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Message from the President

Yolanda Elliott

For me, the last few months have been a hard grind. As a caregiver, I hear lots of folks asking when we’ll ever get back to normal, whatever normal is! And I’m not sure. But it would be overwhelming to focus only on what’s been challenging. So, instead, I thought I’d share just a few of the things that have brought me some amazing moments of joy since you last heard from me. 

On June 7, SDA Kinship International hosted a Lavender Graduation for the LGBT+ Adventist Class of 2020!  We celebrated and honored the achievements of high school and college graduates from around the world through video messages sent by friends, families, teachers, and Kinship members. Dr. Naveen Jonathan, Clinical Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Chapman University gave the keynote address.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate this year’s LGBT+ graduates! If graduation celebrations could not be held in person, then sharing in the celebration together where we were was the next best thing.

Towards the end of June, we also held our first annual SDA Kinship International Virtual Pride Parade!  To celebrate together with Kinship members from around the world truly touched me. It was the first year my region hasn’t marched in person in nearly 20 years and I felt so connected to our community. That’s just what Kinship is about for me—connection.

A few weeks after that, it was time for our 41st Annual Kinship Kampmeeting on July 18.  I was honored to attend the Brazilian Kampmeeting via Zoom prior to our U.S.-based Kampmeeting. I enjoyed spending time with this amazing group.  I may not understand Portuguese, but it’s easy to understand the smiles and love that shines through them, and it was important to me to be with the members of Kinship Brazil.

Finally, SDA Kinship International’s 41st Annual Kampmeeting’s theme was “We Are Called.” Along with music and prayer and hearing our theme song, we enjoyed a presentation by Brandon Frazier via Zoom.  Alicia Johnston was our keynote speaker. Since this was our first totally virtual Kampmeeting, we learned some things about what worked well and what we can do better the next time. Regardless of whether we meet in person or virtually, being together to uplift, support, and stay connected with each other will make Kinship stronger. 

I look forward to growing closer to my Kinship family around the world. It feels good to know you were there when I asked for prayers and positive thoughts a few days ago because my cousin had a brain tumor and was heading into surgery. Kinship members were there for her and for me. As it turned out, she has a much better prognosis than the doctors thought, and we expect she will recover well. So I thank you for being there for me. I hope we are always there for each other, in our regions and chapters, wherever we are. This is what Kinship is for me!