LGBTQ+ kids are loved.
LGBTQ+ kids are cherished.
LGBTQ+ kids belong.
Our congregation adopted and approved an Inclusion Statement in 2000, 22 years ago. It is worth rereading the first two sentences this day…
In celebration of the God-given diversity of creation and the unconditional welcome extended to friend and stranger alike by our Lord Jesus Christ, Broad Street Presbyterian Church welcomes into its fellowship all who desire to be part of this community of faith. Each of us comes to God in the same way, unconditionally loved and accepted.
Esther 4:14 reads, “for just such a time as this” and the session at BSPC and I as an advocate for youth believe this is the time for us to double down on our commitment to inclusion with words and actions as the universal Church and as Broad Street Presbyterian Church. Recently, you likely saw in the news the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in the Florida legislature or Governor Greg Abbott’s letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services directing the agency to investigate parents for child abuse who affirm and seek medical treatment for their child’s trans identity. Our LGBTQ+ youth (and adults for that matter) continue to be marginalized and harmed for their true God-given, God-loved, God-affirmed identity. So what are we being called to do?
I read a book recently that is a wonderful tool for churches today, inviting us to consider ways to be supportive of LGBTQ+ youth. It is called “Welcome and Affirming, A Guide to Supporting and Working with LGBTQ+ Christian Youth” edited by Leigh Finke and forward by Bishop Kevin Strickland. I will be using this book as a guide to teach a class on being a more inclusive church and what that looks like with Gen Z, a new generation of LGBTQ+ youth. How has the landscape changed to be more expansive around sexuality and gender? How do we as adult Christians listen to and learn about this new way of welcoming that includes gender-inclusive bathrooms, a variety of pronouns or no pronouns at all, and higher rates of suicide and depression among LGTBQ+ youth? What is God calling us to do and be right now for and with these young people?
My class will be on Sunday, April 10 at 10:00 a.m. It’s Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week, and as Amy said, “How can we make this week holier for everyone?”
In the class, we can’t cover it all, but a few things I plan to talk about are:
- Gender Expansiveness
- Mental Health
Questions I hear often from folks that I plan to address:
- Is it possible this is a phase?
- How do we recognize our own biases about sexuality and gender?
- Why does language matter so much?
- What if I get it wrong?
- What does God and the Bible have to say about all of this?
- How can we create a culture of affirmation in our church?
If you’re a student at heart, please feel free to read the book before the class and bring your wonderings. However, I will be teaching in a way that you won’t need to have read the book either. We want you part of this conversation. Unable to attend in person? Email me and I will send you a link to an online version of the class.
Reach out to me ahead of the class if you have a question you want me to address or something you’re hoping I cover, I’d love to hear it. Or, post in the comments below.
-Written by Brittany Porch
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