CenterPeace

CenterPeace

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So nice to meet you yesterday, Sally. I so appreciated your advice and support for school counselors.
Can you please find another term to use besides "same-sex attraction"? That's one of the phrases ex-gay ministries have used for decades. It's designed to pathologize identity into a behavior that can be changed and altered. It's harmful. It's painful. And as well-meaning as you may be, it seems antithetical to your purpose, unless your purpose is to placate those who would persecute the LGBTQ community rather than to provide an open-armed ministry to those who have been disenfranchised and abandoned by Christianity for hundreds of years. And as far as I am concerned, it stops any serious discussion I might like to have with your organization in its tracks.

CenterPeace provides a place to belong for LGBTQ+ Christians. We help churches, schools, and families have conversations about faith and sexuality in a more Christ-like way, acknowledging Jesus as the CenterPeace of our existence.

CenterPeace provides resources for churches and families to better understand and respond to loved ones who experience same-sex attraction.

CenterPeace hosts a national conference every other year. In addition, we offer regional retreats known as PeacePrints for parents, and Peacemaker seminars for church leaders. We also host spiritual formation weekend retreats, called Tapestry, for LGBTQ individuals seeking a safe place to ask questions, to find compassion and empathy, and a greater sense of peace in resolving the conflict between faith and sexuality that so many of us feel.

Mission: Since 2006, CenterPeace has been helping churches, schools, and families all over the world have conversations about faith and sexuality in a more Christ-like way. We provide a place to belong for LGBTQ+ people, and we welcome grace-filled dialogue and respectful disagreement with all who come to the table, acknowledging Jesus as the CenterPeace of our existence.

centerpeaceblog.com

Zoom Connection, Lifelong Discipling

“I have gay friends and then I have Christian friends. I don’t have many friends who are Christian who are also gay. Now I do, so this is great!” Those were the words of one of the participants of this last weekend’s CenterPeace retreat. If we had come together for just this person, it would’ve been worth it. Every time I come back from a CenterPeace event I’m filled with hope. [ 970 more words ]
http://centerpeaceblog.com/2020/04/21/zoom-connection-lifelong-discipling/

centerpeaceblog.com “I have gay friends and then I have Christian friends. I don’t have many friends who are Christian who are also gay. Now I do, so this is great!” Those were the words of one of the participants of …

Richard Beck on Hope 2020

Good Friday, friends. Perhaps this year more than any other we have a real sense of what Good Friday is all about. Pain, grief, loss - the isolation Jesus must have felt - these are all emotions we've felt, and even more so this past month as we experienced isolation as never before, separated from loved ones and our normal routine. But we know how the story ends, don't we? We know Sunday is coming and that gives us hope. Listen to CenterPeace friend, Richard Beck, talking about the hope we have in Jesus.

2020 TAPESTRY ONLINE RETREAT

We're still not certain about our Tapestry Retreat set for May 29-31 at Watchtower Ranch, TX, but in the meantime...

JOIN US FOR AN ONLINE TAPESTRY RETREAT!

With Special Guests...KAREN KEEN, JUSTIN LEE, & MATTHEW VINES

APRIL 17 - 18, 2020 (short segments on Zoom, beginning 7:30 p.m. Friday, ending by 2 p.m. Saturday)

Tired of being online? We understand, but consider the benefits...
- no travel
- no pants
- no snoring
AND IT'S CHEAPER!

$25 per person

REGISTER @ centerpeace.net/tapestry DEADLINE April 15

Looking Ahead in the Midst of Lockdown! - https://mailchi.mp/c58106e3e08f/looking-ahead-in-the-midst-of-lockdown In this uncertain time, CenterPeace is moving forward with e3, October 22-24. And in the meantime, we're offering other events online! Read inside...

I want to invite all my LGBTQ+ Christian friends to be part of a space that is growing dear to my heart - a private group on Facebook called the LGBTQ Discipleship Community. We have close to 200 members already. It's a space where our relationship with Christ and learning to live like him is what matters most. If you'd like to join or if you have LGBTQ+ friends who are looking for spiritual resources/Christian connection, message us here. You'll be asked to respond to some questions prior to joining.

One of the discipling activities we do is read books together. Our first selection is Rachel Held Evans' "Searching for Sunday." Here's a sample post -

"...our God is in the business of transforming ordinary things into holy things, scraps of food into feasts & empty purification vessels into fountains of fine wine. This God knows his way around the world, so there's no need to fear, no need to withhold, no need to stake a claim. There's always enough - just taste and see. There's always and ever enough" ("Searching For Sunday," p. 157).
Reading Rachel's words makes it seem as if she's still here, experiencing this unprecedented time of uncertainty and worry with us. Hers are prophetic words, true for all times, all circumstances. What changes is my perception of what is enough. And when my idea of how much is 'enough' becomes threatened, well, my anxiety kicks in and all sorts of ungodly things can happen.

Perhaps our greatest fear is the loss of control we feel when resources seem scarce and freedom is abridged. Learning to lean on others as we get through difficult times is often how God provides 'enough' for us. But in our culture, that's often hard for us. "Ours is a culture of achievement, of sufficiency, of bootstrap pulling and ladder climbing. We celebrate the winners, the leaders, the do-it-yourselfers. Like any good American, I like to wait until I think I've earned. I like to wait until I think I've deserved. With giving, I can maintain some sense of power, some illusion of control. But receiving means the gig is up. Receiving means I'm not the boss of what comes into life - be it trial or trouble or unmerited good" (p. 143).

People losing work, not being able to pay bills or provide the simplest necessities of life, being isolated from loved ones (or with loved ones!) make this a difficult time for many of us. I don't like to think of myself being in need of help, but I've already been there too many times in my life, and I know firsthand the value of having a faith community. Sometimes to just sit with me, to listen, to walk, to literally buy my groceries, cook them and feed me. Maybe it's not physical resources that you're needing right now. Maybe it's a craving for companionship, for community, for spiritual encouragement and nurturing. Having a faith community can help. If you don't have a physical faith community around you, I pray God will make that possible for you. Until then, tell us how we can better meet your needs with this virtual faith community. And let's remember Rachel's admonition - "Waiting around for right will leave you waiting around forever. The church is God saying: 'I'm throwing a banquet, and all these mismatched, messed-up people are invited. Here, have some wine" (p. 153).

Consider these questions:
If you've given up on finding a faith community, what would you need to see in a church to draw you in?
If you've found a faith community that has fully embraced you, what is it about that church that makes you stay?

sallygary.wordpress.com

A Solace from History – Mine & Yours

A Solace from History - Mine & Yours "In the years following World War II, polls found the only thing Americans feared more than polio was nuclear war.” But we have a heritage of overcoming fear...
https://sallygary.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/a-solace-from-history-mine-yours/

sallygary.wordpress.com “In the years following World War II, polls found the only thing Americans feared more than polio was nuclear war.” But we have a heritage of overcoming fear…

As we move through this difficult time, let’s not forget to keep looking ahead! The CenterPeace e3 Conference is set for October 22-24, 2020, in Dallas! This gathering has always been a grand reunion of dear friends, but this year it will be a celebration! Keep up with news about the conference on Facebook & @centerpeaceinc on Twitter & Instagram. Register at centerpeace.net/e3conference

As we move through this difficult time, let’s not forget to keep looking ahead! The CenterPeace e3 Conference is set for October 22-24, 2020, in Dallas! This gathering has always been a grand reunion of dear friends, but this year it will be a celebration! Keep up with news about the conference on Facebook (link in bio) & @centerpeaceinc on Twitter. Register at centerpeace.net/e3conference

May you feel the presence of Christ in every breath you take, and may it bring you peace, this day and always. #coronotine2020

cbsnews.com

"In the business of kindness": Dallas cafe hires foster kids who have aged out of system

This is a beautiful story coming out of Dallas that made the national news this week! A restaurateur heard about the number of kids aging out of foster care with no family support system. He created this coffee house as a means of providing work for these young adults.

We have a similar dream of providing housing for foster kids who identify as LGBTQ+. Someday we want to purchase/build a home with rooms to provide at minimal cost, and have a couple living there to nurture and assist these young people as they transition to the “real world.”

Someone asked me just recently if kids really still get kicked out of their homes for being gay. Yes. Yes, they do. That has to stop & we’re working hard to help families understand. But until that stops, we have to step up. Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone (biggest slab of concrete you can imagine!) hung around your neck & cast into the ocean than to lead ‘a little one’ astray. We take that seriously.

"If this light never came into my life, I would be suffering from depression," said one woman working there.

Join us Oct 22-24 for e3 2020! LGBTQ+ Christians, help us fill up Highland Oaks Church in Dallas - invite friends, family & church leaders to explore how we reconcile faith & sexuality. Register at https://www.centerpeace.net/e3conference #e32020con

‪E3 2020 DALLAS SAVE THE DATE - Oct 22-24! Register now & save - $99 thru June 1! Groups of 6 or more - $85 per person. STUDENTS - $25. You don’t want to miss it!! #e32020con https://www.centerpeace.net/e3conference‬

Don’t know what I’d do without this crew in Tennessee! Thanks to all of you for serving at our #PeacePrint retreat for parents of LGBTQ+ children. Thanks to Laura & Megan especially for the hours of prep work that goes into these events. Thanks to Morgan & Ezra for the amazing food! Thanks to Karen for leading us deeper into prayer & contemplation of scripture. And Doug & John, thanks for your presence & wisdom, humor & deep voices that make our singing sound so much better! I love you all! ❤️

Can’t wait to see these dear friends who help out at PeacePrints near Nashville this weekend! Thanks, Laura Lawrence, for coordinating all of our TN retreats! (Yes, all of that food is for us....) #peaceprints @ Grandview Lodge and Resort

One space left for PeacePrints! Register now at centerpeace.net/parents #MadeWithRipl via ripl.com

PeacePrints - our retreat for parents of LGBTQ+ children - is almost full! We have two spaces left, so sign up NOW at centerpeace.net/parents! It’s a beautiful space & it will be full of beautiful souls who love their kids. Come join us. You’ll be glad you did. #faithfullylgbt #peaceprints @ Grandview Lodge and Resort Spencer, TN, near Nashville March 6 - 8

[02/24/20]   Wondering whether or not you should plan to come to e3 2020? Mark your calendar for October 22 - 24 for one of the largest gatherings for LGBTQ+ Christians, our allies, family members, & church leaders! If you haven't been before, get ready for a fantastic lineup of speakers - Here's a 2018 keynote from Sean Palmer, an ACU grad & minister at Ecclesia in Houston, TX.

christianitytoday.com

How the Forest Inspired Me to Stay in Church

Earlier today I posted this piece on the importance of community in our LGBTQ Discipleship Community. This past week we've been talking about our need for community and how hard it often is for LGBTQ+ folks to find that. The group is private and limited to LGBTQ+ Christians, but if you'd like to be added to the group, just let us know!

Here's the blurb and article from Christianity Today:

"I have had to lean into my personal faith through the shattering pain I’ve experienced within the church. I’ve felt the jolting pain of receiving a shock through the actions of members in a church community I trusted who misused that trust. I did have to redirect my trust in “God alone.” Unlike trees, we aren’t merely connected to our local communities. We are grafted into Jesus himself. He is our source of faith and endurance (Rom. 11), and this is very good news for us when facing broken communities. Unlike trees, we are also empowered to leave unhealthy situations and find healthier communities.

It was my faith in Jesus, to my surprise, that led me to eventually trust again in his plan for us to thrive as part of a healthy community, as imperfect as that often looks. Despite the heartache I’ve seen far too often, I’ve found, like a tree in a forest, we can all be rooting for each other and grow stronger together. Wohlleben explains that the communal forest can withstand even hurricane-level winds as 'the tree community stands together to help each individual tree.' It’s a beautiful picture of what the church community is capable of when we weather the storms of life together."

To read the whole article and hear more comparison to trees/forest, go to

christianitytoday.com Church failures uproot congregations. But we're reminded by ecology that strength is found in community connection.

Spring enrollment is open for Harbor, an online support group for Christian parents of LGBTQ+ children started by our friend, B.T. Harman, of #bluebabiespink podcast fame! This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other parents who are similarly situated. Having someone to talk to who understands goes a long way in helping us feel less alone. Check out this resource and pass it along to someone who needs it! http://harborhere.com

Parents of LGBTQ+ children, don’t miss this opportunity to gather with fellow Christians who share your experience & will understand. Sharing feelings, faith and learning how to move forward, loving our kids, remaining faithful to God - this is the focus of PeacePrints. Sign up now to get one of the last three spots at Grandview Lodge at Spencer, TN, near Nashville! March 6-8 Register at link in bio. #peaceprints #faithfullylgbt

Join us in wishing CenterPeace Operations Director, Megan Green, a Happy Birthday! 🎂🥳🎉

Here’s what we’re reading through the Lenten season in the LGBTQ Discipleship Community on Facebook - a private group for LGBTQ folks only. Rachel Held Evans holds a special place in many of our hearts, for sharing her doubts & for being one of the first Christian thought leaders to champion inclusion of LGBTQ+ folks. Her very unexpected illness & death last year still stings. But she lives on through her words.

On Monday, March 2, we’ll start reading “Searching for Sunday” together. With the Lenten season beginning February 26, this book will be a good read to take us through Easter on April 11. So, what if you’re just not a reader &/ or can’t stand the thought of an online book club - will everyone still be able to participate and glean something meaningful out of the posts? Of course! We’ll simply be talking about ideas from the book but we’ll keep them general & post quotes from the book so that everyone can follow. Reading the book will just be a bonus! #searchingforsunday #rachelheldevans
Order your copy now on Amazon & start reading! Not a member of the group but you’d like to be? DM us!

If you haven’t yet listened to this coming out story from B.T. Harman, don’t wait any longer. Put down whatever you’re doing & start listening now. You’ll be so glad you did. https://www.bluebabiespink.com/ Thanks @bt_harman #bluebabiespink #comingout #faithfullylgbt

I’m so proud of my sweet friend, Greg Pittman! Greg was our artist at e3 2018 and we’re looking forward to having him back again in 2020, along with others. But you can get a preview of Greg’s talent from Jan 28 - Feb 28 at the Jaycee Art Center in Irving where his paintings will be featured all month. I’m going on Feb 9 to the reception for Greg - who wants to join me?! #gregalanpittmantheartist @ Irving Art Association

I’d like to invite all my LGBTQ+ friends to a new Facebook community - If you're an LGBTQ person of faith looking for encouragement in living a Christ-centered life, this is for you...a discipleship community that’s truly just that, for LGBTQ believers. We’ll read books together, contemplate what it means to be a Christ follower, discuss theology and support each other in going deeper with God. It’s a private group but you can request to be added to the community. Check it out. #faithfullylgbt https://www.facebook.com/groups/468366557174934/?ref=share

2020 E3 IS COMING SOON!!

IT'S HERE! THE MOMENT YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR...
We're thrilled to announce that registration is available for the 2020 e3 Conference in Dallas, at the Highland Oaks Church! The earlier you register, the lower the cost - and if you bring a group, you get an even better deal! So call your friends & family members - sign up your church staff and/or elders - and head to e3 in DALLAS, OCTOBER 22 - 24. Yes, you'll want to sign up for the dinner Saturday night! And just go ahead and buy the T shirt...you know you'll want one.
FRIENDS, WE CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU!!

REGISTER at https://www.centerpeace.net/e3conference

She’s been around now for two years, beginning in January of 2018 as a weekly volunteer for #CenterPeace. Megan Green quickly proved herself more than capable, and over the last year has become a loyal, trusted and most-efficient full time employee. This week she’s working on getting out IRS donor letters - and thanks to you, that’s a lot! Leave a comment below to let Megan know how much she’s loved & appreciated! #worldsbest #operationsdirector

centerpeaceblog.com

Will Our LGBTQ+ Youth Hold Onto Faith?

“They came from all over this past weekend, to a spiritual formation retreat for LGBTQ+ college students. Some identify as lesbian, some as gay, bisexual, trans. Some are still questioning, which is totally understandable as a college freshman, only 18 years old. They came from Christian universities, and state schools, and some are working full time. Most grew up going to church all the time, a few didn’t.” Read more at
http://centerpeaceblog.com/2020/01/22/will-our-lgbtq-youth-hold-onto-faith/

centerpeaceblog.com They came from all over this past weekend, to a spiritual formation retreat for LGBTQ+ college students. Some identify as lesbian, some as gay, bisexual, trans. Some are still questioning, which is…

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