Third Annual Forum In Review: Aint No Hurt Like Church Hurt

LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent held its  third annual forum on January 31, 2015.  The title of the forum was “Ain’t No Hurt Like Church Hurt: Has Your Religious Experience Been Harmful or Liberating?”

The title proved to be inviting and challenging for many. Because most of us understand what it has meant to be hurt by religious teachings, the title served as a call to come, tell your truth, experience and share. The day was divided into two parts. A panel was presented during the morning session, and the afternoon session consisted of four workshops.

In spite of the cold wind, participants came out and stayed the entire day with many more joining us for the afternoon session. Over 100 were in attendance. Our members felt that this third forum was our best because of its outreach to people outside of the traditional Christian denominations. It also included “straight” people and attracted a variety of church-attending people as well as those who did not attend church. The variety of the speakers’ panel, including a Yoruba priestess, a Muslim woman, and a transgender man, also brought multiple voices to help shape the discussions of the day. The workshops were led by knowledgeable and informed facilitators.

Positive Expressions

We are encouraged by the positive feedback that we received. The forum evaluations were overwhelmingly positive with people expressing that they were leaving feeling empowered and energized to work more focused in their churches, families and communities.  While not all could identify what the work would be, others talked about educating and advocating for LGBT rights.Feedback included suggestions for future workshops and emphasized the need for continuing diversity as represented by non-Christian faith representatives, artistic performances and more time to attend workshops.

We believe that we are fulfilling a very important mission and space in our community.  We have as our mission the empowerment of LGBT same-gender loving people who currently attend, and those who have abandoned their faith; the education and advocacy for the
rights of LGBT people in the Black community especially those in the churches.  Always we seek to empower for the purpose of motivating our community to action around issues of social justice.

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