An online learning opportunity to equip congregations to be more welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQI2+ people and families

When: This free online course is comprised of four 1.5-hour modules that will be offered on Saturday, November 21, and Saturday, November 28, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. (Eastern).

What: The church has recognized that we are called to be a welcoming, nurturing, loving and supportive community—a true church family. However, homophobia and transphobia have created barriers in the Presbyterian church that often prevent us from extending this welcome to LGBTQI2+ people in the same ways we extend welcome to people who are straight and cisgender (see below for course synopsis).

Who: This course is designed for clergy and lay leaders. Congregational leaders are invited to participate in this free online course to learn how to recognize barriers to LGBTQI2+ people in local ministry contexts and how to take further steps towards welcome and inclusion. Interested participants are encouraged to register in teams of two from their congregation.

Leadership

This course is co-facilitated by the Rev. Andrew Holmes and Janet Fitzsimmons.

The Rev. Andrew Holmes is a Queer Trans Masculine person of faith. As a pastor and social worker, Andrew journeys with individuals, organizations and congregations as they work towards being welcoming and inclusive communities. Andrew does this work through individual therapy, workshops and speaking engagements. As a skilled facilitator, Andrew creates safe spaces that allow for deep reflecting, questioning and open conversations that invite transformation. He often says: “It’s not easy work, but it’s work worth doing.” The Rev. Andrew Holmes is ordained in the Metropolitan Community Church and formerly served in the Order of Diaconal Ministries in the PCC.

Janet Fitzsimmons is a femme lesbian, and uses the pronouns she/her. She chooses to focus her work on inclusion as a response to her lived experience of the impacts of exclusion; she has a deep belief in the power of dialogue to build bridges and strengthen us all. Janet brings two decades of community development experience and a passion for transformational learning to designing and delivering opportunities that centre marginalized experiences and help communities to build robust strategies for welcome and inclusion. As a person of faith, it is central to her work that all participants are able to authentically engage with spirit as they explore how to deepen connection with their peers.

Registration

Contact Carragh Erhardt (Program Coordinator, Sexuality & Inclusion) to register

Based on the interactive nature of this course, it will be limited to a maximum of 20 participants. If you have any questions about the course or want to discuss whether the course is a good fit for you, you can email Carragh or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 278.

Course Synopsis

Each online learning session will last 1.5 hours and will include a combination of facilitated discussions and interactive exercises. Participants will also be asked to complete a series of self-reflective exercises in between sessions. An hour-long break is scheduled between sessions that are scheduled for the same day.

Saturday, November 21

LGBTQI2+ 101 | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Participants will review the history of LGBTQI2+ movements and will reflect on their own historical context in relation to LGBTQI2+ issues and will surface and challenge their own biases. They will also become familiar with terminology related to LGBTQI2+.

LGBTQI2+ Identities: Families, Youth and Seniors | 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Participants will learn how to recognize the nuanced experiences of LGBTQI2+ people, and how to design welcome and inclusion strategies that address specific experiences.

Saturday, November 28

Trans Lives | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (Eastern)
Participants will gain an understanding of trans issues and explore gender across a spectrum of experiences. Through skillfully facilitated discussion, participants will unpack assumptions and practice using trans-inclusive language.

Congregational Readiness | 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)
Participants will be introduced to a tool that can be used within congregations to assess and determine their readiness to embark on a process of LGBTQI2+ inclusion.