I have a daughter, *Sophia, 14 years old, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She’s bright,
energetic, and social who happens to be bisexual.
When I first learned that Sophie identified as bisexual, I was devastated. I knew that most importantly I
would always love my child. Based on that foundation, I started to read, watch, and learn anything I
could about the LGBTQ+ community. While searching for answers, I watched “Seventh-gay Adventists”
and found out about SDA Kinship. To my delight, I learned that a Kampmeeting was scheduled in a few
months near my home. I signed up and Sophie agreed to attend at least some of the meetings.
I was startled when Floyd reminded me that October is Kinship Awareness Month. So many of you live in my mind and in my heart so much of the time, that it seems like it’s always Kinship month for me. When I think about the ways Kinship is important to me—well, it’s you. Plain, simple, complex, hopeful, frustrated, inspiring, loving you. This month, there are some people I want to tell you about and some I will leave to their privacy.
- Ruud: You Are Invited and You Are Safe with Me is beautiful because of you. And that’s only the start. The rest of you will have to meet him to understand.
- Colin: You made a film and also made illustrated instructions so I could find my way into 21st-century Zoom.
- Ivy: You teach me cultural humility and make sure I get these notes done.
- Tom: You teach us about THOSE texts and other biblical conundrums with humor, gentleness, brilliance, and grace.
- Tanja: You are the boarding school roommate I never had. We’re working on getting a book group going.
- Verna-Lee: I am in awe of your courage.
- Bruce and Eddie: Well, you know I love you. Thank you for being big brothers. You, David, and Terry were the first people who taught me Kinship was home.
- Ingrid and Frieder: There are few words. I am in awe of you and care for you deeply.
- Jens: I learn from the courage and grace of your journey.
- Pam: Oh, my goodness. You have reminded my heart that everyday funny chit-chats are possible. You help me survive Lorraine’s death.
- Kirsten and Eileen: You teach me about so many ways people can be safe.
- Mwole: Yep, I would have followed you over the rails of that horse cart . . . and I don’t do that for just anyone.
- Stefan and Joachim: I cannot imagine a September vacation without you or Friday nights without photos of your Irish . . . well, your Irish way of welcoming the Sabbath.
- James: I tell lots of people that one of your first messages to my post-surgical self was, “We’re praying for you, and can I see a copy of the X-ray?” Also, I do love arguing theology with you.
- Jacquie: Thank you for your particular, wonderful self and the hundreds of hours you proofread my work.
- Linda: For getting so very many missives mailed and doing it with love and grace.
- Kayla: Wow, thank you. I appreciate this time to get to know you.
- Justin: You listen in many careful ways. It’s amazing to me that you can write what I think in my voice. What a gift.
- And then there is Floyd. Thanks for putting up with my sniffling when I thought we had blown Building Safe Places that year, for finding me a church when I didn’t want to leave, for taking me to my first leather bar (at 5:00 in the afternoon), for having faith in my visions as I figure out what they are, for caring so much about this Kinship community that you stretch my heart. What an amazing gift that I get to know you and work with you.
. . . and dear wonderful readers I haven’t even told you about the surprising, amazing, laughter-and-tears-filled family reunion that was the European Kinship Meeting last month. I have never seen or been to anything like it.
Clearly, what makes Kinship so valuable and healing is all of you. I wish for you unexpected blessings.
Take good care of yourselves for you are valuable and valued.
— Catherine Taylor, Vice President
Every so often, I hear stories of LGBTQ+ people from the ‘90s, ‘80s, and earlier. I hear of how people were OUT, proud and loud before there were any rights and before the internet. When I hear those stories, it reminds me that I am part of a chain of LGBTQ+ people who have been paving the way for me to be able to come out and enjoy life so openly.
When I attend Kinship Kampmeeting and hear stories from times past, from Kampmeetings in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and I see people and an organization that has been promoting LGBTQ+ rights in the Adventist Church for 40+ years, it makes me proud to be part of this legacy.
However, many SDAs still don’t know who we are, why we exist or why they should join our movement to help the SDA Church become more loving, accepting, and compassionate. Many Adventists still believe negative stereotypes, and many Adventist families think that they need to reject LGBTQ+ people, including their kids, because of their biblical worldview.
I’m glad Kinship shows another way. Kinship promotes hope for LGBTQ+ Adventists to hold onto their faith, live in integrity, and be out and proud LGBTQ+ members of society. As Kinship Awareness kicks off, we aim to empower members with confidence and insight, so we can share Kinship more broadly. We can invite our family members, as well as church communities, to attend Kinship events and bring their questions and doubts. We’re not here to have all the answers, but we are willing to journey alongside people as they ask questions.
Stay tuned to our social channels as we share news and feel free to share our posts with others in your network. Together, we can spread the good news of SDA Kinship and work together to create authentic, safe spaces for our members and beyond.
— Justin Mezetin, Director of Communications
P.S. I hope to see many of you at Kinship Kampmeeting this year in Riverside, CA, from November 9-12. See Kampmeeting.com for more info.
Only recently did we receive the sad news of the death of Reino Korhonen (June 1943-January 2023) and his partner Ingemar Fägerlind (December 1935-December 2021). Reino was one of the 'founding fathers' of the European Kinship meetings. In fact, the first meeting took place at their home and garden in Tunhem, Västa Göthaland, Sweden, in July 2002, the beginning of an annual tradition that will continue for the 22nd time this year from 31 August to 4 September in Friedensau, Germany. There, we will fondly remember our dear friends 'from the very first hour' of our gatherings.
Ingemar (L) & Reino (R) in their garden, July 2002, during the first European Kinship Meeting
Happy month of May!
There has been so much happening in the past few weeks. If you haven't joined in with the presentations, I hope you will check out our YouTube channel and catch up with the recordings there. Both the Washington Adventist University summit and the Adventist Peace Fellowship summit were inspiring, enriching, and filled with wonderful presentations and sermons. I highly recommend spending some time soaking in the presentation. Adventist Today had Kinship's own Ron Lawson for their Sabbath Seminar present on Colin Cook's Quest ministry—one that supposedly could change attendees from gay to straight. Of course, that was false advertising. It was quite an eye-opening presentation. These and many more can be found on our YouTube channel: //www.youtube.com/@SDAkinship" data-cke-saved-href="https://www.youtube.com/@SDAkinship">https://www.youtube.com/@SDAkinship.
It Is with Sadness That I Write This Letter
BY JERRY MCKAY
The 1986 Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) season took over at work in midwinter. To keep up with the volume of mutual fund purchases, my employer hired temporary staff. That was how I met Judith, a friendly, attractive woman with dark wavy hair. We hit it off immediately. I told her, with some hesitation, about my journey and my work with HA. As Judith worked in theatre, she assured me she was fine with my orientation, that I was not the first gay man she had ever met! We frequently had lunch together and occasionally met up outside of work.
“While together the other evening,” I wrote, “I allowed myself to feel anything that I was aware of.” My reserved personality, dampened by hyperconservative Christian caution, continued to make it difficult for me to relax and feel anything or think about anything sexual related to women. It was always a challenge to just be and linger over thoughts like kissing a woman! Writing as if I were practicing a mindfulness meditation, I continued, “I didn’t resist, but tried to let the thought of kissing her flow in and out of my mind freely.”
Helping Our Faith to Understand and Love
As we watch our top faith leaders react and respond to genuine modern human situations, we see exposed many weaknesses, misunderstandings, and argumentative behaviors. Strong words; but we feel many of the top leaders understand and desire supporting modern loving decisions but are too “weak” to oppose narrow old-fashioned beliefs, which clearly reflect “misunderstandings” in the education and interpretations of biblical translations. “Argumentative” behaviors occur when one or more high-level leaders independently create one-sided committees with targeted purposes without listening and considering valuable and accurate modern information.
Over the past decades, these activities have occurred with many subjects and situations. For us, SDA Kinship, many decisions have been issued and committees have been formed to reject our family “rainbow” members and their families, too. Fortunately, our local church and our friends accepted our gay son, and we never encountered some of the mean and hurtful behaviors that are occurring today.