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September eNews

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          Affirming diversity within the Adventist community and beyond

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About Kinship eNews

Kinship eNews is published on the public part of the Kinship website at Click on the links below to go directly to specific articles. The public eNews contains important reports and messages from your Kinship leadership. 

In this issue:

News and announcements from region coordinators and chapter leaders are 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 know

1 black Message from the President

Yolanda140310 P3100061 100SDA Kinship’s elections take place each year during the annual Kampmeeting in the United States. The 2016 elections were for the positions of secretary, treasurer, director of communication, director of development, and director of youth interest. I can share the results with you now.

Jonathan Cook was elected secretary. Jonathan had served as our director of communications for two years but decided to run for the secretary position this year. I have no doubt he will do a fantastic job in this new role.

Karen Lee, who was re-elected treasurer, has done a great job of getting Kinship’s finances current and keeping the books accurate. We are very grateful to her for working to keep Kinship fiscally secure even when donations have decreased over the past year. This coming year we hope to increase donations so that Kinship can continue important programs and projects that have been taking place in the United States and around the world.

Our new communications director is Clinton Sorzano, who brings to our community his experience in graphic and website design, branding, photography, and writing. His vision for our publications and website is fresh and contemporary, and you’ll see them in action very soon.

Yeshara Acosta was re-elected director of development. Because she will be away for several months at boot camp for the U.S. National Guard, she has laid out a plan for the continuation of her responsibilities during her absence. The development program will be well cared for in the meantime.

And finally, our new director of youth interests joins the board from Alberta, Canada. Jaden Rajah wants to be a positive influence on LGBTQ youth by mentoring and supporting youth the same way he was supported when he came out. He plans to use his resources and contacts as he works with our Kinship youth. We look forward to supporting him in his plans!

If you attended Kampmeeting in person or watched the live stream of our business meeting, you have met Ann Craig, the organizational consultant we’ve hired to help Kinship grow and move forward. She will be attending our fall board meeting in October to help us analyze how best to meet the needs of our members.  

Yolanda Elliott, President
SDA Kinship International

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Debbie Widmer, Family Coordinator

dwidmer smMephibosheth, David, and Me

The story of Mephibosheth and David is an amazing one. Mephibosheth is only known by his name, his calamity, and his deformity. How many times are we known by our stigma? John, the alcoholic; Sally, the divorcee; Carol, the single mom; Roger, the gay man; Heidi, the lesbian; Mary and Charles, the parents of the transgender kid; and on and on it goes.

We are very much like Mephibosheth: children born of royalty; crippled by the wounds of a fall; permanently marred by sin; living in fear of a king we have never seen. Mephibosheth should have been killed, for he was the relative of the previous king. He lives in fear of what the king would do to him if he knew he was alive. He hides out, living in a closet he has made for protection.

Yet, David asks these incredible questions. Can’t I do something for someone; can’t I be kind to someone because others have been kind to me? David is a man of grace. God has shown him grace in his past, as he runs from King Saul, bringing him to the kingdom. He asks this amazing question, is anyone still left in Saul’s family to whom I can show a kindness? He is informed of Mephibosheth and calls for him to come to the palace. David calls him “this son;” not the cripple; not the escapee; not by any other derogatory statement.

I can only imagine the fear in the heart of Mephibosheth. Would I want to come before this king who could kill me in the blink of an eye, the flash of a sword? David’s words are remarkable. 

“Do not be afraid.”
“I will surely show you kindness.”
“You shall eat bread at my table continually.”

What amazing words of grace and acceptance! Mephibosheth is adopted, for the Bible says that he ate at David’s table as if he were one of the king’s sons.

And through this amazing story, we sense God’s extravagant love for us. Could we, as adopted members of God’s family, do anything less? We don’t have to look very far to find someone to show a kindness to. Those with stigmas live in our families, in our churches, our schools, and our communities.

We can “adopt” those who suffer from their stigmas into our homes and our churches to eat bread with us at our tables and to invite them to accept adoption into God’s family and into ours. May God’s grace fill us so completely that it overflows to all we meet.

These thoughts adapted from “In the Grip of Grace,” by Max Lucado. (2 Samuel 9)

Blessings and grace to you all,
Debbie Widmer
Family Coordinator

To contact the Family Coordinator, click here.

For more information online.

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Church Relations

Dave Ferguson, Director of Church Relations

Dave125 100This month the Intercollegiate Adventist GSA Coalition (IAGC) is putting out information about a listing on Campus Pride that lists Andrews University on their Shame List which calls out the “shameful acts of religion-based prejudice.” Jonathan Doram, the IAGC President, has written a great article that is appearing in Spectrum magazine and is being posted on various Kinship Facebook pages. This is in preparation for the release of several short videos by students on various campuses and a fundraising campaign to pay for projects that the IAGC will be sponsoring this year. I encourage current students, faculty, staff, and alums to support them with responses you might see in various media to this recent release and financially to provide them with funding for the immensely important work they are doing. The work of the IAGC is creating change on many Adventist campuses, including Andrews.

The Loma Linda University leadership retreat this year will feature a three-hour session to provide information to the campus leadership about more constructive ways to deal with LBTIQ students on the campus. The session is expected to have a young gay man, a young gay woman, and a parent to be interviewed. The session will be led by Chris Blake who created “A Sanctuary for Conversation.” The School of Medicine each year provides information about bullying and harassment to all students coming to the campus and makes clear that such behavior is not acceptable.

Please share your ideas and questions on the Kinship Facebook page. Or you can send me your comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions.

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Kinship Women

Debbie Hawthorn-Toop, Director of Women’s Interests

Debbie rainbowflag 100Women & Children First 2017

The 2017 Women & Children First and Kinship Kampmeeting will be in San Diego. I am really excited about that as I personally love San Diego. However, we might have to have a much shorter or very different women’s event this coming year due to a lack of funds. Donations for both Kinship and Kinwomen are down this year which may result in activities either being cut or downsized. Anyone wishing to donate to Kinwomen must mark the donation for Kinwomen. I personally mark my donations as a portion to Kinship and a portion to Kinwomen. 

Women & Children First is open to all Kinship members, both LGBTQI and Family & Friends who identify as female. 

Women’s Chat 

Women’s Chat continues to take place on Friday evenings 5:00–7:00 p.m. PST (8:00– 10:00 p.m. EST). If you are not on Facebook, please feel free to contact me for the logon and password. You can join at any time and leave at any time. You do not have to be there for the full two hours.

Chat is a safe place where members can share anything on their hearts. What is said in Chat is not to be shared outside of Chat. 

If you are an LBTQI female on Facebook but not in the KinWomen Facebook group, please write to me and I will correct that.

Please feel free to contact me with any other suggestions or ideas that you may have for KinWomen. I can be reached  here and on Facebook.

Debbie Hawthorn-Toop

More information here.

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Clinton Sorzano, Director of Communications

We are very excited to announce the launch of our newly designed Connection Magazine! Our Communications Committee has worked hard to put together a new publication that is rich in relevant information and resources that represent the vibrancy of the SDA Kinship community. 

We pride ourselves in our work, but we recognize that we’re not perfect, so we look forward to hearing any feedback from you on how we can improve.

Share your experience, any problems or any questions, by sending an email.

September Issue - Vol. 40 No. 6 vol40no6 cov sm

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Book and the Beach - October 26-30, 2016

beach book 2011The Kind God of the Old Testament?

Cost: $240.00 per person

This month we will be sending out registration forms for those of you who have already attended. We also have registration forms online that are easy to access.  Along with our conversations about the love of God in the Old Testament, we're planning dolphin watches, tours of Elizabethan Gardens, a trip to an outdoor museum in Manteo, and, of course, lots of great food. We'd love to have you join us. If you have questions, you can write to us at  Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..

We look forward to seeing you!

7 black Living Eden's Gifts

LivingEdensGifts 125You can find this Bible study online (see below) or you can get hard copies from Catherine at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein..

You can access the entirety of this Bible study at or

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Kinship Support

rainbow 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.

Make your gift online today.

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Journey - Chapter 12