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SDA Kinship - February eNews

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Kinship eNews
Messages from your Kinship Leaders
Vol 10 No 2                                                                                February 2016
Changs to Kinship eNews


Important notice: Kinship eNews is published on the public part of the Kinship website at This means that you will no longer need to log in to the members-only area of the website in order to read full articles or the full issue. The public eNews contains important reports and messages from your Kinship leadership. News and announcements from region coordinators and chapter leaders are now emailed directly only to members in those specific regions. If you do not receive an email from your region coordinator or chapter leader, please let Member Services.


Message from the President
Family and Friends
Church Relations Report
From Your Director of Communications
KinYouth News
Kinship Women

Building Safe Places - for Everyone
Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Rehoboth Mini-Kampmeeting 2016
Kinship Europe Meetings
Book and the Beach Mini-Kampmeeting

Living Eden's Gifts
Kinship Support
Helpful Hyperlinksblackline

Message from the President

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Some great things are happening with the release of the follow-up to Seventh-Gay Adventists, the dialogue film, Enough Room at the Table. Just as the SGA movie touched so many people, particularl the often-referred-to “movable middle,” the film Enough Room at the Table promises to continue the conversation while broadening the range of people we get to meet. Whereas SGA showed lesbian and gay couples, Enough Room at the Table shows gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, and allies all together in conversation—a broader view of our community.

I recently had the opportunity to be around a lot of awesome Kinship supporters. It’s always such a blessing to be with folks who love and support me for who I am, just the way I am, especially people who are part of the Adventist church. It happens so rarely!

I’m so very grateful for each one of these people who works tirelessly in inhospitable environments for LGBT+ people and their supporters. Yet, because they care, they continue each day to do what they can for us wherever they are. 

As we shared stories and experiences and updated each other on the work we’ve been doing to support the community, we also shared a quote from Ellen White’s book Ministry of Healing: "The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian” (p. 470). The person who shared this quote with our group explained how important it could be for the church to see the LGBT+ community as loving and lovable Christians, whether members or church officers; the impression that church members might have regarding our community could be swayed for the better!

I think this can be interpreted two ways. First, those Kinship members who still consider themselves to be Seventh-day Adventist Christians could understand this statement to mean that the way we interact with the denomination and with people unlike us reflects the loving and lovable Christians that we already are! Having Adventist church members and leaders see our character could dispel the negative attitudes so many Adventists seem to hold about LGBT+ people.

This statement could also be taken another way. It could imply that it is Adventist LGBT+ people’s responsibility to always show ourselves to be loving and lovable even though we are often the recipients of unkind, unloving, harsh, and downright hateful messages from the Adventist denomination. The expectation seems to ask the oppressed to behave in a way that will alter the behavior of others and stop them from abusing us. If we act loving and lovable, perhaps we might be treated better and accepted more readily; but if we don’t, we probably won’t.

I am positive this second interpretation is not the way my friend intended us to understand the quote; I know his heart. At the same time, I have heard this responsibility laid on our community’s shoulders before.

As an individual, I hope to always show myself to be loving and lovable, to the best of my ability. I make this commitment because I hope that the love I have for myself, for other people, and for the God of my understanding will show through me. But if I only do it so that other Adventists who are not in the LGBT+ community will see me as a better lesbian, I don’t think is a good thing, and I also don’t think that it will work.

We spoke of another issue during our time together that I wanted to share my thoughts on. Several times over the last couple of years, some Kinship leaders have discussed the idea of a Kinship-organized mission trip. This is an idea that some of our members seem very passionate about; and, just like our community being lovable, participating in mission trips could have great consequences. A Kinship mission trip could be thought of as a way for the church to see our organization as a loving, giving group that desires to bless those in need. Both those giving and those receiving would be blessed, I’m sure.

And yet this idea could also have the same wrinkles as the previous one. A mission trip could be misinterpreted as a trade: we do a mission trip, and the church accepts just how worthy we are as Adventists or even as human beings.

Do you see? It all depends on what motivates the mission trip! Do we want to organize and participate in a mission trip to give back and help other human beings who are just as valuable as we are? Or are we doing good things so that the Adventist church will think well of us?

Personally, I’m all for being positive evidence for the gospel by being loving and lovable; that’s how I choose to live. But I have no desire to do so to convince anyone that I’m an awesome person “despite” being an Adventist lesbian.

And I totally support Kinship members organizing and participating in charitable and mission-style activities in order to give back and to help people in need, whether in our own local chapters or in other countries. Any region can work with Members Services to organize an event if enough members are interested. I’m sure such an activity could be good publicity for Kinship, too. But could we join denominational trips? I’m not sure. Would the rest of the church allow us to participate if they knew we were LGBT+ current and former Adventists? I have no idea. I just don’t believe the motivation for doing a mission trip should be to show anyone in the Adventist denomination just how good we LGBT+ people are!

We should hold our heads up high and love and accept who we are without depending on the opinion of anyone else, even our church! We already know we are amazing, loving, giving, compassionate, generous, and caring human beings who happen to be either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or asexual! We’re already worthy, all of us. We are enough.

And it will be an awesome day when each one of us recognizes and knows without a shadow of a doubt that we are infinitely valuable and loved just the way we are. 

Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International

Family and Friends

Debbie Widmer, Family & Friends Coordinator

When God Said, "Be Mine!"


Red hearts, chocolate candy, roses, and valentines are everywhere. The stores are filled with reds, pinks, and whites. Perfume bottles are being tested and diamonds are glistening. Love is in the air! It seems the months fly by, holiday by holiday.

Valentine’s is a great day if you have a special someone in your life or, at least, family and friends. But I am reminded each year that there are those for whom this time is lonely and fraught with fear, disappointment, and despair. Some feel distant from family and friends. Some don’t feel accepted by those around them, and others even feel distant and separated from God. They feel alone, struggling to exist day by day.

I think Paul understood these feelings, for he spoke to our fear of being separated and distant from the One who loves us the most. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There you have it—nothing—nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. Do you believe that? We so easily accept what others feel or say about us that we find it hard to believe and accept what the God of love is saying to each and every one of us. We are loved, our families and friends are loved. And nothing can separate us from that love. He pursues us with more than candy hearts and paper valentines. He pursues us with His eternal love and a deep desire to have us with Him forever. Now that’s a Valentine’s Day to remember!

As family and friends, we have the opportunity to reflect—even if only dimly—this same eternal love; the love of the Father for the “valentines” of His life. This season, give the gift of love to someone who is struggling to know this kind of love.

Perhaps you may know of some parents, siblings or grandparents that are hurting and in this journey with an LGBTQ+ family member. This would be a wonderful opportunity to reach out to them with words of love and support. Affirm them for the actions of care and love that they are passing on to their family.

Perhaps you are a parent or grandparent who has said words of separation and rejection to an LGBTQ+ child or grandchild. You let sexuality separate your love from that person you once loved. This would be the perfect month to make a phone call and say, “I was wrong.  I’m sorry. Won’t you ‘be mine,’ once again!”

If you need support, have questions, or have any ideas for how we can help or support you, please contact us at Kinship International.

Debbie Widmer
Family and Friends Coordinator

Contact the Family and Friends Coordinators.


Church Relations Report
Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations

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The Kinship Advisory Council met all day Sabbath, February 6. One of the highlights of the meeting each year is to have members share what they have done during the past year to support LGBT Equality. As usual, there were a number of wonderful stories. We also had a couple of guests join us. One was from Ethiopia and another was a woman who married a gay man. Both of their stories were very moving.

Since this is the tenth anniversary of the “Conference on Homosexuality” that included presentations that became chapters in the book, Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives, the Advisory considered ways to provide updates to the information. There have been many changes both in society and the church during the last ten years. Over the next several months we will be exploring ways to create short segments that can be posted on the internet related to the topics presented in the book and shared through various media.

Daneen has been invited to have a booth at the One Project gathering in Seattle, February 14 and 15. The booth will provide information about both Seventh-Gay Adventists and the new DVD Enough Room at the Table. I look forward to meeting many pastors and others attending the One Project.

Yolanda presented a report to the Advisory about current projects Kinship is working on.

There was a discussion about Building Safe Places. We want to continue to explore ways to make churches safe places for LGBTs to worship.

The Advisory feels it is time to expand our base of support by adding additional members. A number of new members were suggested and will be contacted to become part of the Advisory.  We are looking to find ways to have the number Kinship allies grow. We hope all our members are encouraging parents, siblings, and friends to become members of Kinship as allies, friends, and family.

The Advisory continues to seek ways to support the GSA groups on the various Adventist campuses. The IAGC is changing the way the church views the LGBT community on campus and that is resulting in improving the way local churches relate to our community as these students go back to their local congregations.

Do you have ideas to share or want to dialogue about how we can interact with local churches, conferences, or the General Conference? Please share your ideas and questions on the Kinship Facebook page. Or you can send me your comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions.blackline

From Your Director of Communications
Jonathan Cook, Director of Communications

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Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Links to bookmarks:

Public Facebook Page -
Twitter -
Kinship Blog -
We Are Seventh-day Adventists: Every Story Matters -


KinYouth News
Rebby Kern, Director of Youth Interests


Black History Month

February is Black History Month in the United States and a time to reflect on the great work achieved by those who've come before us. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Audre Lorde, we have icons, heroes, and brave souls who have endured the pains so that we may be free today. While there is still more work to be done, current heroes are carving their way into history by pushing bounds and finding progress.  

READ: recently released a list of 35 LGBTQ black writers to Know--it's a must-read. Check it out and add a new book, poem, oressay to your reading list to celebrate black lives this month and every day. (

Kampmeeting Assistance Available for KinYouth

It's not too early to start thinking about SDA Kinship Kampmeeting in Baltimore this July 26-31, 2016. There are scholarships and financial assistance available to KinYouth specifically and you are encouraged to apply. Fill out the form to be considered for assistance. ( We can't wait to see you there!

More information about KinYouth at:

Or you can email Rebby or friend her on Facebook and join the KinYouth Facebook Group.


Kinship Women

Debbie Hawthorn-Toop, Director of Women's Interests

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February is the month that is most associated with love. We celebrate Valentine’s Day; and here in several of the Canadian provinces, we celebrate Family Day. What do both of these special dates mean to you? How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you need to have that special someone to celebrate with? Or do you consider yourself special enough and love yourself enough to make it a special day for you?

Family day. Who is your family? Family does not have to be blood-related. Take some time this month to look at the relationships in your life and also to take time to do something for yourself.  You need to love yourself in order to have enough love to give to someone else. I am not perfect; however, I try to show kindness and love towards others every day.

Time to Register

Women and Children First weekend registration is on the Kinship website at The dates are July 22-26, 2016. The number of attendees is limited this year, so if you are planning on attending please register early. We have already had several members register, and it is on a first-come first-served basis. Women & Children First Weekend is open to all female Kinship members, including our wonderful allies.

There are a few scholarship spots available. If you are in need of financial assistance to attend, please go to the website to apply. All applications are kept fully confidential.

For a look at the property where we will be staying, at go to:

Please feel free to contact me with any other suggestions or ideas that you may have for KinWomen.

Debbie Hawthorn-Toop

More information at:


Catherine Taylor, Editor


In the February and March issues we would like to include your vignettes about people or animals that have been gifts in your life. You can send them to us.

Over the next year we would also like to share your stories, long or short, that let us get to know you and your journey. We've received lots of appreciations for the Jerry McKay's story that has been shared "in chapters" over the last year. We would like to do more of this. If you need help or support with the writing, we can do that.

If you have comments, questions, or submissions for publication, you can write to us.

Connection Archives

You can find archived copies of the Connection online at


Building Safe Places—for Everyone
Safe Places Team: Ruud Kieboom, Frieder Schmid, Ingrid Schmid, Floyd Pönitz, and Catherine Taylor

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January - Arlene Taylor gave a wonderful workshop on the way our brains affect us and our development, our gender, and the way we look at relationships. There were 35 people at the afternoon session. Arlene has provided a way that nurses who attend these meetings get CEU credit. If your church would like to have this presentation, you can contact us.

February - We will be having a two-day meeting with Kinship members and allies to discuss ways to build bridges into safe church communities.

You can find many resources on our website at

You can receive our newsletter by contacting us.


Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Kristina Burgos, Kampmeeting Coordinator

July 26-31, 2016  Save the Dates!

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Greetings my fellow Kinship family, this is just a friendly reminder that the deadline to receive a 5% discount for this year’s (2016) Kampmeeting is fast approaching and will end February 28. After that date, the discount will be 2% until the end of April. Be sure to register so you don’t miss out on a great event.

Information for Kampmeeting 2016 in Baltimore is on the SDA Kinship website at

We are working hard to make sure we have a diverse group of speakers that covers all aspects of our beautiful diverse group of members as well as providing fun and exciting activities and events in which all can participate throughout the day and evening.  

If you have questions contact Kristina.



Rehoboth Mini-Kampmeeting 2016

Rehoboth Beach

Now is the perfect time to make your plans to join us at the lovely beach town April 28-May 1, 2016. We have great speakers, wonderful Sabbath School teachers, an enjoyable open mike musical vespers, and a tradition of delicious eating.

For more information, you can contact Yolanda.


Kinship Europe

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A German speaking meeting was held at the home of Ingrid and Frieder, February 6. For more information, you can contact Ingrid.

EKM 1-5 September

If you are interested in a late summer adventure in a beautiful area of Germany, meeting a variety of interesting people, learning about our brains and how their affect our relationships, practicing Tai Chi, getting the opportunity to be in a play, and eating wonderful food in a comfortable seminar hotel, we are accepting registrations! For more information, you can go to

Kinship Europe Holiday

If you would like to continue your holiday from September 5 to 12, here is a link to the beautiful house we'll get to share. For more information or to register, you can go to Here is a link that describes our house:

Members of Kinship Europe stay in near constant contact with each other on the Kinship Europe WhatsApp group. If you are interested in joining the group, you can contact Floyd.

More information about Kinship Europe at

European Coordinator:Ruud Kieboom

European Youth Coordinator: Itamar


Book and the Beach — October 26-30, 2016

beach book 2011The Kind God of the Old Testament?

Cost: $240.00 per person

Many of us picture a gentle Jesus in the New Testament and an Old Testament God of Wrath. This year, our study time will be a mix of presentation and discussion. We'll look at Old Testament stories, their contexts, and the ways the actions we've often considered vindictive were actually examples of Divine grace, patience, and protectiveness. For Sabbath we'll be joined by David Dildy, a local lawyer, who is a student of history and the character of God. We will, of course, continue our tradition of afternoon adventures.

As of March 1, you can begin a monthly payment plan of $30.00 per month. You can register at If you have questions, you can contact Catherine.

We look forward to seeing you!


Living Eden's Gifts


Designed primarily for those with Adventist backgrounds but written to be read and understood by Christians on all parts of the conservative/liberal continuum, this Bible study is available on the Kinship website, Building Safe Places website, and in easy-to-read hard copy pamphlets that you can request from Catherine.

You can access the entirety of this Bible study of "the clobbr texts" at or printed copies to hand out, you can contact Catherine.

blackline Kinship Support

circle of kinship smWithout generous, caring persons like you, Kinship could not exist. Kinship operates solely on contributions from its members and friends. Help us reach out to more LGBTI Adventists by making a tax-deductible donation to Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International.


Helpful Hyperlinks


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Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International
PO Box 244, Orinda, California USA 94563
Visit us on the web at


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An Open Letter to Any Parent of an LGBTIAQ+ Child

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