What a crazy ride 2020 has taken us all on! There is nothing quite like a pandemic in an election year to bring on anxiety, fear, and all sorts of other emotions. I pray that you and your loved ones are navigating these unprecedented times well and that God feels present to you in the midst of the chaos.
Like you, the WGA staff and leaders had no idea what was in store for us as we were making plans for 2020. Many of those plans got hijacked, but new goals and ideas sprung up in their places. God has continued to provide avenues of ministry for those wrestling with issues within their sexuality and relationships. Here are a few highlights for the year:
- Thursday Night Group: Back in the spring, we (and likely you) were introduced to a new tool called Zoom. I had never heard of it before, but I am so glad we learned about it. We were able to transition our weekly Thursday night meeting Zoom so that we could meet virtually. There were a few glitches along the way, but it has worked well for us. We were concerned that we would lose a lot of people by making that transition. While there are a few people that Zoom just doesn’t really work for, we generally saw an increase in our weekly attendance. Some new people contacted us from out of state and we had a new resource to offer them since we were meeting online. A few people who had once been part of our ministry but moved away were able to join us as well. As we plan for the future, we are trying to figure out the best way to offer services both in-person and via Zoom.
- Webinars: We have long been daunted by the idea of webinars and such. With the move of our in-person meetings to the virtual world, we’ve had to face our fears. We offered a 2 week webinar for a church in SE Colorado this fall called “LGBTQ+: Loving Well the People Behind the Letters.” It was well received. We have another webinar in the works. Please let us know if we can present to your church. Eventually, we will be able to meet in-person again, but I am happy that we can offer our teaching and resources virtually in the meantime and for those in the future where this format would work best.
- Church Contacts: At the beginning of the year, we set ourselves a lofty goal of reaching out to a new church/pastor each week in 2020. We were well ahead of the game back in February, but things tapered off as everyone scrambled to figure out church and ministry in the midst of Covid. By the end of the year, we will have gotten to about the halfway mark of that goal, and we will continue to press towards completing that in 2021. Praise God that these churches were contacted and heard about the ministry here at Where Grace Abounds.
- Gender Issues: Over the past several years, both in our culture and in WGA’s groups, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of people dealing with gender identity issues. Our Family and Friends group has quite a few parents who are wrestling with how best to walk alongside their child who is wrestling in these ways. There is a new book recently published that is a good resource. It is called Emerging Gender Identities: Understanding the Diverse Experiences of Today’s Youth by Mark Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky. Check it out!
- Beyond Containment: WGA’s outreach to men and women convicted of a sex offense as they transition from life in prison to the community, continues to serve several people. Our most recent person to seek out our help was locked up for over 30 years and has many needs as he learns some basic things we take for granted today (like using a computer or a smartphone). This ministry requires a lot of volunteer help. Please let us know if you ae interested in helping.
- Upgrades: We were able to upgrade a couple of things this year. Our office building, which epitomized the color “beige,” both inside and out, was painted and had a few exterior repairs made. We are grateful we can work to maintain and repair this facility. Next up will be the “de-beiging” of the interior, hopefully in 2021. Pop by our office to see it (and us) sometime). We also spent some time painting and cleaning the rooms at the church where we meet for our Thursday Night Meetings. It is amazing how much a bit of paint can change a room. We thankful for the 25+ years we have been able to meet at Corona Presbyterian Church.
- Financial Update: As always, we are grateful for God’s provision for WGA over these past 35 years of ministry. We are also thankful to you for joining us, through your prayers and donations. Many have experienced financial hardship this year. As of the end of October, WGA’s giving for 2020 has been a little less than it was at this time in 2019. Would you pray about how you can support this ministry as we close out this year and prepare for 2021? December is traditionally the month that brings in the most donations, which often carry us into the new year when giving tends to taper off a bit. You can make a donation by clicking here.
These are just a few of the things that have happened over the past year. Lots more has been going on, despite all the challenges. We continue to post a new blog each week on our website, meet with individuals in-person and on Zoom, and offer short-term focus groups. We are available to you if need a listening ear or would like to put us in touch with someone you know who is struggling. Please give us a call or send an email.
2021 is only a few weeks away. I am prayerful that we will see some positive changes in the world, yet I know that God remains sovereign regardless. We at WGA will continue to do the work God sets before us. Will you join with us?
Executive DirectorIn the spring of 1995, the conflict Roger felt between his faith and his sexuality, as well as an addiction to pornography, led him to WGA. His personal journey has provided him unique insights into sexuality and the pain of adversity, which he shares through his testimony, facilitation of small groups, writing and public speaking. Roger began working with WGA in October of 1996 as the Assistant office Manager. Since that time, he has worn many hats and served in several different positions, including Assistant Program Director and Operations Director. In April of 2007, Roger assumed the position of Executive Director. Roger attended West Texas A&M University, where he studied Music Business. Much of his training has been “on the job,” where he was mentored by the ministry’s Founder, Mary Heathman, and the Program Director, Scott Kingry. He holds a BA from West Texas A&M University. Roger, his wife Jill, and their daughter Julia and son William, attend Celebration Community Church where Jill serves as Senior Pastor.
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If you enjoy reading WGA’s blogs and would like to show your support, please consider making a donation. Where Grace Abounds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The majority of services, including support groups and discipleship counseling, are provided free of charge. Your financial gifts help to cover the costs associated with offering a free program to those who seek WGA’s services.