The last four weeks contained unmitigated blessings for the WGA staff!
Dictionaries define “unmitigated” as “undiminished .. in intensity.” “Blessing” is defined as “something promoting or contributing to …,, well-being, . .”
A Church in downtown Denver was the scene where, for an hour and a half, four consecutive Sunday evenings in April and May, Where Grace Abounds (WGA) staff experienced uninterrupted, undiminished, intensely focused attention from the attendees of our presentations. It was so encouraging, that all of us experienced an intensely satisfying sense of the Lord’s presence—the phrase ‘well-being’ doesn’t begin to describe it. It was an unmitigated blessing!
The church had invited WGA to partner with them as their leaders and congregation grappled with questions about human sexuality, especially LBGTQ+ issues. We were given an hour and a half each night, and were asked to share our perspectives, provide resources, and allow time for interaction with attendees.
WGA is used to speaking to small groups of leaders, intimate gatherings of very interested persons (VIPs in this writer’s opinion.) On occasion we have the opportunity to share a workshop at a denominational annual meeting and the attendance is a bit higher. But on the first night of the series, as the pastor introduced us, we turned toward the audience and found about a hundred men and women, many leaning forward in their seats, all clearly ready to listen, ready to learn.
What were we offering these eager learners? Our four presentations were chosen to provide overviews of key topics with time for Q&A.
First Sunday: time was spent considering three questions with time in between each question to think, pray, write responses, then share what was written. The questions were:
- What is good about sexuality; what might God have originally intended? [i]
- By contrast with what God intended, what is broken? [ii]
- Keeping in mind God’s good intent for sexuality, and what we have seen is broken, what might the Lord have us do? What might He have us do, individually, as leaders, as congregations?[iii]
Second Sunday: time was spent on hearing personal testimony and learning about various categories of people that are identified under the umbrella alphabet of LBGTQ+. There are those who are not believers; and those who have experienced hurt in the Church; others are in rebellion against their earlier training in the faith; and there are those who are walking in obedience with a biblical sexual ethic, but often very tired and isolated even in the church. Each of these categories of people need different approaches in pastoral care.
Third Sunday: time was spent on considering various terminology and definitions of terms like transgender, gender dysphoria, etc. Personal story was shared and a handout of several resources for further study was offered.
Fourth Sunday: a panel of family members, a brother of a self-described “queer” man; a father and mother of a daughter who has married women; and a mother of 7 children, four of them are sexual minorities. Each shared a bit of their story, then answered questions like, “What do you wish you had known before your family member came out to you?” or “How have your other children or extended family been affected?” We wrapped up by taking questions from the floor.
Rejoice with us at the “unmitigated blessing” of these gatherings, the truth and grace that was spoken and received—from WGA staff as well as from the thoughtful and receptive members of the audience.
Pray with us also—that our ministry will grow; that we will receive more opportunities to share at length (and we just scratched the surface!) as we did these past four weeks.
We pray for you, our supporters, with grateful hearts for your support—some of you have been supporting WGA for all 37 years we have been ministering. It is because you give, and pray, and offer feedback or serve on our board or leadership team, or tell others about us…. It is because of your efforts that we can do what we do. Thank you!
[i] Phil 4: 8 “..whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. NLV
[ii] Psalm 119: 136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.
[iii] Galatians 6:1: Brothers and sisters, if a person is discovered in some sin, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness. Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. NIRV
Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motivation. Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, independent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University.
Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.
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