Friday, January 16, 2015

LGBT in the wide Christian Church - Visiting the Gay Christian Network Conference

Integrity Board members Matt Haines and Mel Soriano attended the Gay Christian Network conference in Portland last weekend. Though the conference in years past has been focused on evangelicals, its attendees now come from many different Christian faith traditions and from across the LGBT+friends rainbow. A couple speakers were Episcopalians and a group of Episcopalians had lunch with Matt and Mel on one day of the gathering.

It was a deeply spiritual and touching conference, with much personal sharing and many ideas for expanding the hearts and minds of the Church. Mel posted his reflections about this sprawling big tent of 1500 people on his blog "Let All Who Are Thirsty Come". 

I attended the Gay Christian Network's (GCN) 11th conference in Portland, Oregon at the end of last week. There were 1300 registered attendees, perhaps 1500 people attending in total, from 46 states and 11 countries. I came to learn about their communication strategies, their pastoral work, their education efforts, and to network in my role as Director of Communications and Board member of IntegrityUSA. Matt Haines, President of the Board of Directors for IntegrityUSA, attended with me. I also attended with my heart and mind opened by the Episcopal Church and my heavy participation at All Saints Pasadena.
The conference began under Justin Lee to meet the needs of the evangelical community. When I say evangelical in this context, I am using the popular meaning. I consider myself a progressive evangelical which, to the media, would seem an oxymoron at best, a cognitively dissonant impossibility at worst. But that's what I consider myself to be, as many who attend All Saints Pasadena probably do as well.

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