At the MIND organizing meeting on September 28th, we unveiled a new initiative called We ARE. Inspired in part by our We do! project (and it’s offshoot We Did), We ARE looks to serve the pastoral needs of LGBTQ clergy, candidates and seminarians the way We do! is serving the needs of LGBTQ laity. There are two distinct components in the new campaign. One is an effort to build connections and provide a concrete network of solidarity to queer folk who are ministers and those in the pipeline to become ministers.
This work is first and foremost about making sure that no one is alone. The official prohibition against “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” in our denomination means that too many suffer in the isolation of a church-imposed closet. We aim to begin to heal that suffering by breaking the isolation, making connections, building relationships and leaving no one behind. If you are an LGBTQ clergy person, candidate or seminarian and you would like to connect with others who are as well, please let us know. Your information is of course totally confidential. Our organizing team includes queer clergy, candidates, and seminarians. Where this project heads will depend on what those who are coming together decide in community with each other.
There is an important role for straight allies to play in the We ARE project, and indeed an important role for all MIND members and supporters to play. This brings us to the second component of We ARE, which is direct advocacy with our Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) on behalf of LGBTQ candidates. The first part of this work, which is being led by the MIND steering committee, is educating the leadership of BOOM about what it actually feels like to be queer and going through the process. This work, like the organizing work among LGBTQ clergy, candidates and seminarians, will be ongoing. Meanwhile, strengthening and growing the Covenant of Conscience community – clergy, lay and congregational signers – is still the most important thing you — every member or supporter of MIND – can do. In the covenant, we pledge our refusal to any longer discriminate, and we pledge our mutual spiritual and material support. This is a critical foundation for the We ARE project.