April eNews
Português       Español Dear Friends, As an American, I’ve always felt that compassion was at the heart of the American people. What I’ve seen in national politics over the last year, particularly from the presidential campaign, was a total opposite of compassion. It seems to now be okay to act on the bigotry and hate that has been stirred up, and this makes me feel sad and angry because America is no place for hate and bigotry. The world is no place for hate and bigotry, either. So I was excited to attend the Women’s March on Washington (WMW) in January. The main message of the March was that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. [ read more ]  Connection Magazine is Here! Kinship’s quarterly publication, Connection Magazine, has been published! Be sure to share with a few friends the English, Spanish, or Portuguese version. English            Spanish            Portuguese   Thank you for your support- Give Out Day, 2017 Close to $1,000 was donated on Give Out Day to support the work that we do at SDA Kinship. Thank you! Your donations make a difference as we strive to provide a safe spiritual and social community for LGBTIQ current and former Adventists around the world, their families, and those who support them. If you were unable to make a donation on Give Out Day, consider making a donation today. [ click here ] Kampmeeting is right around the corner! Our annual Kampmeeting takes place Thursday, July 6, through Saturday, July 8, 2017, at the Courtyard Marriott Mission Valley . Kampmeeting is Kinship’s annual conference where we come together to renew friendships, make new friends, enjoy entertainment, renew our faith, and more! This year it takes place in beautiful San Diego, a city in California, United States, known for its beaches, parks, and warm climate.  [ Get pricing info and registration details ] Kinship Responds to Adventist Church’s ‘Statement on Transgenderism’ On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted a “Statement on Transgenderism” at its regular...
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Journey - Chapter 15
Journey - Chapter 15 The Year of Before and After - Part II It was midnight when I finished reading the Ministry interview and headed home. The familiar residential streets of Tokyo seemed different that night. My trance-like walk home was broken once by a brief exchange with a passing policeman whom I knew. I remember this odd detail because his greeting jolted me back into the present. Although my head was filled with the hope of healing from homosexuality , when I saw him I was once again aware of how attractive I found him. This left me feeling uneasy. Once home, hoping not to wake anyone, I slipped into bed and tried to sleep. That was impossible. It is said that just before you die your life passes before you. Mine passed before me many times that night. I replayed events from childhood and with male friendships in high school and college. I recounted my long “relationship” with Donna and my three prior years in Japan. I spent most of the night reassessing every event through a new lens—the cause and cure of homosexuality. Among those events was a very recent, angst-ridden incident that occurred only weeks prior to discovering the interview. Once a year, we teachers gathered for a week of rest, spiritual renewal, and some honing of our teaching skills. To get to our rustic retreat on the island of Teshima in Japan’s Island Sea, we had to travel by train and boat. At one stop, a man boarded our train and sat down in the section where Vikki, another teacher, and I were sitting. Although it was difficult, we were able to communicate. As was our custom, we gave him our business cards and encouraged him to study English with us in the hope he might one day study the Bible. Once he reached his stop, we went our separate ways. I never thought about him again until I received a letter several weeks later stating that he wanted to get together. I thought it a bit strange that the letter contained two photos of...
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MY NAME IS MATTHEW
My name is Matthew, and I am a grade 12 student at Kingsway College, a Seventh-day Adventist high school in Oshawa, Ontario. I am 18 years old. To some, I have a strange and somewhat obsessive love of Narnia and all things medieval. I grew up in the Adventist Church and consider myself a faithful Christian. I am also gay. But, to me, that is only one of the many things that I am. Besides Narnia, I love Lord of the Rings and all that fantasy medieval stuff. My life goal is to have a castle of my own one day. I have plans for that. I live about an hour east of Toronto, Ontario, in a city called Oshawa. It’s a pretty notable place in the Adventist community in Ontario. The Ontario Conference is here and so is my high school, elementary school, and the church of 1000+ members. There are also many other Adventist churches in the area so there are a lot of Adventists nearby. It is difficult to understand what people’s attitudes are towards the subject. I know there are many supportive people. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have received any negative treatment by anyone. I think the majority of people are just ignorant and unaware of what life is like for an LGBT person. I feel that most people are genuinely loving and kind and that if more people would come out, the attitudes towards LGBT people would change for the better. That being said, I am still very cautious of who I tell. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about my sexuality and God is that God is not petty. God cares about our health, happiness, and, above all, how we are making the world a better place around us. I’ve found that God is so much bigger than the concepts of gender, orientation, and sexuality; and to be denied access to heaven because of this issue completely contradicts His personality. I believe God loves me more than enough to be able to accept this aspect of my character. And since I...
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aliciajohnston
On April 22, former Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Alicia Johnston, in this Facebook video shared that she is bisexual.  The Kinship community couldn’t be prouder of her on this huge step she has taken on her journey!  Alicia, we applaud your strength, courage, and conviction.  We stand with you.  Seventh-day Adventist Kinship, International  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.sdakinship.org
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For Lois Walters 1925 - 2016
I am writing to let you know that my mom, Lois Roberta Magorian Walters, died peacefully on October 21, 2016. When she had surgery to remove a bleeding abdominal tumor, her body was not able to recover from the procedure. Her vital systems shut down. Her care at Little Company of Mary Hospital was extraordinary and compassionate. Should you ever be in Southern California and need a hospital, I recommend LCMH and the staff who serve there. Mom’s life did not begin in a hospital. She was born on September 26, 1925, at home on the ranch of her parents in McFarland, California. The attending doctor told the county clerk, who issued birth certificates, that Mom’s birthday was September 25. My grandmother, Mary Ethel Helms Magorian and her sister-in-law Ella Magorian Paine, reported, “We were there. We know what date your mother was born!” They thought the doctor was absent-minded, at best. Throughout my life I have dealt with this discrepancy by celebrating both days as birth anniversaries. This tradition made my mother and Hallmark greeting cards happy. As a WW II era teenager, Mom worked in the local library. Some nights she also had a paid shift at the McFarland telephone office to catch calls from area residents reporting suspicious airplane noises. Most of that activity was from pilots practicing night flights at the local airfield . I’ve never found reports of McFarland being bombed by enemy aircraft. I am sure it was because of the diligent people who called the phone office at all hours.  After graduating from high school in 1943, Mom, with her sister Ethel, headed north to Sacramento. I hear they had only 100 dollars between them but still shared bus fare, found a place to live, and obtained jobs before starvation became imminent. Mom worked the swing shift making gyroscopes for the war effort. She went to college during the day. Mom would have Ethel be her alarm clock for a fifteen-minute nap so she could stay awake at work and still get her homework done. In the middle of this schedule, Mom decided...
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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...
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MEMBERSHIP
It is important for any organization to know and understand the needs of its members, and SDA Kinship's greatest asset is our members. To help gather current data, the Kinship Board created a survey that was sent out to all members with email addresses to find out what challenges our members are facing and what direction the Board needs to move the organization in.  The survey was sent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German to 2586 members and we received about 260 responses. The following are some data from each question. How long have you been a member? The highest percentage of respondents were in the 0- to 5-year range. Primary reason for joining?  Looking for community, support for being LGBTQ and Adventist.  Satisfaction level for meeting those needs: Most responses fell between Neutral and Satisfied. Extremely satisfied was three times as great as Extremely dissatisfied.  Top three personal challenges: isolation; uncertainty about local politics and about the direction the church is heading; family acceptance; health. Top three challenges for LGBTQ Adventists: Church acceptance and support; hostile political climate; isolation and difficulty finding a partner. Factors influencing attendance at Kampmeeting and other Kinship meetings: Location - 58%; Speaker - 15%; Fellowship - 41%; Cost - 41%. Others included: fear of being outed, not interested, timing, I didn't enjoy the time I did attend. 
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FEED MY SHEEP
Why did Jesus ask Peter three times, "Do you love me?" It has been said that Peter denied Jesus three times; and, therefore, Jesus made Peter claim his love for Him three times. The three questions seem to be the same; however, in Greek, they are different. Jesus calls him, "Simon, son of Jonah," his old name. Previously, Jesus had changed his name to Cephas, meaning "rock-man" in Aramaic; and in Greek, petro ; in English, Peter. In these three questions Jesus uses his old name, “Simon, son of Jonah,” reminding Peter that he had not acted as a "rock-man" when he had denied Jesus a couple of nights earlier. However, Jesus did not do this to embarrass Peter but to remind him of his weakness and need of the Lord to make him a "rock-man." Then Jesus said, "Do you love me more than these?" referring to the disciples. Peter answers, "Lord, you know that I love you." The word that Jesus used for love was “agapaō.” The Greek word for friendship is “phileō.” But “agapaō” is the greatest form of love. It is the word that the Bible uses for God's love and the Christians' love for one another in the church. But Peter responded with the word “phileō” instead of “agapaō.” He had said to Jesus, "You know that I love you as a friend." I think he was still ashamed to have denied Jesus, so he uses a minor term, "I have affection for you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." Feed my baby sheep. This also applies to us. If we truly love Jesus, we would take care of the fragile, the baby sheep. At the moment of initiating activities through Kinship, in the beautiful country of Colombia, we noticed many cases where the little sheep needed tender care from the other members of the group, such gestures as birthday wishes, phone calls or messages to find out how their day is going, and reunions that build camaraderie and fraternity, allowing them to feel special and loved by the flock. It is clear what...
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CHURCH RELATIONS
During late January and the month of February, a number of events took place that provided opportunities for Kinship to be involved through the Director of Church Relations. The Creating Change Conference in Philadelphia for the first time offered a room called “Many Paths” for those of various faiths to meet for spiritual support. Some Kinship members who were attending the conference came to the space. This included an opportunity for those who wished to share their concerns, prayers, and fears during the inauguration of the new President. There were many opportunities to interact with various LGBT support groups, including those from the Muslim and Jewish communities. In early February, the members of the Kinship Advisory Council met for their annual face-to-face meeting. The Council is chaired by the Director of Church Relations with the President of Kinship and a member of the Board invited to attend each year. The other members of the Council are current or retired employees of the denomination or closely affiliated organizations. This meeting begins with the members sharing ways in which they have been involved in supporting the LGBTIQ community during the year. It is always an inspiration. The discussions this year included: the work of the various gay and straight alliance groups on Adventist campuses, including the new group at Loma Linda University; the Safe Places program, creating ways for more congregations to become involved in providing both a safe place and integrating LGBTIQ members into congregations; and developing stronger ties between the Kinship Board and the Advisory Council. The Council also encouraged Kinship to develop a tagline and branding that would help the church to see Kinship as Christianity authentically practiced.   In late February, the Director of Church Relations attended the One Project and was invited to serve as a facilitator for one of the tables. About a dozen Kinship members and over three dozen of those who identify as Kinship allies were among those who attended this conference, including several of the presenters, who publicly mentioned the importance of the church ministering to members of the LGBTIQ community. Many wonderful conversations...
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
As an American, I’ve always felt that compassion was at the heart of the American people. What I’ve seen in national politics over the last year, particularly from the President’s campaign, was a total opposite of compassion. It seems to now be okay to act on the bigotry and hate that has been stirred up, and this makes me feel sad and angry because America is no place for hate and bigotry. The world is no place for hate and bigotry, either. So I was excited to attend the Women’s March on Washington (WMW) in January. The main message of the March was that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights. Visit the website        https://goo.gl/1WAhgo to learn how this powerful event came to be. The values and principles written in this document are extremely empowering. Please take a few minutes to read them. In that document, you’ll learn about the grassroots women-led movement that became a truly historic event across the United States and around the world. Being part of it was truly an amazing experience and something that will stay with me forever. I was really moved to be in the middle of such an enormous number of people and to feel completely safe because the mood of the marchers was of optimism, joy, and happiness. Young and old, men and women were there to support the rights of all. A few times during the March, I heard a faint cheer going up from the far end of the Mall in Washington, D.C. That cheer got closer and closer and louder and louder until it seemed that everyone on the Mall was cheering at the same time. It was like a wave of sound, was thrilling to experience, and gave me goosebumps! To have close to 750,000 people raising their voices together for justice and equal rights for all is something that may only happen once in my lifetime, and I was so glad to be a part of this historic moment. Perhaps by the time you are reading this, the WMW will be a...
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JESUS AND MAGNETIC FIELDS
By Regina Araujo When I was seventeen, I felt mesmerized by physics. It was absolutely elegant, I thought. Electromagnetism was (and still is!) my favorite branch of physics. Then an opportunity to “preach” on a youth Sabbath came up and I jumped on it! It would be my first time and I knew exactly what my theme would be: Jesus’ Magnetic Field! I knew what to do to illustrate and even brought my show-and-tell apparatus. I guess that was the easy part for everyone. It was also easy to make the correlation with Jesus as John 12:32 popped right off my Bible: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself." Cool! The cross is Jesus’ magnetic field which envelopes all humanity, just like the earth’s magnetic Van Allen belts around the globe. What a revelation! Yet, I concluded my talk that morning with a profound sense of dissatisfaction. Something was missing. And, in my heart, it was finding the cross of Christ attractive! I could not bring myself to say, like Paul, "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." The cross was…not attractive at all to me. In fact, it was even gruesome! During the following seventeen years, I went on teaching about the Bible, Daniel and Revelation, God’s love for humanity, and even the sanctuary with all its interesting details. Yet, I continued to avoid the cross. To my dismay, deep inside, I found myself thinking about the gospel as unethical!  The vicarious role of Jesus on the cross, the Passion as painted by art and literature, the theological discourses about justice obtained on the cross—nothing could find my soteriology north in that corner of the Good News!  I will be eternally indebted to John R.W. Stott for a life-changing insight of Jesus’ cross. I was able to look at the Jesus’ sacrifice not as the vicarious acting of a meek Christ by a harsh and punitive Father.… Instead, I was taught about a righteous, loving Father humbling Himself to become in His only...
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Tell us a little about yourself. I am 50 years old. I was born in the beautiful city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and have been living in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, for the last 24 years. I was born and raised Seventh-day Adventist but became Catholic about 10 years ago. How do you identify? I am a gay man. What was it like growing up as a gay person? I had a normal Adventist upbringing, singing in quartets, small groups, and youth choir, and being part of Pathfinders. I never considered myself gay and also hoped to have one of those glamorous weddings one day in church. However, I discovered my sexuality, that I was gay, when I left home and went to college where I met my first lover. So my upbringing was very normal mainstream Seventh-day Adventist.  Tell us about your coming-out experience. When I came out as a gay man I was a young adult and faced direct conflict with friends and elders in the church and suffered rejection that eroded my faith in the Adventist Church as a personal choice for a church. Later, I got a job for a Catholic-related organization and eventually found acceptance and love from my colleagues and friends who believed in Ignatian spirituality for the Christian. Do you currently go to church?  Yes. If you were to tell Christians something about the LGBT community, what would it be? In Zimbabwe, the LGBT community is marginalized and often stripped of the divinity and dignity we deserve as human beings. If Christians made an effort to share their lives with LGBT people, they would, in turn, understand the human and sacred side of the lives of LGBT people, as any person's life is sacred as ordained by God at creation.
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BISEXUALITY’S FLUIDITY
By Salomón Benítez To highlight anything about bisexuality would be its incomprehension, including that of those in the sexually diverse community, even among bisexual persons. This is due to the lack of information and availability, as well as the bias that lingers about bisexuality such as, “A person declares himself bisexual when this person does not want to admit, or wants to hide, their own homosexuality.” The issue regarding bisexuality is not about hiding an expression of sexuality; it is a sexuality of its own. The bisexual person could have started amorous relations with whichever gender, and have felt unfitting of neither of the major assumed sexual orientations, heterosexual or homosexual. This generates confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, and low self-esteem. When the bisexual person hunches that they could be bisexual, they start to comprehend and to value their orientation in spite of the difficulties this brings, such as being accused of being bisexual because it's “trendy” or for fear of being called gay or lesbian. My personal experience carried me to overcome all these biases. A heterosexual person needs for the opposite gender to feel their love, sexual needs, and sharing life in order to reach personal satisfaction. Similarly, a homosexual person needs to relate to their own gender in order to supply these same needs. Someone bisexual would complement themselves with both genders, not one or the other separately. It so happens that, due to life’s circumstances, one could start with one specific gender in sentimental or sexual relations—in my case, a man—and think that it would be so throughout life. Nevertheless, as time went on, I noticed that I felt affinity for women, even though I believed I would never feel anything for them. There are sexual and amorous needs that a person from the masculine gender can supply, then there are sexual and amorous needs that can be supplied by the feminine gender. It is not about hiding or shame regarding homosexuality, but about our self-expression of love and libido towards both genders, though not necessarily equal between both genders. Likewise, at the moment of selecting a partner,...
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REY’S STORY
My name is Rey, and I am from China. Here it is difficult to become a Christian due to many reasons, both religious and local policy, especially for someone who's not from a Christian family. Many years ago, my spiritual life accidentally started with my friend's invitation to attend a church which meets on Sabbath. I called it "Saturday church," and it was not until two years later I knew its full name of Seventh-day Adventist. As a new member in my church, with zero absences, I attended every introductory course. This lasted almost a year and I gradually developed a strong love for and faith in God. It's amazing for someone who never believed in Jesus. Everything about my church life here was nice: the congregation reads the Bible, sings psalms, and prays together. But one day, the pastor's words in class sharply hurt my heart. Pastors here openly and strongly condemn LGBTIQ people. You can never imagine how it felt for an innocent young man who was ready to come to the embrace of God's love to get told he's not welcome. Those who say they love you most hurt you most. It's just like someone gently opens the door with a smile telling you, "Please come in," and then shuts the door violently the moment you're ready to enter. After the whole series of introductory classes, they invited me to get baptized, and I clearly didn’t accept—not here. I've thought about quitting, changing to another denomination. But I just can't, because Sabbath is so important to me. After a lot of effort online and with many warm-hearted internet pals' suggestions, I successfully found an LGBTIQ-welcoming Adventist church in California and flew all the way there for baptism last October. When I arrived, the pastor there told me it was their LGBTIQ month, and that week's sermon happened to be titled, "Affirming All." Praise to the Lord! He helped me, who had become a Christian, to find a way to get baptized. Many have paid a high price to stay, and I have every reason to pay a...
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WHY I AM AN ALLY
by Sue Gentry I had never met a gay/lesbian/transgender/queer (I don't like that word) until I went to graduate school, even though I knew some men who might want to be in this kind of life. However, I never met a lesbian until I met K. and J.  K. was in the same program as I was and J. was her partner. I went over to their home to go with them to a restaurant. It was then I saw K. kiss J. on the mouth.  I didn't think much of it until K. and I sat down in the booth and got settled in for our usual coffee and a snack. K. explained to me what was going on with her partner and that they were both lesbians. Since I was a curious person, she went on to explain what lesbian meant. I was from a very shielded background, but K. very graciously answered my questions. From that point on, we became friends. That was in 1980. We are still friends to this day. That was part of my exposure to lesbianism as well as to the rest of homosexuality. Being a Seventh-day Adventist, I had an "attitude" of right vs. wrong; but I didn't bother to look at the big picture. Then I realized I am a human, and K. and J. are human as well. I got a lot of flack from other people in my church in North Carolina—you know, "the Bible Belt." I stopped engaging with people in that group that K. was in due to fanatical Adventists' peer pressure. I met people that were Seventh-day Adventist and lesbian—again, no problem for me. Just a little confusing. I was in my late 20s-going-on-30. I moved to Columbia, Missouri, and my dear friend introduced me to her son who happened to be gay. I talked to her about his lifestyle and she replied, "He is my son, no matter what." That is when I realized what this dear woman taught me about unconditional love and acceptance. That is what Jesus would do, right?  Why should I...
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A Visit to Building Safe Places – For Everyone
By Tanja Koppers On March 6-8, 2017, twenty-three European and Central/South American pastors, counselors, theologians, church administrators, and lay leaders met in Odenwald, Germany, for a Building Safe Places workshop. For Thursday evening’s session, Catherine* asked members from SDA Kinship Germany to join the group discussion so some issues could be discussed with us (as LGBTs) and not about us. Sure, Catherine is one of us; but it is always better to have more voices and answers to deepen understanding. Like last year, Rene Tuchtenhagen (SDA Kinship member) and I responded to her invitation. In 2016, we were asked to tell our stories. This year the participants prepared three questions for us. What was your first positive dialogue with an Adventist church member? How did it affect you? What do you think about the Adventist Church’s recommendation that gay men and lesbians practice celibacy?  How would you like to be treated if you visited or joined a church with your partner? I will answer the last question first. Rene and I both responded quickly. We do not expect any special treatment. We only want that we and our partners will be welcomed as every other church member; nothing more, nothing less. Without question, we are a long way from our wish becoming reality.  That said, this is what we seek: normality, no hiding, no discussion, no disapproving glances or whispering. We want to be welcomed as human, as persons, whether heterosexual or homosexual. The second question, as well, was not hard to answer but has different levels for me. First, it is simply that a celibate lifestyle should be a matter of choice and not everybody is called for it. Another way to phrase my thoughts is that not everybody has the gift of celibacy. If Paul admits that it is not for every man (or woman), why does our church leadership expect celibacy from all homosexuals? Are we more blessed with this gift than heterosexuals? In addition, most relationships do not end at having conversations and holding hands. We, who fall in love with each other, also long for...
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KINSHIP RESPONSE to Statement on Transgenderism
Kinship Response to Statement on Transgenderism: Focus on Loving God’s Children Dear Friends, On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted a “Statement on Transgenderism” at its regular Spring Meetings. Kinship has reviewed this statement thoroughly and finds that, at a surface-level reading, this document professes love and acceptance for transgender people and includes a call to treat them with “dignity and respect.” Nonetheless, that does not diminish the genuine harm of this clear declaration: “As long as transgender people are committed to ordering their lives according to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage they can be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”  By this, the church has permitted and even encouraged the refusal of membership on the basis of gender identity and sexuality for those who cannot conform. Ten “biblical principles relating to sexuality and the transgender phenomenon” are listed. No hard data is offered—indeed, none exists biblically—and the statement’s author added his own opinions, guided by religious and cultural norms, to the interpretation of the Scriptures and presented them as fact. The author, again and again, oversimplifies and misuses the biblical texts as grounds for a limited understanding of gender and sexuality. Kinship rejects the underlying message that transgender individuals are more inclined to “biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices” because of their gender identity. Yeshara Acosta, who identifies as gender non-binary and Adventist, found that the statement shows a tragically deep “lack of understanding of what it means to be transgender and a person of faith, and how the Spirit works.” Randi Robertson, a transgender Christian who was raised in the Adventist Church, expressed her dismay, saying, “The statement is an affront to my journey of faith and my existence as a child of God.” She recently spoke with senior leadership of the Adventist Church in North America, sharing her experience. This, she says, “feels like a knife to my heart.” Peta Hay, also a member of the transgender community and Adventist, was equally heartbroken by the statement and wondered, “Why do they not listen to our stories; why do...
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THE BATHROOM DEBATE?
By Randi Robertson In an attempt to help bring understanding and compassion in the transgender bathroom debate, I will share two stories that shine a little light on the issue. When I was returning home from a weekend trip, it was getting late in the afternoon, and I was in deep southern Georgia driving southbound on I-75. I needed two things: a restroom and some food. I exited the highway at the first exit that had a fast food restaurant I liked. I was hungry but in dire need of the restroom. I entered the restaurant and headed straight for the ladies' restroom. When I opened the door, two preteen girls were exiting, being directed by a woman in her late twenties or early thirties. She directed them to wait in the area just outside the restroom entrance. They departed then I entered. What I found was a room full of girls, ranging from age 7 to about 14, along with two women. The group looked like a cheerleading squad. The young women were directing traffic, and I got in line to wait my turn for a stall. As I waited, one of the women apologized for the ongoing ruckus that six or eight young ladies can make. I replied that it wasn’t a problem and asked if they were indeed a cheerleading squad. She confirmed they were, and that they were on their way home from a major competition where they had placed first, explaining the excitement of the group. As I waited, a couple of the girls navigated around me to exit or move about in the room, and each politely said, “Excuse me, ma’am.” It was finally my turn, I entered the stall and did my business, exited the stall and proceeded to wash my hands, check my hair briefly, and head for the exit. As I was exiting the room, the girls were finishing up so only a few remained and one of the women had gone out to keep track of the group waiting outside. The woman still in the restroom apologized once again, I said, "No...
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sdakheader
STEPS  FORWARD  AND  STEPS  BACK Dear Friends, Since Kinship was founded, we have often found ourselves struggling to share our narrative, our stories, of what it means to be both gay and Adventist. Misinformation and confusion spread quickly, and the truth is often slower to be shared. We strive to present the diversity of experiences, voices, and individuals within the LGBTIQ community as authentically as possible. Our mission, always, has been nothing more and nothing less than to affirm that diversity because of this important truth— everyone is created in the image of God . February was a busy month! There have been several articles or videos released regarding LGBTIQ Adventists. Some embrace understanding and sharing God’s love, some promote harmful stereotypes about the LGBTIQ community, and some are complicated. The Pure Choices program on 3ABN’s Dare to Dream Network released three episodes discussing sexuality —specifically same-sex attraction. The Coming Out Ministries founders shared their experiences. These videos reinforce the ideology that gay individuals are part of a “homosexual lifestyle” from which they must be rescued. They repeat the stereotype that severe familial dysfunction causes gender dysphoria and same-gender attraction. An alternative Adventist news source recently reported that the Chico Adventist Church baptized a married lesbian woman and accepted her into membership in 2016. Ginger Harwood, an advocate for women’s ordination, performed the baptism. The news source made a connection between women’s ordination and “the oncoming homosexual tsunami.” In response to the stir this article caused, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) released a statement . The NAD affirmed that all are called into a lasting relationship with Christ and noted that “as imitators of Jesus we welcome all people, inviting them into our faith communities and sacrificially serving them.” It was also noted that the conference administrators had met with the local church pastor to “work through the situation.” Additionally, SONset Friday Entertainment also released a three-part video series on being gay in the Adventist Church . In the first video, founder and president Anthony Hackett sat down with Cameron Burrell to hear his story. Cameron vulnerably...
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KAMPMEETING 2017
   SDA Kinship’s annual Kampmeeting takes place Thursday, July 6 to Saturday, July 8, 2017, at the Courtyard Marriott Mission Valley.    Kampmeeting is Kinship’s annual conference where we come together to renew friendships, make new friends, enjoy entertainment, renew our faith, and more! This year it takes place in beautiful San Diego, a city in California, United States, known for its beaches, parks, and warm climate.      This year Kampmeeting will be different in format from previous years, and the registration fees do not include meals and hotel accommodations. We want to make sure that everyone who wants to attend can afford to do so. Visit www.sdakinship.org for info on special discounts and more.
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