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

When: This course is comprised of four modules which will be offered on Saturday, February 20 and Saturday, February 27, 2021 | 1–5 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. Ministry 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.

Previous participants shared that they found the course informative and practical, and that it helped them build confidence in their ability to 1) provide appropriate pastoral care to LGBTQI2+ people and 2) facilitate respectful conversation about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The course includes four modules divided across two Saturdays. See below for the course synopsis.

Who: This course is designed for clergy and lay leaders. Interested participants are encouraged to register in teams of two from their ministry (i.e., congregation, camp, presbytery, etc.)

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 Erhardt or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 278.

How to Register:

This course is now full. Contact Carragh Erhardt (Program Coordinator, Sexuality & Inclusion) to receive updates about future learning opportunities.

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 allows for deep reflecting, questioning and open conversations that invites transformation. He often says: It’s not easy work but it’s work worth doing. Andrew 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. Drawing upon two decades of community development experience, and bringing a passion for transformational learning, Janet designs and delivers opportunities to center marginalized experiences and for 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.

Course Synopsis:

This course includes a combination of presentations, facilitated discussions and interactive exercises. Each online learning session will contain two modules and a half hour break. Participants will also be asked to complete a series of self-reflective exercises in between sessions. There is some pre-course reading that will be sent to participants in advance along with an opportunity to meet the facilitators during optional office hours in the week prior to the first class.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

LGBTQI2+ Identities: Families, Youth and Seniors | 1–2:45 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.

Break | 2:45–3:15 p.m. (Eastern)

Trans Lives | 3:15–5 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.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Congregational Readiness Tool 1 – Introduction | 1–2:45 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.

Break | 2:45-3:15 p.m. (Eastern)

Congregational Readiness Tool 2 – Applications | 3:15–5 p.m. (Eastern)
Participants will engage in small group discussions and case studies to deepen their understanding of how to apply the congregational readiness tool in their ministry contexts.

If you have any questions, contact Carragh or call 1-800-619-7301 ext. 278.