BUDAPEST AND BEYOND
By Dave Ferguson
Recently, the church held a world congress in Budapest for Children’s Women’s and Family Ministries. The topic of homosexuality was only covered in the Family Ministries break-out sessions. The keynote speaker for this was Eckerhardt Mueller from the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference. He had previously presented his views at the conference on homosexuality at Andrews University in 2009 and is said to be the main author of the recent Transgender position paper. While no one from Kinship was invited to this congress, we were able to get information from an ally who was in attendance. As one would expect from the person making the presentation, this was not a meeting that provided much hope for our community. One would wonder if the location was chosen because of the very fundamental approach to Scripture from that area of Europe.
None-the-less there appeared to be a number of positive conversations with various world leaders around the tables at meal-times. A couple of questions were presented to one group and later shared with all those attending the breakout session. Here they are: “I know believing SDAs who live their homosexual love, how about their stories?” “How could it be possible to sit with those from the Kinship community at one table at a meeting like this?” As a result of these questions, it was shared with the audience who Kinship was. This led Elder Mueller to state that we can learn from everyone. Because of the great work of Catherine with the Safe Places program in Europe over the last four years and a growing number of pastors in Europe, the North American Division and Australia, we are seeing more congregations wanting to be sure that they are providing a safe place for members of the LGBTIQ community to worship and become involved.
It used to be that Adventist colleges and universities were places that occasionally had a student who was willing to provide some leadership in creating conversations about homosexuality. More recently, the Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition has created regular conversations on many campuses in the U. S. It was rumored that after years of resistance, these groups might finally become official clubs on several campuses. However, no one seems to know exactly why this forward movement has been delayed, though on one campus the conversations seemed to stop after a visit from the GC President. Is there a connection? We’re still trying to find out.