Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Presentations on LGBT Issues

Andrews Joins Adventist Church in its Ongoing Study of LGBT Issues & Lives

This month Andrews University will take the opportunity, in a variety of settings, to reflect on and seek to better understand the issues surrounding the lives of LGBT individuals within our University community, within the church and throughout the world at large.

Recently, this conversation and search for understanding within our Seventh-day Adventist Church community centered on a March 2014 summit in Cape Town, South Africa, coordinated by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

As Andrews University reflects on the Cape Town summit on LGBT issues, and the University's own participation in and exploration of these issues in this variety of settings, President Niels-Erik Andreasen says, “In each of these significant conversations about these critical issues, and in those that will continue, throughout the world, our Church and this campus, it’s important that we seek to offer compassion and support for all members of our community. That process best begins with listening and understanding each other. I invite you to become a meaningful participant in this journey.”

The Cape Town summit, “In God’s Image: Scripture. Sexuality. Society.,” was attended by nearly 350 pastors, educators, behavioral scientists, theologians, church leaders and others. Among those attendees were five Andrews University representatives: Nicholas Miller, Roy Gane, Miroslav Kiš and Peter Swanson from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, and Steve Yeagley from the Division of Student Life.

In the context of this now global conversation, it’s important that Andrews University, as the flagship university of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and especially as a community of faith and learning, also takes the opportunity for reflection that is marked by study, prayer, and direct and honest communication.

That has already begun in a variety of ways, and with a common understanding that these are each opportunities for information, bridge building, caring and support—all within the context of Andrews University’s support for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its standards.

A short while ago, Nicholas Miller, one of the presenters at that Cape Town Summit, gave a report on the issues and discussions at Pioneer Memorial Church Sabbath School.

The discussion continued with the April 9 Student Movement, where our students, along with some faculty and staff, wrote articles and editorials that seek to better understand those with an LGBT orientation and the need for caring and support.

Finally, on the last two Saturdays of the month, there will be two public meetings that will explore LGBT issues in the context of the Seventh-day Adventist church and its standards, and in the context of the lives of those who face these issues.

First, on Saturday, April 19, our Student Life team is coordinating an event, facilitated by two of our faculty, which welcomes our students and community into a supportive environment where LGBT students can share their stories.

Then, on Saturday, April 26, all five of the Andrews representatives who attended the Cape Town summit will offer a panel presentation to discuss its impact on our church and the Andrews University community.

Details of those two presentations can be found below.

"A Conversation With LGBT Students"
April 19, 4 p.m., Newbold Auditorium, Buller Hall
Sponsored by the Division of Student Life

A facilitated Andrews University conversation with LGBT students that is focused on bridge building, listening, understanding and caring in a context that affirms the Church and its standards. Curtis VanderWaal, chair and professor of social work at Andrews University, and Nancy Carbonell, associate professor, Graduate Psychology & Counseling, will moderate this afternoon program.

It’s important to note that while this is not an event about advocacy or proposed changes to our church’s policy, it is one that is designed to be a supportive environment where Andrews University LGBT students can honestly and safely share their stories. Those of us who are not LGBT will have an opportunity to listen and learn from these students about their journeys.

“In God’s Image: Scripture. Sexuality. Society.”
Reflections from the Cape Town Summit
April 26, 5 p.m., Pioneer Memorial Church
Sponsored by the Division of Student Life

This panel discussion will feature Nicholas Miller, Peter Swanson, Miroslav Kiš, Roy Gane and Steve Yeagley, who participated and/or presented at the Adventist Church’s summit on LGBT issues in Cape Town, South Africa.

This panel discussion and presentation will review the studies, discussion and stories that were a part of that March 2014 summit, while also sharing and reflecting on the summit’s impact on our church and our own Andrews University community.

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