We humans enjoy connecting. We connect with family members on special occasions. Many of us enjoyed the weekly connections with friends at Sabbath services when they were allowed, and we look forward to returning to those times again.
Connecting allows us to catch up on each other’s lives—travels, special occasions, celebrations—or give support to others during stressful times. We get to share new information, maybe new places to visit, learn new information, or give support that someone else needs. That’s how we can enrich someone else’s life and, in turn, have our own lives enriched and improved. Connecting in person is valuable because you can sense each other’s joys and challenges and give hugs and personal responses. In-person, connections are great.
Being separated by distance and time can make connecting more difficult. Remember the days you waited for a letter to arrive in the mail, a handwritten piece of life from a dear family member or friend? Then the telephone became popular and available and you didn’t have to stop at a payphone to call someone. I remember our first home phone was a party line with three neighbors; we all knew each other’s business!
Then the internet arrived, and we suddenly were connecting quickly across the state, country, or overseas with hand-held mobile phones. Connecting and communicating became easy and available.
Recently a virus appeared and quickly changed our standard ways of connecting and sharing. Suddenly we couldn’t be together, we couldn’t give hugs, we couldn’t see each other in person, and a new tool arrived to help us connect: ZOOM gatherings!
Carolyn and I are beginning to use ZOOM to connect with our SDA Kinship Family and Friends. We strongly desire to create a monthly ZOOM conference where all family members, friends, and Kinship members can gather, meet, share, and discuss valuable topics. Each conference will last at least one hour but no longer than 90 minutes.
Our June conference had two Kinship allies from Europe, a pastor and a college professor. We had a retired General Conference attorney, several mothers, several Kinship leaders, and a gay female ex-pastor who is writing a book about her life and its challenges.
We desire to address all topics and questions that anyone and everyone gives us. We are thinking about taking a topic and preparing a video pre-conference so everyone can watch it and develop their thoughts, comments, and questions for discussion at the live ZOOM session.
If you desire to be “unseen” you can be and are very welcome. We have several purposes. There is considerable useful and accurate information to share regarding LGBT+ families, faith, relationships, needs, and desires. With certain topics, we desire to have specialists in those areas be part of the taped presentation as well as part of the live discussions.
Carolyn and I are not experts in many areas, but we are good facilitators to help us safely and successfully explore many sensitive areas. Our goal is to create a strong, broad group of family and friends to support our Kinship members and their families. We strongly desire to create a safe “family room discussion atmosphere” where new families experiencing the LGBT+ life phases have a comfortable place to share and receive genuine and valuable information, suggestions, and support.
Please feel free to share any ideas, topics, and questions you would like to discuss.