Welcoming Community Network

Welcoming Community Network is 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations are tax deductable.

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Welcoming Community Network

Welcome one another therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. - Romans 15:7
Lead the church’s mission of restoration through relevant gospel proclamation and the establishment of signal communities of justice and peace that reflect the vision of Christ. Doctrine & Covenants 163:5a

Welcoming Community Network (WCN) is an international grassroots organization that exists to enable full participation of persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life and ministry of Community of Christ both in policy and practice -WCN Mission Statement

WCN offers to the church the untapped creativity and energy of diverse people who have been marginalized, disenfranchised, or even rejected. As we share in a prophetic church, we join with our brothers and sisters to move toward full participation of everyone in the Body of Christ.

Sharing Our Stories

Richard P. Howard

Trust the Slow Work of God

by Richard P. Howard

During nearly the whole length of my life I have been nudged, lured by the Divine Spirit on several significant occasions, to change my views and attitudes on human sexuality. I vividly recall "hauling up my heterosexual flag" during my second grade year at Bryant School by accepting a dare to kiss a neighbor girl who was standing on her front porch. I no sooner had planted my kiss when she decked me and jumped up and down on my stomach in a mad rage at my behavior. How could a seven-year-old girl so quickly recognize a womanizer? I managed to escape her revenge with my life intact but my ego badly bruised. Even so, my identity as heterosexual remained, and still is a conscious part of my self image.

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Sharing Our Stories

Mark Logan

Mark Logan

I felt alone and was isolated and depressed all through high school. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell my parents what was happening at school and summer camps. My father was a part time minister.

When I realized that I did actually have crushes on certain guys and felt more physically attracted to men, I would pray every night and cry when I asked God to make those feelings go away because it was causing me so much physical and emotional pain. I started to believe that there must not be a God, because my feelings never went away.

One summer at church camp, three boys chased me through the woods with a 50 foot extension cord that they were going to whip me with, to teach me a lesson for being "a fag". I ran to the top of the hill above the campground and ran out onto the Deception Pass Bridge in Washington State and considered jumping off into the swirling water that ripped through this beautiful pass 500 feet below. They would never find me and I wouldn't have to explain why I did it. It seemed like such an easier thing to do than to go back to camp and be teased and harassed for the rest of the week.

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I dated girls, but it felt awkward and unnatural. I was spit on, pushed into lockers and thrown down stairs on a daily basis. I was called a sissy, faggot or queer every day. The hazing and bullying finally got so bad that a group of boys were waiting for me after school one day and I was hiding in the wood shop class when a teacher found me and asked me why I was there. I finally told him and the next day the high school principal told me that if they tried to reprimand the bullies that it would only make it worse, so they offered to let me graduate from high school one year early for my physical well being.

I didn't get a senior year, I didn't go on senior trip or get to graduate with my high school class.

I got a girl pregnant my first year in college and then got engaged to be married to another girl that I met while counseling at a summer church camp. As hard as I pretended to fit in, and function in a straight relationship, the confusion and anxiety were just unbearable from the lies and double life that I led in my head.

I finally told a supportive relative (a cousin of my father's) and I got counseling to start to sort my feelings out. I already knew that I couldn't CHANGE my feelings and wanted to know how to live a happy and successful life by ACCEPTING my feelings.

I called off the wedding and just started trying to accept my natural feelings and work on feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Today, my life is AMAZING and I am so happy I decided not to jump off that bridge at church camp. I am comfortable in my own skin most of the time, and surviving those hard and challenging times has made me a stronger, sensitive and more compassionate person. I live a fulfilling and prosperous life and have so much to be grateful for on a daily basis. I have WONDERFUL friends who love me and support me in so many ways. I can be honest with my friends and family on all levels and live a "transparent" life with no secrets or hidden agendas. I have a thriving business, have explored my talents in music, architecture, interior design, graphics and holistic health & fitness. But the most rewarding thing that I am so grateful I stayed around for is the opportunity to help others. To listen, to lift them up and help them believe in themselves. We are all BRILLIANT people with all kinds of gifts that we can help each other with.

I am here for anyone who is questioning, having a hard time, is depressed or scared, or just needs someone to listen. Please send me an email at: richandalive@yahoo.com if you want to reach out.

Sincerely, Mark Logan

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Sharing Our Stories

Chuck Hewitt

Chuck Hewitt

Mike and I come from multi-generational families in the RLDS Church. We met at a GALA retreat at Lake Doniphan in 1999.

Early on in our relationship we realized if we were going to help the church change its attitudes about the GLTB community we needed to attend a congregation and be ourselves and become involved. We chose to attend Cornerstone in Independence, MO. We quickly became active on what they call the leadership team as a part of Outreach. We have, by just being ourselves brought this congregation along, it was not easy, and at time seemed insurmountable but we did it. On December 5th 2009, Cornerstone congregation voted and passed to become an officially welcoming congregation. So how great is God's love!

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Sharing Our Stories

Clay and Joann Condit

The best way to reach an informed decision is to look at an issue from all sides, to get to know all about it. We have come to our acceptance and appreciation for gays and lesbians, and the gifts they bring us, because we number them among family members and friends who we know and love. They have enriched us with love, laughter, joy, and the generous and tender gifts with which they have been blessed. We hope that those same gifts given to us will also be a support and blessing to them. More than that, we can remember this lesson:

"We" and "them" are really just "us", children together of the God who made us.

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Sharing Our Stories

David Woosley

David Woosley

I believe God lead me to Community of Christ through a college friend. Now I am a Priest, and serving as Congregational Financial Officer.

I moved to Lawrence, Kansas and became active in cell group ministry in one of the congregations there. I filled-in as leader for a study session at the end of which I knew God was calling me to give ministry to LGBTQ persons. I now hold positions on the boards of three organizations serving this community.

My partner and I have been together for over 19 years. We continue to honor this relationship to which I believe God has lead us.

I greatly appreciate the Community of Christ belief that God continues to speak to us today. I truly believe that God called me to this church; put into place events that allow me to hold priesthood, to serve His church, my local congregation, the LGBTQ community and to help the Community of Christ fulfill its mission and purpose in this world. I am where I am meant to be.

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Sharing Our Stories

Gail Biller

Gail Biller

How grateful we are that God gave us a wonderful son who is gay. Our lives have been changed an enriched by this journey we've been on.

When our son came to us and shared that he was gay, Ted immediately went to him, hugged him, and told him that we loved him and always would.

In the church, we have attended many GALA retreats and meetings. Each time we have become very aware of God's unconditional love for all of His children.

We have met wonderful people that have enriched our lives. We have seen God's love shining in each of them. We have also cried many times with them when they have shared their heart breaks and sorrows when people wouldn't accept them.

We would love to let the world see that there is an awesome ministry that can be given by GLBT people that we are missing out on.

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Sharing Our Stories

Jeanne Davies

I once worked in the Intensive Care Nursery In Kansas City. I had the honor of caring for 3 infants that were termed: "ambiguous genetalia". This meant that when born the Dr. was unable to say, "Oh you had a boy, or oh you had a girl", it was not clear. DNA labs had to tell the sex. Later in the stay, we found out that "Adam" was a boy, however when the Plastic Surgon came to their baby's bedside, they discussed ,"that it was easier to make Adam into a female." Adam then became "Abigail." I believe that these children are here for us, to learn to love them UNCONDITIONALLY ! I will do that with GUSTO !! Praise God.

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Sharing Our Stories

Joy Dawson

I have learned many things at GALA Retreats, including the fact that my son, Kip Dawson, is not in moral bondage because he is gay and didn't need the "cure". I also now realize that our gay children have been given, by God, remarkable gifts for Christ's ministry and these are being wasted.

I feel that honest, godly love supersedes most things for relationships between people, and so any concern for the physical expression of that love is superfluous as long as the relationship is a moral and committed one.

Therefore, I believe it is time to accept all of the Lord's children for their special callings, gifts, and talents, and allow them to function in our church and society as accepted members, ministers and/or married partners. Joy Dawson (priest)

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Sharing Our Stories

Kay Fletcher, RN

Kay Fletcher, RN

Not so many years ago my sister, the music director and children's class teacher, told me of sitting in our church and the sermon including the condemnation for those that are gay or lesbian. The speaker literally said that person would go to hell. She was so shocked that she and her husband did not return and no one, not one person called to see why she didn't show up again. I've become aware of the suffering our brothers and sisters experience and cannot rest until we express full inclusion. I must be about waking up and embrace each and every person, there cannot be even one, not atheist, not gay, not by color - no, not one can be kept from the fellowship of the table.

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Sharing Our Stories

Michele Dunlap

Michele Dunlap

The fall of 1997, I was assisting a friend clean out her apartment. My friends and I were verbally abused for several hours, by a teenage neighbor, and as we left, I was punched in the face, fell to the ground, and was beaten by the mother. The daughter, who had verbally abused us, held me down with a knee in my back, while the mother pounded on me. The mother told one of my friends that she intended on killing me, just because I was a lesbian.

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Sharing Our Stories

Michele Dunlap

Michele Dunlap

After coming out to my congregation in the early 1990's, I was not allowed to bring music ministry, teach Sunday school, or youth ministry. My receiving Communion was also brought into question. I was told that I was in sin (being homosexual), and would not be allowed to do any ministry, until I repented. In 1997, my Pastor in Independence, MO had a private meeting with me, and I was cast out of the congregation, and told not to return. I left the Community of Christ, and became a member of another denomination for three years.

I returned to Community of Christ, around 2000, after missing being a part of the church. I was invited to a GALA retreat, shared my story with an apostle, and was invited to return to CofC. Members of the Peace Chapel congregation in Kansas City, MO befriended me, and people like Chuck Hewitt, offered to transport me back and forth to church. With their love and support, I did eventually return, and my life-partner Donna and I continue to engage in the struggle for full inclusion in CofC. We are active members of The Place/HART Ministries, in KC, MO.

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Sharing Our Stories

Charlie Robison

Charlie Robison

"I am bisexual, with strong same-sex attractions." With those words, I stunned my wife of forty years. It was the day after Christmas 2009, and I had asked her to watch again the DVD For the Bible Tells Me So. I wanted to use it as a basis for talking about a secret I had kept all my life, and to follow through on a promise I had made to my counselor.

About two years previously, I reached a point of despair and frustration where I decided I really had no choice but to seek out a few sessions with a counselor. I felt like I could no longer deal with personal issues I had struggled with my whole life. When I was about seven years old and in the second grade, I had a run-in with a friend on the playground. All of the other kids had gathered around to hear us argue it out. I don't remember what the argument was about, only that everyone sided with him and started laughing and making fun of me. The emotional pain sunk deep, and I went off to an isolated place by myself and cried until the bell rang. But in those moments of solitude, I determined to never risk myself in front of people again. My wall's foundation was laid.

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