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SDA Kinship - October eNews

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Kinship eNews
Messages from your Kinship Leaders

Vol 9 No 10                                                                                October 2015

Message from the President

Yolanda140310 P3100061 150October 22, 1844, is known in Adventist circles as the Great Disappointment, the date that about 100,000 people in the northeast United States awaited the second coming of Jesus because of a misinterpretation of Bible prophecy. By midnight, they realized their hopes would not be fulfilled and spent the rest of the night in bitter disappointment, anguish, and tears. From those who survived the experience with their faith intact, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was born 19 years later through the work of folks like Ellen Harmon, James White, and William Miller. 

I grew up in the Adventist church and often heard Adventists described as “a peculiar people.” I always thought that we were peculiar in a good way, that we preached the everlasting love of Jesus. However, as time has moved on and as I have grown up and into the person I am today, a Seventh-day Adventist woman who happens to be lesbian, the Adventist church has not been a very welcoming place for me or my community. There have been many instances of bitter disappointment, anguish, and tears because of the church’s systematic lack of compassion and marginalization of certain kinds of people. 

As I look back over the history of the Adventist church, I notice that we’ve seen many other disappointments, the most recent being the vote against women’s ordination. In the past, the Adventist church has supported slavery, been accused of being racist and sexist, and it hasn’t been very environmentally aware, either. More and more the church comes across as an exclusive “good ol’ boys club.”

The General Conference seems to have its own gay agenda too: they don’t want us around and would love to “pray the gay away.” The summit in South Africa was supposedly organized to learn all about the LGBTI community, yet we were excluded from the entire event even with repeated requests that we be allowed to attend and be heard. How can church leaders learn anything about our community if they never hear our voices? I am increasingly disappointed in those church leaders who only seem to want to hear from gay people who claim to be “cured” or “delivered” from homosexuality. Yet even those people acknowledge that they still have same-sex attractions. 

There are Adventists planning a funeral right now to mark the loss of the General Conference’s moral authority. The website says that Seventh-day Adventism is no longer declaring the Gospel of Christ that calls for us to stand with the hurt, marginalized, and the oppressed. I believe the vote against women’s ordination was the last straw. Many don’t recognize this as the Adventist church they once knew and loved; that church has died. It’s a real event, and if you are interested in attending or participating, go to www.ripgc.com. I love that the funeral is being held at The Lost Church in San Francisco. It’s quite ironic!

While I’m not going to be able to go to this funeral, I have a lot to mourn. I’m saddened every time a female pastor is made to feel second class. I’m saddened when a lesbian musician isn’t allowed to share her gifts from the platform at the front of the church lest it look as though the church “condones her lifestyle.” I’m saddened when the LGBTI community that I love so much is continuously denied a voice in our church, if we’re even allowed inside. I’m incredibly saddened when a woman is elected president of a conference in North America but her name is not allowed in the yearbook of church workers solely because she’s a woman. 

What I long for is for the Adventist church to actually behave like God’s church. If we lived out the example Jesus lived on Earth, we’d have a real shot at being a light in a very dark world. I don’t know whether the wider church will live that way; but, until then, I hope our own bright, colorful, and amazing community can stand with the hurt, marginalized, and oppressed and be the light our world needs.

Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International
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Family and Friends

Kris and Debbie Widmer, Family & Friends Coordinators

A Journey to Remember

widmers2It was unexpected, but it became a night to remember!

It happened after a grueling eight hours of seminars on “exciting” topics such as: “Regulations and Requirements Affecting Infection Prevention and Control,”, “Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases,” and “Cleaning, Sterilization and Disinfection.” Riveting material, huh! I had recently been asked to be the Infection Control Professional at the surgery center where I work and I had been sent to this two-day workshop/seminar to get me up to speed. My head was totally spinning and now I had a new to-do list that would keep me busy for months to come.

I was lucky in that my husband could take a couple of days off and go with me. We had flown to Phoenix and planned to take an extra night and make it a get-away trip for us, as well. After the meetings ended that first day, we left the hotel in search of something to eat. We had located a pizzeria not far from us and we took off on foot in its direction. We walked several blocks from the hotel and found a quaint pizzeria with only a few tables and lots of people waiting. The line snaked clear out to the street! The place was obviously very popular. We checked with the hostess to see how long the wait might be. Uggh! Our hunger would not wait an hour to an hour and a half…so we left.

We headed back towards the hotel and since we hadn’t seen much as we walked to the pizzeria, we decided to go south a couple of blocks and then head back on a different street.

We turned the corner to head west and had walked a couple of blocks when we saw it: Chase Field, Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. We crossed the street and wandered over to the ballpark. It is an amazing stadium, with a covered dome, air-conditioned interior (a plus in the desert), and glass windows with a city view. We peeked in the door windows and could see glimpses of the excitement inside. We could see parts of the field, the scoreboard, and more importantly, people. They were watching, cheering, eating, laughing, and having a great time. Even though we didn’t have tickets, we longed to be inside with them, enjoying a ball game.

It was then that the unexpected happened. A man walked up to us and asked us if we’d like to go in. He had two tickets he couldn’t use and since it was already the third inning, he’d let us have them for $20.00. That’s a great price for two tickets. He said they were great seats. Great seats back home for our home team would cost us at least $100.00 each. We checked the tickets of course, making sure we weren’t being scammed. Yep, they were for that day and the price quoted on the ticket was considerably more. Hesitantly, we paid and pocketed the tickets. We figured that, even if we had been taken, the anticipated fun was worth the risk of $20.00.

We went up to the gate. Beep! Our tickets were legit—scanned and approved. Were they great seats? Oh yeah…about 5 rows up from the third base dugout. A high-scoring game was in progress, and we got to see lots of action. (Almost caught a foul ball, too!) Instead of pizza on the outside, we had veggie-dogs and french-fries on the inside—of Chase Field—with a great game! It really was a night to remember. And that night made the whole trip a journey to remember.

As we begin our term as the Friends and Family Coordinators for Kinship, we have talked about how we can be the best representatives of God’s love and grace. The evening at Chase Field has been an analogy for us as we think about the intersection of the LGBT+ community and faith. Many within the LGBT+ community are watching from the outside of the faith community, longing to be inside, laughing, cheering, eating, worshipping, sharing, praying, and communing together. And yet, the doors are often closed, the ticket too expensive or not available at all.

We believe that we can be that first step towards inclusiveness. We can be like the man who offered us the tickets. We can invite any who long to be on the inside to come in and be a part of the faith community. It can be risky on both sides, but it is worth the risk, for it can be a journey to remember. Of course the analogy begins to fall apart when we realize that the ticket we offer is actually free. Jesus is the One with the ticket and He offers it freely to all who will accept it. He has already paid the price.

Maybe you are just beginning this journey as a friend/family/ally and you feel like you are also outside looking in—you are not sure where you fit in—or you are struggling in this journey and feel all alone. To each of you, we would like to offer you support, a listening ear, and resources to assist you. You are not alone! It was wonderful friends that stood by us that helped us begin our journey.

Maybe you are deeper into the journey and you wonder how you can start to make a difference for your LGBT+ family and friends in the faith community. We’d like to say that we have it all figured out, that we have a list of things to do, or we have a formula that will work. We don’t. However, we can partner together and brainstorm ideas that may be helpful. We believe in prayer and if we ask God, Divinity will provide guidance, ideas, and opportunities.

We offer this starting point in making a difference, for this has made a difference in our lives. Get better acquainted with LGBT+ people or allies in the community. Let’s do lunch.  Have an inclusive Thanksgiving. Take in that ball game together. Go bowling.

As you build or invest in relationship, you may find the two communities of LGBT+ and faith are really one community after all. Stand close beside your family/friends, being their support and having their back. Speak up for inclusiveness at a board meeting or Bible study. You never know where God will lead!

Maybe you have been on the journey for many years and have stories and experiences to share how God has guided and blessed. We thank you today for your courage in the past and we ask that you will continue to bless us with your experience and wisdom. 

Look around today and see who is peeking in the windows of your world. Then go up to them and tell them about the free tickets to God’s kingdom. Is it risky? Yes! But it’s worth the risk—and it’s guaranteed to be a journey to remember.

Kris and Debbie Widmer
Family and Friends Coordinators

To contact the Family and Friends Coordinators, email at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..


Church Relations Report
Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations

Dave125What would you like to see happening at your church or in your city to create an awareness of Kinship?

In November, the Kinship Board will be meeting. I would love to know from you what Kinship might do to help you in reaching those in your church. Can we help you organize a showing of the new documentary or a screening of Seventh-Gay Adventists? Can we help you provide a Building Safe Places seminar or invite your pastor to one of the Building Safe Places Conversations? I want to have some ideas from you to share with the Board. Please send me your comments at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

Not all churches welcome Kinship members the way the Glendale City Church does, but you might find something that you can do to become involved with a local Adventist church. What is happening at Glendale City is the result of over 30 years of work by many people. It didn’t happen overnight. You might also find an activity to become involved with through the Gay Christian Network, HRC, Believe Out Loud, or another organization that will help them to know more about Kinship. And, even more importantly, you will be enriched by the experience, though it will take time and effort and may be discouraging at times.

Here are two activities that are happening in southern California:

October 10, a Building Safe Place Hot Topics seminar at the Long Beach Adventist Church, presented by Dr. Arlene Taylor.

Location: 1001 E 3rd Street, Long Beach, California

Taylor’s Topics:
- 11:00 a.m. – The Brain and Spirituality – Is the brain innately religious or innately spiritual or neither or both?
- 12:30 p.m. – potluck on site
- 1:30 p.m. – Sexuality and the Brain: Brain, Body, Chromosomes – and Emerging Variations
- 2:30 p.m. – How to Communicate Emotionally-Charged Information – and Survive

AIDS Walk LA. October 11 the Glendale City Church will have a team participating. We’d love to have you join us for a walk and great conversation. To register go to http://aidswalk.net. After you register, please Join Team 5305-Glendale City Church. As you may know, one of the initial donors to the Glendale City Endowment, which now provides support to new ministries at the church, was Carlos Martinez, who was a member of Glendale City and died of AIDS. Come walk with us and I’ll share his story.


From Your Director of Communications
Jonathan Cook, Director of Communications

JonathanCookFB141103 150October marks LGBT History Month. It is a time to remember our history, learn of new stories and take comfort in the resilience of our community. We honor those who came before us, the vanguards who made our place in history possible. The LGBT community is still ensuring that civil rights and basic human rights are respected and upheld around the globe. It is in this tradition that Kinship remembers our pioneers, those who had the courage to organize, to seek community when that was a faint concept. Our denomination is changing (slowly) and our community has grown. Let us give thanks for the progress that we have made, and continue to strive for meaningful change.

Please feel free to contact me any time at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

Links to bookmarks:

Public Facebook Page -https://www.facebook.com/sdakinship
Twitter - https://twitter.com/sdakinship
Kinship Blog - http://sdakinship.org/news-blog.html
We Are Seventh-day Adventists: Every Story Matters - http://wearesdas.com


KinYouth News
Rebby Kern, Director of Youth Interests

RebbyFinal150SDA Kinship and KinYouth are proud to support National Coming Out Day (NCOD) on Sunday, October 11, 2015. LGBTQ and allies celebrate National Coming Out Day with events, education, and outreach across the United States. 

Here are some ideas to get involved with National Coming Out Day:  

-   Search #NCOD on social media and join in on the conversation

-   Share your coming out story on Tumblr using #NCOD (if it is safe for you to do so)

-   Contact your local LGBTQ community center or support group to see if there are events to attend

-   Tell the world that your identity is not a form of sin with the #LGBTQNotSin Campaign (http://www.campuspride.org/lgbtqnotsin) from Campus Pride

-   Visit your local high school or college to see if there are any events you can participate in or volunteer for

-   Support LGBTQ people in your community through love, kindness and provide your ear to listen

NCOD began after the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. On October 11, 1987, half a million people participated in the March which was the second such demonstration of its kind. As a result of the march a number of LGBTQ organizations were established including the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization (LLEGÓ) and AT&T’s LGBT employee group, LEAGUE.

After momentum continued months after the march, National Coming Out Day was established to celebrate coming out and gain supporters for LGBTQ people. The thinkers behind this idea were Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, then head of National Gay Rights Advocates. 

Every year since then, October 11, National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBT individuals to live fully and authentically. 

Sending love and gratitude, 

Rebby Kern

For more information view the “Coming Out” resources from HRC (http://www.hrc.org/resources/category/coming-out

More information about KinYouth at: http://www.sdakinship.org/regions-groups/groups/youth-of-kinship.html

Or you can email Rebby at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. or friend her on Facebook and join the KinYouth Facebook Group.


Catherine 20150903 081411 100x150Connection
Catherine Taylor, Editor

Our October issue is mostly stories and is in the production right now.

November is traditionally the month where we like to include your blessings or parts of our life for which you are grateful. We look forward to hearing from you. To share things for which you are appreciative, be most welcome to write us atthe email address below.

If you have comments, questions, or submissions for publication, you can write to us at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

Connection Archives

You can find archived copies of the Connection online at http://sdakinship.org/resources/connection-newsletters.html.


Building Safe Places—for Everyone
Safe Places Team: Ruud Kieboom, Frieder Schmid, Ingrid Schmid, Floyd Pönitz, and Catherine Taylor

safeplaces 250You are invited to the Long Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church this Sabbath, October 10, for a day of Hot Topics in Safe Places. Dr. Arlene Taylor will be presenting the most recent research on the brain and sex, gender, and orientation. Details at http://arlenetaylor.org/speaking-schedule-leftmenu/icalrepeat.detail/2015/10/10/181/255/long-beach-california-community-seminar?filter_reset=1.

If you have a pastor, lay leader, educator, church member, or conference official that you think might benefit from finding the research on our website, they can also access our Safe Places newsletter from that location.

We have a First Conversations retreat coming up in January. If you know of someone who could benefit or who would enjoy having a time to talk with others about ways to best care for the LGBTI Adventists in their midst, you can let us know at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

You can find out more on the website at http://buildingsafeplaces.org/.


KristinaB2015 100Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Kristina Burgos, Kampmeeting Coordinator

July 26-31, 2016  Save the Dates!

If you have questions contact Kristina at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..


Rehoboth Mini-Kampmeeting 2016

Rehoboth BeachMark your calendars now for Rehoboth Beach mini-Kampmeeting in 2016! The dates for our Rehoboth Beach weekend will fall on April 28-May 1, 2016.  It will be a week later next year, so we’re counting on the weather to be perfect!  Make sure you start planning for it now!  




European Kinship Meeting

September 2016 - We will be meeting at a beautiful seminar hotel in the Odenwald area, south of Darmstadt. Dr. Arlene Taylor will be one of our featured speakers. She will present the most recent research on the brain and sex, gender, and orientation.

Contact Ingrid Schmid for additional information
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Living Eden's Gifts

LivingEdensGiftsIt is a rare thing but participants at Book and the Beach this year asked for autographed copies to give to friends and family members. You can access this Bible study on both the Kinship and Building Safe Places websites. For printed copies to hand out, you can contact Catherine at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

You may read this booklet in its entirety online at http://bit.ly/1MiHCY3 or http://bit.ly/1DHTbcV.





Kinship Support

circle of kinship smWithout generous, caring persons like you, Kinship could not exist. Kinship operates solely on contributions from its members and friends. Help us reach out to more LGBTI Adventists by making a tax-deductible donation to Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International.

Make your gift online today at https://sdakinship.org/component/jdonation/?view=donation&campaign_id=1&Itemid=350.


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PO Box 244, Orinda, California USA 94563
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JOURNEY Chapter 25