Gay Christian Conference Day 1

4 01 2008

Thursday the conference got underway in earnest …

As I had arrived a day early on Wednesday and registration wasn’t until 5-ish, I took some time to loaf around, do some shopping and scope out the local flavour in Dupont Circle. When I got back to the hotel, I got to meet more folks and catch up with people i’ve chatted with online or haven’t seen in forever. Think the Mad Priest dinner to the nth degree. There are literally hundreds of people in a big ole’ love fest. Will write more soon, but i’ve got folks here waiting to use the computer …

And I have to tell you all about Episco-dar. It’s like gaydar, but for Episcopalians….

Update:

There is a good sized contingent of Episcopalians and Anglicans here, and we have a habit of seeking each other out. The tendency is to congregate over glasses of wine or other fine libations. I cannot tell you the number of times i’ve been in a circle of random folks only to find out that we’re all part of that wonderful, messy, comprehensive, dysfunctional, we’re-a-mess-but-there’s-nowhere-else-we’d-rather-be family connected through Canterbury and Common Prayer…It’s like an instinct where we just come together. Scary, but true. So that’s Episco-dar.

After the registration time was over we had some worship time and some prayer, then the founder of the group, Justin Lee, gave a keynote address and welcome. The folks that are here are a wonderful representation of the body of Christ from all over the US, some folks from Canada, the UK, and even Australia!

There are survivors of ex-gay programs (they call themselves ex-ex gay or ex-gay survivors). There are folks who are still in the closet. There are those who are still struggling to reconcile what they have been taught in their churches about being gay with what they feel in their heart about God’s inclusive love for us all. There are those who feel called to be celibate. And finally, there are those like me who have fully integrated their faith and their sexuality and are liberated by the Gospel.

So many people are here who feel like outcasts in their respective churches and communities and families, but for 3 or 4 days, they know and experience the liberating and all-encompassing power of Christ.

Justin’s unique gift is to somehow relate to all of these strands of thought and reach people on various stages of their journey of faith, to break down boundaries and make the radical welcome of God and the message of Gospel relevant. If we want to know how to reach our young people, our teenagers and 20-somethings, this guy is a good place to start.

After that we all retired to the bar for “coffee hour” where the instigators were in full force. People keep trying to include me with the troublmaking contingent, but i just don’t know why. After “coffee hour” the speakeasy society reconvened and we adjourned at approximately 4am.

I can assure you I am being VERY well behaved.

Mostly.

OK, maybe not so much.

But I can tell you this conference is a taste of what heaven must be like. People of all sorts and conditions coming together, sharing their gifts, their stories, fellowshipping together. The love and affection that is present is so very tangible.

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2 responses

4 01 2008
Jarred

You know, if you keep using the phrase “love fest,” you’re likely to have the folks at the AFA and similar organizations foaming at the mouth. 😉

I look forward to hearing more about Episco-dar.

5 01 2008
KJ

So it’s true what they say. Where two or three Episcopalians are gathered, there’s a fifth.

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