Have you ever wondered how religion and LGBT communities can support one another? Have you ever wanted to learn more about what LGBT-affirming faith leaders in your community are saying today? Do you want to learn how to make your faith community more welcoming?
The OutCenter of Berrien County is hosting Out of the Closet, Into the Light – a conference on sexuality, inclusion and spirituality – at 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 24 at the Brookview School.
The school is located at 501 Zollar Drive in Benton Harbor.
The day of thought-provoking forums will include several workshops, which will explore the relationship between sexuality and spirituality.
Workshops will include:
What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality – A brief exploration of the commonly used scriptural texts used to justify the exclusion of LGBT persons from the life of the church. Presented by Rev. Melanie Lawrence, pastor of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in St. Joseph.
Reflections on a Hate Crime – A recent local victim sharing insights beyond physical acts of violence. The presenter will be local activist Keith Sliter.
Strategies for Dealing with Our Closest “Enemies” – Practical strategies on dealing with non-supportive family and friends, especially those with religious objections to homosexuality. Presented by Rev. Kevin McLemore, pastor of First Congregational UCC in Coloma.
Exploring Other Spiritual Frontiers – A representative of Spiritual Frontiers shares its message of inclusivity and openness to others exploring alternative spiritual paths.
Race, Religion and Sexual Orientation – A dialogue on the intersections of race, religion and sexual orientation and exploring the potential points of connection. Presented by Jo Ann Mundy and Joy Bailey, community organizers with Kalamazoo group Eliminating Racism And Claiming/Celebrating Equality.
In Search of Radical Reconciliation – An exploration of how reconciliation can occur between those who are worlds apart. Presented by Rev. Dan Smith, pastor of Zion Evangelical UCC of St. Joseph.
One Congregation’s Story on Becoming a LGBT Welcoming Congregation – One congregation’s move toward becoming open and affirming with insights on how individuals can facilitate that process in their own congregation. Presented by Fred Gibby of Pilgrim Congregational UCC.
Registration is free, but required, and will be allowed at the conference, or online at http://www.outcenter.org/register.html. Donations will be accepted to support the OutCenter.