Pastor’s Day @ The Retreat
The LGBTQ+ Christian experience is best understood through listening to the journeys of LGBTQ+ followers of Jesus. Pastor’s Day @ the Retreat provides the chance to worship, learn, and reflect in a space where LGBTQ+ Christians are the majority. For many ministry leaders, this is a rare opportunity and one that illumines God moving at the intersection of faith, gender, and sexuality in a way that our best hermeneutics and exegesis cannot. In addition to learning with our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ, pastors will also have sessions with other pastors to share best practices and lessons learned in navigating these matters in our congregations.
Thoughts from a participant @ Pastor’s Day 2017:
“I had the privilege of spending the day with a group of people who identify as both LGBTQ and Christian. It was a great opportunity for me to listen, learn and hear stories of how they are trying to come to grips with their own sexuality and the Scriptures. They were courageous to invite a bunch of (mainly conservative) pastors into their retreat, especially after many had hurtful experiences in the church. It was a true honour to spend time listening to their stories and coming to a greater understanding of their experience. The issues surrounding LGBTQ people and the church are complex and divisive, and many views were represented even today at the conference. But whatever the theological viewpoint, I think relationships, dialogue, and friendships are the key to moving forward in a healthy and Jesus-like way. Grateful for the opportunity to grow.”
“In all my devotion to cultivating communities of belonging, I have not been more welcomed by another group. Thank you for your hospitality GS”
“This group is deeply committed to the life and ministry of Jesus. This shared commonality is greater than any difference”
Who is welcome?
If you are actively reflecting on how the Christian community can faithfully enfold LGBTQ+ people into the life of the church, you are welcome. Generous Space is committed to extending respect and dignity to all people, honouring people’s convictions and conscience. It is, therefore, a community where there are different interpretive conclusions on matters related to the discipleship journey of LGBTQ+ people. We see this difference not as a problem to fix, but as an opportunity for growth in learning to love well.
We invite our guests for Pastor’s Day @ the Retreat to adopt a learner’s posture and to practice active listening as you engage other retreat participants. Many of our LGBTQ+ siblings in Christ have been hurt within the Christian community. They are extending a gift of hospitality to the pastors and leaders who come. Across our differences, and throughout the weekend, we reinforce a dialogical posture where we seek to understand each other rather than debate with or persuade one another. It is our expectation that visiting pastors will honour this commitment.
Where is it?
Pastors’ Day happens concurrently with our Ontario Generous Space Retreat, which is held annually at gorgeous Trent University, in Peterborough, ON. You’ll want to head to the Gzowski building. This is approximately a 1-hour and 45 min drive from Toronto. GO transit makes a stop at Trent University! Carpool options are also available!
9:15 am – Registration
9:30 am – Main Session: Worship & Keynote Speaker
11:30 am – Opening Pastors’ Gathering with Wendy VanderWal-Gritter
12:30 pm – Lunch
1:30 pm – Workshop
2:45 pm – Q&A with LGBTQ+ Generous Space staff members
3:30 pm – Pastors’ Debrief with Wendy VanderWal-Gritter
5:00 pm – End
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Elizabeth M. Edman
Liz Edman is an Episcopal priest from New York City. She is the author of Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press, 2016). Liz has lived and worked on the front lines of some of the most pressing issues where religion and sexuality meet including serving in the inner-city as a hospital chaplain during the height of the AIDS crisis. Liz mentors many young LGBTQ+ ministry leaders and serves as a clarion voice for justice.
What else can I expect?
Worship… we will enter into corporate worship through music, litany, and prayer.
Main Session… may include scriptural reflections, panel discussions, interviews, and times of communal input, as well as amazing guest speakers!
Opening Gathering with Wendy… where you can meet other pastors whose churches may be on similar journeys with this conversation, learn more about the posture of Generous Space, and ask questions to our ED, Wendy VanderWal Gritter
Workshops… you will have the opportunity to choose from among several different workshops about hermeneutics, ethics, and LGBTQ+ experiences.
Debriefing… at the end of the day, pastors and leaders will have the opportunity to reflect together on their learning, take-aways for their community, and next steps in nurturing Generous Space in their own contexts.
How much does it cost?
Registration includes the full day of programming with lunch provided.
Registration space is limited on a first-come-first-serve basis.