I am in Columbus for weekend training on developing a welcoming church program. The training is specifically about how to approach churches on the issue of welcoming LGBT people into their congregations and making their worship spaces a welcoming place for all people. The principles can actually be applied to other aspects of making groups, workplaces and organizations welcoming to all.
We started with dinner and went into 4 hours of pretty intensive and interesting training exercises. I found them very telling and valuable. Tonight basically set the tone of how to approach a controversial subject in a non-confrontational manner. From my years of LGBT advocacy, this is very important. When talking about LGBT people in the church, we seem to dwell on endless arguments at the microphone but never seem to understand the sides of the discussion. Tonight’s technique demonstrated that by approaching the issue with an organized discussion based in scripture and set in a non-confrontational environment that the heat and passion of the argument disappears.
I look forward to the coming days as we expand on these exercises with many other hands-on techniques. The ultimate goal is to equip participants with a toolbox of techniques to use in different situations.