A Time to Build: Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities
Debra Haffner, 2012 (format: Book)
Outlines the building blocks of a sexually healthy faith community. Sections rigorously examine sexually healthy religious professionals, worship on sexuality issues, pastoral care on sexuality, youth and adult sexuality education, safe congregations policies, welcoming and affirming programs, and how congregations can advocate for sexual and spiritual wholeness in their communities.
DavidJ Kundtz,. Bernard S. Schlager, 2007 (format: Book)
Ministry Among God’s Queer Folk from The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, is does an excellent job of doing several jobs at once:
- being a clear, concise, and comprehensive read on the pastoral care of LGBTQ folk,
- providing information about LGBTQ folk succinctly and remaining both accurate and accessible to those seeking an introduction to LGBTQ ministry,
- providing a deeper, broader and coherent perspective on the the pastoral care of LGBTQ persons to those already involved in ministry,
- clearly laying out the practical and theological case for caring for the broad range of the LGBTQ persons needs ranging from the personal to the systemic.
Any seminarian, pastor, elder, or church leader interest in the pastoral care of LGBTQ people should read this book and have it at the ready for review and reference.
Cheri DiNovo, 2005 (format: book)
The book chronicles DiNovo’s own attempts as a minister to expand the membership of a rapidly shrinking congregation in a poor, inner city Toronto neighborhood. As a result, DiNovo discovers that, in her congregation’s decision to evangelize among the marginalized and “queer” in their neighborhood, church members are radically changed. Qu(e)erying Evangelism answers the following questions: How do we understand evangelism biblically and in a completely new way? How does one be a queer theologian in a traditional pastorate and not only be faithful to a queer Christ but grow a congregation with all sorts of differences of opinion? How does the presence of the transgendered/transsexual-or indeed everyone perceived as different-challenge both the theology and praxis of a mainline denomination?
From the first chapter:
Like other colleagues in inner-city inclusive ministry, I wanted to try all the techniques of church growth that emanated from places like Willow Creek Church in Chicago. Surprisingly, I discovered that not only did the techniques not transfer effectively to our inner-city, queer-positive context, but that they were predicated on a vacuous theology with more in common with colonialism than with scriptural conversion. Clergy and laity who felt like failures because their churches did not grow numerically, and who feared the death of an inclusive Christianity that plagued them, became another group needing evangelism. How to speak faith to them? How to speak faith to ourselves?
That attendance at our evening or morning service grew ceased to be for me the primary question of my or our evangelical ministry. My own struggle with the discipline of being Christian became and is still focused on ignoring those very numbers. To read anything into the numbers that join or attend our church except our ability to be hospitable, I consider a temptation. Our struggle is to be faithful, to be hospitable, to be nonjudgmental. As we succeed in that, we are caught up in evangelism, we are getting out of the way of the Holy Spirit. For us, what is much more signiﬁcant than the numbers attending is that the queerest among us feel welcomed, and that we can allow ourselves to show our own queerness.
Qu(e)erying Evangelism can be read online here or bought at the link above.
Elizabeth Edman, 2017 (format: book)
Arguing from the heart of scripture, the author reveals how queering Christianity—that is, disrupting simplistic ways of thinking about self and other—can illuminate contemporary Christian faith. Pushing well past the notion that “Christian love = tolerance,” Edman offers a bold alternative: the recognition that queer people can help Christians better understand their fundamental calling and the creation of sacred space where LGBTQ Christians are seen as gifts to the church.
Kelsey Pacha, 2014 (format: free-download)
Transitioning to Inclusion from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Pacific School of Religion is exactly what it’s subtitle names: A guide to welcoming trangender children and their families in your community of faith.
The four sections in this guide include suggestions for allowing a child room to explore coming out, developing community values that support inclusivity, practical logistical suggestions, and notes on how to be a resource and support so that children and families thrive.
Transitioning to Inclusion also includes a glossary of useful terms and a valuable resource list.