Rainbow Pathways: Exploring LGBTQI2+ Welcome and Inclusion

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, November 6 and Saturday, November 13, 2021, 1 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern).

What:

The church is called to be a welcoming, nurturing, loving and supportive community—a true church family. The 2021 General Assembly affirmed that all people whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity are equally beloved by God. However, homophobia and transphobia in the Presbyterian church often prevent us from fully extending this love and care to LGBTQI2+ people, resulting in significant harm to LGBTQI2+ people and their families in the church.

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

How to Register:

  1. Coordinate with other members of your ministry to decide who will register.
  2. Contact Carragh Erhardt (Program Coordinator, Sexuality & Inclusion) to indicate your interest in the course. Please include the name of your ministry and location in your email or phone message.
  3. Carragh will follow up to ask a few intake questions. This is not an application but a process that enables the facilitators to tailor the course to the needs of participants.

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.” Andrew is an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Church and formerly served in the Order of Diaconal Ministries in the PCC.

Janet Fitzsimmons is a femme lesbian, and chooses to focus her work on inclusion as a response to her lived experience of the impacts of exclusion. She believes 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 centre 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 and other workshop participants in a meet-and-greet on Thursday, November 4, at 7 – 8:30 p.m. (Eastern).

Day One: Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 1 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)

LGBTQI2+ Identities: Families, Youth and Seniors
Participants will learn how to recognize the nuanced experiences of LGBTQI2+ people, and how to design welcome and inclusion strategies that address specific experiences.

Trans Lives
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.

Day Two: Saturday, November 13, 2021 | 1:00 – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Congregational Readiness Tool #1 – Introduction
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.

Congregational Readiness Tool #2 – Applications
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.