‘Broadening Our Welcome’ to focus on talking about LGBT issues in congregations

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Oct. 17, 2013, at 3:59 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Religious Coalition Against Discrimination will host its third educational conference Friday, Oct. 25, at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 209 Eastern Ave.

“Broadening Our Welcome” is designed to help clergy and lay leaders find practical resources so they can broaden their welcome to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people within their congregations and beyond.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, director for Faith Partnership and Mobilization of the Human Rights Campaign, based in Washington, D.C. Flournoy has more than 30 years of nonprofit management experience, also serving local government, state and federal governments and has worked in Nigeria and Ghana, West Africa, Spain, Italy and Australia conducting workshops on human rights, access to health care and changing cultural norms.

He will speak about “The Challenges and Opportunities for LGBT Equality and Inclusion” and lead a workshop titled “Where’s Your Bump in the Road, and How to Deal With It?”

The Rev. Robin Lunn, an ordained American Baptist minister and executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, based in New Hampshire, will conduct a workshop entitled “Living into a Theology of Inclusion.” Other workshops on the agenda are “Preaching and Teaching about Gender and Transgender Issues” and “Understanding Gender: Moving Toward Authenticity and Inclusion.”

Music will be performed by Cidny Bullens, a nationally known singer and songwriter based in Maine who has toured with Elton John and Bob Dylan. Last year, he publicly announced being transgender and changed the spelling of his first name from Cindy to Cidny. He will be part of a panel that will discuss of transgender people over the lunch hour.

RCAD is a multidenominational organization of clergy and faith leaders seeking to encourage other people of faith to reclaim their voices in support of equality for all people, according to information posted on its website. Its mission is “to educate and publicly advocate for the civil and human rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, within our diverse Maine congregations and communities.”

Organized in 1993 under the auspices of the Maine Council of Churches, RCAD formalized a board of directors and incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2010. Last year, it supported passage of the successful referendum to allow same-sex couples to marry in the coalition Mainers United for Marriage.

For information about the RCAD conference, call 855-552-7223 toll free, or visit rcadmaine.org.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/10/17/religion/broadening-our-welcome-to-focus-on-talking-about-lgbt-issues-in-congregations/ printed on August 22, 2014