On Saturday, May 22nd the Pride in the Pulpit Faith Leaders of Color Committee hosted their first forum: Creating a Safe and Welcoming Religious Space for All People. Over 50 people who are committed to addressing the experiences of exclusion towards LGBT people of color in faith communities attended the forum. The focus of the day was to provide information as well as to develop skills and strategies that attendees can take back to their faith communities. The forum began with a panel discussion and was followed by action-oriented workshops. Both the panel discussion and the workshops addressed four major topics:
1. Sacred Scriptures: How are sacred scriptures/texts used to support and condone discrimination, harassment/abuse and condemnation of queer people?
2. What is the role of religious institutions in promoting love and care for all people?
3. How can we celebrate diversity and pluralism with our LGBT community?
4. How can faith-based institutions speak to and address the need of LGBT youth and young adults?
Panelists included Rev. Jackie Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church; Nila Marrone, coordinator of PFLAG Families of Color; Rev. Boon Lin Ngeo, staff pastor for MCC New York and co-founder of Good Samaritan MCC in Malaysia; and Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep. Workshop facilitators included Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D., Coordinator of Queer Asian Sprit; Oliver W. Martin III, President of the Board of Directors for The United Church of Christ HIV/AIDS Network; and Rev. Melvin John P. Miller, Associate Minister, Fort Washington Collegiate Church.
Here are some photos from the event:
Changing hearts and minds takes work, and it happens with one conversation at a time. The Creating a Safe and Welcoming Religious Space for All People forum empowered attendees to get the conversation going in their own communities. Want to join in the conversation? For more information on Pride in the Pulpit or the Faith Leaders of Color Committee, contact Pride in the Pulpit Coordinator Kate McDonough at 212-627-0305 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org