Workshops

                                                    Workshop #1: May 30th, 11:15am (EDT)

*A recording of this workshop will be available for public viewing afterward*

Come and explore the activities of the (queer) Holy Spirit in the earliest Church, and how the messes (s)he made then are still Good News for LGBTQ2S+ peoples today. Bring your Bible (if you have one), your questions, your curiosity, your playfulness… and perhaps your desire to know Holy Spirit differently than you do now. There will be lots of opportunity for discussion!

Robbie (he/him, they/them) is working toward the PhD Theological Studies from the University of Toronto, at the intersection of Queer and Pentecostal theologies. As someone who lives with cerebral palsy, Robbie seeks to apply Christian practices of nonviolence to healing ministry while still being a flamer—it’s biblical! Robbie watches a lot of Netflix reality TV lately while waiting eagerly for new seasons of Star Trek (Discovery and/or Picard).

What is your relationship with your body? It might be connective, energizing, tumultuous, scary, none of these, or all of these things at once. Maybe you don’t often think about your body. Maybe your body is always on your mind. 

 

In this workshop we will explore the concepts of body narratives, body liberation, and radical self-love. We will reflect on and share stories that we have learned about our bodies, and see how those stories influence our concepts of sexuality, gender, and self-worth. We will practice fostering gratitude for our body’s resilience. Talking about and connecting to our bodies can be difficult, so we will be mindful of other group participants and practice making space for the bodies of others. 

 

Some questions we will explore: What are my body narratives? What does radical self-love mean to me? How does my body experience oppression? How has my body been resilient? How can I lean into body liberation? 

 

**Materials that will help you participate in this workshop: something to write/draw on, something to write/draw with, a fidget toy or something to channel anxiety into.**   


Mary (she/her or they/them) lives in Toronto, ON with her wife Becca and their perpetually parched house plants. They identify as queer and genderqueer. Mary’s work is informed by activists and professionals she learns from through crowd-sourced learning on social media as well as through her diploma in Community Services and Addictions Work. Embodiment and fat liberation are on Mary’s mind a lot these days. She is learning to identify and release the harmful narratives she has believed about her body. Mary is a self-proclaimed bad ass at doing self-care and happily calls themself an introvert. When she’s not doing boring adult stuff, Mary checks in on her Instagram-famous dog crew, takes walks along Toronto’s beaches, and makes good use of her Netflix subscription.

As LGBTQ2S+ Christians, we spend a lot of time defending our right to exist and serve in Christian spaces. This sometimes leaves little room for us to let loose and actually celebrate who we are as queer Christians, and the unique gifts we have. For some of us who have been mired in internalized queerphobia, it’s even hard to grasp what there is to celebrate!

This collaborative, creative workshop (originally conceptualized by Marie Raynard) will include an introduction to queer celebration and shame-busting through both the lens of theology (Beth) and art (Melodie). The second half of the workshop will be a relaxed, light-hearted time where we can encourage each other, name and celebrate what we love about our LGBTQ2S+ selves, and record these things using words, images and colour, all while listening to a playlist of excellent queer musicians. Come excited to share and rejoice in the beautiful, unique aspects of being queer.

**This workshop is intended for folks who identify on the LGBTQ2S+ spectrum. Please bring paper, pens/markers, and any other craft supplies you have around - e.g. stickers, paints, magazines to collage with!**

 

Beth (she/her) lives in Vancouver with her wife Danice, and their housemate, Tim. She has worked as one of the Directors of Community with Generous Space Ministries for six years. She also co-pastors a local church start-up called Open Way Community Church, and officiates weddings with Young, Hip & Married. In her spare time, she likes to drink root beer, eat Miss Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips, go birdwatching, and read and watch all things science fiction!


Melodie (she/her) loves the creative ways that community, arts and justice intersect. For many years, she was part of a community called Sanctuary, walking alongside folks impacted by homelessness. Then the birds and trees called, she ran off to a farm for a season, and fell in love with working with the land. Melodie recently began an Art Therapy private practice and on her other work days can be found getting her hands dirty at an urban farm in Toronto. She is pursuing a Masters of Theological Studies specializing in Ecology & Theology, with the hopes of weaving together art-making, spirituality and creation.

                                                  Workshop #2: May 30th, 1:30pm (EDT)

*A recording of this workshop will be available for internal Generous Space viewing afterward*

Navigating the complex intersections between race, culture, ethnicity, sexuality and gender can be tricky. How do we avoid slipping into a competition of marginalization or "wokeness" and truly support those who are both alike and different from us? In this workshop we'll examine and discuss common obstacles, challenges and antidotes as we dream about building healthier communities together.

 

Chad (he/him) could go by lots of different labels: African Nova Scotian, biracial, husband, father, queer. He's a writer, musician and worship leader with a professional background in journalism, communications and restorative approaches. He's active in the Halifax Generous Space group and a member of Decolonizing Christianity Canada.

We'll listen to a few contemporary poems loosely influenced by midrash—a Jewish practice of filling in the empty spaces in Biblical stories. (For example, Eve describes the feeling of the eating the apple—like the moment your car starts to spin on ice.) And we’ll give ourselves writing time to create poems about Biblical stories (dibs on David and Jonathan!)—or about our own stories. We’ll have springboard prompts. Our time together will be a low-stakes opportunity to create, think, push pause, and have fun. You’re welcome to share your scribblings or not.

 

The Anonymous Poet (who doesn't like being on websites, but will be clearly identified at the retreat!) reads and writes a lot of poems. They like how poetry gives us the chance to pause and hold onto questions and mysteries without the pressure to answer them now.

*A recording of this workshop will be available for public viewing afterward*

This workshop will outline different ways to interpret what we find in the Bible about gender and embodiment. We’ll look closely at the creation narrative and eunuchs in the Bible and debunk some of the verses used against transgender and non-binary folks. We’ll discuss how transgender, genderqueer, and intersex people might interact with these scriptures and how to incorporate them into an affirming theology. With a brief lesson on terminology, you will leave this workshop with a better understanding of how to welcome and affirm transgender and non-binary identities.


Shylo (he/him), after coming out as transgender, chose to follow his passion for the Bible. He is now the Affirming Ministries Coordinator of Edmonton and his role is to help congregations become affirming while providing programming, support, resources and pastoral care to LGBTQ2S+ people and allies on their spiritual journey. Shylo has received a certificate in Biblical Studies and Christian Discipleship and recently graduated from The King’s University with a double major in Sociology and Theology. Shylo has been active in both the LGBTQ and Christian communities supporting and advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people within the Church. With his academic knowledge and personal experience, he hopes that he can spread awareness and teach on the intersections of gender, sexuality, and faith. 

                                                      Workshop #3: May 30th, 3:15pm (EDT)

*A recording of this workshop will be available for public viewing afterward*

When we emerge from this pandemic, who will we be?  What kind of world will we build/rebuild?  What spiritual muscles should we be developing now?  Join LIz for a lively conversation about biblical stories of exile and return.  Let's explore together what these stories can teach us, and ask (as always!) "How can queerness help?"

 

Liz (she/her) is an Episcopal priest and political strategist.  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, serving as an inner city hospital chaplain to people with HIV/AIDS from 1989 to 1995 and helping craft political and communications strategies for marriage equality efforts.  In 2017, she partnered with Parity to create Glitter+Ash Wednesday, a project to increase the visibility of progressive, queer-positive Christians and to explore Christian liturgy through a queer lens. Her writing has been featured in Salon.com, The Advocate, LGBT Nation, and Religion News Service.  She has been interviewed for feature and news articles in the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, and Religion Dispatches. She lives in New York.

(The title "Are You My Type" may invoke dating... and though this is not a dating workshop per se, the Enneagram is a fantastic tool for self-reflection and making connections with others, so I guess it's also not NOT a dating workshop!)
 

Together, we'll take some time looking at the motivations and patterns of each Enneagram type, paying attention to what resonates most with us personally. Once we've gone through all 9 types, you will have a chance to join breakout groups to pick the brains of others who identify as a type you are leaning towards.
 

So whether you are still wondering how to pronounce that E-word… or whether you know your type, wing, subtype and integrations… you will be more than welcome to come and sit at the feet of this ancient model of wisdom with one of its biggest fans. 

Danice (she/her) is a DJ straight out of Hufflepuff who is loved by a very smart redhead. She loves to laugh, dislikes crying, and hates arguing more than anything (unless it's about Beyoncé's right to the throne). Danice has found the Enneagram to be deeply useful in deciphering her feelings and fears, while also growing empathy for people who are differently-motivated. She is a particular fan of the narrative approach taken by teachers like Beatrice Chestnut, Uranio Paes, and Helen Palmer. But also twitter's @GarbageOprah and Instagram's @RudeAssEnneagram are brilliant and hilarious. 

Certain songs hold meaning to each of us at different times in our lives. It’s truly special when we see ourselves in an artist and their words resonate with the thoughts on the back burner stove of our minds. If your pot is boiling over, join Zann for a conversation about songwriting, why we write, why it’s good for us, techniques, and some time to create on our own or collaboratively. This is open to anyone who wants to stir their musical pot, new musicians and experienced musicians welcome. Bring an instrument and a song to share if you have one.

 

Zann (they/them) is our artist in residence at the retreat! They're a guitarist and songwriter from Saskatoon who is obsessed with making delicious riffs and soups. They grew up with a plethora of musical opportunities and ultimately settled on teaching them self the guitar at age 13. Zann wrote songs as a teenager and released two solo albums, but stopped writing and performing music because they felt they couldn’t write the songs they wanted to. They released their single “Surprise” in April 2019 with the help of their producer and childhood friend Will Quiring of Close Talker. Zann has found liberation in expressing their queerness through songwriting and has reclaimed music as a vital and life giving force in their life. Listen to “Surprise” on whatever streaming service you use, feel free to purchase on zannfoth.bandcamp.com, and follow on Instagram @zannfothmusic to keep up to date with music releases, photoshoots and what’s cookin’.

                                                  Workshop #4: May 31st, 11:15am (EDT)

Many have grown up in religious contexts that gave very little space to question, doubt, or truly embrace your own discernment and spiritual autonomy. This interactive, discussion-based workshop will invite participants to share questions and experiences while exploring new possibilities for spiritual flourishing.

 

Wendy (she/her) is a passionate advocate for those who have been hurt or marginalized by the church and has survived her own fair-share of toxic religion. Wendy is grateful to have learned so much from the courage, capacity for grace, and tenacious faith of the many LGBTQ2+ Christians she has come to know. Wendy has served as the Executive Director of Generous Space Ministries since 2002.

Letters come in many forms and are written by all kinds of people from different contexts. Together, we’ll read, explore and discuss published letters by Indigenous, Queer and Trans women. Space and time will be offered for composing our own letters and participating in the long legacy of queer letter writing.

 

Jorge (he/him) aka @BlackCoffeePoet is a mixed-race, Toronto based, poet, memoirist, and letter writer. Passionate about putting pen to pad, Jorge will share his experience of being vulnerable on the page while extending himself toward others via letter writing.

*A recording of this workshop will be available for public viewing afterward*

Many people could probably tell you which identities are represented in the acronym ‘LGBT’, but what about any beyond those four? What about the + in LGBT+? This workshop will explore the identities that often get overlooked in queer spaces, including queer, asexual, non-binary, intersex, two-spirit, and more. We'll also talk about other intersecting factors in our identity (e.g. race, class) that further impact how we're perceived and treated, and discuss how we might work to create more belonging and equity at Generous Space and in our other communities. No matter how little or how much experience you have with this discussion, you're welcome to bring your questions and your insights - we can all learn from one another!

Becca (she/her) identifies as queer, and also calls herself an ambivert, an enneagram 2, and a humanitarian in the making. Becca is the Director of Community for Ontario at Generous Space Ministries. She loves to travel, play her ukulele (Cecilia), and hang out with her dog (Presley) and partner (Mary). You can find her quoting Gilmore Girls, sending Schitt's Creek GIFs, making up alternative lyrics to songs, and eating peanut butter cups on the regular.

GENEROUS SPACE MINISTRIES

Email: info@generousspace.ca

Phone: 1-855-542-8724

Address:

P.O. Box 20014, RPO Applewood Village

Mississauga, ON, L4Y 4L2

Registered Charity: #131172116RR0001

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