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floydpNovember is traditionally a month to be thankful. In bygone days, the harvest is completed and we thank God for what He has blessed us with. Few of us still live off the land, other than possibly a small backyard garden. We are more thankful for what our local grocery store has on its shelves.

Although times have changed, it is still a time to pause and say thanks for the blessings that we have. No two of us are the same, yet we can all think of something we can be thankful for and how we are more fortunate than so many people in the world. I know I am very thankful for each one of you and that we all have a chance to be a part of an affirming community.

It feels like we are in a kind of a bubble, one that keeps us safe from the harm that awaits us outside in so many circumstances. How little so many outside of our bubble understand us became clear when Elder Ted Wilson, the President of the General Conference, said some really ignorant things in his sermon that made many in our community feel unsafe as an Adventist member. I am not criticizing his theology or what he feels the Bible teaches. I am calling out the fact that he mixed “action words” (adultery, pornography) with an acronym (LGBTQIA+) that denotes a label of identification that is different from a word describing an act. We cannot allow such (intentional) mistakes to go unchallenged.

We have passed many milestones in SDA Kinship and we must keep moving forward. In the early ‘80s, we met with some General Conference employees to dialog with them. The church realized we exist. In the late ‘80s, the church sued us for the use of “Seventh-day Adventist” in our official name. We won the lawsuit in the ‘90s, showing that we belong and have a right to use the name “Seventh-day Adventist” to describe the current and former Adventist members who comprise our community.

In the mid-2000s we had a joint conference with Spectrum to take a scholarly look at the topic of being an LGBTQ Adventist from all aspects, and a book (Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives) was published from those papers. This validated our reasoning for legitimacy that we are not broken or in need of fixing.

I see the next phase of SDA Kinship to be moving forward with our head held high and being a movement that proclaims our certainty that we are not looking for approval, but we are moving forward with assurance in the reason for our existence. No additional justification needed. We are opening our arms to encourage anyone who is supportive of us to join us. This includes parents and family members and supportive allies to join voices with us.

Being a safe and nurturing space for our members will still take priority in all that we do. We will work to understand each other better and learn to be more supportive of those who may experience more of a challenge in just existing than we do. I invite you to walk with me on this journey and link arms with me. Education creates understanding. Not everyone wants to listen to or understand us, but those who want to, will hear us. 

Please help us share the UnClobber book with those who want to understand us better, to understand what it means to be LGBTQIA+. Send them a copy of the book (and order one for yourself if you haven’t read it yet) at Light makes darkness disappear. 

Floyd PoenitzPresident