As part of registering for the 2020 Conference, we’re offering a variety of special activities, gatherings, and workshops for you to choose from as add-ons. These provide us opportunities to gather and build community in small groups throughout Conference.
Our identities and experiences can bring us together into beautiful, smaller communities. We call these Affinity Gatherings, and at Conference, we’re offering these opportunities:
With Tasha Mitchell and Erica Lea-Smika
This is a gathering for non-binary, trans, and cisgender women to gather, rest, and celebrate.
Trans and Gender-Expansive
With Austen Hartke and Laura Beth Buchleiter
This is a gathering for trans and gender-expansive folks to find solidarity with one another, encouragement, and community at Conference.
With Kipp Nelson and Sarah Ngu
This Affinity Gathering is geared towards LGBTQ+ individuals and allies who are either currently serving in a pastoral care capacity (pastors, deacons, elders, for example) or who are in the process of pursuing such a call to ministry. Our hope is to offer a place of connection and support for those head deep in the work of ministry. In our time together, we will center three themes we feel are essential for ministry among the LGBTQ+ community:
Care & Rest – A space of self-care for all clergy people fighting the good fight; we will also hear from each other practical ways to care for our LGBTQ+ congregants.
Sacrificial Leadership – Most clergy don't operate solo - we lead within a congregation or a community. Our communal responsibilities come with many joys, but also many sacrifices, as we have to work hard to bring people along and negotiate our identities and beliefs in order to make progress we believe in.
Clarity – How can greater clarity, on the level of the individual, leadership team, and congregation, enable more health and progress in your specific context? What secrets need to be told, and what truths must be confronted?
Sarah Ngu (they/she) is the cofounder of Church Clarity and leader at Forefront Brooklyn Church, a progressive nondenominational church. The oldest child of church planters, Sarah and her family moved from Malaysia to the United States in 2001 as part of a Southeast Asian church planting network.
Kipp Nelson (he/him) is the Minister of Outreach and Evangelism at First United Methodist Church of Miami. He is one of the few openly gay people serving in a pastoral capacity in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. Kipp received his Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC where he developed a passion for building bridges of inclusion for the LGBTQ+ people within the Church.
Our Q+ Families Affinity Gathering is a time for LGBTQ-identified parents to find community, encouragement, and an opportunity for growth.
People of Color
With Darren Calhoun and Tasha Mitchell
“We want to establish a protective space that's for us and by us where we are free to express our experiences and hopes as an underrepresented group within the queer minority.” (Darren Calhoun)
With Melinda Melone and Scott Kingry
We are delighted to be hosting the Side B Affinity Retreat at the 2020 Q Christian Fellowship Conference in Fort Lauderdale! We’ve been working together with the QCF leadership over the past 2 years, helping QCF continue to make space for the Side B community. We loved meeting so many of you at the Conference last January, but didn’t get nearly enough time to just hang out and chat, let alone have the deep discussions we really love. We’re thrilled to have this extra opportunity to do just that.
We’ll have time set aside on January 2nd to spend with the Side B members of the QCF family. We welcome those who are firmly committed to the Side B sexual ethic, those who are still exploring, and those who are uncertain; those who have been around the QCF community for years, as well as those who are relative newcomers. We welcome LGBTQ+ folks of all stripes as well as straight and/or cis parents, spouses, pastors, and other allies who hold our common ethical stance.
What is that ethical stance, specifically? While we believe in fully affirming all people’s gender identities and sexual orientation identities, we make a distinction between identity and action. We believe that sexual activity should be reserved for male-female marriage, according to our views of the Scriptures, to our traditions, and to our understandings of church history. While we realize that these three sources are not unproblematic or indisputable, our current understanding of Scripture, or our commitment to our tradition or faith community, or both, call us to believe in and try to practice celibacy for the unmarried and marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. We recognize that Christians of good will and serious views of Scripture can differ with this position, and we respect the journeys of others. While we share this particular ethic, there is also a wide variety of beliefs on many other issues within the diverse Side B community.
What can you expect when you come to the Affinity Retreat? There will be time for newcomers to ask basic questions about Side B, and for long-timers to dive deep into ongoing discussions. We’ll probably do some creative brainstorming, especially around finding better language than “Side B” to describe our commitments. We’ll have time to meet, greet and eat with new and old friends. Most of all, we’re going to enjoy one another’s company, knowing that we are family in Christ, and that we share common convictions and commitments. We look forward to spending this time with you!
With Bryce Williams
The Enneagram is a powerful ancient spiritual tool used to understand oneself and those around you better. Based on motivation, it fully captures the vast array of human personality in a seemingly simple system that continues to prove itself to be infinitely deep. The wisdom of the Enneagram helps lead us to be a more holistic person, offering us healthy ways to thrive as our most authentic self.
These workshops will be about the basics and broken into 3 sessions with time for questions and responses:
Thursday, 5:00PM-7:00PM – Introduction to the Enneagram and the Gut Triad (8,9,1)
Friday, 1:00PM-2:30PM – The Feeling Triad (2,3,4)
Saturday, 1:00PM-2:30PM – The Head Triad (5,6,7)
Bryce has been collaborating with several other LGBTQ+ folks over the last few months to develop all-new materials about the challenges each number will face when coming out of a conservative Christian background. He will also be teaching practical ways to apply the wisdom of the enneagram to enrich relationships with ourselves and those we care about most.
Whether you know nothing or have been studying the enneagram for years, there is something for everyone to discover in these workshops. It is strongly encouraged that you attend all three sessions to gain the most knowledge. Register for the Enneagram Workshop here!
Bryce Williams (he/him) has been studying the Enneagram for five years and teaching introduction workshops for the past year. He has attended several seminars and completed a year-long cohort with the internationally recognized Enneagram Master teacher, Suzanne Stabile. Bryce has a passion for social justice and spent three years working at a non-profit in Shreveport, Louisiana, helping to develop a community literacy and youth mentorship program. He now lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he teaches yoga, studies the enneagram, and attends Xavier University pursuing a degree in Studio Art.