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yolanda3When so many people around the world had such an atrocious 2020, it’s a bit daunting to come up with an inspiring New Year’s message for my Kinship family.  Not one place on this globe has been unaffected by the pandemic, much less the all-too-common bigotry and hate. The last year makes us wonder and think of the song, “Where is the Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas. Listen to the song here. []  To read the lyrics, click on this link. []

But now that 2021 has arrived for all of us, I’m again hopeful for the future. The production of the coronavirus vaccines gives me hope that if we all do our part by receiving the vaccination when it’s available, and also by continuing to wear masks, socially distance, and wash our hands, we will finally be able to see each other, meet together and, as Kinship is very well known for, hug each other again!

Our siblings in Kinship Latinamerica suggested that the Kinship family could have a theme for 2021.  After some discussion, we all agreed on the theme Loved & Affirmed. Nathon Hilton, a leader in Kinship Latinamerica and our International Director of Youth Interests, wrote the following statement about the theme.

Loved Affirmed

Unfortunately, trauma, disease, and emotional deprivation have been universal elements that shaped most of humanity’s global experience this past 2020, and LGBTQ+ people have not been an exception to this. Rising social, political, and religious dilemmas, accompanied with polarizing discussions across many denominations, continue to affect the lives of thousands of LGBTQ+ people across the world.

Because of this, as a socially bound and spiritually woven international community, SDA Kinship wants to reiterate before its members and the listening world that LGBTQ+ people are wholly loved and thoroughly affirmed within the everlasting love that Christ has and continues to bestow upon a troubled world. Christ does not love us despite our sexuality or gender identities. As part of humanity’s blossoming diversity, Christ loves and affirms us in who we are as diverse individuals, for we are “wonderfully made” in the image of a God who has vowed to care and nurture all of Creation from its very foundations.

This year’s theme, “Loved and Affirmed,” comes from a thought that pulsates all across the scriptures: the unapologetic love of God for all creatures, and Christ’s unquenchable desire to grant healing and restoration to a world in need. Because of this, we join the Bible’s revolutionary call for everyone to know that God still appears before the world to tell us: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Thank you, Nathon, for sharing your thoughts on our theme for 2021. I’d love to hear other members’ thoughts on the theme as well. One does not need to be religious to experience this affirmation.

I wish for each one of you during this new year and forward that you know beyond any doubt that you are, indeed, Loved & Affirmed.

Yolanda Elliott
President, SDA Kinship International