Updated: Mar 18, 2021
The Affirmation and Equality Ministry (FKA the Reconciling Ministries Team) promotes education and awareness of LGBTQ2SIA+ issues while providing a voice and a space of healing within the faith community. In keeping with that mission, we kicked off 2021 with a Queer Theology book study. So far we have explored the history of queer liberation both in society and the United Methodist Church, learned from personal testimonies of queer clergy, and discussed the future of our own Gresham United Methodist community through the book “Our Strangely Warmed Hearts” by the first openly lesbian bishop in the UMC, Karen Oliveto.
Now we move on to a broader and more philosophical look at what “queer theology” is outside of our denomination with “Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics” by Linn Marie Tonstad. The study will begin with our first meeting to discuss chapter one on Wednesday, March 17 at 7 p.m. and the study will run five weeks, with the last meeting on April 14.
“Beyond a Binary God”
To conclude our series on Queer Theology, we will examine how to better be Christian trans allies and create an affirming and welcoming atmosphere for all in the queer community with a study of the book “Beyond a Binary God: A Theology for Trans* Allies” by Tara K. Soughers.
Soughers, is an Episcopal priest and mother to a trans son. In her book she poses the questions: “What does it mean about God and about humans that there is not a strict gender binary?” and also what gifts might a broader understanding of “those whose path does not follow traditional culture” bring to the church? This session of the series will begin with our first meeting to discuss chapter one on Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. and run five weeks, with the last meeting on May 26.
On Wednesday, June 2 at 7 p.m., we will hold a closing discussion of all three books from the study and any ideas for future efforts to make Gresham UMC a more inclusive and welcoming church.
Discussion questions for the next two books will be provided every week. Email Brittany Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the studies so you receive the discussion questions in advance. Meetings are Wednesdays at 7 p.m. via zoom. The groups will have a week off between books, so there will be no meeting on Wednesday, April 21.
As a ministry of a community church, we encourage you to shop locally when purchasing books, if you’re able. All three books from the series are available by special order at Books Around the Corner in Gresham. Special orders take about 1-2 weeks to arrive for pickup, so plan accordingly. Below is a list of prices from Books Around the Corner. All three books can also be found on Amazon, if that is your preference.
● "Our Strangely Warmed Hearts: Coming Out into God’s Call" by Karen Oliveto, $17.99
● "Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics" by Linn Marie Tonstad, $22
● "Beyond a Binary God: A Theology for Trans* Allies" by Tara K. Soughers, $14.95
We look forward to hosting more spiritually fulfilling and educational events like these in the future and to seeing new and familiar faces at the book study meetings.
— Brittany Allen (she/her), Affirmation and Equality Team chairperson