Elizabethton First Presbyterian will host workshop on LGBTQIA+

Published 3:47 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton and its More Light Committee, along with Covenant Network of Presbyterians, are hosting a free workshop Saturday, Sept. 17, on how to better understand and be more welcoming to LGBTQIA+ people. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
The event is open to any individual or group interested in the topic, including church leaders and lay people of any denomination. Workshop sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue until 2:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, located at 119 West F St., Elizabethton.
The workshop will be facilitated by Rev. Brian Ellison, executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, a national non-profit group that played a leading role in removing barriers for LGBTQIA+ people within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Notably, in 2011, after 33 years of debate, the denomination voted to approve the ordination of openly gay men and lesbians as ministers, elders, and deacons. In 2015, the denomination also proclaimed that gender would no longer be a barrier to marriage. “Our desire in co-hosting this event, along with our More Light Committee, is to learn more about inclusiveness and to make the discussion available to other groups locally who might also want to know more,” says Rev. Dr. Brian Wyatt, minister at First Presbyterian of Elizabethton. “This is an important issue, and Rev. Ellison has insight and practical tips that will help in achieving greater comfort and openness for all.”
The following day, Sunday, Sept. 18, Rev. Ellison will preach during the church’s regular worship service, beginning at 11 a.m.; he will also lead Adult Forum at 9:45 a.m.
A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Rev. Ellison has served as executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians since 2012. He previously served for 13 years as a church pastor in the Kansas City area and is currently a host and contributor for NPR affiliate KCUR. He has served on several committees of the General Assembly in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and is currently Stated Clerk of the Synod of Mid-America.
During sessions, Rev. Ellison will explore how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has historically dealt with sexual orientation and gender identity issues and what it is doing differently today. Other discussions will center on what specific acts of hospitality can be taken through words and deeds to strengthen congregations and common life for all. Rev. Ellison will also talk about the work of Covenant Network of Presbyterians and how congregations and individuals can engage in the organization’s work.
Workshop activities on Sept. 17 are free, but registration is required by going to fpcelizabethton.org and clicking on the appropriate link. Registration deadline is Sept. 14.

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