What is "hi" in the middle and round on both ends?
Greetings from the Buckeye State where several hundred progressive United Methodists have gathered to worship, fellowship and organize to make the UMC a better place for all of God's people.
Today I had the lovely privilege of co-leading a workshop about ways people can create safe spaces in their local congregations and communities as a response to bullying. The workshop included information about human development theory and counseling best practices. Together, my co-leader, Josh Noblitt, and I facilitated discussion among more than 30 concerned leaders about how they can shift their communities to be safer spaces for queer folk, migrant families, differently abled and others who are marginalized by our church and society. Those of us gathered shared our personal stories of times we felt unwelcomed or bullied, times of hope for the future of our church, and methods we have used to create safe spaces in the church. The conversations left the workshop space and continued into the hallways, lunch tables and afternoon affinity groups.
As the first day of Sing A New Song 2011, today has been a busy and productive day. We are learning, planning, and preparing to share our witness between now and the end of General Conference 2012, growing together as a community and moving our church to being fully inclusive of all God's people.