Spiritual Wellness and GBLTCommunity


Spiritual Wellness and LGBT Community

A day-long gathering for all who identify as LGBT, intersex, queer, questioning, or allies
to explore, strengthen and celebrate connections between spiritual wellness and life in community.

While much of the day's content will be grounded in an LGBT-inclusive, Christian perspective,
people of all faiths as well as those who just find themselves curious about spirituality-sexuality connections are welcome at this event.

Hosted by: The Kairos Spiritual Life Center and the Alliance of All Saints Church
MARCH 26, 2011 ~ 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
All Saints Church, Episcopal, 10 Irving Street, Worcester, MA

8:30-9:00      Check in, coffee/tea, orientation to building, get acquainted.

9:00-9:15      Welcome, gathering worship. The Rev. Alan Hesse

9:15-10:00    Keynote address: Sabbath Practice: Desire for God as the Center of Our Lives
The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel

10:15-11:30   Morning workshops (choose one)

A. Sex and the Spirit
In what ways do sexuality and spirituality function as “positive” (wisdom  and blessing) and “negative” (abuse and addiction) paths in our individual and communal lives? Drawing on the wisdom of creative theologian Matthew Fox, this workshop will offer participants opportunity to engage in concrete exercises (individually and in small groups) and explore (within the larger group) these vital and transforming aspects of our lives.
The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel

B. Celebrating our Cultures in Communion: Finding Healing Through Worshipful Music, Dance, and Play
People -- gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, or none of the above -- seek like-minded communities to experience spiritual oneness with God. What does it mean to be open to and to affirm all people? Using worshipful music, dance, and play, participants will explore fun and safe ways to come together as One Body of the Divine Order, while appreciating everyone’s uniqueness as Children of God. Open to all ages. Robert Ochoa

C.  LGBT Asylum and Immigration Issues
This workshop will walk attendees through the LGBT asylum-seeking process and give first-hand accounts of what it is like for LGBT people in countries where they are persecuted.  You will learn the ways religion is the basis for oppression and how churches are fighting back and taking a stand against that oppression. Participants will leave with practical tools for supporting LGBT asylum seekers around the country.
The Rev. Judy Hanlon

D. Building Up the Body: Trans People and the Growth of the Church
This workshop invites trans people to claim their identities and embodiments as part of an ongoing process of spiritual growth, envisions churches as places to cultivate that process, and sees the full participation of trans people in the life of the Church as a sign of its commitment to its own process of growth. Open to all participants. The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge

11:30-12:30  Lunch and Networking. (A simple lunch provided by Bagel Inn, Holden MA, will include vegetarian options.)

12:30-1:45     Afternoon workshops (Choose one)

E. Too Busy for Sex, Too Tired for Prayer: How Our Communities Desperately Need Sabbath Practice
In our culture, almost everything is turned into a commodity, including time. “Faster,” “more productive,” and “streamlined” are just a few of the economic values. Our spiritual practices can teach us to take time and take stock. This workshop will focus on individual and collective exercises to help build a life rich with Sabbath practice for ourselves, our families, and our faith communities. The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel

F. Healing Prayer Workshop
A discussion of the painful historic interpretations of scripture that have, in many ways, caused post-traumatic stress disorder in LGBT people will help participants move closer to understanding that we all embody God and that LGBT people are made in the images of God. Participants will be invited to consider the spiritual being in their physical bodies and through prayer to imagine a path toward integrated wholeness. 
The Revs. Cynthia Maybeck and Mark Seifried

G. GLBTQ Coming Out Spiritually: Is it actually better than 40 years ago?
A community dialog will explore the issues around coming out, especially for teens and young adults.  After 40 years of spiritual comings-out from nearly every faith community in the U.S, it should be easier to accept one's Christian identity as an LGBT individual today. If it is, why are teens and young adults still suicidal around the issue of sexuality? Why do young people make up one of the fastest growing demographics of HIV infection? Are our churches and colleges doing enough? Minister ‘L.J.’ Mitchell and Robert Ochoa

H. Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology
What is queer theology? In this interactive workshop, an MCC minister and professor at Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge MA, will present an accessible introduction to queer and LGBT theologies. Topics to be covered will include the history of queer theology and LGBT religious movements, rethinking traditional Christian theological categories through the lens of the LGBT experience, and examining the work of contemporary queer theologians. The Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng

2:00-2:45        Plenary: Surely It Is God Who Saves Us
                        The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale

2:45-3:15        Questions and Responses
Participants’ reactions to and questions about the day’s program and presentations.
Moderators: The Revs. Voelkel and Ragsdale

3:15-3:30     Closing worship featuring the First Unitarian Festival Choir & Court Hill Jazz Ensemble



Spiritual Wellness and LGBT Community

(Print and mail to: All Saints Church, 10 Irving St., Worcester MA 01609)


Name _______________________________________        Please indicate your 1st and 2nd choices:
Address _____________________________________        Morning workshops:
City ______________________ State ____  Zip _____         A. _______ B. _______ C. _______ D. _______
Telephone (         )_____________________________         Afternoon workshops:
Email _______________________________________         E. _______ F. _______ G. _______ H. _______
Denomination/Congregation                                                    Workshop space is limited. We will try to give
____________________________________________         attendees their first choice whenever possible.

___  Enclosed is my check for $30. Registration deadline is March 16, 2011.
(Check payable to: All Saints Church; memo: Kairos LGBT Conference)

All Saints Church and adjoining facilities are accessible on the conference level.
Scholarship aid is available. Please contact the Kairos Center at kairoscenter@allsaintsw.org
or 508-752-3766, ext.15, for more information or if you need special accommodations.

This event is sponsored by:

Kairos Spiritual Life Center
All Saints Church Alliance (Episcopal)
United Congregational Church in Worcester (UCC)
First Congregational Church in Dudley (UCC)
Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Baldwinville
Hadwen Park Congregational Church UCC, Worcester
ONA Task Force Massachusetts Conference UCC
Just Peace Task Force - Metro Boston Association UCC
New England Synod Task Force for Gay and Lesbian Understanding  (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America)
First Baptist Church, Worcester
Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
Integrity USA (Episcopal)

Thumbnails of Presenters

The Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng is the Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He is the author of Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology.

The Rev. Judy Hanlon is senior pastor at Hadwen Park Congregational Church (UCC) and is active in public advocacy for people seeking political asylum because of their sexual orientation.

The Rev. Cynthia Maybeck, a Biblical Storyteller, is pastor of Trinity Church in Northborough MA. Trinity is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ.

Minister Louis “L.J.” Mitchell is in high demand as a consultant, public speaker, trainer and preacher.  He was recently featured in the documentary Still Black: A Portrait of Black Transmen.  He is currently studying at Andover Newton Theological School. 

Robert Ochoa is an active layman and currently serves on the MA Conference Commission for Evangelism and Congregational Vitality, the Open and Affirming Task Force, UCC, and the Hispanic Ministries Council, New England Region.

The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge is an Episcopal priest and interim Chaplain at Harvard University. He specializes in the study of religion as related to sex, gender and sexuality.

The Very Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and advocate, is the President and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School. She is a widely sought speaker on public policy issues affecting women, professional ethics, and LGBTQ rights. She is the editor of Boundary Wars: Intimacy and Distance in Healing Relationships.

The Rev. Mark Seifried is a transitional ministry specialist with the United Church of Christ (UCC) and presently serves the First Churches of Northampton. He is involved in wider church and community leadership.

The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and serves as director of the Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Rebecca is a nationally known preacher, writer, and organizer.