Session 1 (Friday Evening)
Introduction to Generous Spaciousness – Wendy Gritter
We will begin our retreat experience reflecting on the posture of Generous Spaciousness. Generous spaciousness acknowledges that though we may differ in our interpretive conclusions about matters of gender and sexuality, we gather in unity around our shared love for Christ. Generous spaciousness invites us to dialogue with a commitment to the four core values of: humility, hospitality, mutuality, and justice. Generous spaciousness gives people the room they need to ask hard questions and to wrestle with different experiences and perspectives in the context of warm and encouraging friendship and support.
Session 2 (Saturday Morning)
A Look at Scripture Discussion Groups
Beyond the Clobber Passages – Shane Bauman
Most Christian discussions of the morality of same-sex relationships centre around interpreting six Bible passages that LGBT people often refer to as the “clobber passages.” However, there is much in scripture beyond these passages that can influence how we think about same-sex relationships. In this session, Shane will reflect on some of these other Bible texts as well as some overarching themes in Scripture that influenced him as he sought to reconcile his faith and sexuality.
Scripture & the Task of Interpretation – Kari Tolppanen
What influences how we interpret scripture? How can we discern what the best approach is? In this session we’ll look at the factors that ought to be weighed in our efforts to interpret well and explore the Biblical call to a hermeneutic of love.
Telling Our Heart Stories – Wendy Gritter
In the Western church we have relied on a very intellectual and apologetics driven style of argumentation when discussion matters of controversy and Scriptural interpretation. Personal experience can sometimes be viewed with suspicion. For many sexual minority persons, this can be very intimidating when trying to share the story of reconciling one’s faith and sexuality. This workshop will affirm, encourage and equip us to tell our heart story with God and Scripture with confidence.
What to do with six texts? – Rob Walker
Whether you hold an affirming view, a traditional view, or are uncertain, it can be challenging to sort through the many different perspectives and interpretations. This workshop will offer an overview of the most compelling ways that the texts have been engaged.
Workshop Descriptions (Saturday Afternoon):
Opening the Door on Forgiveness – Bill Taekema
A workshop on gaining the awareness of how forgiveness is or is not working in our lives and how we currently relate to it as well as finding ways of forgiving.
The Gospel & the Un-Doing of Privilege – Rob Walker
What is “privilege,” and how do we recognize it in our lives? How can our diverse personalities and theological priorities enrich the Church as we grapple with significant issues? Come ready for some interactive exercises, a discussion about the Ethiopian eunuch, and some great conversation!
Releasing Grief – Judy Cook
Grief and grieving is part of life. However, when grief cannot be expressed, healing cannot take place. Come to a facilitated circle conversation and learn, in a safe and gracious space, how you can begin to release built-up grief, and find healing for pent-up emotional pain.
Nurturing Intimate Relationships – Wendy Gritter
We all long to feel safe and deeply connected to our life partners. But experiences of withdrawal, distance, or conflict can leave us feeling rejected, disappointed, or frustrated. In this session we’ll explore some of the basic ideas behind an attachment-centered approach to relationships. This will help us to better understand our patterns of disconnection and experience new hope to move forward with deeper trust and closeness.
Session 3 (Saturday Evening) – Panel & Discussion Groups
Generous Spaciousness acknowledges our diversity and seeks to build trusting and supportive relationships grounded in our shared love for Christ despite differences we may have. Saturday evening’s panel will feature four friends with different emphasis in how they navigate faith and sexuality. The panel will not be a debate, but is intended to model respectful listening and conversation across difference.
- Rob Walker will share his progressive view on sexual ethics.
- Shane Bauman will speak from a ‘waiting till marriage’ perspective.
- David Colpitts will offer his journey of committed celibacy.
- Eryn-Faye Frans will share her work to open dialogue on sexuality in the church.
- Moderator – Wendy Gritter
Affinity Groups (Sunday Afternoon)
Gathering in diverse Community Groups for dialogue will be a key focus during this retreat. However, we did want to offer a time for people to specifically connect with others who are navigating similar journeys. These Affinity groups will offer people the opportunity to share their stories, resources they have found helpful, and raise questions they are wrestling with. The sessions will close with the opportunity to pray for and encourage each other. This year’s Affinity groups will include:
- Parents & Family
- Living Chastely
- Trans Journeys
- Single but Looking
- Nurturing Committed Relationships
- Pastors & Allies