A statewide conference, “Come Out of the Wilderness,” for people from many faith traditions who are working in their congregations toward greater inclusion of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and questioning people (LGBTQ) will be held Oct. 18–19 at Green Street United Methodist Church, 239 S. Green St.
Interfaith Voice, a Winston-Salem ecumenical group of congregations already welcoming LGBTQ individuals, and The Reconciling Ministries Network, (RMN), a growing movement for full participation of all people in the United Methodist Church, are working together to sponsor the conference.
“We are in the midst of a great national and cultural shift in thinking about the LGBTQ community,” said Green Street Pastor Kelly Carpenter. “Our faith communities are lagging behind in the challenge to embrace the diversity of gender and sexuality in our world. This conference is an opportunity for faith communities to take a step toward the right side of history and toward justice.”
The Rev. Chris Glaser, pastor, author and activist, is the featured workshop leader. He will lead three workshops, including one based on his book “Coming Out as Sacrament,” in which he explores how coming out as a LGBTQ person may serve as a means of grace. There will be nine workshops in all, covering topics like the “Bible and Homosexuality,” “What it Means to be Transgender,” “The History and Theology of Marriage Equality” and “Racism and Homophobia.”
Rev. Dawn Hand, a native of Western North Carolina who now works at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., will preach at the nighttime worship service on Oct. 18.
Other conference leaders include Rev. Joshua M. Noblitt, minister of social justice at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta, and Rev. Laura Rossbert, Southeast regional organizer for the Reconciling Ministries Network.
Through both the workshops and worship, the conference is designed to meet people wherever they are on their journey toward full inclusion in the faith community, whether they are straight people wanting their churches to be more welcoming or gays and lesbians who want to further explore their sexual orientation as a gift from God.
The conference is open to all.
For additional information, or to register, visit Green Street Church’s web site at www.greenstreetchurch.org