Discernment and Discussion: Resources with a significant focus on discussion and discernment.

A la Familia: Una Conversación Sobre Nuestras Familias, la Biblia, la Orientación Sexual Y la Identidad de Género/A Conversation About Our Families, the Bible, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Miguel A. De La Torre (format: Free Download)

A guide that seeks to hear the voices of the lgbt persons in Hispanic churches and families, to faithfully integrate an excluded group of people back into the life of their churches and families, and to embolden Hispanic churches to follow the mission Christ gives to them — that of welcome and hospitality.

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And God Loves Each One/Dios Nos Ama Por Igual

(format: Book)

A tool for discussion about sexual orientation in churches and communities. Also available in Spanish.

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Being In Relationship: A New Way to Talk with Black and White Theologically Conservative Christians about the Place of Lesbian and Gay People in Our Families, Our Churches and Society.

(format: book)

Being in Relationship from Auburn Seminary is a guide for conducting discussions around LGBTQ issues across racial and theological divides. As can always be expected from Auburn Seminary, this resource is well researched and well presented.

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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 melissa@disciplesallianceq.org to order.

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Congregations Talking about Homosexuality

Beth Ann Gaede, 1998 (format: Book)

From the Alban Institute, an excellent resource for those working to start a dialog within their congregations. Includes stories of congregational experiences, tips for getting started, and guidelines to keep the dialog constructive.

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Holy Conversations: Talking About Homosexuality: A Congregational Resource

Karen P. Oliveto, 2005 (format: Book)

A study resource for theological reflection on homosexuality that serves as a tool for people in churches who feel they are surrounded by painful, confusing debates in the church about homosexuality, and want to discover how the Christian tradition can be a constructive–rather than divisive–resource.

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Homosexuality and Christian Community

Choon-Leong Seow (ed.), 1996 (format: Book)

Written by faculty from the Princeton Theological Seminary, and thus a bit more academic, but an excellent set of essays on scripture, theology, and faithful Christian practice. Includes an excellent chapter entitled “How to Discuss Moral Issues Surrounding Homosexuality When You Know You Are Right.”

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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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My Mind Was Changed: A New Way to Talk with Conflicted Christians about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People in Church and Society

(more information)

Auburn Seminary (format: book)

Shares a new way to talk about LGBT dignity that helps conflicted Christians move through religious and emotional conflicts to become more supportive of equality. Meant for those who are working to craft a message about LGBT issues.

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Out of the Shadows, into the Light: Christianity and Homosexuality

Miguel A. De La Torre, 2009 (format: book)

Rev. Dr. Miguel De La Torre, editor of this collection, has gathered a set of reflections on culture, sexuality, church and theology unique in its breadth and depth. Spanning race and class, delving into faith, culture and justice, this book provides an excellent introduction to the intersections of race, faith, and homophobia.

Starting with a chapter on “Practicing Safe Sexuality” and ending with chapters on “The Role of Straight Allies in the Pastoral Care of Lesbians and Gays” and “The Church in Action Asking Hard Questions,” the center of the book examines the role of Black and Hispanic culture in the lives of LGBT people of faith, as well as a chapter on the power of scripture in the lives of queer people.

Very readable though not for the casual reader, this book is an excellent resource for those seeking to understand the intersection of race, culture and sexuality.

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Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow

Cody J. Sanders, 2013 (format: book)

Queer Lessons for Churches on the Straight and Narrow is about changing the questions we ask about sexuality, gender identity, and faith. The author helps us imagine new pathways into old conversations by shifting our attitude from one of suspicious scrutiny toward LGBTQ people to one of compassionate curiosity. Less concerned with answering questions, it aims to cultivate our imagination for asking new questions. Sanders asks, “What can all Christians learn from LGBTQ people that will enhance our lives and strengthen our communities of faith?” Lessons are offered on the themes of relationship, community, faithfulness, love, violence, and forgiveness.

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transACTION: A Transgender Curriculum For Churches and Religious Institutions

(format: book)

transACTION is designed to help churches address this issue of understanding and welcoming transgender persons by providing step-by-step training about the needs, apprehensions and fears of transgender people – as well as the wealth of gifts and graces they bring – while responding to the concerns of the church or religious institution.

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