The reconciling committee at First United Methodist Church in Moorestown will host a community workshop – Pride in Context: How to Be an LGBTQIA-plus Ally in the History of Pride – at town hall on Nov. 9.
“This is something we want to do not just for our individual church, but we have decided … because our committee, our movement in this church has existed for three years, but it evolves,” said Lisa Kulp, chair of the committee.
“ … We’ve decided this year, as a committee in the church, that our main mission is to be the best allies that we can be in our church and in the wider community.”
Dr. Don Dyson and Dr. Brent Satterly from Widener University will present the workshop.
“One of the members of our committee, his brother is Dr. Dyson, and Dr. Dyson’s husband (is) Brent Satterly,” Kulp explained. “ … They have done this program in other churches and probably in their school community … They call it a workshop because people are going to learn things in it.”
“You’re going to work by listening to what they have to share.”
“The workshop will entail going over an overview of sexual orientation and gender identity, coupled within the context of the history of pride and how historical movements have impacted things like social issues and civil rights, but also looking at ways to go about and explore the various levels of response that individuals, families, communities and organzations have to LGBTQIA people,” Satterly said. “That might be something personal, as in terms of relationships and family members, or it might be something that’s a bit more at the macro-level, like organizations and communities, or even political aspects.”
“ … A lot of what we hope for is to create opportunities for introspection (and) for self-reflection about how these things make sense for (people) personally, and to be able to open conversation, dialogue and ask questions,” Satterly said. “ … I think a big part of it is also about looking toward building relationships, creating a dialogue and pursuing justice and removing barriers to access to resources for people who need them in this work … At the end of the day, what it all comes down to is ‘How do I understand this and how is this relevant in my own personal life, and then what does that mean for my community?”
This year, the committee participated in several pride events and provided 20 dinners to The Attic Youth Center. The workshop is designed to increase community awareness of LGBTQIA-plus (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual plus others) pride, and examine its American history, relationship to oppression and advocacy and ways to support LGBTQIA-plus people as a straight or cisgender ally.
“One of the goals is to let people know … Everybody knows, even if they don’t know, somebody that is in the LGBTQ community,” Kulp explained. “It could be your grandchild, it could be your neighbor, it could be somebody you work with. They’re all just people.”
“ … This is just to help people have words that they need to know what they mean – understand – and to understand what the LGBTQ community is,” Kulp added. “And this is going to help you just as a person, just be a better person to be aware and an ally.”
“We want to create allies in the community.”
Kulp explained why the location for the workshop is town hall.
“That was specifically chosen because even if you’re a member of the LBGTQ community and you see this program and you’d like to come to this program, a lot of times, you may not want to step foot in a church, and you may have not been accepted,” she noted.
“Hopefully, if somebody comes here, they’ll see our sign out front with the rainbow.”
Kulp shared what she hopes the community takes away from the event.
“I just want people to be open, and willing to learn and question, and I’d love people to leave this program not being more accepting because maybe they are already accepting, but if that’s something that they feel they need to do, I hope this program helps them do that,” she said.
“It’s the right thing to do, to share with the wider community, not just the couple hundred people that are here.”
The workshop starts at 7 p.m. For more information, visit https://meetwithgod.com