Beginning the Journey: Basic and highly recommended resources for all in the process of becoming Open & Affirming.

Body and Soul: We Belong

Room for All, 2014 (format: On-line Video)

This series of 6 videos is produced by Room for All, the welcoming church program similar to GLAD in the Reformed Church in America. Each video examines a theological topic such as faith, baptism, and scripture. Although the discussion in the video sometimes focuses on creed and catechism in ways unfamiliar to Disciples, the questions asked are deeply familiar and the resulting discussion honors Christian tradition in ways that any Disciple can appreciate. Each video is about 10 minutes long and there’s a study guide available, making this an excellent resource for a Sunday School or Bible study group.

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Building An Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit

(format: free-download)

This is THE go to resource for starting your congregation’s journey toward Open & Affirming.

This updated version of the Toolkit draws upon decades of experience within a variety of Christian denominations. The Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to help facilitate an Open & Affirming process in your local congregation. Biblically and theologically based, it uses tools of relational organizing, congregational assessment, conflict management and change theory. The outlined process emphasizes approaching the process from a place of graceful engagement, building relationship, and understanding your congregation and its unique needs. Including are tools for listening and sharing stories, as well as resources on biblical engagement and sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Alongside the Toolkit, Disciples congregations will find the Companion to the Building an Inclusive Church Toolkit for Disciples of Christ Congregations useful. The Companion and the Toolkit are included in the ZIP file that will download when you click here.

There is also an online introduction to the Toolkit available here (based on an older version of the Toolkit).

Also, from time to time there are trainings offered. These will be listed on the Alliance Calendar here.

If you are considering an Open & Affirming process for your congregation, check out these pages

The Welcoming Journey : How any congregation can take another step toward widening the welcome

Becoming Open & Affirming : Guidelines from AllianceQ to be listed on our list of O&A Ministries.

The Journey to Become O&A : A suggested process.

If you would like paper copies of the Toolkit, we can ship 5 copies to you for $30. This is cheaper than having them printed at a print shop and cheaper than a new print cartridge for your computer. Contact to order.

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Building An Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit – Online Introduction

Instiute for Welcoming Resources and Reconciling Ministries Network, 2013 (format: On-line Video)

This online introduction to Building An Inclusive Church: A Welcoming Toolkit provided by the Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network is an excellent way to learn the basics for on Open & Affirming process as outlined in the Toolkit.

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Claiming the Promise: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality

Mary Jo Osterman, 1997 (format: Free Download)

An in depth study program created by reconciling programs from several denominations. Provides an affirming perspective on Biblical issues. Excellent for a church Sunday School or Bible Study group. Be sure to download both the Bible Study and the Leaders Guide.

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For the Bible Tells Me So

(more information)

Daniel Karslake, 2007 (format: on-line-video)

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. For the Bible Tells Me So offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the cross hairs of scripture and sexual identity. Don’t miss the study guides available on the website (see the Resources tab at the More Information link).

Available on YouTube

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Hearts Unbound: Engaging Biblical Texts of God’s Radical Love through Reader’s Theater

David R. Weiss, 2013 (format: free-download)

An excellent resource that invites you to explore ten Biblical stories of radical love and welcome. Designed for a small group in a ‘readers theater’ format. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and participatory, each session looks in-depth at the story, the historical context out of which it came, and insights to be gained.

Also, don’t miss the great sermon series preached by James Brewer-Calvert in Decatur, GA, based on Hearts Unbound.

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Listening to the Spirit: A Handbook for Discernment

William Paulsell, 2001 (format: Book)

This is the handbook for the General Assembly’s call for discernment on the question “What is the gospel message to our church as we relate to gay and lesbian Christians?” This study guide does not provide answers to the question, but describes in detail a discernment process including worship, prayer, Bible study, and discussion allowing a small group to listen to the message that the Holy Spirit has for them.

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Lutheran Introduction To Our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, And Queer Neighbors

ReconcilingWokrs: Lutherans for Full Participation, 2016 (format: website)

A quick but thorough introduction to concepts and terms used when talking with and about LGTBQ people from our Lutheran friends at ReconcilingWorks.

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Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

LeDayne McLeese Polaski and Millard Eiland (Eds.), 2013 (format: book)

Developed to assist clergy and lay leaders in leading a healthy and respectful congregational dialogue on the most difficult task of discernment facing the church in our time, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth features wisdom distilled from 13 congregations who have undertaken this dialogue. Other materials include articles focused on Bible study and theological reflection, as well as scientific/medical and psychological studies. Stories from gay and lesbian Christians and their families are included, as well as from congregations who have struggled with the questions of sexual orientation and Christian faith.

Can be purchased for download here.

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To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations

Rebecca Voelkel, 2009 (format: Free Download)

A study of welcoming congregations showing that the process of becoming a welcoming congregation creates a healthier congregation.

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To The Contrary: The Welcoming Movement

PBS, 2013 (format: On-line Video)

An excellent resource for congregations considering starting an Open & Affirming Process, PBS’s “To the Contrary” has produced an episode on the welcoming church movement that profiles diverse Open and Affirming UCC congregations from Michigan and Arizona and a Black Baptist/UCC congregation in Washington, DC. The documentary shares the struggles of congregations becoming O&A and the joys of congregations living out their O&A commitment, stories of young people finding churches that accept them as gay and clergy who find the courage to come out, about parents who learn to love their children and churches that learn to celebrate all their members.

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To the Tune of a Welcoming God: Lyrical Reflections on Sexuality, Spirituality, and the Wideness of God’s Welcome

David R. Weiss, 2008 (format: Book)

Brings academic insight, prophetic vision, and poetic clarity to the question of the church’s welcome to those GLBT Christians at its doorstep and already in its pews. David Weiss reaches out in these engaging and provocative writings to challenge, encourage, and empower.

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What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality

Daniel Helminiak, 2000 (format: Book)

An in depth study of the passages concerning homosexuality, placing the scripture deep within its cultural and Biblical contexts.

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