News from AllianceQ: November 2019
Stories of Welcome
As the seasons turn, as the Alliance enters a new season, you are invited to be a greater part of the welcome of all at God’s banquet table. Have you ever been unwelcome?
I was asked to leave a leadership position in a church when I came out as gay. My son and I were asked to leave a church because his autistic behaviors were unwelcome. These painful experiences shape my commitment to widening the welcome of our churches, seminaries, and ministries. I have found a home in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and one DOC church did an exceptional job welcoming my son who does have exceptional challenges.
On behalf of AllianceQ, Mark Johnston, Robin Knauerhase, Dan Adolphson and I invite you to join us in the commitment to making room for all. We challenge you to make a year-end gift to the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance so that stories of welcome replace stories of unwelcome. So that my daughters with their two moms and my son with his various disabilities don’t worry about finding a faith community where they are welcome and included, where they experience belonging.
The work of widening our welcome spans gender identity and sexual orientation, ability, race, age, ethnicity, nationality, marital status, family configuration, political affiliation, economic circumstance and theological perspective. In the expanded position of Executive Director & Minister, part of my call is to help the Alliance increase justice work at the intersection of these identities.
Speaking of identity, a colleague was afraid to come out as bisexual because she feared she would lose her job. She is considering a new call but is hesitant to enter Search and Call because she’s not confident that a church will welcome her as a leader. It was at the 1977 General Assembly in Kansas City that the late Carol Blakely of Caldwell, Idaho, a Disciple mother of a gay son, broke silence and called all Disciples to name the reality that LGBTQ+ and affirming persons are our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, congregants, pastors and staff. May we hear the call anew. May we respond to the call.
Your donations are widening the welcome at the table. Because of your gifts, we:
- co-sponsored and supported the adoption of GA-1929, “An Invitation to Education for Welcoming and Receiving the Gifts of Transgender and Gender-Diverse People;”
- facilitated two workshops at General Assembly: “Transgender 101” and “Trans People: Human Stories;”
- offered two new events at GA, “Queer People of Color Safespace Gathering” and “Trans Safespace Gathering, and hosted the second “Queer Clergy and Seminarian Gathering;”
- celebrated 40 years of ministry and hosted 360 people for the GA banquet;
- continued building up our Open & Affirming Ministry Teams; these teams create presence at Pride festivals around the country, build relationships with congregations and regions, and support Building an Inclusive Church trainings;
- added 16 ministries to the list of Open & Affirming Ministries;
- provided pastoral care and educational supports to individuals and leaders, especially those in the United Methodist Church as that denomination voted to uphold and strengthen its ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy; and
- partnered with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for an “amicus curiae” brief to the Supreme Court.
Every gift to AllianceQ helps us work with DOC ministries and ecumenical partners at the intersections of justice. We need financial gifts to sustain and deepen our justice work. It is ongoing work!
- A small gift of $10 furnishes a printed copy of the Building an Inclusive Church Toolkit.
- Your gift of $30 provides Building an Inclusive Church training for one person.
- Your gift of $75 equips three people with Racial Justice Institute training from the National LGBTQ Task Force.
- Your gift of $150 provides Building an Inclusive Church training for five people.
- Your gift of $300 helps make travel possible for face-to-face ministry opportunities.
- Your gift of $2,000 supplies AllianceQ with a two-day racism training from Reconciliation Ministry. (It’s a priority. Two trainers are required at $500 per day plus travel expenses.)
- Every gift generates a deeper and wider impact.
We need financial gifts to provide training for our council leaders; we need gifts to make it possible to attend conferences and rallies, to show up on the ground alongside partners. Join us in this commitment to making room for all.
- Renew your membership or join today.
- Increase your current giving.
- Set up a recurring membership contribution. Recurring contributions enable us to budget wisely throughout the year.
- Encourage one person in your church to make a financial contribution and become a member of the Alliance.
- Ask your congregation to send a gift of at least $100 before the end of the year.
- Prompt your congregation to add AllianceQ to its 2020 budget.
Let us know if you want information about serving with an O&A team in your region. Didn’t know there are O&A teams across the country? Let us help you get connected.
Send us stories of welcome. Hold all of those who experience unwelcome in prayer. Pray for AllianceQ. Let us know how we can serve alongside you.
From the tables in our churches to the Supreme Court benches, we can widen the welcome. Thank you for being a part of the story.
Rev. Melissa Guthrie Loy, Executive Director & Minister
Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Open & Affirming Ministries Trainer
Robin Knauerhase, Council Moderator
Rev. Dan Adolphson, Development Team Leader
P.S. Some parts of the story are being revised. Some parts of the story will be repeated because they’ve made such a positive impact. The story requires all our gifts, our money and our participation. You’ll be hearing much more from us. Thank you for giving all you can to shape stories of welcome as we live into God’s story of love and grace.