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May eNews

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Kinship eNews
Messages from your Kinship Leaders
Vol 10 No 5                                                                                May 2016
Changes 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 email from your region coordinator or chapter leader, please let Member Services know at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..


Message from the President
How Can the Kinship Website Better Serve You?
Member Services
Family and Friends
Breaking News From Australia
Church Relations Report
From Your Director of Communications
KinYouth News
Kinship Women
Building Safe Places - for Everyone
Kinship Kampmeeting 2016

Kinship Europe Meetings
Book and the Beach Mini-Kampmeeting

Living Eden's Gifts
Kinship Support
Helpful Hyperlinks


Message from the President

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Early in April, the Kinship board and leadership staff met in San Bruno, California, for board meeting. A good friend of many Region 8 Kinship members hosted us at her home and prepared wonderful meals so we could keep our energy up for our many hours of discussion.

All board members and leadership staff reported on their recent work.

Karen Lee took us through the past year in finances. Although donations seem to be down so far this first quarter over last year, we are still working hard on current projects such as the Building Safe Places program in the United States and Europe, producing quality publications such as the eNews and the Connection, and holding regional events like Book and the Beach in Nags Head, NC, and Rehoboth Beach mini-Kampmeeting in Delaware.

Kinship‘s board has been looking for ways to save on the organization’s expenses. One way for us to do this is by reducing the printing and postage of the Connection and going completely digital, as many traditionally print organizational publications are. By going digital, we can save the organization nearly $14, 000 a year in printing and postage. We also discussed ways to modernize the Connection and to include more international content and other languages as well.

As a board, we also spent over an hour on a Skype call with Ann Craig, our organizational consultant, who is working with us over the next year to make Kinship more visible, raise funds for more projects and events, and put other measures in place to ensure that the organization is as healthy as possible.

We discussed the need to update the Kinship website and make it more user-friendly. We want it to be faster and more attractive, and offer visitors more information that’s easier to find.

We also talked about ways for Kinship to be more inclusive of all of our members, those who are still connected to the church and those who are not, because each member is important.

Finally, we discussed the programming for our upcoming Kampmeeting. The plans that Kristina Burgos has been working on look really exciting, and I can’t wait until July to enjoy the entire event! Speakers will be relevant to members no longer connected to the Adventist church as well as to those who are. I hope you’ve registered already so you can enjoy the experience too!

While we were talking about Kampmeeting, we discussed the possibility of changing its format. Most members object to the cost of Kampmeeting although pricing includes a room, three meals a day, and programming at pretty great venues. However, some members who have attended the Gay Christian Network conferences believe changing to the GCN model of charging only for programming and having attendees find their own accommodations and meals is a more practical way to go.

SDA Kinship Kampmeeting has always been an all-inclusive package deal, except for transportation. But because we use conference or retreat centers rather than more rustic summer camps, the cost has grown higher than some of our members wish to pay. For many years, Kinship has subsidized Kampmeeting costs, and it’s no longer sustainable for the organization when donations are also down.

Some long time Kinship members think that adopting the GCN model will change the community feel of our event: we stay in the same location, eat all our meals together, and attend meetings and workshops together. Yet more and more of our members don’t feel they can afford the fees. And so we plan to change the format of Kampmeeting and see how it affects attendance. We will keep you informed as we move forward.

These are some of the topics that your board and leadership staff discussed during board meeting. If you have thoughts and ideas that you’d like to share with me, I’m very happy to listen and take those back to the group. We are working hard to serve our community, and anything you’d like to share for the good of Kinship will be gladly received.

I hope to see you at Kampmeeting outside of Baltimore, Maryland this July. Please go to the website now and register (, if you’ve not already done so. Kampmeeting is best when you’re there!


Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International
Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein.


How Can the Kinship Website Better Serve You?
From the Kinship Technology Team
Justin Mezetin, Chair & Floyd Poenitz

We are currently working on updating our website! We are planning to streamline content and remove clutter, so that our information can be easier to find, members can be more aware of what is going on in Kinship, and it will be easier for members to connect online. The website is our main presence and we want it to most accurately reflect our organization. During this effort we want your feedback. We want to ensure that we include member input as well. Here is the link to a short Survey about the Website! We are looking forward to your feedback. Stay tuned to the website to see the changes we make, as we work to better serve your needs.

Thanks in advance! 

From Member Services
Naveen Jonathan, Vice President

naveen jonathon2The Member Services team receives many requests to include options of gender non-conforming and pansexual on member profiles and the application for membership. If you identify with either or both, please visithttp://www.sdakinship.organd update your member profile.

Member Services also would like to take this opportunity for all members to visit our website and update your membership information. Please visit

  1. Go to and click on the yellow "Member Login/Logout" link in the upper left side.

  2. Login with your username and password. If you forgot either of these, click on the "Forgot Login?" link in the middle of the page and follow the instructions.

  3. Once logged in to the MEMBERS AREA, click on the blue "Edit Profile" button on the right side above the birthdays.

  4. In your profile, click on the "About Me" tab and there you can update your Member Type as well as any other info about yourself.



Family and Friends
Debbie Widmer, Family & Friends Coordinator


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Gail Sheehy, author of the book Passages (one the 10 most influential books according to the Library of Congress) wrote, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” That’s something to think about!

And we did. We thought about how some changes in the Kinship needed to happen. At our recent board meeting, we discussed the similarities and the differences between the needs and issues of family members and those of friends or allies.  Kinship is a growing, organic organization; and that means that if we grow, we will change.

The first change is not really a change, but an understanding. In North America, particularly, the word ally is understood to be someone who is there beside you, who stands up and fights for you, one who has your back. It is very rich and full in its meaning. It’s more than just a “Hi, how’s it going?” kind of friend. It’s deeper. It’s an “I’ll give my life for you” kind of friend. In other parts of the world, however, the meaning differs somewhat and doesn’t come across in this positive way. As we are an international organization, we are sensitive to how words can translate and are understood in other parts of the world. In looking at other words in English, there doesn’t seem to be another word that gives that richness and fullness, except for friend. What does that mean for Kinship? We will continue to use Family and Friends to notate these two important groups of Kinship. If you are from North America, please understand that Friends and Allies mean the same thing to us.

One of the changes the Family and Friends is making is to separate this one group into two. We understand the importance of both groups, yet know there are distinct differences in the needs and the resources that would support them. Making this change is easy, on paper, but is more complicated in reality. For it to work best, it will require finding someone who can moderate and lead the Friends area. This would be someone who is a friend and supporter and has that level of understanding and commitment.  While we look for that person, Kris and I will continue to moderate both groups.

What does this mean from the Kinship perspective? There will be two Facebook pages; one for friends and one for family members. The issues and concerns of both groups are very different; and, therefore, trying to lead an interactive page that covers both, is not as effective as it could be. Families are going through a process and they share a common bond with other families. It can be helpful to be able to have a place to continue the process with those who have the same types of experiences.  Friends can be our greatest supporters. They are often involved in advocacy in many different areas. There will be areas of crossover between the two groups. As families move through the process, some will want to be involved in advocacy, as well. This is why it will be very important that the moderators of both groups work closely together. It is important for family members to know that they have friends and supporters, too.  And, it is also important for friends to know that families sometimes need space to process their experiences and their journey where they most feel comfortable.

Those who are currently friends will remain on the same Family and Friends page. When a person joins Kinship and they click the Family box, they will have access to the family page. If they click the Friend box, they will have access to the friend’s page. Again, there may be some crossover for families to also be a part of the friend’s page if they request it. So, what does this mean for current family members? You, too, will be on the friend page until we can sort it all out. However, you can help us by notifying us that you are family and we can transfer you in a timelier manner.

This change may take several months to complete. As we make these changes, we invite you to give us your suggestions and input. Think of this as healthy growing pains and please be patient with us as we sort everything out.

Debbie Widmer
Family and Friends Coordinator


To contact the Family and Friends Coordinators, email at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..


Breaking News from Australia:

Kinship member David Coltheart writes:

Coltheart david“I am happy to announce that my 300-page autobiography is finally ready to read and is now available online to download as a PDF. Six years in the making, it tells the story of my life back in New Zealand, my growing up years, my college years, and the 28 years I had in the [Seventh-day Adventist] ministry. Obviously the whole point of the book is my coming out story and how I reconciled my sexuality with my spirituality. At least one person (Carrol Grady) has an honorable mention and I pay special tribute to her role in making the last ten years the happiest of my life (or anyone's life). The book finishes with our commitment ceremony in 2011 and our wedding in 2014.

“I pray that the book, called Finding Out, will make a positive contribution in people's lives and will add to the vast amount of literature designed to tell people who we are. You can download the book (free) here:

“Don't forget to go to the Photo Gallery as well. Please feel free to share the link as you wish.

“God bless,

“David Coltheart, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia”

David also appears in the new documentary Here I Am in which gay and lesbian Christians tell their own stories. Designed as a discussion starter for Christians to use with their families and churches, the 35-minute movie is available free on YouTube and Vimeo.


Church Relations Report
Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations

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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 at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..


From Your Director of Communications
Jonathan Cook, Director of Communications

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How can the Communications team better serve you? Be sure to stay up-to-date with everything Kinship related. Follow us on our public Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram (see links below). When you find interesting articles or projects we should be aware of, please email me at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..

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

RebbyFinal150More information about KinYouth at: you can email Rebby at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein. 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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As the weather warms up here in the “Great White North” I am looking forward to the summer. A time to get out and play after being cooped up indoors for many months. I am also working on finalizing the plans for our Women & Children First Weekend. 

TIME TO REGISTER:  We still have a few spots available

The house is filling up! Women & 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.

Please feel free to contact me with any other suggestions or ideas that you may have for KinWomen. I can be reached at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein. and on Facebook.  

Debbie Hawthorn-Toop

More information at:


Catherine Taylor, Editor


The SDA Kinship Board of Directors has voted to have the June issue be the last one that will include routine distribution via postal subscriptions. If you have comments, requests, or questions, you are welcome to address them to Yolanda Elliott at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..

We are continuing our series of Jerry McKay's story as well as making sure you know of many of the activities and events that are upcoming.

We need more stories! Those stories have power. We would be willing to do phone interviews. If there are specific aspects (or all) of your story, we would be delighted to publish it. A way that some have found it easy to at least begin or share a part of what you would like to say is to respond to topics like: 

1. Five things about myself.

2. The most important things I have learned about coming out.

3. Some of my greatest supports have been….

4. What I would like the church to know is….

You may use these or anything else that comes to mind. If you have comments, questions, or submissions for publication, you can write to us at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein.. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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At the European meetings this spring, pastors asked for stories about the ways church members or church leaders have been helpful to us. We would love to share your experiences with them. If you could take a paragraph or three pages and let us know this part of your story, we will be honored to pass it along. You can write to Catherine at [email protected] /* DATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]]> */ .

We want to keep our website updated with articles, books, videos, and resources. As you come across them, please be most welcome to send them to us at [email protected] and we will be delighted to include them. 

You can find many resources on our website at


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Kinship Kampmeeting 2016
Kristina Burgos, Kampmeeting Coordinator

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I’m excited to be working on creating a fun, diverse, and thrilling Kampmeeting for all. This once-a-year event includes a variety of sessions, musical concerts, outings/activities, and opportunities to socialize with new and old friends. I’m extremely happy with our lineup of dynamic keynote speakers: Mitchell Tyner, Steve Chavez, Chett Pritchett, and Olive Hemmings (Saturday church service). Don’t miss out!

Time to Register:

Kampmeeting is only two (2) months away and there is still time to register. June 17 is the last day to register and pay for Kampmeeting. If you register after June 17 there will be a $50 late fee. On-site registration is available only for commuters.

Scholarship Recipients:

If you have been awarded a scholarship, please make sure that you register for Kampmeeting. Under payment type choose “scholarship.” 

If you have been awarded a partial scholarship, please send in your portion of payment no later than June 17. Payment can be made online under DONATION. Be sure to note that it is for KM 2016. Or you can send a check to SDA Kinship Int'l, PO Box 244, Orinda, CA 94563.

Talent Show:

Here is an excellent opportunity to share your talents with everyone for one night and one night only! If you plan to participate in the Talent Show, please send me your name and what you plan to do (if you aren’t sure yet, no worries) by July 15. There are a limited number of slots, so don’t wait too long! 

For a list of the top 10 things to do near our Kampmeeting venue, please click here.

Information regarding tentative schedule, location, and fees are on the SDA Kinship website at  


Kinship Europe
Europen Kinship Meeting - 1-5 September

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We now have registrations from 3-5 continents! Come join us for a study on our brain, Tai Chi classes, scenic walks, adventures, worship in English and in German, remarkable and friendly people, wonderful accommodations, and delicious food. To register you can contact Catherine at [email protected] for registration information.

For more information, you can go to

More information about Kinship Europe at

European Coordinator:Ruud Kieboom
E-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein.

European Youth Coordinator:Itamar
E-mail: [email protected]



Book and the Beach — October 26-30, 2016
The Kind God of the Old Testament?

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Cost: $240.00 per person

Surprisingly, we have already had many people confirm that they are planning to join us at our regular beach house, across from the ocean, in Nags Head, North Carolina. If you would enjoy beach walks, singing, great conversations, adventures, discussions of God's Grace in the Old Testament, and wonderful food, you can register at If you have questions, you can contact Catherine at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..

We look forward to seeing you!


Living Eden's Gifts


If you or anyone you know would find a Biblical study of the issue helpful, you can access the entirety of this Bible study about "the clobber texts" at or,or you can order a hard copy version to share from Catherine at [email protected]




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


 Remember to follow SDA Kinship on Twitter and Facebook

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







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