, the special dessert, and the fireworks.
[In case you missed the June article, you can read it online on the SDA Kinship blog at http://sdakinship.org/news-blog/entry/315-from.html]
As we sat and watched the display this year, I looked around me once again. People of all kinds were sitting around watching the fireworks and interacting with one another. While terrorism was closer to home than ever before, for those few minutes on this one night a year, our community came together to enjoy each other, our community, and to watch colors explode in our night time sky.
I couldn’t help but think that if our communities and our churches could come together, forget about all the lists of what keeps us apart and find the things that draw us together, we might find common ground to care about each other. It didn’t matter what religion you were, what color your skin was, or your gender or sexual orientation, we were people coming together to celebrate our country’s independence; to remember that we are a country of immigrants, and our strength is in this reality. We are stronger together than when we are separate.
This is true in our families, too. We are stronger together. We find joy in the moments of life when we remember who we are together. We are family. We are friends. We are countrymen. Draw close to one another and celebrate this reality now.
As we look towards the future, Kampmeeting is only days away. As always, supportive family members are invited to attend on Sabbath for free. Lunch is included. It is being held in the Baltimore area at The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.
Visit https://www.sdakinship.org/kampmeeting-2016/174-saturday-registration-for-family-friends.html to register. It is imperative that you register for this event, as it is required by the facility. This is an opportunity to grow stronger together. If you have felt alone in this journey, come together and meet with us and remember the reality of family.
Family and Friends Coordinator
Church Relations Report
Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations
It's always wonderful to meet members of Kinship from various parts of the world. In May, I had the privilege of visiting with a number of Kinship members and allies in Australia. Thanks to Dr. John Wallace, I was able to present information about the book Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives to faculty and staff at Avondale College during a lunch hour. Dr. Ray Roennfeldt, the college president, facilitated the meeting and the question and answer session that followed. Afterward, I had the opportunity to meet more informally with some staff for lunch and a conversation.
It was a wonderful opportunity to continue to build bridges of understanding and visit the Avondale campus. The Kinship group in Australia is doing wonderful dialogue with various church leaders. Later in the week, Dr. Wallace organized a dinner when other members of Kinship living in Sydney could come for a chance to visit. Many thanks to Dr. Wallace for organizing these opportunities and his helpfulness to us during our visit. Unfortunately, I was not able to make contact with our members in New Zealand while I was visiting their wonderful country.
Plan to join us in Baltimore in July for a wonderful time of fellowship at Kinship Kampmeeting.
From Your Director of Communications
Jonathan Cook, Director of Communications
Links to bookmarks:
Public Facebook Page -https://www.facebook.com/sdakinship
Twitter - https://twitter.com/sdakinship
Kinship Blog - http://sdakinship.org/news-blog.html
We Are Seventh-day Adventists: Every Story Matters - http://wearesdas.com
Rebby Kern, Director of Youth Interests
Debbie Hawthorn-Toop, Director of Women's Interests
I hope you are all enjoying the nice warm weather that comes with summer. Here in Alberta, we are facing many challenges as are many others around the world. We started the spring with extremely dry weather that resulted in massive wild fires that cost billions of dollars in damage. Then the rains came and we went from too dry to flooding. Now tornado season has joined the rains. You might ask yourself, the needs are so great, what can I do about it? Buying one extra can of soup or pack of mac ‘n’ cheese and dropping it in the food bank box helps more than you imagine. It does not take donating hundreds of dollars; the small gestures are just a good. Maybe you can’t help by donating money or an item. Maybe your way of helping is by giving a smile to someone who is down or helping someone with their packages to their car, by returning the cart for an elderly person or a mom with little ones. Remember Jesus saying, “She who had the least gave the most.”
Women & Children First Weekend
Women & Children First event is fast approaching. I look forward to seeing all those attending, making new friends, and renewing old acquaintances. I will write about our weekend next month.
More information at: http://www.sdakinship.org/regions-groups/groups/women-of-kinship.html
Catherine Taylor, Editor
You will also read in the Connection that I have resigned this amazing job after being editor for the last 13 years. I remember all the concerns and anxieties I had when I started. I am sure the next person will have them, too. Help them as they learn the job. Let them know what you would like to read in our pages. Write stories for them or write about issues or answer questions. Let them know what you appreciate...also what you need to hear.
You can find archived copies of the Connection online at http://sdakinship.org/news-blog/connection-newsletters.html.
Building Safe Places—for Everyone
Safe Places Team: Ruud Kieboom, Frieder Schmid, Ingrid Schmid, Floyd Pönitz, and Catherine Taylor
After attending an interesting and thoughtful Bible Conference in Europe, we are already planning our meeting in Odenwald for next March. Our focus will be “Developing an Inclusive theology” and “Using Kohlberg's Stages of Spiritual Development to Build Bridges.”
What is unique about this program is that it was not the brainchild of a systems developer. It was the answer to the request, “What can I do to better care for the gay and lesbian people who are in my college and my congregation and my community?”
This is also the way Building Safe Places—for Everyone has grown.
“We need more scientific data.” Arlene Taylor hopped on planes to get to Europe.
“We need to have more of a build up to her talks.” We started the newsletter.
“We need to talk about theology.” We spent five days in Germany last March doing just that.”
“We want to hear more stories.” Welcome toMeet Us and the parts of Safe Places meetings where Kinship members share their lives.
You can find many resources on our website at http://buildingsafeplaces.org/.
Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Kristina Burgos, Kampmeeting Coordinator
Kampmeeting is just two weeks away! I’m sure looking forward to it, are you? If you are still debating on whether to go, let me give you just that little nudge you may need to sign up and register to attend, especially if you are in the area. We would love to see you for any portion of the day. I’m excited that Larry Hallock and Keisha McKenzie have been added to our list of guest speakers for Kampmeeting this year. I’m looking forward to hearing each of these unique and diverse voices.
Registration is still being accepted, for full KM there will be a $50 late fee, if you are a commuter planning to attend a $5 late fee will be added for each day you register for.
Talent Show and Kinship in Concert:
Don’t forget to sign-up if you plan on participating in the Talent Show and Kinship in Concert. Jonathan Cook is in charge of the music services and he’s asked if any of you are planning to join in for any portion of the music program, please bring an instrument if you have one.
Transportation to Conference Center:
The shuttle is free and runs 24/7. The shuttle will pick up from the BWI Airport, Light Rail Station, and Amtrak. In order to request the shuttle, you must call the front desk when you arrive at your destination. The number for the front desk is (410) 859-5700. The front desk staff will ask what airline you are flying with and then give you the designated pick-up spot to wait at. Be sure to add this number to your contact list.
Full information regarding tentative schedule, location, and fees are on the SDA Kinship website at https://www.sdakinship.org/events/sda-kinship-kampmeeting.html.
June 26 was camp meeting for the Dutch Union Conference. It's a bit like an international Adventist version of a country fair without the animals. Great food booths, wonderful people, interesting projects—and every year Kinship is invited to have our own booth there.
Reinder Bruinsma is an internationally known Dutch Adventist writer, administrator, and theologian. Here is his reaction to Kinship's booth at Open Day for the Dutch Union Conference:
Kinship and the Ellen White Foundation
Eleven or twelve years ago the first “Open Day” was organized on the grounds around the office of the Dutch Adventist Church. I have been a regular visitor of this event and hope that this event that I helped to initiate will long continue.
Perhaps the time has come, however, for a thorough evaluation to determine whether the present format needs to be adjusted. I leave that to the current church administrators. And speaking about evaluation, I am not thinking about the abominable weather last Sunday during Open Day 2016. The influence of the Dutch union leaders on the weather is presumably rather limited. However, I have the impression that the annual event has gradually been somewhat hijacked by individuals and persons who (I think) do not really represent middle-of-the-road Adventism. I am thinking, in particular, of the stalls with publications from the right fringe of the church. I would not plead for refusing access to these independent organizations, but I do hope that a better balance can be established by having more stalls that present and support the activities of the broader church and the union organization.
I applaud the presence of the Stanborough Press. However, it puzzles me why the people of the SP have no clear signs as to where they are hiding and do not make a better effort to also offer the newest Adventist English language publications. Unfortunately, there was (once again) nothing there for me and this was a complaint of quite a few others as well.
When entering the grounds, I was asked to contribute two euros as a parking fee. I was told that the upkeep of the estate does cost a lot of money. I must admit this irritated me greatly. Paying two euro is not really a problem for me, but it was strangely at odds with the large “welcome” banner that greeted me. Is it really a good idea to make people who, on the average, perhaps give a thousand euros to their church, pay for parking at such an event?
As in previous years, Kinship (a worldwide organization serving Adventist homosexuals) was present with a stall. I hope their presence will also be a continuing tradition. It is important that church members are informed about the ramifications of having a different sexual orientation. But it would seem to me that the Kinship stall could be quite a bit more exciting and attractive!
It is not only funny but also quite meaningful that the stall of the Kinship representatives and that of the Dutch Ellen White Foundation were neighbors and stood side by side. In many countries that might not be possible. It is good to see that at the Dutch “Open Day” this is no real problem. Perhaps this is the most convincing argument for a generous policy for participation in this event. I am very much in favor of welcoming Kinship. But no doubt others feel differently and feel more affinity with the stalls with a conservative flavor. I understand that allowing Kinship to participate would also suggest that people at the other end of the denominational spectrum should be welcome. Last Sunday I had to remind myself of that as I was moving from stall to stall. When all is said and done, the Dutch “Open Day” is a good object lesson in tolerance for diversity.
Europen Kinship Meeting - 1-5 September
More information about Kinship Europe at http://sdakinship.org/regions-groups/regions/europe.html.
European Coordinator:Ruud Kieboom
European Youth Coordinator:Itamar
Book and the Beach — October 26-30, 2016
The Kind God of the Old Testament?
Cost: $240.00 per person
We look forward to seeing you!
Living Eden's Gifts
One of the great things about this Bible study is that it can be to pastors, families, friends, or Kinship members who just want to think about the Bible texts more.
Without generous, caring persons like you, Kinship could not exist. Kinship operates solely on contributions from its members and friends. Help us reach out to more LGBTI Adventists by making a tax-deductible donation to Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International.
Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International
PO Box 244, Orinda, California USA 94563
Visit us on the web at sdakinship.org
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