Trans and Gender-Diverse People In the Church: GA-1929 as an invitation to the wider church
Galileo Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) • Katie Hays • June 2019
Six years ago, when Galileo Church was brand-spankin’ new, we articulated what we thought was most important for being a church. Inclusion of all people, we said, would be paramount, including and especially the people most strenuously rejected by almost all our neighbor churches. We started extending explicit welcome to people we didn’t know yet, strangers collected under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.
To be honest, L , G, and B came pretty easily for Galileo. When T walked into our worship space, we suddenly realized we didn’t know what we were doing, welcome-wise. It took some patient, persistent, Jesus-loving trans and gender-diverse people to help us figure it out, and I give thanks every day for the grace that was extended for my learning curve as a pastor and fellow disciple of our Lord.
At the 2019 General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Galileo Church will introduce a sense-of-the-assembly resolution, GA-1929, inviting our whole church to experience the blessings that we have received by walking alongside trans and gender-diverse people.
The resolution is carefully written, using the gentle language of invitation and encouragement, intending to extend to others the same grace that Galileo Church has received. “Let us learn together,” the resolution asks. “Let us study and pray and prepare our hearts, and our churches, to make room for the people whom God has called to God’s heart.” Read the full text of GA-1929 here.
To be clear: GA-1929 does not ask the church to deliberate over the full humanity of trans and gender-diverse persons, nor render a decision concerning their acceptance in God’s heart. Those, we believe, are givens; because we have witnessed the presence of Christ’s living Spirit in trans and gender-diverse Christians. With the early apostles for whom Cornelius’s faith was both shock and gift, we ask, “Who are we to hinder God?” (Acts 11:17).
We’re hoping to see three things at the General Assembly in Des Moines around GA-1929:
1. Pronoun stickers affixed to nametags, available at the Disciples Q Alliance booth. When we all use our pronouns in introductions, we create a sign of welcome for all on the spectrum of gender identity.
2. Full rooms for two Sunday afternoon workshops: “Transgender 101” (at 1:30 pm) and “Trans People, Human Stories: a panel” (at 3:00 p.m.). Hear the voices of trans and gender-diverse Christians who are vital members of Disciples congregations.
3. A resounding “Yes” in the Monday morning business session when we vote on GA-1929, “An Invitation to Education for Welcoming and Receiving the Gifts of Transgender and Gender-Diverse People.”
Galileo Church is eager to gather with the wider church in Des Moines in a month’s time, where we will report our sightings of the Holy Spirit in transgender and gender-diverse persons. We are glad to share the great benefit this recognition has been for our little congregation. We are hopeful that it will be received as good news – God is still at work! God is doing new things! God gives us eyes to see! God is still extending God’s arms to offer the widest possible welcome into God’s heart! Thanks be to God!