The Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests announced Feb. 12 that it has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation to assist in creating an online Center for Queer Anabaptist/Pietist Studies.
A news release described the center’s purposes as holding the stories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, exploring new possibilities for a more just future and equipping pastors and church members to engage in ministry and transforming change.
The council, known as BMC, envisions that the center will be “a place where people can grow in their understanding of LGBTQ lives and issues by listening to individual stories, taking an online class or seminar, downloading resources, engaging with queer scholars and artists or connecting to the larger movement for LGBTQ justice.”
“It has become painfully clear to us that, regardless of intent, most of our pastors are ill-equipped to offer competent and effective pastoral care to and with the LGBTQ community,” BMC director Carol Wise said in the release. “We hope to correct these deficiencies not only because of the positive impact that it will have upon LGBTQ individuals and families, but also because we believe that this has tremendous implications for the overall well-being and relevancy of a church that has practiced violence and exclusion for far too long.”
The grant will provide funding as the project is developed over the next three years.
BMC was founded in 1976 “to cultivate an inclusive church and society and to care for the Mennonite and Brethren LGBTQ and allied community.”
Its programs include the Supportive Communities Network for congregations, Kaleidoscope for young adults and Connecting Families for parents and family members.