News from AllianceQ: September 2023
State of the Movement Address from General Assembly 2023
Presented at the Art and Activism Dinner Banquet on July 29, 2023, at General Assembly in Louisville, KY, our Executive Director + Minister speaks to the State of our Movement.
It is good to be together.
Turn to a neighbor and say, “You look good tonight.”
Tell someone, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Repeat after me, “Everything God makes is good.” “Everything God makes is good.”
Because of your gifts, your art and your activism, we are doing good work. We are not passively waiting for a more just world; we are working for it.
AllianceQ – the Disciples LGBTQ+ Alliance – has been amplifying the voices and actions of affirming faith leaders while responding to the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals and our allies while continuing to provide education and resources while launching new community groups while preparing for this General Assembly while holding ourselves and the Church accountable to being the church we say we are.
Continuing the faithful work of those who have gone before us, we are Light Bearers + Table Turners.
Tell someone near you, “You are a Light Bearer.”
And tell someone else, “You are a Table Turner.”
Don’t turn these tables…
When I began serving AllianceQ in 2019, the Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston described our work as matters of life and death. I thought he was exaggerating. Four years later I hold too many stories of lives lost and lives wounded — by literal weapons and weaponized theologies. I also hold stories of healing and new life.
To quote a colleague with the Pension Fund, “State of the Movement? Ms. Penny Cost is here! That is the State of our Movement!”
2023 marks the 10th anniversary of our church’s resolution to “Become a People of Welcome and Grace to All” (GA-1327). It has been four years since GA-1929, “An Invitation to Education for Welcoming and Receiving the Gifts of Transgender and Gender Diverse-People.” What are you doing to embody those commitments? Participation in our programs is at an all-time high. Are you participating with us? Is your ministry Open + Affirming? Open + Affirming Ministries are joining our movement at a pace that’s difficult to keep up with. It’s a welcome challenge! (But another staff…)
With more than 250 Open + Affirming Ministries, we’d like to recognize new and newer O+A ministries. If you are connected with a ministry that has become Open + Affirming since 2019, please stand as you’re able where you are. Siblings, help me celebrate and thank these individuals and their faith communities!
Please stay standing. If you are connected with any O+A ministry, please stand as you are able where you are. We are growing in number and impact. Say after me, “Here we grow!”
We are deepening our commitments and reaching new Heights! Speaking of Heights… Heights Christian Church in Houston, TX, closed its building’s doors in 2022, but their legacy and a profound witness for the welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ+ individuals will live on through their $100,000 gift to AllianceQ! (That needs to be applauded.) We look forward to sharing the entirety of their story and the power of their gift. And, and, we will invite you to be part of a campaign to match their gift, to empower our organization to rise to new heights!
Siblings, some highlights of our ministry:
- Launched Virtual Pulpit Supply;
- created resources for Transgender Day of Remembrance in Spanish and English;
- extended pastoral care and provided mutual aid to LGBTQ+ individuals impacted by the Club Q tragedy;
- partnered with the Mental Health and Wellness program of the National Benevolent Association to provide SoulCare sessions for the LGBTQ+ community;
- contributed to the ecumenical Advent and Lenten devotionals, Ashes Alive, from Holy Dialogues;
- designed “Spread Love Like Glitter,” Lenten resources and programs;
- participated in education and leadership opportunities at the Q Christian Fellowship Conference;
- distributed resources at the National LGBTQ Task Force’s largest event, Creating Change;
- launched Community Groups to provide direct support to LGBTQ+ individuals;
- Published queer voices in our “colors of hope devotional”; and hosted the first annual Colors of Hope retreat…
- piloted the Transgender Day of Visibility Vigil in collaboration with more than 15 partners with participants from across the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, India, and Uganda;
- challenged the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to live into its commitments and embody its beliefs through our “Statement of Solidarity and Call to Action” with an emphasis on action;
- nurtured the development of the“Pastoral Letter Addressing the Unjust Rise of Anti-LGBTQIA Legislation in the United States” from General Minister and President Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens with the Division of Overseas Ministries, Disciples Home Missions, and other leaders across the Christian Church; (Rev. Terri Hord Owens and leaders of our general ministries – thank you!)
- collaborating with Welcoming Church Program Leaders across denominations. This cohort is reimagining itself for kick colonialism’s, kick capitalism’s ass collaboration!
To sustain and deepen our work, we need continued and increased financial support (scan our QR code and donate now!) We need your time, your voices, your witness. We need allies to become accomplices. You, we, must join in solidarity and act. Act out, act up, embody your beliefs.
The Rev. Dr. Michael Yandell, a good friend and colleague, he summarized the call to embody our beliefs:
Pastor of First Christian Church in Greensboro, NC, Rev. Yandell said, “Proclaiming our identity as Open + Affirming ministries is not an addition to the gospel proclamation, it is the Gospel.”
Friends, DO THE WORK in your local contexts. Support AllianceQ, support local and regional queer organizations and businesses. Find the needs in your communities and mobilize individuals for action. Talk with me and our council leaders for support in this work.
It is life saving, life giving work. Thank you for the honor and joy of serving alongside you.
Receive this affirmation from me and all of us with AllianceQ: “Your body is good. Your body is sacred. Your body is loved.” “Everything God makes is good.” AMEN.
Please share photos with us! Email any Alliance related photos from GA to email@example.com.