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)
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:
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."
The Eleventh Commandment: Be Kind!
Recently we discovered this new publication, The Eleventh Commandment: Why Kindness Matters, written by Rich DuBose, Michael Temple, and Karen Spruill, with added support from her husband Timothy. The book is available from AdventSource. This authorship team is an amazing tapestry of Adventist pastoring, writing and sharing personal songs, publishing books, magazine editor, video film director and editor, legal advocate, and licensed psychologist with many years focused on suicidal situations.
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.
We feel every month is Kinship Awareness Month, but during October we take extra steps to let others know we exist and what we are about. I feel that SDA Kinship truly is Adventism’s best-kept secret. And it is high time we came out of the closet and let everyone know God loves unconditionally and that LGBTQIA+ does not indicate brokenness. The church needs us more than we need the church to demonstrate this unconditional love from God.
The theme of this year’s Kinship Awareness Month is COMMUNITY. And that is what Kinship really is all about. Whether it is creating safe spaces within the social media confines of Kinship, gathering together in local small groups to share and gather strength in our lives, attending Kampmeetings, or reaching out to church leaders to give them resources to better understand us, it all boils down to creating COMMUNITY for us and by us. This applies equally to those of us who are “rainbow” members, those of us who are families of “rainbow” loved ones, and the supportive allies who can’t comprehend anything less than equality for all of us. Sadly, very few of these folks can stand up Sabbath morning in front of their churches and openly proclaim their support without feeling discrimination and ostracism. One voice, or even a dozen voices, will get drowned out in the crowd. If we, within Kinship, unite all of our voices, it is more difficult to drown out our message.
Over the last few years—more than at any other time in human history—society has had to grapple with the complex subject of human sexuality. As individuals and institutions try to create a climate in which individuals have intrinsic value regardless of their sexual orientation, Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International has sought to be a voice of inclusion, acceptance, and affirmation, especially for those who don't conform to the rigid proscriptions of the past.
While most medical, psychological, religious, and scientific professionals have rejected so-called "conversion therapies" for LBGTQ people, Coming Out Ministries, with the tacit approval of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, continues to peddle the harmful theory that sexual identity can be changed as a result of spiritual exercise; that God's ideal for human sexuality allows for no deviation for the model established at Creation.
Hi, Kinship Family! In the midst of so many challenges, I hope you are doing well.
I am recently back from our 21st European Kinship Meeting. Switzerland is breathtaking, and the kindness of our hosts filled my heart. I am writing about them for our Building Safe Places newsletter that will be sent out later this month.
Christianity has often centered on togetherness—the privilege of worshipping and fellowshipping with other believers. For LGBTQIA+ Adventists it isn't always easy to be genuine and true to one's self while feeling welcome in Adventist churches. Kinship Kampmeeting has been an annual highlight for SDA Kinship International for 43 years now. This is an event where all attendees can be themselves just as God sees them without feeling the need to pretend to be something they aren't.
Kinship Europe picked up this tradition a couple of decades ago to make this annual fellowship more accessible for all members. So with much anticipation, I looked forward to the 21st annual European Kinship Meeting (EKM) being held this year high above Lake Thun near Bern, Switzerland.
Have you noticed? If you watch network TV or streaming video services, the underlying theme of nearly every program (especially the commercials) is diversity.
I'm old enough to have grown up when every TV program and commercial featured White people in traditional settings—father, mother, a couple kids (usually a boy and a girl). Then Black characters started appearing in television sitcoms, and eventually, Asians and Hispanics played major roles in television and movies.
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
“Together Again” Kampmeeting
July 14-17, 2022
John & Carolyn Wilt, Directors-at-Large
Families & Friends Coordinators
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.
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.