Christian Chronicle

How to keep LGBTQ people from becoming ‘spiritual orphans’

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At a three-day conference in Texas, parents and church leaders tackle faith and sexuality.

Third Place, Convention or Meeting Coverage, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

DALLAS — Carrie Underwood’s “Love Wins” video played on the big screens as the E3 Conference opened at the Highland Oaks Church of Christ.

“I believe you and me are sisters and brothers. And I believe we’re made to be here for each other,” Underwood sings in the country hit. “And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand, put a world that seems broken together again. Yeah, I believe, in the end love wins.”

Helping parents of LGBTQ children and leaders of Churches of Christ “better understand and love unconditionally” was the goal of the recent conference organized by CenterPeace. The Dallas-based ministry provides support for people who experience same-sex attraction.

E3 aims to “equip, empower and encourage” Christians to engage in more thoughtful dialogue about faith and sexuality.

“Nobody’s asking you to change what you believe,” Sally Gary, CenterPeace’s founder and executive director, told the 350 attendees who came from across the United States and Canada. “Nobody’s asking you to change what you think about the morality of sexuality.

“But what we are going to have to change,” she added, “is how we provide community for the entire body of Christ.”

At a time when national polling shows younger Christians increasingly open to gay marriage (47 percent of evangelicals born after 1964 favored it in a Pew Research Center survey,compared with 26 percent of older evangelicals), the conference brought together people of faith with differing beliefs.

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This story appears in the November 2018 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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