Workshops

 

Workshop1

Workshops are intended to provide hands-on training opportunities to learn and hone skills for vital congregational ministries, advocacy for LGBTQ equality, engaging persons in the intersections of justice issues, and/or preparing a progressive witness for the 2016 General Conference. Workshops will happen on Friday afternoon, August 7, and will be 75 minutes in length.

BEING CHURCH

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A1 Creating Rituals for Life Passages of Individuals and Communities

With Dr. Marcia McFee

Pastors and churches that minister to the full rainbow of the human community have the great privilege to walk with persons, families and communities through life passages. Creating meaningful rites of passage is important as a vehicle of transformation. McFee will offer tools for discerning symbols and ritual actions that draw persons into unforgettable experiences that sustain hope and usher change. She will use examples from her own experience and invite participants to share and create their own.

Marcia McFeeMarcia McFee is a professor, worship designer, author, preacher and ritual artist. She understands the role of any worship artist in the church as that of creating extraordinary portals through which communities journey with the Spirit. Connecting worship professionals and volunteers to their passion and depth of spiritual leadership is her aim in teaching and consulting. She is the creator and visionary of the Worship Design Studio, an online experience of coaching, education, inspiration and a design application.

A2 Twenty-First Century Worship Leading and Soul Justice Singing

With Dr. Mark A. Miller

‘Justice is what love looks like in public’, says the great philosopher Cornel West. And so singing about justice in worship is singing love songs to God and to each other. In this workshop we will explore new resources that will revive and inspire the church’s love for God and neighbor. We will sing and play from a diversity of styles and genres that have been rehearsed with discipline and executed with joyful abandon. Leading worship in the 21st century church means exuding hospitality and welcome as the music we choose nurtures a sense of belonging and community.

Mark Miller, 2013Mark Miller serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey. Since 1999, Mark has led music for many gatherings of United Methodists and others around the country. His choral anthems are best sellers for Abingdon Press and Choristers Guild and his hymns are published in several hymnals and songbooks.

A3 Breaking Down Barriers: Practicing Inclusion

With Sharon McCart, M.Div.

This is an interactive, practical workshop, providing reasons, solutions and ideas for welcoming ALL people to church and encouraging them to participate as fully as God calls them! We will name the barriers that get in the way of those of us who have disabilities of many types, including mobility, sensory, neurological, intellectual and mental challenges. Ways to break down those barriers will be presented. Time for discussion and questions will be included, along with resources.

Sharon McCartSharon McCart has been friends with people with disabilities nearly all her life. She also spent ten years teaching children with moderate-to-profound disabilities. Her calling is to help congregations become more disability-friendly so that all people can have a place to belong, to worship and to learn about God. She currently serves as the chair of both the California-Pacific Annual Conference’s DisAbility Ministries Task Force and the DisAbility Ministries Committee of the United Methodist Church.

A4 REFUEL: A Filling Station for the Overworked

With Ruth Airhart, MA, LPC-AT/S, ATR-BC

Running on empty…a chronic condition driving us to work tirelessly at the expense of our own mental and physical health. We defer self-care for when we have more time, energy and resources but in reality, this rarely happens until we schedule it. In this workshop connect with others who are struggling with this very same issue and, through a simple art therapy activity, identify new ways to refuel your spirit so you can sustainably create positive change in your communities.

NOTE: This workshop is limited to 30 participants. To reserve a place, contact M at m@rmnetwork.org

Ruth AirhartRuth Airhart is a board certified art therapist and licensed professional counselor in Austin, Texas specializing in anxiety, depression and self-care. Ruth’s practice aims at connecting head and heart with hands to make art in therapy, utilizing traditional talk therapy with a variety of expressive therapy techniques (art, sand tray, journaling, creative writing, and play therapy). Her passion is self-care for all, especially helping professionals and has been inspired by the work of the Trauma Stewardship Institute.

A5 Inclusion from Inception: Church Planting for Today

With Rev. Brittany Issac

Isaac will share the mission and vision for the growing ministry of Urban Village Church, a five-year-old church plant in Northern Illinois, whose core values are BOLD, INCLUSIVE and RELEVANT. She will offer insight and support for those called to be gospel inclusive in the congregation that they start.

Brittany IsaacBrittany Isaac chose to work at the Church of Starbucks instead of the Church of Jesus Christ for quite some time. In 2011 she left her coffee addiction to plant the third site of Urban Village Church, a bold, inclusive church plant located in the Downtown, Andersonville, Wicker Park, and Hyde Park-Woodlawn communities of Chicago. An aspiring raised bed gardener, a novice quilter and a chef for her family, Brittany can’t imagine a better way to live her life.

A6 The Reconciling Process – Using the “Building An Inclusive Church Toolkit”

With Helen Ryde

Do you want to help your congregation, Sunday School class or Campus Ministry go through the reconciling process? Or maybe there is a church in your area you’d like to help? Then this is the workshop for you! We will walk through the Institute for Welcoming Resources’ Building An Inclusive Church Toolkit and the eleven steps they outline. There will be a question and answer session with a folks who have recently been through the reconciling process in their congregation.

Helen RydeHelen Ryde serves as RMN’s Southeastern Organizer. Helen’s background is non-denominational evangelical churches in the UK, but she found a home about nine years ago at a Reconciling Congregation in Provincetown, MA. She and her spouse Kate live in Asheville, NC.

A7 “Where Do I Belong?” Creating Vital Communities of Accountability & Responsibility Across Difference

With Rev. Vernice Thorn, Rev. Robyn Morrison & cathy knight

Sponsored by Church Within a Church Movement

Participants will:

  • engage each other as community, modeling a new way of BEing
  • explore their personal stake in their places of privilege
  • examine non-hierarchical community building through co-leadership, co-participation that leads to fundamental change in current top-down organizing strategies

“Every time we gather becomes a model for the future we want to create.” Peter Block from his book, Community: the Structure of Belonging

Vernice ThornVernice Thorn is a graduate of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Pastoral Care & Counseling and Christian Education. Rev. Thorn is an ordained Clergy person in the Church Within A Church Movement (CWACM) which she serves as Co-Facilitator of the Extraordinary Ordination Work Area.  She also serves as Co-Pastor of Broadway UMC in Chicago.

Robyn Morrison

Rev. Robyn Morrison is an alchemist who integrates the material realm with the spiritual to create social transformation. Robyn was ordained by the Church Within a Church Movement in October 2011.  She received a M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion in 2008 and a Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2015.

cathy knightcathy knight is an anti-oppression activist and community builder. In 2001-2004, cathy was southern outreach coordinator for the Reconciling Ministries Network and in 2003 became the interim executive director.  cathy attended the founding meeting of  Church Within a Church Movement and in 2005 was hired as its first executive director.

 

A8 Making God’s Vision Ours

With Rev. Max Blalock

How do we best create a vision for our ministry that has wide support, lasts, and continues to call us to grow into the community God desires? Come learn about the process used by The William and Mary Wesley Foundation and how you can adapt it for your own faith community. There will be time for discussion and sharing of your own experiences as well.

Max BlaylockMax Blalock is an Alabama native, an ordained UMC pastor, and the Campus Minister at The Wesley Foundation at The College of William and Mary. He is a graduate of The Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, CA, and has served local churches and campus ministries in a variety of settings for over 20 years. Max is passionate about creating communities where everyone is truly welcome. He loves spontaneity, laughter, and sarcasm, not necessarily in that order.

DOING JUSTICE

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C1 Intersectionality: Building Intercultural Competency, Building Beloved Community

With Vince Gonzalez & Jeehye Kim Pak

In order to truly love one’s neighbor and build the Beloved Community, we must build skills of intercultural competency. In this interactive workshop, we will examine our own areas of privilege, practice having vital conversations, and discover ways to promote intentional diversity and equity–each of which leads to a more relevant and inclusive Church. Join us!

Vince GonzalezVince Gonzales, a veteran of over 27 years opposing the death penalty, has provided mitigation services for defense attorneys across the U.S. For the past 12 years, he has been an Invited Instructor at SMU’s Dedman School of Law, teaching in the Death Penalty Project. He serves on the Board of Directors to The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) and on the Racial and Social Justice Task Force for Churches Uniting In Christ.

Jeehye Kim PakJeehye Kim Pak  is on staff at The GCORR of The United Methodist Church. A graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, she also serves as the Children Pastor of First Korean United Methodist Church in Herndon, VA. Her passion for LGBTQ justice grew in her work at Many Voices before coming to GCORR.

 

 

C2 Reproductive Justice: What’s Faith Got To Do With It?

With Rev. Kathryn Johnson

In this workshop we will look at these and other intersections between the struggles for LGBTQ justice and reproductive justice:

● Freedom to constitute our own families to decide when, whether and how we will parent children.
● Agency over our own bodies and access to competent and comprehensive health care.
● The right to receive pastoral care related to our sexual and reproductive lives without being shamed and judged.

We will reclaim the language of faith that has been co-opted by those who would use it as a tool of punishment and shaming.

Kathryn JohnsonKathryn Johnson has championed justice in and through the UMC throughout her lifetime. After doing human rights work in the Philippines as a UM Mission Intern in the 1980’s, Kathryn returned to pastor a church in Boston and then served as the executive director of the Church Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. From 1998-2010 Kathryn led the Methodist Federation for Social Action as its executive director. She currently is program director for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

C3 Palestinian & Israeli Voices: Impact of the Israeli Occupation on their Lives

With Hashem Abushama & Dalit Baum, Ph.D.

The Israeli Occupation of Palestine is one of the least understood areas of global injustice for both Palestinians and Israelis resulting in Militarism, Ethnic Cleansing, and Apartheid. Supported in large part by U.S. funds and perpetuated by myths, the Occupation could escalate with more military action in Gaza and Jerusalem or be countered by global nonviolent action as happened in South Africa. Palestinian and Israeli speakers will provide current experiences and understanding for United Methodists to take action.

Hashem AbushamaHashem Abushama grew up in Aroub Refugee Camp, Hebron District, West Bank and attended UNRWA schools. He founded the “Trash the Occupation, Not Our Land” project. He is majoring in Peace Studies at Earlham College where he is convener of the Student Council and president of the student body. He is the first youth representative of the State of Palestine to the U.N. Economic and Social Forum.

Dalit BaumDalit Baum is an Israeli feminist scholar and anti-occupation activist. She is the co-founder of The Coalition of Women for Peace, of Black Laundry—Queers Against the Occupation, and of Who Profits from the Occupation. She teaches about militarism and the global economy from a feminist perspective. She currently works with the American Friends Service Committee (San Francisco) as Director of the Economic Activism Program.

C4 United Methodists and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

With David Wildman & Lisa Bender

United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) convened in 2010 as a grass roots UMC response to “Kairos Palestine” issued in December 2009. KP emulated the Kairos South Africa document in 1985 which served as a catalyst for church engagement in the anti-apartheid movement. KP provides a Christian rationale for the global call of BDS issued by Palestinian Civil Society in 2005. Workshop leaders will share background on the BDS movement, UMC involvement, and how you can be part of this global movement for Palestinian freedom.

David WildmanDavid Wildman is the executive secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice with the UMC’s General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). He also relates on behalf of GBGM with grassroots partners in the Middle East and Afghanistan, which he visits regularly. David helped found United for Peace & Justice in October 2002 and the U.S. Campaign to End Israeli Occupation in 2001. He also serves on the World Council of Churches Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum Core Group.

Lisa BenderLisa Bender is Chair of the Divestment Committee for United Methodist Kairos Response. Her passion for the Palestinian cause became personal in 2012 when her son lived in Ramallah as a volunteer. Her visit to the West Bank followed by service as a General Conference delegate led to a spiritual journey that changed her life. Lisa is Executive Secretary for Connectional Ministries in Susquehanna Conference, where she serves on their Divestment Task Force.

C5 The Widow, the Orphan, the Stranger: Legal Ministry from a Spiritual Perspective

With Piper Madison

Piper Madison will discuss Justice for Our Neighbor’s work as a radically hospitable immigration ministry providing legal support to low-income immigrants. In particular, this session will cover JFON Austin’s work with survivors of domestic violence and trauma.

Piper MadisonPiper Madison joined JFON Austin in January 2015 as part of a grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief to serve unaccompanied minors. Previously, she worked as a policy analyst in immigration and criminal justice issues at the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy and as an organizer at Grassroots Leadership. She moved to Austin in 2012 after graduating from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a degree in North African Studies.

C6 Ending Mass Incarceration – Get Your Church/Campus Involved

With T.C. Morrow

With 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prisoners. People of faith across the U.S. are joining coalitions to end the racial profiling, criminalization, and mass incarceration of African-Americans and Latinos. So too they are confronting profiteering from prisons and immigration detention centers, abuse and lack of healthcare for LGBT individuals, and barriers to re-entry. Have you read “The New Jim Crow” and are thinking now what? Participants will gain practical tools for involving their church/campus in work to end mass incarceration.

T.C. MorrowT.C. Morrow is a certified candidate for deacon in the United Methodist Church and member at Foundry UMC in Washington, DC. Following graduation from Wesley Theological Seminary, Morrow staffed the founding conference of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) while with the Churches’ Center for Theology & Public Policy. In 2009, she joined the NRCAT staff full-time and brings to the work a passion for helping people put their faith into action for the advancement of the kin-dom.

C7 Not Just a One Night Stand: Expanding Ministry with the Poor and Marginalized

With Dr. John Flowers & Rev. Karen Vannoy

Christians want to do good and help others. It not only is part of the mandate from Christ, it feels good and is good for us. Because of this, ministry with poor and marginalized people can easily become more about making us feel good, than about working with others for personal transformation. Participants will receive ideas for starting new or reviving existing outreach ministries, transforming church through mission, as well as a checklist for keeping ministry on track with its purpose.

John Flowers & Karen VannoyJohn Flowers and Karen Vannoy have been in ministry for more than 30 years, first in the Southwest Texas (now Rio Texas) and then the Desert Southwest Conference. They have authored three books: Not Just a One Night Stand: Ministry with the Poor; Ten Temptations of Church; and Adapt to Thrive. Their passion in ministry is the redevelopment of declining churches through mission and the creation healthy systems. As you might suspect from their picture, they are happily married.

C8 Todos Somos Esperanza/We Are All Hope: Nepantla Strategies for Overcoming Injustice

With Graciela Sánchez & Rachel Jennings

Graciela Sánchez tells how she founded the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, a nationally recognized social justice organization. Drawing upon cultural theorist Gloria Anzaldúa’s concept of Nepantla, Sánchez and Rachel Jennings invite churches that work for social justice to adopt a multi-issue, holistic approach to organizing. To live in Nepantla is to live on the border of multiple spaces, all of which are in tension. All who work for justice live in the tense but creative border region of Nepantla.

Graciela Sánchez joined other women in founding the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in 1987, a cultural arts and education center that she still directs. Esperanza is led by lesbians of color committed to bringing Chicana, gender, and working class perspectives together in social justice activism.

Rachel Jennings, a member of Travis Park United Methodist Church, teaches at San Antonio College. She has been a Rachel Jenningsmember of the Esperanza board, known as the Conjunto de Nepantleras, since 2005.

CHANGING CHURCH

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B1 Southern Initiative in RMN Organizing

With Laura Young & Helen Ryde

The South is full of unique charm and unique challenges. The Reconciling movement must also be uniquely equipped and prepared to make a difference in this setting. The Southern Initiative is off to a great start, and our Southern organizers are anxious to meet and brainstorm together with Reconciling United Methodists whose southern knowledge and experiences can inform and enhance the success of this effort. Come and join us for this important conversation.

Laura YoungLaura Young is a member of the Texas Annual Conference, currently living in the Northwest Texas Conference where her partner serves as Jurisdiction.

Helen RydeHelen Ryde serves as RMN’s Southeastern Organizer. Helen’s background is non-denominational evangelical churches in the UK, but she found a home about nine years ago at a Reconciling Congregation in Provincetown, MA. She and her spouse Kate live in Asheville, NC.

B2 Hate, Hope and Religion in Africa & USA

With Dennis Apopka, Bishop Joseph Tolton, Ann Craig, M.Div.

As United Methodist officials remain silent about the rising tide of homophobic laws in many African countries, RMN is reaching out to LGBTQI people and progressive people of faith in East and West Africa. This workshop will bring you up-to-date on the export of homophobia by U.S. fundamentalist and efforts to counter this by RMN with partnership with Bishop Joseph Tolton and Ann Craig who are working together to build Pan African partnerships with LGBTQI and allied faith leaders.

Dennis AkponaDennis Akpona is a LGBTQ activist originally from Nigeria. He was recently granted asylum from Nigeria where he fled the persecution he faced as a gay man. He currently works for RMN as the African Central Conferences Coordinator and is the Co-Founder of Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP).

Joseph ToltonJoseph Tolton, Director of The Fellowship Global, studied religion at Vassar and business at Columbia University. Tolton provides Pastoral care and strategic consulting for LGBTI and progressive communities of faith in hostile climates in Africa and the Diaspora.

Ann CraigAnn Craig, the first director of religion at GLAAD, served 22 years in the General Board of Global Ministries. She is Director of Administration & Development at the Fellowship Global and is a communications consultant for progressive faith groups. She is also co-spokesperson of Affirmation.

B3 Troubling the Waters--Disruption 101: Basics of (Non)violent Direct Action

With Rev. Amy E. DeLong & Rev. Dr. Julie Todd

Sponsored by Love Prevails

In this workshop we will discuss the basic “whys” of Disruption. Why Disrupt? Why is direct action a necessary tactic in a movement for social change? Why is it necessary for our movement use tactics of Disruption at this time in the United Methodist Church? What are our assumptions and fears about Disruption? How does (non)violent direct action help us to move from fear to love, both as individuals and as a community?

Amy DeLongAmy DeLong is an ordained elder in the Wisconsin Conference. She spends her privilege and life’s capital passionately advocating for the full inclusion of GLBTQ people in the life and ministry of the Church. Amy’s activism is embodied through Love Prevails, an organization which was birthed after her church trial in 2011. Amy serves the River Falls UMC, a Reconciling Congregation in River Falls, WI. She and her partner, Val, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary.

Julie ToddJulie Todd is a scholar-activist living in Massachusetts. She is Affiliate Faculty for Justice and Peace Studies at the Iliff School of Theology. Her scholarship focuses on social change theory and praxis, violence and (non)violence, and matters of privilege, oppression and solidarity across axes of difference. An ordained elder in the New England Conference, she works to end the anti-LGBTQ policies and practices of her denomination through the group Love Prevails.

B4 Troubling the Waters- Disruption 201: Strategies and Techniques of (Non)violent Direct Action

With Rev. Amy E. DeLong & Rev. Dr. Julie Todd

 Sponsored by Love Prevails

In this continuation of Disruption 101 (see above) we will review some history of (non)violent direct action. We will consider some of the diverse and creative ways in which agents of justice and peace have effectively used Disruption in order to make change within our communities, including the church. We will reflect on the tensions inherent in (non)violent confrontation. We will offer some opportunities to embody (non)violence in the workshop and beyond.

Amy DeLongAmy DeLong is an ordained elder in the Wisconsin Conference. She spends her privilege and life’s capital passionately advocating for the full inclusion of GLBTQ people in the life and ministry of the Church. Amy’s activism is embodied through Love Prevails, an organization which was birthed after her church trial in 2011. Amy serves the River Falls UMC, a Reconciling Congregation in River Falls, WI. She and her partner, Val, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary.

Julie Todd
Julie Todd
is a scholar-activist living in Massachusetts. She is Affiliate Faculty for Justice and Peace Studies at the Iliff School of Theology. Her scholarship focuses on social change theory and praxis, violence and (non)violence, and matters of privilege, oppression and solidarity across axes of difference. An ordained elder in the New England Conference, she works to end the anti-LGBTQ policies and practices of her denomination through the group Love Prevails.

B5 Preparing for General Conference

With Steve Clunn and Kevin Nelson

What’s General Conference? Who will be there? The theme is “Therefore Go.” Where do we want to see the Church go? Discussions will include key legislation (restructure, the global nature of The UMC, the reappearance of Plan UMC) to the Love Your Neighbor Coalition’s presence at GC. In addition, we will cover both existing issues (like schism) and emerging issues (like new voting devices, panels to predetermine the constitutionality of legislation, and small group discussions to address human sexuality legislation). Join us and together we can plan how to bring about change!

Steve ClunnRev. Steve Clunn is an Upper New York clergyperson (since 1988). He has attended four General Conferences. In 2011, Steve became the Coalition Coordinator to organize and broaden the scope of the “Love Your Neighbor Coalition” (LYNC). LYNC has grown from 3 partnered groups to 11 and is organizing for General Conference earlier and more comprehensively than ever before.

Kevin NelsonKevin Nelson is a Home Missioner in the New England Conference. He is co-chair of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition’s General Conference Legislative Strategy Team. Kevin is also co-chair of RMN’s national legal team and regularly provides assistance to clergy in navigating complaint and legal processes. He also serves on the board of directors for MFSA.

 

B6 Building Bridges with Evangelicals and Moderates

With Dave Nuckols & Giselle Lawn

Sometimes affirming and non-affirming Christians talk past one another when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion in the church and same-sex marriage — especially when lacking mutual understanding needed for healthy dialog. This workshop covers: (1) evangelicalism on its own terms, (2) the emerging “evangelical case for marriage equality,” and (3) conversational techniques to promote mutual understanding and to win support from evangelicals, moderates and institutionalists. Use these skills back home in your annual conference, local church and family gatherings.

Giselle LawnDave NuckolsDave Nuckols and Giselle Lawn are on the national board of RMN. Dave is RMN Secretary and steering committee member for the Parents Reconciling Network. He is on Minnesota’s 2012 & 2016 Jurisdictional Conference Delegation but was raised in Virginia and dialogs with traditionalists. Giselle is RMN Treasurer and also board member of United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion (UMATI). She is a five-time North Georgia annual conference delegate, conference reconciling team leader and member of St. Mark UMC in Atlanta.

B7 Who Ya Gonna Call? Navigating the Complaint/Legal Process in the UMC

With Rev. Scott Campbell, Rev. Paul Fleck & Kevin Nelson

So you’ve received a letter from your bishop accusing you of having performed a same-sex wedding or being in a loving relationship with a same-sex partner. How are you to navigate the complaint, just resolution and trial process? Learn about the process in the UMC from experienced church law practitioners.

Scott CampbellScott Campbell is an Elder (retired) in the New England Conference who has represented countless respondents in United Methodist Church legal proceedings, including Rev. Amy DeLong, Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree, and Rev. Frank Schaefer.

Paul FleckPaul Fleck is an Elder in the New York Conference and former attorney who has prepared a number of successful briefs before the Judicial Council of the UMC, counseled respondents in UMC legal proceedings, and assisted in the representation of Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree.

Kevin NelsonKevin Nelson is a Home Missioner in the New England Conference. He is co-chair of the Love Your Neighbor Coalition’s General Conference Legislative Strategy Team. Kevin is also co-chair of RMN’s national legal team and regularly provides assistance to clergy in navigating complaint and legal processes. He also serves on the board of directors for MFSA.

QUEERLY FORWARD

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D1 The Gay Family Next Door

With Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy

As the mothers of two boys, Sara and her wife Kristin have found wide acceptance of their family, albeit outside of the institutional United Methodist Church. Yet, the fact remains there are legal, personal, medical, and social considerations of how to create and be family. Furthermore, how do we prepare our children for the world in which their family circumstances are not always understood? Find out what this family has learned along the way.

Sara Thompson TweedySara Thompson Tweedy is married to Kristin Marcell. They decided to have children through artificial insemination and their son, Maximillian, was born to them on July 16, 2009. Rowan followed soon after on April 3, 2012. The Tweedy-Marcells are living happily ever after in Kerhonkson, New York.

D2 Queer Voices of Color

With Rev. Theon Johnson III ( moderator) and panelists Bridget Cabrera, Jorge Lockward, Mark Miller, Dr. Adama Brown, & Alex Shanks

Co-sponsored by the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion (UMATI)
and United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church (UMOC)

This workshop will increase participants’ understanding about intersectionality between forms of discrimination and systems of oppression, through hearing stories of the lived experiences of LGBTQ people of color. A facilitated panel discussion will be followed by a question and answer period.

Theon JohnsonTheon Johnson is Associate Pastor of Glide UMC in San Francisco. He came to Glide from Mississippi where he served as Director of the Wesley Foundation at Jackson State University and led the music program at Canton UMC.

Bridget CabreraBridget Cabrera is RMN’s Deputy Director. Prior to that, she served as Executive, National Ministries with United Methodist Women; Associate Pastor of Young Adult Ministry at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew in New York City; and Executive Director and Campus Minister of the University of North Alabama Wesley Foundation.
Jorge Lockward

Jorge Lockward is a lay person in the New York Annual Conference. As part of his strong commitment to LGTBQI inclusion, he was part of the church planting team for New Day UMC a radically inclusive cross-cultural congregation in the Bronx.

Mark Miller, 2013Mark Miller serves as Assistant Professor of Church Music at Drew Theological School and is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University. He also is the Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey. Since 1999, Mark has led music for many gatherings of United Methodists and others around the country. His choral anthems are best sellers for Abingdon Press and Choristers Guild and his hymns are published in several hymnals and songbooks.


Adama_photo (1)Adama Brown, PhD
is a university researcher, an active member of FUMC Austin, and an RMN process coach. Brown is active as a certified lay speaker, adult Christian education teacher, lay delegate, and in congregational care ministries. Brown is currently pursuing an MDiv at Iliff School of Theology.

Alex ShanksAlex Shanks is a Christian transman and spoken word poet currently serving the church by advocating for ministrywith trans, queer, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming persons through writing, speaking, training, and consulting on the subject. Previously he’s served in a variety of capacities in the United Methodist Church, many revolving around discipleship of different ages. He lives in Ohio with his wife Rachael and their two dogs, Maya and Kaiser.

D3 Transgender Basics

With Paula Buls, C. Kristian Clauser & Colin Jon david Stewart

Sponsored by the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion (UMATI),
formerly known as RMN’s Transgender Extension Ministry (TEM).

Individuals and congregations may proclaim their acceptance of LGBTQ people, but in practice, many don’t feel prepared to fully welcome the “T.” Participants in this entry-level workshop will take a transgender-positive step on their reconciling journeys as they ask questions, explore facets of gender identity, learn respectful terminology, gain a greater understanding of the challenges trans* people face, and discuss tips for being better allies.

Paula BulsPaula Buls, LCSW is a native Texan and a queer and trans identified clinical social worker and psychotherapist. The first openly transgender woman in the University of Texas, School of Social Work, she was also a founding member of the Transgender Education Network of Texas. She and her wife Phaedra are members of Trinity UMC in Austin.

Kristian ClauserC. Kristian Clauser is a transman and chair of the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion, an RMN extension ministry. A member of Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, he’s spent years promoting Reconciling efforts on the congregation and annual conference levels, and also worked as an RMN Jurisdictional Organizer during the Called to Witness Campaign.

Colin StewartColin Jon david Stewart is a queer, agender, trans male from Washington State who uses the pronouns zy and zys. Zy has been leading classes and workshops on gender at zys old high school, teaching a class on asexuality at Gender Odyssey, working at Camp Ten Trees – a camp for lgbtqiap teens and their allies – and teaching a class on queer terminology at a RMN event in Seattle.

D4 Deepening Ministry with Gender Diverse Persons

With Giselle Lawn & Alex Shanks

Sponsored by the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion (UMATI).

This intermediate-level, participatory workshop will focus on practical ministry ideas and information for those who want to help their congregations move beyond a passive welcome of gender diverse persons into deeper, relational ministry and transgender advocacy. (Those without a foundational understanding of gender identity and transgender concerns are encouraged to attend the Transgender Basics workshop before participating in this session.)

Giselle LawnGiselle Lawn is RMN Treasurer and also board member of United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion (UMATI). She is a five-time North Georgia annual conference delegate, conference reconciling team leader and member of St. Mark UMC in Atlanta.


Alex ShanksAlex Shanks
is a Christian transman and spoken word poet currently serving the church by advocating for ministrywith trans, queer, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming persons through writing, speaking, training, and consulting on the subject. Previously he’s served in a variety of capacities in the United Methodist Church, many revolving around discipleship of different ages. He lives in Ohio with his wife Rachael and their two dogs, Maya and Kaiser.

D5 Family Acceptance Project: Revolutionizing How We Support LGBT People in Families & Faith Communities

With Caitlin Ryan, PhD, ACSW

Sponsored by the Parents Reconciling Network

Compelling research from the Family Acceptance Project at SF State University has generated a new family-based approach that helps families integrate deeply held values and beliefs with supporting their LGBT children. This approach strengthens families, helps prevent serious health risks and promotes the well-being of LGBT children, youth and young adults in the context of their families, cultures and religion. This workshop will discuss this new approach, including how it can help address these issues in the UMC.

Caitlin RyanCaitlin Ryan is a clinical social worker who has worked on LGBT health and mental health for 40 years. Dr. Ryan directs the Family Acceptance Project at SF State University – the first research, education, intervention and policy project to help ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children. She trains on this work across the U.S. and other countries.

D6 LGBTQI Asylum and Global Congregations – Seeking Global AFFIRMATION

With Ann Craig, M.Div.

Sponsored by Affirmation: United Methodist for LGBTQ Concerns

LGBTQI people from Russia to Yemen and Uganda are seeking asylum in Europe and in the USA. Few, if any, LGBTQI organizations in the U.S. have a mandate to help. Churches are the most experienced and prepared to support the new wave of exiles looking for a home. Churches are also the place where global advocacy can emerge in partnership with the new movement for global AFFIRMATION of LGBTQI people.

Ann CraigAnn Craig, the first director of religion at GLAAD, served 22 years in the General Board of Global Ministries. She is Director of Administration & Development at the Fellowship Global and is a communications consultant for progressive faith groups. She is also co-spokesperson of Affirmation.

D7 Communities of Color Journey Toward Full Inclusion

With Jorge Lockward & Rev. Vicki Flippin

The assumption that communities of color are hopeless to accept LGBTQI inclusion is inconsistent with Christian teaching and with current reality. The truth is that many people and communities of color are fierce advocates for inclusion. The theological truth is that God is making all communities safe and empowering. The spiritual truth is that the LGBTQI equality movement is impoverished without the full inclusion of the souls and stories of people of color. Join us to hear these stories of difficult conversations, colorful journeys, and unbounded hope.

Jorge LockwardJorge Lockward is a lay person in the New York Annual Conference. As part of his strong commitment to LGTBQI inclusion, he was part of the church planting team for New Day UMC a radically inclusive cross-cultural congregation in the Bronx.

Vicki Flippin is Associate Pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Village in New York City. Passionate about racial justice, LGBTQI equality, and the future of the progressive church, she also serves as Co-President of the Methodist Federation for Social Action and as Secretary of Vicki FlippinMethodists in New Directions.

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