News from AllianceQ: January/February 2020

Another Road: Reflections from the EDM

“…[The magi] set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” Matthew 2:9-12 (NRSV)

I understand the lectionary text was assigned to January 6, for the Epiphany of our Lord. There are epiphanies all throughout the year!

“…they returned home by another road.”

Friends, AllianceQ is taking another road.

As an organization that emphasizes the welcome of every body, every beautiful, diverse body; we are examining our identity and practices so that we can imagine deeper and wider ministry.

Since stepping into the call as Executive Director + Minister (EDM), these three things have guided me and will guide me: identity, practice and imagination. Do our actions align with that which we profess? What do we imagine for the future?

In this open letter from members of the AllianceQ Council, leaders acknowledge that the organization can more faithfully honor the intersectionality of our many identities so that we can transform the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) into a more just and inclusive church for all people by setting a place at the table for persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.

I am grateful for the reflection, confession and reorientation of the AllianceQ Council. My initial greeting noted that we have work to do. We have bridges to build and rebuild. We are currently building an Intersectional Justice team and building up other ministry teams, too. Good, good stuff!

Intersectional justice? In “A Place to Belong,” Luther Young speaks to the meaning of intersectionality. Luther is a public theologian and social justice advocate who focuses on racial equity and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Luther is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at The Ohio State University and his current research investigates the causes and effects of homophobia in predominantly black churches.

Related to intersectional justice, AllianceQ is:

• examining white-body supremacy from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology (find the resource here);
• engaging in ongoing racial justice training with Reconciliation Ministry as well as the National LGBTQ Task Force and the Institute for Dismantling Racism;
• investing time and financial resources in the Intersectional Justice team and seeking individuals to serve with this team (more info here); and
• shaping Listening Sessions to hear from and learn from people of color, especially queer people of color in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

AllianceQ will explore topics at the intersection of many identities. Coming up: parenting + queerness, disability + queerness, adolescence + queerness.

We are collaborating with general church leaders (did you read this joint reflection of faith from Terri Hord Owens and me?). We are assessing organizational strengths and opportunities for growth. The Council may be tired of me. I said yes to the call because council members said, “yes, we want to deepen our engagement in this work and we are ready to more deeply engage our members. <<That’s you.

Members and friends, do (re)engage with us and others who are striving to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our Lord. You can:

AllianceQ is doing good work. AllianceQ is altering lives and increasing welcome at altars across the country. Here’s some news on our Open & Affirming Ministries and Regional O&A Teams. (Four new O&A ministries since December 1, 2019!). Oh yeah–we also have an intern! Welcome to Alysha Laperche as the inaugural intern. Read about our Ministry Intern here.

Thank you to the many members and ministries and supporters who are widening welcome. AllianceQ is committed to deeper and wider ministry. We’re building upon a great foundation. And still there’s space for growth and healing.

From My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem:

“In today’s America, we tend to think of healing as something binary: either we’re broken or we’re healed from that brokenness. But that’s not how healing operates, and it’s almost never how human growth works. More often, healing and growth take place on a continuum, with innumerable points between utter brokenness and total health.”

AllianceQ seeks to move in the direction of healing. Join us on this road.

photo credit: “Rainbow Alley,” from the City of Greensboro, NC