Three groups plan to host “Fabulous, Fierce and Sacred: A Gathering of Anabaptist LGBTQA community” Nov. 21-23 in Chicago for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied Mennonites.
The conference will be held at the Cenacle Retreat and Conference Center.
As of Oct. 29, fifty people have registered for the event, according to Patrick Ressler, one of the organizers.
“This gathering of LGBTQA people and allies will offer opportunities for retreat and renewal, planning and politics, and simply being held in the encompassing space of welcoming and inclusive community,” according to a press release.
The list of workshops include: social change theory and Mennonite Church USA, the intersections of our identities; becoming better allies, queering our theology, Mennonite Church USA polity and strategies for analyzing and resisting, and the lived experience of transgender people.
There may be conversations around BMC, Pink Menno and Inclusive Pastors direct action and advocacy at Kansas City 2015, but this gathering will also simply be a time to be present with each other in welcoming, inclusive space, said Ressler on Oct. 29.
“This gathering is an important piece of healing for the Mennonite queer and allied community,” said Ressler. “We have been told that our identities are inherently conflicting. In gathering, … we create spaces where we feel more fully named and more fully known as Mennonites, blessed by each other and by God, who loves us in all our queerness. This is space that the Mennonite church as a whole is not yet willing to create—we must create it ourselves.”
“It has been a long time since LGBTQ people have held a national gathering of this kind,” said Annabeth Roeschley, another event planner. “While some of us have gathered at the biennial Mennonite Church USA conventions, those events in recent years have brought us together primarily in a spirit of nonviolent resistance and action. There is a widely-felt sense that we are overdue in gathering LGBTQ people and allies together for the sole purpose of celebration, healing, and the sustenance of our vibrant community.”
Ron Adams, also a planning committee member and pastor of Madison (Wis.) Mennonite Church, says, “For my part, I think this event provides a necessary reminder that our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are part of our church. They are not a problem or an issue. They, we, are all God’s dear children.”
To register, learn more, or donate, visit: http://fabulousfiercesacred.eventbrite.com.