“In the midst of navigating these times, we have gathered with intention in seeking connection and a deeper understanding of radical inclusion. With our feet wet from wading into these waters we have daringly shattered isolation. With a strong thirst during this season of Lent for more sustenance, wandering apart and together in the deserts of our lives: may we remember to dive more deeply into acts and lives rooted in collective justice. May we be sustained, may we be challenged, may we face our fears, and may we always remain inspired to stay connected, seeking learning, and practicing your Spirit of welcome. Holy God, we love because you have first loved us. Deeply. Expansively. Amen.”

Marei Gras Kickoff Party Slides

 

“Building An Inclusive Church” Workshop

      • Workshop dates and times will be shared for leaders who are interested in attending.

Why Now?

“What’s right about this time for this work?” Because love is stronger than hate; because lives are literally at stake; because as long as we hide the truth about who we are from each other, we never will be healed. Authenticity is soul work. Our churches have been having this conversation underground, erupting in death dealing ways. It is time to have the conversation above ground with respect for one another, not determined to win an argument, but to be in life-giving, life-changing relationship.

Sessions

Building a Bigger Table
Luke 14: 1-14

Rev. Rebecca Yowler
she/her/hers

Reverend Rebecca Yowler is an Assistant Librarian for Research and Instruction at Knox College. Rev. Yowler is also an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and attended Lexington Theological Seminary for her Master of Divinity. Rev. Yowler loves to read and do crafty things such as knitting and baking, and she loves being a part of the Prairie Players Civic Theatre. Additionally, she is a figure skater and, when time allows, she skates with a synchronized figure skating team. Learn more at: https://www.beccaminister.com/

Transgender Theology
Acts 8:26-40

Rev. Colin Douglas
they/them/Theirs

Rev. Colin Douglas (they/them/theirs), called Ari by friends, is the senior pastor at First Christian Church of Janesville, the oldest Open and Affirming congregation in Janesville. Ari has been given the opportunity to mentor two ministers in training at FCC of Janesville. Ari graduated from Phillips Theological Seminary (in Tulsa, Oklahoma) in December of 2010, and was ordained at First Christian Church of Missoula, MT in May of 2015, following two years serving as their associate minister. In 2018, Ari returned to Phillips Theological Seminary for their doctoral program and is focused on studying how to teach people to be activists/public theologians. Ari has been the chaplain of a transgender and nonbinary support group, as well as holding various positions in organizations fighting for human rights from a faith perspective. They describe their theology as a mixture of Anabaptist and Stone-ite Disciple informed by Rabbinic Judaism and Queer Liberation theology. The first thing Pastor Ari likes to tell people when they come out to them is “God loves you, and so do I.”

Calling the Twelve: Queerying Discipleship
Mark 3: 7-19

Rev. RJ Robles
they/them/ellé
Rev. RJ Robles (they/them/ellé) is a Puerto Rican queer and transgender community organizer, indigenous healer, and Christian minister. They have a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School where their work focused on transgender theology, pastoral care, and mental health. RJ believes in the radical power of love, community healing, and being in alignment with lineages that pass on liberation.

Being a Body
Jeremiah 31:31-34

Kristel Clayville