Religious Coalition Against Discrimination
Second Annual Education Conference
April 23 and 24, 2012
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE:
CLAIMING OUR FAITH VOICES FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY
WHERE? Monday, April 23: BANGOR
Hammond Street Congregational Church UCC
28 High Street
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 24: SACO
First Parish Congregational Church, UCC
12 Beach Street, Saco ME
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
AGENDA? How people of faith can engage effectively in courageous conversations and increase skills for talking -- and listening -- about marriage equality.
WHO? Clergy and congregants.
Teams from congregations are strongly encouraged!
COST? $25 per person if two or more persons attend from the same congregation; $30 for single registrant; and $35 at the door. (Lunch and coffee/snacks included.)
WHY? Religion will determine the outcome of Maine’s 2012 marriage equality campaign.
· While people of faith within every religious tradition support marriage equality, it’s also true that people of faith within every religious tradition oppose -- or are uncertain about – allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.
· In 2009 almost all “undecided voters” ended up voting against marriage equality. The vast majority are, in fact, conflicted persons of faith. They often have gay and lesbian family members, co-workers, and neighbors. They may believe in some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples. But because of their religious convictions, they have not been able to support marriage for same-sex couples.
· Secular arguments do not move them.
· Conflicted people of faith need to hear a compelling faith-based case in favor of marriage for same-sex couples, especially from faith leaders whom they know and trust.
8:30 a.m. Coffee and registration
9:00 a.m. Welcome and opening worship
9:15 a.m. Claiming Our Faith Voices: Telling your story with a purpose – and listening with respect.
Presenters: Cheryl Stuart* and Steve Kunst**
Lutherans Concerned, Tallahassee, FL
12:15 p.m. Lunch -- and conversations in denominational and geographical clusters
1:00 p.m. Panel: The Joys and Concerns of Leadership, or How Clergy (and Other Faith Leaders) Can Make a Difference
1:45 p.m. Skill-building: How to talk with, and listen to, “conflicted people of faith” about marriage equality.
2:15 p.m. Break
2:30 p.m. Skill-building: How to write an effective letter – and engage in 50 other actions in behalf of marriage equality.
3:00 p.m. Taking It Back Home: Strategy sessions in denominational and geographical clusters.
3:30 p.m. Sharing “best practices” and next steps.
3:45 p.m. Closing worship and commissioning.
4:00 p.m. Adjournment
* * * * *
*Cheryl Stuart, a life-long Lutheran and member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Tallahassee, Florida, currently serves as Vice President of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Cheryl is a shareholder with a private law firm in Tallahassee, where she practices local government and public finance law.
**Steve Kunst, a member of St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Tallahassee, retired from the U.S. Air Force after 22 years of service and is adjunct Instructor with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Tallahassee, where he teaches Management and Logistics classes.
As a married couple, Cheryl and Steve are active in Lutherans Concerned and PFLAG and have conducted extensive trainings for people of faith about how to engage in “courageous conversations” about challenging topics.