Preying on the Wounded
BY JERRY MCKAY
My journal entry for Saturday, June 1, 1985, opens with, “I am in a state of anxiety and emotional tension.” Colin had called at 7 a.m. to talk about a recent trip to Vancouver for a Homosexuals Anonymous (HA) certification seminar. People completing the seminar could facilitate an HA chapter as I was doing.
Colin had initiated some kind of celebration experience with an attendee. I knew from experience that a celebration experience was a “therapeutic” intervention intended to help a person overcome body image issues. This intervention might include praising God while in various states of undress, for the perceived deficiency of various body parts. Apparently, the person involved had regrets and/or concerns about the experience. Perhaps they even felt some misguided sense of responsibility. Whatever the case, they contacted Quest and spoke to a staff member.
There is a saying about "best laid plans." Sometimes life throws a wrench into the plans when you least expect it. The Kinship Board has been meeting pretty much via Zoom for the past couple of years. There are some discussions that just are best when they are in person. So we were looking forward to gathering together at a site on the East Coast where one of our allies has a large beach house they offered to us for free. A golden opportunity, until it wasn't. At the last minute, more than half the board could not travel on the planned weekend. So we agreed to go back to connecting via Zoom. At least for now. The key to life is being flexible and open to a scenario different from what we planned. So the in-person discussions will have to wait until another day when we can find a doable solution.
Board meeting is a time when we can look forward to and share what we want Kinship to look like and be doing in five years. My simple answer is much, much more exposure and awareness of SDA Kinship by Adventists around the world. The tricky part is how to accomplish this. If you have suggestions, please send them to me. What would you like to see the goals to be for SDA Kinship? Please drop me a note and share that with me.
Social media is some of the most effective advertising we can do. If you haven't checked out (follow, like, subscribe, forward, retweet, etc.) what Kinship is posting, please do so. We are @sdakinship on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and on YouTube we are @sdakinshipint. Check out the Kinship Connects podcasts on your favorite podcast player. Alicia Johnston is producing a weekend YouTube video. Check it out. Also, Kendra has started Season 2 of IMAGEO GEI and she is sharing her relationship with Roxan! A must-hear!
I really want to hear what you feel we need to be doing more of, or differently. Please let me know.
Have a great March! And remember that when plans change, go with the flow and be flexible. Things will probably work out and possibly even better than you had planned for!
— Floyd Poenitz, President
@KinshipPrez (on Twitter)
Thank God for technology! When it works, it's definitely a blessing from heaven. When it doesn't work, well, it's not hard to imagine it coming from that other place.
When COVID closed churches and schools and prevented us from associating with friends and family members, Zoom and FaceTime gave us the means of connecting with others. Even though screen time was not as good as connecting in person, it was better than nothing.
The upside of digital communication is that distance is irrelevant. People on the east coast of the United States can attend Sabbath School and worship services on the west coast. Despite differences in time zones, webinars on dozens of topics are no further away than a computer keyboard. No airline ticket? No problem.
But an on-screen presence will never match in-person communication. The words, "Let us consider how we may spur one another to love and good works, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another" (Heb. 10:24, 25), were written long before COVID or Zoom were imagined. But they reveal an unalterable truth: we need each other.
Kinship is trying to identify congregations throughout the United States and the world that welcome and affirm members and friends of the LBGTQ+ community. Can you help us identify congregations where you feel welcomed and affirmed? Drop me a line and tell me about it. Of course, that will mean getting dressed and driving to a nearby church, but it will help us identify those who are truly welcoming and who just talk about it. You can reach me at
Join me in being one of those who "spur one another on to love and good works."
I hope you are dry, safe, connected to friends, and have things in your life that give you hope.
I don’t usually do this but, this month, I am going to tell you a quick story from my life that I hope will give you a sense that it’s possible to have good things come out of difficult ones.
When I got outed two decades ago, I lost all the work I had been doing as a consultant for several conferences and camp meetings: family trainings, teaching individuals and systems how to deal with sexual abuse in the church, supporting pastors and their families, preaching, teaching Sabbath School, etc. Thanks to Floyd and the Glendale City Church, I had a congregation that is still sanctuary to me. From there, my life began to build again.
I won’t bore you with the entire journey, but I believe God used and is using Kinship to make what had been a time of loss, a blessing, and an adventure.
If I had safely stayed with my little New England congregation and camp meetings, I never would have:
Greetings Kinship Family!
I hope you are settling into the new year 2023, and things are going well. Your Kinship leaders have been busy so far this year already. You probably have read in my posts that Kinship’s Communications Team had a rocky ending to 2022 and an equally rocky beginning to 2023. It has been a challenge to get the website, mailings, and everything back in order.
ENJOY THE KINSHIP “SPIRIT”
We’ve been re-reading an excellent book by Loma Linda theology professor, Richard Rice, Believing, Behaving, Belonging: finding a new love for the church. Early in the second chapter, a section is titled “The Spirit Creates Community...the spirit not only works within us, but it also works among us, or between us. It gives spiritual life to the community and the individual.”
In the book Roughing It, Mark Twain shares an experience in which he and two friends found themselves lost in a blizzard at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. After crossing a swollen creek they wondered in which direction they should set out. One of the men maintained that his instinct was as sensitive as any compass, so they followed his lead.
After a half hour they came upon some fresh horse tracks, so they urged their horses to go faster, hoping to catch up with the travelers just ahead Then they came upon tracks newer and fresher and spurred their horses onward, thinking they were following a company of soldiers from a nearby fort. As they trotted along, and the tracks became fresher and more numerous, they began to think that the platoon of soldiers had become a regiment.
During the month of November we'd love to connect with you at one of these events:
November 5 – 2:00 pm US Eastern/ 8 pm Berlin Time
Gender 101: Your Gender is as Unique as Your Fingerprint
Dear Kinship Friends,
As the focus on Kinship Awareness Month comes to a close, let’s continue to promote and talk about SDA Kinship and look for opportunities to tell others about SDA Kinship every month. If you have any stories to share about how you spread the good news of Kinship with others during the month, I would love to hear about it.
Homosexuals Anonymous—the Toronto Chapter
BY JERRY MCKAY
I arrived back in Ottawa from Reading, Pennsylvania, the Easter weekend of 1985. The Saturday before I moved to Toronto, I attended church. I started attending this congregation as a child in the mid-1960s. This was the church I always returned to whenever I came home for a visit. Most of the pillars of the church were farmers. Small-town folk made up the rest of the congregation of some forty people. To say everyone knew me was not an exaggeration. That makes it easier to understand how, with no warning as to the subject, when I asked to make an announcement from the front of the church, I was given permission to do so without hesitation.
Motivated by that sometimes-naïve Christian eagerness to “lay the truth out there” in personal witness, I announced I struggled with homosexuality, had attended Quest Learning Center hoping to remedy the problem, and that I was moving to Toronto to begin some kind of ministry.
“Together Again” Kampmeeting
July 14-17, 2022
John & Carolyn Wilt, Directors-at-Large
Families & Friends Coordinators
Welcome to August! Similar to the past months, July seems to have flown by quickly.
Kinship Kampmeeting 43 is now a pleasant memory. I am impressed at the great job the Kampmeeting team did in organizing this special event with inspirational speakers and pertinent topics. We had a variety of subjects presented, but the one that sticks out for me is the theme of “self-care.” Learning to flow with the punches and take care of ourselves so we can better take care of others is an important lesson in life. Just turning on the TV or opening any social media platform blasts us with a lot of confusing messages. It is a daily process of not letting them get under our skin. Together as a community, we can keep ourselves in a healthy space. If you want someone to talk with, pray with, or just to listen to you as you verbalize your concerns, the Kinship board is available to share with you. In particular, our chaplain, Kumar Dixit, would like the opportunity to know more about your spiritual and self-care needs. You can reach him at
Hello all! (This includes those of us who are edging closer to the end of winter and those of us who are sweltering in the heat.)
Between Kampmeeting last month and our European Kinship Meeting (EKM) that will begin on the first day of next month, there have been and are great options to gather with a group. I am glad there are in-person options available for us.
Omissions, Ambivalence, & Contradiction
BY JERRY MCKAY
On July 17, 1984, less than a year after the sexual incident with Colin and my sudden departure from Reading, I was standing on the curb at the airport in Philadelphia waiting for Colin to pick me up. The one-and-a-half-hour drive back to Reading, in combination with Colin’s ability to easily move into deep personal conversation, meant a rapid re-engagement of our relationship.
I stayed with Colin and Sharon at their home for the ten days I was in Reading. Staying in the house where the sexual violation had taken place didn’t trigger any significant negative reaction. That was probably because we had been working through that incident for months. Although Sharon was as warm and hospitable as ever, I felt odd interacting with her while knowing she knew nothing! My history with Colin made such glaring omissions commonplace; the negative or questionable aspects of changing one’s orientation were kept hidden from public scrutiny.
Pride Month is now officially over, and I hope everyone could acknowledge their journey and celebrate what God has created you to be. Whether that was attending or even taking part in a pride parade or event, or just being able to reflect on your personal journey in learning to understand yourself better. Whether you are part of the LGBTQIA+ Rainbow community, a parent or loved one or an ally who loves unconditionally, it has been a journey to get to where you are at this moment. It is never easy to go against the flow of family and society, but you are not alone on this journey. We have a rich history of those who came before us to pave the way for the road we are traveling on. Together, we can work to widen and make the road more solid ahead of us.
For Kinship, this has been a busy month. For me, this culminated in the CALLED conference in Lexington, Kentucky. Although Kinship was not allowed to have an official presence inside the convention, we had a wonderful location in the beautiful park just across the street, where we had a resource and info table set up near a busy crosswalk. This gave us the opportunity to have lots of positive conversations and to share with those pastors and families walking from their hotel to the convention center. We used a nearby Presbyterian church to have two evening presentations on being LGBTQ and Adventist and a panel discussion on how pastors can be more affirming. This conference really gave me hope that a change in attitudes is possible.
Kampmeeting is under TWO weeks away. As we are planning to meet in person, the theme is "Together Again". The Kampmeeting team has worked hard to find diverse speakers and create an inspiring program. We are looking forward to seeing our members again, in person. Please visit the the Kampmeeting site at bit.ly/kampmeeting to get more information about speakers.
Registration is $200, and scholarships are still available. Saturday is Families and Friends day and registration for the day is FREE. Lodging information and other details are available on the website.
How often do you see news flashes, read articles, or are encouraged to reject Pride activities? Too often, those news flashes, articles, and personal encouragements flow from “Christian” sources. They may be news flashes on a church website; maybe an email or instant message from your faith, sharing negative comments regarding a Pride event; and, most blatantly, many groups of Christians physically gather and protest violently and loudly with their own flags and negative signs.
It’s very disappointing to see folks who believe they are Christians behave this way. We remember and believe Jesus never condemned nor rejected anyone because of their differences from others. We are all different from each other, taller, shorter, different skin and hair colors, shaped differently, maybe born missing a body part, autistic. No one is a perfect copy of someone else.
I was in Lexington, Kentucky, recently with Floyd Poenitz and several other Kinship members to create awareness about Kinship at the CALLED Convention for Adventist pastors in North America. On the whole, it was a positive experience with lots of wonderful interactions.
I came away from the experience with the impression that most of the people we met support Kinship’s goals of making the church more inclusive and accepting of LBGTQ+ individuals, their families, and friends. We met a few people who voiced their opposition to the issue of homosexuality, based on a misunderstanding of Scripture, but most people affirmed Kinship’s ministry of inclusion.
“Welcome” has to be one of the warmest, most meaningful words in the English language. Combine it with “home” and you have a phrase that connotes memories of family, belonging, security, and safety.