Why I am going to “Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred” and why you should too

In 2 weeks, I’ll be attending “Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred: A gathering of Anabaptist lgbtqa* community” and I think you should too. We’ll be gathering in Chicago at the Cenacle Retreat & Conference Center from the afternoon of Friday, November 21 through noon on Sunday, November 23. It’s sponsored by Pink Menno, Inclusive Pastors and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT interests I interviewed some of the organizers about why this gathering is so important and here’s what they said:

“There is a widely-felt sense that it is time for a gathering to bring lgbtq people together for celebration, healing, and the sustenance of our vibrant community.” Annabeth Roeschly said, “While some of us have gathered at the bienneal MCUSA conventions, those events bring us together primarily in a spirit of nonviolent resistance and action.”

“Columbus 2009 is when I said yes to the Mennonite Church, when I said yes to being queer and Christian and when I began taking communion again.” said Christian Parks, “I do a lot of work outside of the Mennonite church. I come to this gathering to rest and to renew so that I can be strong. I want to connect to the experience of how resilient queer people of faith are and I want to sink into the story of the people who have come before me. This conference will be sacred space.”

“FFS is unique in that it is a cooperative venture between BMC, PM and Inclusive Pastors, is Mennonite focused, and is intent upon influencing change within the Mennonite church.” said Carol Wise, “It reflects a growing movement that is eager to use its emerging power to effect institutional change. I find it very exciting.”

“We have been told that our identities are inherently conflicting; we have been told that we cannot be queer and Mennonite and our many other identities.” said Patrick Ressler. “In gathering, we are able to repair pieces of our fractured and intersectional identities; through imagination and creativity, we create spaces where we feel more fully named and more fully known as Mennonites, blessed by each other and by God who loves us in all our queerness. This is space that the Mennonite Church as a whole is not yet willing to create–we must create it ourselves.”

“As someone who is working-to-be-an-ally, I am often reminded of the courage that it takes to be out as a queer person in a church and a world where that identity can put one in a place of vulnerability and even danger.” said Hannah Klassen. “Allies with faith commitments to community, hospitality, and peace with justice can celebrate with and work alongside people who identify as LGBTQIA+ as well as be enriched by their gifts and perspectives. We not only should do this but we must – it is our calling, it is our responsibility.”

“We’re no longer dancing at the wall to borrow one of the older Brethren Mennonite Council metaphors.” said Sarah Klassen, “We’ve infiltrated. This conference is an expression of our dynamic ecclesial presence and a celebration of what is already true: we are here.”

“I think this event provides a necessary reminder that our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are part of our church. They are not a problem or an issue. They are a gift.” said Ron Adams, “They, we, are all God’s dear children, beloved siblings of Christ, and recipients of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This event bears witness to and celebrates these realities.”

I hope you’ll join us.