SDA Kinship News

Kinship Kampmeeting 2020

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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

Many people deal with depression that can be amplified at this time of year because of the holidays. Some people find this is their least favorite time of the year because of loneliness, anxiety, grief, medical issues, big family or social events, and other kinds of stress.

When we have partners, siblings, or other family and friends to lean on, it can be a little bit easier to handle things like these or the pressures of the season. But what about those who have been disowned by their families and churches and have nowhere to turn nor anyone to turn to?

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KINSHIP WISDOM


By Helen Pearson

I was brought up at the heart of the Seventh-day Adventist community. My father was a paid and ordained minister for forty-four years. Working with equal commitment to the church, my mother was an unpaid pastor (eventually ordained as an elder). But my parents never tried to hide either their own imperfections or those of the church. They taught us to be “boundary dwellers” to look for truth everywhere —both inwards into the church and outwards into the wider and very real world.  They also taught us the core Adventist value of “present truth”—the idea that new truths are revealed to the people of God at different times in history. They taught us to look for and seek to discern that truth wherever and whenever we could find it. I believe I heard some of that “present truth” last weekend at European Kinship Meeting.

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FINDING MY SPIRITUAL HOME WITH KINSHIP


By James Appel

I've been trying to figure out why a straight, cis-gender male like me is finding my spiritual home with SDA Kinship, a Seventh-day Adventist LGBT+ community. Here's what I've figured out so far after having just come back from the European Kinship Meeting at Othona Retreat Center in the southern UK:

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EKM 2019 OTHONA CENTER, WEST DORSET ENGLAND

By Catherine Taylor

I am told, repeatedly, that each year I say “that was my favorite.”…So I won’t. But…

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JOURNEY - CHAPTER 20

 A Week at Quest Learning Center
BY JERRY MCKAY

By the end of the first week of September 1982, I had decided to relocate to Pennsylvania for counseling. The first thing I had to do was to call Perry in Japan, because my decision would require his finding a teacher to replace me on short notice. At $3.00 per minute, our call was brief. Perry said that any inconvenience my decision might cause did not concern him. Rather, he was concerned for me. After sharing a few details about my visit with Colin, I thought I had put Perry’s reservations to rest. That was not the case. Two days later, Perry called back.

Perry feared that my life—in fact, my whole identity—would become organized around homosexuality instead of a bigger paradigm—my maleness within a Christian framework. He was concerned that by going to Reading, I would establish and reinforce my identity through a sexual framework by being with and talking to other homosexuals, day in and day out. I thought Perry’s concerns were legitimate, but my ship named “Identity” had already set sail.

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SDA Kinship honors the memory of Ben Pickell, Jr.

Ben Pickell, Jr., passed away on November 11, 2019, in Palm Desert, California. Ben was one of the founding members of SDA Kinship Int., Inc.

Ben was a much-loved veteran of Kinship and appreciated beyond measure by all who have been touched by Kinship’s mission: 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.

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Late-Night Talks




Ever had a good conversation that kept you up until midnight or 2:00 a.m.? A conversation that released your story from within your soul? There’s a certain magic that takes over late-night talks—you become braver. Walls crumble. Relationships form.  

I can generally count on experiencing several of these talks at Kampmeeting, or really, any time I get together with Kinship folks. Many of my friendships through Kinship are long distance. Kampmeeting is our opportunity to come together from D.C., California, New York, Canada, and even farther. So when we meet up, sleep is often forgone in favor of connection and long talks.

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My First Kinship Kampmeeting


By Eric Marquez

This year was my first Kinship Kampmeeting experience. As a student at La Sierra University, I felt it was a great opportunity to not only explore Portland and see a new place but to be able to learn and connect so much with people. Everyone that I met was extremely friendly and always had something nice to say. For everyone to take me under their wing meant a lot. Many of the people I got a chance to talk to during Kampmeeting were always so willing to talk about almost any topic and were very open and candid in talking about them. Something I did not expect was the generational differences that there are within the LGBT community, but I was very happy to learn more about it. So many times, I have read our histories in books and online, but to be able to hear it from people that actually went through it just hits you differently.

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John McLarty at Kampmeeting 2019


By Jacquie Hegarty

When Reggie asked me last spring if I would do the introduction for Pastor John McLarty at Kampmeeting this year, I was more than thrilled. I had known for many years who John McLarty is—a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who is a friend and ally of Kinship members. So I felt a connection to him, more than to any other of the scheduled speakers, even though I had never met him in person.

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FIRST ANNUAL KINSHIP KAMPMEETING HELD IN COLOMBIA


In April, SDA Kinship Colombia celebrated its FIRST annual Kampmeeting meeting in the region of Neusa in the center of Colombia, where we met with people from different areas of the country.

The landscape of the region contributed to the success of this first Kinship Kampmeeting in Colombia because the beautiful lagoon next to the mountains reminded us that we are a part of this beautiful diverse creation of God.

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JOURNEY - CHAPTER 19

A Wedding and a Vacation
BY JERRY MCKAY

On August 10, 1982, barely a week after my first weekend visit with Colin Cook, my sister and I loaded up a rented Capri station wagon and set out for Alberta where I would be a member of the wedding of a college friend. The difference between this trip and others Marilyn and I had taken together before was that she now knew about my orientation. I told her the night I returned from my first visit with Colin. Her knowing about my orientation was significant, but it didn’t mean much. Without access to my experience, how could she know what I was going through? Often during this trip, I was lost in self-reflection about my past, present, and future, all through the lens of reparative therapy.

We knew we had reached our target destination for our first day when we saw a well-known landmark, a large island – the sleeping giant of Ojibwa legend – peacefully resting off the shores of Lake Superior just east of Thunder Bay. It was a long drive, for sure, but we were experienced at marathon road trips. During childhood, many a vacation covered the same route we travelled that day. For that reason, every curve in the road and every small town was familiar. This time, as we drove past familiar places, memories of particular family interactions and orientation- related experiences emerged. The strongest memories were associated with the tiny ubiquitous self-contained cabins we stayed in as a family.

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Summer Memories


By Ellen Henderson

Do you remember those yearly reports you had to do in school? “Write about what you did this summer.” Well, here’s mine: I got to spend time with my family this summer.

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A Miracle Called Colombia

Colombia is a South American country with a diversity of regions and beautiful landscapes. This diversity is also observed in its people, both in ethnic and sexual diversity.

Three years ago, we formed the Kinship group which was organized with a small group in Bogotá; today we already have two more groups in the city of Medellin and Cartagena, with a total of almost 50 members distributed throughout the territory.

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SDA Kinship’s Robert L. Ramsay publishes book

Life is unfolding like a dream for graduate student, Marc LaChance. In his final year at university, student housing pairs him with Howard Hildebrandt. Howard is built like a linebacker, Marc’s dream of what a real man should look like. He discovers that Howard shares his minority affectional orientation, and the two men become lovers.
Looking forward to graduation, they plan to escape Winnipeg’s cold, prairie winters by moving to Vancouver, British Columbia. They imagine their life on the Pacific coast: a house with an ocean view, winter weekends skiing Grouse Mountain, and summers sailing the Salish Sea.

At spring reading break, they make an exploratory trip to Vancouver. Marc obtains an interview with a suburban school district and is promised a teaching position in September. If Howard can land an engineering job on the coast, their dream will be realized.
Marc’s happiness is shattered when Howard tramples their dream into the prairie dust by accepting an engineering position in Winnipeg. His conservative religious upbringing tells him that men who love men will burn in hellfire forever. The guilt over his relationship with Marc is making him sick. He has no choice but to break it off.

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Journey - Chapter 18

 

DISCLAIMER: The material in this chapter deals with sensitive issues with respect to the author's experience when he was in counseling with Mr. Cook. Some may find this section upsetting. At the same time, the author would like to stress that these events were in 1982 and that a lot of time has passed since then. The author has a long history with Mr. Cook. Over the last couple of years, he has been in contact with Mr. Cook about these incidents. This, however, is for a later chapter.

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Journey - Chapter 17

 
First Visit with Colin
BY JERRY MCKAY

Once I named my experience—acknowledged my homosexual orientation—a predictable side effect emerged. I found myself wanting to meet others with a similar experience. The only way I knew of doing that was through an ad on the back page of The Japan Times.

Among the ads for apartments, language teachers, and cheap flights to the U.S., was the bi-weekly one-sentence notice for a gathering of gay men. The ad I had purposely ignored over the years was now my portal to meeting people like myself. I called from the language school, but only when it was deserted. The conversation was short. All I needed was the time and location of the gathering.  

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Kinship Kampmeeting 2018

Kinship Kampmeeting 2018 is July 11-14 and our Women & Children First Retreat is July 6-11 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States!

Kampmeeting takes place at the Homewood Suites at BWI and our Women & Children First Retreat takes place July 6-11 at a place near downtown Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

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European Kinship Meeting

September 6-10 in Vienna

SDA Kinship’s annual European Kinship Meeting (EKM) takes place September 6-10 in Vienna, Austria, a city famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm.

The location for EKM is Don Bosco Haus, a Center of Continuing Education that has comfortable places to sleep, food for vegetarians and meat eaters, a very nice meeting room for our gatherings, and very calm surroundings.

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Out Spoken

Journey - Chapter 16

 
The Day After
by Jerry McKay

After years of suppressing relationship longings, fearing and over-analyzing every thought and feeling, my world seemed different the day after reading the Ministry magazine interview; even the sunlight was different. Naming my experience instantly altered my perception of the world and divided it into before and after. While most prior themes remained and/or evolved, new themes emerged. Overnight, I became preoccupied with changing my orientation.

At the same time, I felt driven to seek out other LGBT people as a means of understanding myself. Not all new themes were pleasant. I would slowly learn what others—church members in particular—thought of "the homosexual"—of me. My circumstances notwithstanding, I was as naïve as any heterosexual about the broader experience of LGBT people. I had no idea what was ahead of me. I had just eaten from the reparative-therapy tree of knowledge of good and evil, so I would have to experience all the consequences for myself.

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Journey - Chapter 15

The Year of Before and After, Part II 
BY JERRY MCKAY

It was midnight when I finished reading the Ministry interview and headed home. The familiar residential streets of Tokyo seemed different that night. My trance-like walk home was broken once by a brief exchange with a passing policeman whom I knew. I remember this odd detail because his greeting jolted me back into the present. Although my head was filled with the hope of healing from homosexuality, when I saw him I was once again aware of how attractive I found him.

This left me feeling uneasy. Once home, hoping not to wake anyone, I slipped into bed and tried to sleep. That was impossible. It is said that just before you die your life passes before you. Mine passed before me many times that night. I replayed events from childhood and with male friendships in high school and college. I recounted my long “relationship” with Donna and my three prior years in Japan. I spent most of the night reassessing every event through a new lens—the cause and cure of homosexuality.

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Journey - Chapter 14

The Year of Before and After, Part
BY JERRY MCKAY

As my graduation approached, I should have been contacting conferences in Canada for a pastoral internship position. I was not. Instead, I returned to Japan, the only place I felt I could serve God and avoid the stress my yet unacknowledged orientation was creating. While my return was an acceptable option, it did not come from a place of strength. Distress was a common private component of my life. However, this trip to Japan would be unlike any other. Halfway through my two-year term, a life-defining moment occurred.

I arrived in Japan just in time to attend the baptism of a dear friend. During my final year of college, Mitsuko wrote to tell me of her decision to give her heart to Jesus. On August 3, 1980, Mitsuko was baptized in a beautiful, tree-lined mountain stream an hour west of Tokyo. English teachers, church members, her husband, and I gathered as she waded into a pool of water with the pastor to seal her commitment. I was thrilled to be part of this celebration because I never expected to be there. The day after, I rushed off to Osaka. Although my heart was in Tokyo, I had reluctantly agreed to start my work in Osaka because they needed a teacher.

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Journey - Chapter 13

By Jerry McKay
PUblished November 2016 in Connection

Despite everything that was going on internally, I made wary attempts at dating. My very confused state of mind affected everyone around me including Donna who continued to hold out hope for a relationship. But her hope was constantly frustrated. I was all over the map when it came to Donna and other female friends. A seemingly insignificant event could ignite my fight or flight response.

One evening, for example, a considerate faculty member sent me into a panic. A few minutes before a worship service was to begin, I sat down next to one of my professors. Shortly after, he noticed Donna approaching. Because there wasn’t room for her, he stood up and offered her his seat. I remember this incident because of a sudden almost overwhelming surge of agitation—even anger. I appreciated his gesture, but in my mind, his action implied we were a couple. Taking place in church, this felt too public. His gracious offer brought reality too close. I couldn’t manage being seen to be in a serious relationship. I wanted to get up and leave.

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Journey - Chapter 12

Finished with Colleg but Not My Orientation
By Jerry McKay

Published September 2016  in Connection

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you are reading my story for the first time and you feel you are missing some context, I suggest you start at the beginning with the May 2015 issue of The Connection. Why I am writing my story in such detail? In short, I am answering questions while hoping to educate. Over the years, I have been asked the same questions over and over by friends, family, and church members. The answers to those questions are found in different decades of my life. I'm grateful to the Connection for giving me this space to share my story. Publishing as I write is a great motivator!  –Jerry McKay

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Journey - Chapter 11

By Jerry McKay

Published July 2016 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 10

By Jerry McKay

Published June 2016 in Connection

In the introduction to my story, I mentioned that people have asked how my faith and my orienta­tion intersected and collided. During that first year at CUC, there was a spiritual “event” that conspired against me to create great expectations on one hand and disillusionment on the other. Those expectations intensified my internal conflict and would carry forward to the time when I was in reparative therapy. Because my spiritual formation was profoundly influenced by that event, I will explore it at some length. Bear with me, as I
get a bit theological.

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Journey - Chapter 9

Back in Canada and Alberta Bound
By Jerry McKay

Published April/May 2016 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 8

Awareness of My Orientation
By Jerry McKay

Published February 2016 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 7

Missionary to Japan
By Jerry McKay

Published January 2016 in Connection

I finished high school in 1974 with bet­ter grades than expected and more confidence in my academic abilities than when I started. I attribute that to an environment in which I felt safe and con­tent. There was no comparing my years at Kingsway to my first year of high school back home. Graduation, however, did not mean I had to relocate to con­tinue my stu­dies. Because Kingsway of­fered the first two years of a bachelor in theology, I start­ed my degree in Oshawa that fall.

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