5 minutes reading time (1007 words)
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
We feel every month is Kinship Awareness Month, but during October we take extra steps to let others know we exist and what we are about. I feel that SDA Kinship truly is Adventism’s best-kept secret. And it is high time we came out of the closet and let everyone know God loves unconditionally and that LGBTQIA+ does not indicate brokenness. The church needs us more than we need the church to demonstrate this unconditional love from God.
The theme of this year’s Kinship Awareness Month is COMMUNITY. And that is what Kinship really is all about. Whether it is creating safe spaces within the social media confines of Kinship, gathering together in local small groups to share and gather strength in our lives, attending Kampmeetings, or reaching out to church leaders to give them resources to better understand us, it all boils down to creating COMMUNITY for us and by us. This applies equally to those of us who are “rainbow” members, those of us who are families of “rainbow” loved ones, and the supportive allies who can’t comprehend anything less than equality for all of us. Sadly, very few of these folks can stand up Sabbath morning in front of their churches and openly proclaim their support without feeling discrimination and ostracism. One voice, or even a dozen voices, will get drowned out in the crowd. If we, within Kinship, unite all of our voices, it is more difficult to drown out our message.
I have attended many church conferences this year and have had many conversations with church leaders, and I feel like I’m seeing a small crack in the wall of mistruth and willful ignorance. We have more resources to share than ever before. There is a new generation of pastors who are willing to question the status quo. It is a bit like a woman having birth contractions (so I’m told). We have been in this labor process for 43 years, but we can’t give up; and with each contraction, we have to push even stronger than the last time. The goal is in sight.
So with October, let’s all give a big push to raise awareness about what it means to be gay, what it means to be lesbian, what it means to be bi, what it means to be intersex, what it means to be trans, what it means to be queer, what it means to be questioning, what it means to be non-binary, etc. The old answers that the church gave 20 years ago are no longer good enough—not for us and not for God.
Some of us have been around for a long time (speaking for myself), and being gay and Adventist is no longer an issue no matter what anyone says. But I still hear the horror stories each week of someone newly coming out and how they are still being treated by the church and by their parents. It is heartbreaking! It is for those people just coming out, that I have stayed and continued to fight for enlightenment by the church. I invite you to do the same.
We can always use your prayers; but even more, we need your active participation. Join in the fight with me. Donations help to fund projects we have going on around the world (educating 150 pastors in Kenya), supporting podcasts like IMAGO GEI, and the new YouTube channel from Alicia Johnston, distributing UnClobber, and getting The Bible and LGBTQ Adventists into the hands of as many Adventists as possible.
We want to be present at as many Adventist conferences and meetings as possible, so we can have a voice—even if it is across the street in the park like we were at the CALLED Convention. Our Vice President is working on a wide variety of training Zooms offered throughout the year where we can come together, ask questions, and dialog on difficult topics. Sign up for those and share in the learning process. More of those are coming soon. The Kinship Board and staff need volunteers of all types to help put all this together in a meaningful and effective way.
Last, COMMUNITY is when people come together to share, listen, and support. This is what all the Kinship social media possibilities are about. We have the public ones (@sdakinship) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I have my @KinshipPrez on Twitter and TikTok that I’d love for you to follow and to share with others so the word gets out. But we also have the confidential ones for members only on Facebook, WhatsApp, and now, Discord where you don’t have to be guarded and can say whatever you need to (respectfully) and interact with other members. Please pick out some or all of them to join and be a part of the COMMUNITY. Send me a note so I can help you get connected; and, if need be, create some additional groups for you to share your interests with. I’m always open to new suggestions on how to make things better.
So we have 31 days in October. Make it your goal to share Kinship with 10 new people (or more) during this month. Tell them what Kinship is all about and encourage them to join up by going to our website and filling out the form (sdakinship.org/join) and then they too can be a part of the confidential social media community. Share Kinship with two pastors during this month who might not know much about us. Send out our media kit to members of your family: https://www.sdakinship.org/_files/sdakmediakit.pdf.
We appreciate your help, and there are several ways you can help and make a difference. I truly believe we have the best COMMUNITY in the Adventist Church. Blessings come by giving, so let’s give this gift to our Adventist families and friends and be richly blessed for doing this.
— Floyd Poenitz, President
@KinshipPrez (on Twitter)
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