The following resources are recommended by MIND for churches looking to take their next steps in living more fully into God’s radical Welcome by welcoming God’s LGBT children.
In 2009 MIND provided each district superintendent in the New York Annual Conference with a full set of these resources so that they may be available to clergy for reference or use in their own congregations. Many of them are also available or can be bought online.
For the Bible Tells Me So (DVD)
This feature-length award-winning documentary brings together the debate about whether the Bible condemns homosexuality or not with and intensely personal portrait of five families with lesbian or gay children. It airs the anti-gay arguments on Biblical interpretation and then unpacks the issue of Biblical interpretation to demonstrate that the Bible does not, in fact, condemn LGBT people. The film is probably best suited as part of a discussion of Biblical authority and homosexuality or for audiences who have already broached the topic and are searching for a way to be faithful and welcome all. What it does best is make clear that this “issue” is about real people and that real people’s lives and families have been wrecked by homophobic misuses of the Bible. Copies of the film can be ordered at www.forthebibletellsmeso.org.
And God Loves Each One & Dios Nos Ama Por Igual
This short booklet (or long pamphlet), in English and Spanish versions, is an excellent introductory piece for churches just starting to address issues of sexuality and God’s welcome. In accessible language with clarity of purpose, it answers questions about sexuality and asks readers to consider what it feels like to be rejected, or embraced, by one’s faith community. Copies can we ordered at www.godloveseachone.org. Also available through RMN’s online store.
Walter Wink, Homosexuality and the Bible
An excellent exegesis of the texts in the Bible that mention/condemn same-sex sexual activity and their relevance to modern Christian sexual ethics. In 16 pages, this is perhaps the most cogent tour of these passages placed in historical context and in the context of the question of Biblical authority. It is not an article that is accessible to all audiences, and is perhaps best suited for a clergy (or lay) person working on their own presentation explaining how these ancient texts should be read and reconciled with an inclusive welcome of people of all sexual orientation. Copies can be ordered from the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Also available through RMN’s online store.
Taking a New Look: Why Congregations Need LGBT Members
This 30-page booklet describes how congregations need LGBT people for the gifts and talents they bring to create a positive image of Christianity and the church, especially among young adults, for the opportunity to offer pastoral care to LGBT people to demonstrate expansive hospitality of God. This excellent booklet provides a very compelling pastoral call to the churches to welcome and embrace LGBT people. Available from LifeQuest Publications.
Various brochures from Parents Reconciling Network
PRN provides resources and support for parents of LGBT people and for congregations wishing to be in ministry with LGBT young people and their families. Avialable for download through PRN’s Web page.
Claiming the Promise
An ecumenical welcoming Bible study resource on homosexuality. This curriculum may be used for group or individual study. Planned for seven one- to two-hour sessions. Examines biblical references to same-sex conduct in light of the broader biblical message that affirms we are children or heirs of the Promise. Excellent for congregational study and discussion. (Includes the Leader’s Guide to Claiming the Promise.) Available through RMN’s online store.
Copies of the following handouts:
- Reconciling/welcoming statement samples—something congregations might want to review if they’re thinking about developing their own welcoming statement.
- Finishing the Journey: Questions and Answers From United Methodist of Conviction, Chapter 5, by Bishop Richard B. Wilke: “What does the Bible call us, as Christians, to do on this issue?” Available online and for download through Northhaven UMC.
- “Concerning Church Membership and Authority of the Pastor,” a two-page article by Rev. Dr. Gayle Carlton Felton, principle writer of United Methodism’s official interpretative documents on baptism and holy communion. Provides historical and theological background to the issues surrounding pastoral authority and church membership. Available here.
- “Why I Am a Proud Supporter of MIND,” by Rev. John A. Carr, New York Annual Conference. In this article John talks about discrimination against LGBT people in the church in light of his own struggles many years ago as a person with disabilities seeking ordination. Available online in NYAC’s archives of its newsletter.
- “How I Changed My Mind,” by Bishop Jack M. Tuell. A very personal and moving account of one persons growing awareness and change of heart and how at the age of 76 he publicly proclaimed, “I was wrong.” Avaikable here from RMN.
Also included is a bibliography entitled Same Sex Relationships and the Church, Suggested Resources for Individuals and Congregations.