ONA-Why it's still important today!
This last Sunday I was privileged to be part of a panel at a conference titled Interfaith Dialog on Sexuality. The program began with a keynote address from the Rev. Scott Anderson, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Scott shared his personal story of serving in a Presbyterian church in California, being ‘outed’ by members of his congregation, losing his credentials and being re-ordained this last October in the Presbyterian church. He now holds standing again. Rich Fluechtling introduced Scott.
Others serving on the panel were Rabbi Jonathan Biatch (Temple Beth El), Rev. Cindy Crane (founder of Seekardia, a bullying program), Chris Reynolds (Trinity UMC) and Rev. Darrel Richey (James Reeb Unitarian). Rev. Lin Grace Rohr facilitated the discussion.
The discussion focused on what made a congregation open and affirming, how our faith traditions informed our decisions and how interfaith coordination might continue in Madison following this conference. There was also concern that as faith communities we are not doing enough to support youth as they process their sexual identity.
However what became clear through the table discussions and the Q & A session was the pain that is still felt by the LGBTQ community. Even though First Congregational voted 20 years ago this May to become an ONA congregation, the work continues. It is no less important today to make ALL of our brothers and sisters feel welcome, affirmed and included into full participation in the church than it was 20 years ago. There is additional work to be done to understand and educate ourselves not only about sexual orientation, but gender identity and gender expression.
Unfortunately, some of the loud voices in the faith community still say, “you are not worthy.” We just need to be louder when we express our love and affirmation of all of God’s children. First Congregational has been on the cutting edge of this work, we just can’t become complacent.
Posted on January 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm in Featured Content.