WHY I VOLUNTEER MY TIME FOR SDA KINSHIP
People who know me and my history with the Adventist Church, or those who hear what is still going on in the local churches often ask me: Why are you involved with SDA Kinship? Why are you still a member of a church that is obviously not interested in YOU?
And to be honest, I wonder that as well from time to time. It does cost me time and often it costs my nerves. It costs patience and sometimes also money. Sometimes the work with Kinship can be very frustrating. At those times I need to remind myself:
I remember the first time I fell in love with a women and my doubts regarding my beliefs regarding this. I remember feeling desperate about maybe no longer belonging to God and being not wanted by the church, which was also a part of my family. I remember searching for answers to get my doubts under control. The seemingly hopeless fight against my feelings which seemed to be "wrong" at the time.
I remember the joy I felt when I heard from a friend about the group HAD (Homosexuelle Adventists in Deutschland... an organization like SDA Kinship, which is now SDA Kinship Germany). I remember the joy when we first met other gay and lesbian Adventists and heard about other ways of looking at and interpreting the Bible verses that are typically used against homosexuals. We met people who are open and stand up for diversity in our congregations and who work to support us and to be our allies. The fellowship at the meetings and the exchange of stories was very helpful and helped me to come to terms with myself.
A lot has changed in the world today. Some things have changed in our churches, but a lot has stayed the same. The desperation, the questions, the doubts seem to be the same today as they were yesterday.
And when I think about that, I realize: I want to be a point of contact for those who are looking for it. I want that we, as LGBTI people, can find community and and ways of sharing with each other. That those who seek can find pastoral help from supportive pastors. I want that as many congregations as possible will get information and have the opportunity to know us more fully.
For this, it is worth it for me to sacrifice my time, my nerves, my money. It is worth it to fight so that future generations of LGBTI Adventists will not need to fight anymore and will not need to leave the church because they don't feel welcome. Hopefully, future generations will not feel guilty and will not have doubts about themselves just because they are different.
I am grateful that I'm not alone in this work, even if it sometimes feels like I'm fighting all alone. For example, if no one responds to my questions or if my patience is put to a test because I am only getting responses after continual prodding, it can be frustrating for me. But then, out of the blue, there are suddenly offers and contributions—a real answer to prayer.
I really wish there would be more engagement from more members. Without participation, nothing can move forward: No meetings, no newsletters, no visits to congregations, no email responses, and no exchange of experiences.
I keep volunteering because I believe that it is necessary and that we need engagement.