Regular registration (Aug. 6 - 31): $149
Late registration (Sep. 1 - Day of event): $169
Conflicted by personal beliefs and expectations from beloved congregation members, denominational leadership, and fellow clergy, Christian leaders are navigating tricky dynamics in the pastoral care of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. Many pastors, young adult ministers, elders, and volunteer leaders question how to provide effective pastoral care to the LGBTQ+ people in their community. Is it possible to maintain a traditional Biblical view on sexuality, yet remain devoted to those who identify as LGBTQ+? Join us for this two-day seminar that will equip you to take practical steps towards loving the LGBTQ+ people in your community with a new boldness, while avoiding common pitfalls that erode relationships, harm faith communities, and damage those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Attendees will be invited on a journey of theological study, LGBTQ+ missional competency, and practical reflection, laying a Biblical framework for reconciliation that frees Christians to emulate Christ’s incarnational love without compromising deeply held beliefs on sexuality. Hone your skills and practice strategies for building “treasonous friendships” across deep theological and ideological divides that typically challenge our loyalty to one another. Invite God to guide you towards deeper healing in your closest relationships and gain practical take-home skills and tools to inform your life of ministry.
The event will be held at Church of the Messiah, in Westerville, Ohio, located on the North side of Columbus. Tips for travel and nearby hotels will be provided to registrants via email for those joining from out of town. Registration fees will cover continental breakfast both days, lunch on Oct. 1, and snacks. Also included: take-home resources and a 2-hour follow-up consultation with LOVEboldly after the event. Attendees will be responsible for dinner on Oct. 1, lunch on Oct. 2, as well as lodging and transportation for out of town travelers.
We would regret if finances prevented your attendance at any of our events. Special pricing ($79) is available for students, and a limited number of scholarships will be available (generally for up to ½ off your registration costs) for interested attendees who do not have the financial resources to attend. To apply for access to the student or scholarship rate, please email Heather at email@example.com before registering.
Discounted rates are available for groups of 3 or more. Please email Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your group.
Greg Coles is a piano player, a baker, a writer, a worship leader, and a Ph.D. candidate in English, not necessarily in that order. He grew up on the Indonesian island of Java, where he fell in love with language learning his older brother’s SAT vocabulary words and reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet at age 8. Greg is the author of Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (InterVarsity Press, 2017). His fiction and expository writing have been published by Penguin Random House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and he writes about his obsession with Jesus at gregorycoles.com. His academic research on rhetorics of marginality (how language works in society for disadvantaged groups) has appeared in College English and Rhetorica.
Melissa Meyer is a nurse, trainer and organizational leader. Melissa has worked with youth and youth-serving professionals in juvenile justice, drug treatment, mental health care, schools, disability services and health care for over 25 years. Now she shares her talents with Safe and Supported, a project of Lighthouse Youth and Family Services, focused on developing and implementing innovative strategies to prevent and end LGBTQ youth homelessness in Hamilton
County by 2020.
Heather Schmiedickie is a member of the LOVEboldly Core Team and our Content Coordinator for Devoted For Youth Pastors. Heather felt called to bridge the gap between the conservative church and the LGBT community in 2012 when a beloved gay friend asked if her church was LGBT friendly and she instantly regretted her flippant response to his question. Since then, she has been doing incarnational ministry work with LGBT people in her own life, while helping lead her church to better postures towards LGBT folks. Heather serves on the Steering Team at Vineyard Life Church Brownsburg and sits on the board of directors for Walls Down, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping the conservative Christian church love LGBT people generously. This gardener, wakeboarder, Ace Hardware associate, school-library-book-doctor, tree-hugging chicken lady lives in Brownsburg, Indiana with her husband Jamie and their 2 baseball-playing sons, Kade and Carson.
Heidi Weaver-Smith is the president and founder of LOVEboldly. Compelled by Christ's interactions with marginalized folks in the Gospels and disturbed by the stories of LGBTQ+ friends who had been treated poorly by Christians, Heidi founded LOVEboldly in 2011. Through her leadership, Heidi empowers LGBTQ+ and straight Christians to step towards loving one another boldly and equips Christians to engage with dignity and civility in the polarizing conversations surrounding faith and sexuality. Heidi has completed some seminary coursework at Asbury Theological Seminary and has been participating in dialogues with traditionally-minded Christians and the LGBTQ+ community since 2008. She lives with her husband, Steven, and her young daughter, Felicity, in Columbus, OH.
Ty Wyss, Executive Director of Walls Down, received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University and his master’s degree in mental health counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. He has been in ministry with the local church since 2005 and has received his credentials in ministry through the Assemblies of God. Ty was formerly a student and staff member on a master’s commission team in Evansville, IN for 5 years, and an overseer and counseling pastor in Carmel, IN for 6 years. He is the founder of Walls Down Ministry and is also a pastoral counselor at East 91st Street Counseling Ministry in Indianapolis. He has been married to his wife Rachel for 11 years and is the father to 3 boys - Samuel Beckett, the late Ezra Burke, & Asa Brennan.
A writer, speaker, and spiritual director, John Backman has spent more than 10 years focusing on contemplative spirituality and the surprising impact it can make in our world today. That focus has produced a book (Why Can’t We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart) and a longtime column in Huffington Post Religion, among other writings. John’s enthusiasm for crossing divides has led to Board positions in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation and the International Listening Association. A Christian for 45 years, John has played an active role in an array of churches, from a house church to (currently) an Episcopal parish.
also featuring conversation partners:
Siobhan Boyd-Nelson is a native of Columbus, OH and is deeply passionate about the city’s LGBTQ and Africa-American populations. In her current role as Development Director at Equality Ohio, the statewide advocacy and education organization for LGBTQ Ohioans, Siobhan is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s fundraising and engagement strategies.She is a graduate of Liberty Christian Academy, Howard University in Washington, DC and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. Until early adulthood, Siobhan believed that her same-sex attractions, Black identity and Christian faith could never be reconciled. After being exposed to the examples and writings of Bishop Yvette Flunder (City of Refuge UCC, Oakland, CA) and others, Siobhan began to seekwhat she never thought she could have–a spiritual home that could be shared with her wife. Today, Siobhan and her wife Maritza call Move United Church (UCC) home. Siobhan serves on the board and Maritza plays in the band.
Rachel Dew finds life in bringing people together from all backgrounds and walks of life, and most recently has felt led to build bridges between the LGBTQI and Christian faith communities. Her own journey has given her a heart for coming alongside Christian parents of LGBTQI children to provide a safe space of love and support. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Ohio University and a certificate in Leadership and Theology from the Vineyard Institute. Rachel enjoys throwing parties, good conversation, soaking up the sunshine, hiking through the forest, and volunteering in the local schooldistrict. She lives in Columbus, OH with her husband and four children.
Linda Parker completed a Certificate in Christian Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in 2018. Shelives in Delaware, Ohio, and currently leads several groups on the topic of LGBT+ at Vineyard ColumbusChurch. In collaboration with Generous Space Ministriesin Canada, Lindafacilitates the inaugural Generous Spacegroupin the United States.Generous Space groups provide opportunities for people with different sexual orientations, gender identities, and theological viewsto practice loving and understanding each other in postures of generous space: humility, hospitality, mutuality and justice. She is in the initial steps of forming Circle Ministrieswhich seeks to help create a place for healing, learning and inclusion of LGBT+ people in the traditional church.