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LOVEboldly creates "brave space" to enter into a discussion we often don't handle well as church leaders, or that we enter into with only those who share our views. If you honestly want to love the LGBTQ+ community with the love of Jesus Christ, even if you hold the view that marriage is between a man and a woman, this conference is for you. The speakers are real and vulnerable and many share from their own personal experience. There is space for you to enter in and share as much as you feel comfortable, allowing God to meet you where you are in your own faith journey. There is no agenda to change your theology, only an agenda to help you love boldly with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.

– from a 2019 Devoted attendee (ministry leader from Dayton, OH)

How do we navigate disagreement regarding theological perspectives on sexuality and gender identity within our church communities? Is it possible to maintain a traditional Biblical view on sexuality, yet remain devoted to those who identify as LGBTQ+? Can Christians with an affirming view continue to serve and thrive alongside brothers and sisters who hold a more conservative view? What are the commonalities in our beliefs? What would Jesus actually do?

 

Christian leaders are navigating tricky dynamics in the pastoral care of LGBTQ+ youth and adults. They often feel conflicted by personal beliefs, expectations from beloved congregation members, and guidance from denominational leadership and fellow clergy. Many pastors, young adult ministers, elders, and volunteer leaders question how to provide effective pastoral care to the LGBTQ+ people in their community. Join us for a 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+. Come experience how God works in us when we step out of our comfort zones, break free from our echo chambers, and step into the tension that comes with tough conversations.

 

We are so honored to partner with our stellar lineup of speakers - a beautiful mix of varied backgrounds and experiences who hold differing viewpoints on a topic that is causing much division in The Church.

Topics include: 

  • What Would Jesus Do? A Biblical Perspective on Loving Our LGBTQ+ Neighbors

  • Transgender/Non-binary Experiences: Fact vs. Myth

  • Creating Safety in the Church

  • Two Views of Sexual Ethics

  • ...And more!

Date & Location Details:

DEVOTED is a two-day event that will take place at Grace Point Community Church in Lewis Center, Ohio (north of Columbus near the Polaris Mall) on Thursday, November 4, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Friday, November 5, from 8:30 am to 12:40 pm.

Group Rates:

Group rates are available for groups of 5 or more. Contact Heather at hschmiedicke@loveboldly.net for pricing.

 

Scholarships:

We would regret if finances prevented your attendance at any of our events, so we are thrilled to share that we have a number of scholarships available this year! If you would like to apply, please complete the application form here

Featured Speakers

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Gregory Coles (he/him/his) is the author of Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity (InterVarsity Press, 2017) and No Longer Strangers: Finding Belonging in a World of Alienation (InterVarsity Press, 2021). He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and lives in Boise, Idaho, where he works as a writer, speaker, and editor. You can follow his authorial activities on Facebook or at gregorycoles.com.

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Heidi Weaver-Smith (she/her/hers) is the founder of LOVEboldly and has been hosting dialogues with traditionally-minded Christians and the LGBTQIA+ community since 2008. Compelled by Christ’s interactions with marginalized folks in the Gospels and disturbed by the stories of LGBTQIA+ friends who had been treated poorly by Christians, she founded LOVEboldly in 2011. Through her leadership ofLOVEboldly, Heidi empowers LGBTQIA+ 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 an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and lives with her husband, Steven, and her young daughters, Felicity and Violet, in Columbus, OH.

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Dave Kuta (he/him/his) is a Ministry Assistant at Vineyard Columbus with the Care Ministries Team where he oversees their support and recovery groups.  He is a Licensed Professional Counselor who did his undergraduate work at The Ohio State University and has a Master’s of Education from the University of Dayton.  Dave and his wife have been married for almost 17 years and they have a 13-year-old daughter. His passions include helping others experience healing through God’s love, mercy, and wisdom, and giving hope and encouragement to those who are in despair.  His interests include sports, animals, history, reading, and volunteer work.

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Rachel Dew (she/her/hers) ares deeply for those on the margins and has always valued building bridges of learning, understanding, and friendship between diverse groups of people. She credits her children with giving her the courage and motivation to develop her voice as an everyday advocate for inclusivity, equity, and justice in her community.

 

Her journey of acceptance with her transgender child, and the subsequent hurt she experienced in the church, 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.

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Lyndon Parker (they/them) completed a Certificate in Christian Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in 2018. They live in Delaware, Ohio, and currently lead groups on the topic of LGBT+ at the church they attend. They are in the initial steps of forming Circle Ministries which seeks to help create a place for healing, learning and inclusion of LGBT+ people in the traditional church. While Lyndon came out as gay in the 1980s, they have only recently embraced their transgender identity. They currently serve as the founding president of PFLAG Delaware which was officially established in May 2021. PFLAG Delaware is a local chapter of a national organization that offers education, advocacy and support for family, friends, allies and LGBT+ individuals.

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Jon Morgan (he/him/his) is the pastor of Hope Collective Church, a new and affirming congregation in Dayton, Ohio. He received a BA in Music Education from BGSU and a Masters of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio. As an ordained elder of United Methodist Church, he currently serves as a Cultural Coach for the denomination. With the life motto, “Seeing People as People”, Jon is passionate about helping people discover their sacred worth and calling. Jon’s hobbies include playing disc golf, listening to records, and watching sports. His favorite athletes are his three sons: Micky (17), JJ (15), and Eli (13). Jon and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for 20 years.

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Aaron Munson (he/him/his) is a licensed school counselor and a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who provides virtual counseling for people who are struggling to reconcile their faith and their sexuality/sexual orientation. Aaron also leads a parent group for parents of LGBTQ+ kids to support them on their faith journey as they seek to love their kids well. This work is important to Aaron because he identifies as gay. In light of his traditional sexual ethic, Aaron responded to God's prompting to enter into a mixed orientation marriage to his favorite human, Liz, and they have two incredible and curious children. Although Aaron has a traditional sexual ethic, he doesn't push others to believe the same, as he recognizes every encounter with God is different, and every person's story is unique. To that end, Aaron and Liz are both passionate about helping the church love those in the LGBTQ+ community, and making churches safe places for queer people.

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Siobhan Boyd-Nelson (she/her/hers) is a native of Columbus, OH and is Director of Development & External Relations at Equality Ohio, the statewide advocacy and education organization for LGBTQ Ohioans. She is a graduate of Liberty Christian Academy, Howard University and OSU. 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 seek what she never thought she could have–a spiritual home that could be shared with her spouse, Maritza. Today, Siobhan and Maritza call Move United Church (UCC) home. Siobhan serves on the board and Maritza plays in the band.

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Heather Schmiedicke (she/her/hers) felt called to bridge the gap between the conservative church and the LGBTQ+ community in 2012 when a beloved gay friend asked if her church was LGBT friendly and she instantly regretted her flippant and insensitive response to his question. Since then, she has been doing incarnational ministry work with LGBTQ+ people in her own life, while helping lead her church to better postures towards LGBTQ+ folks. Heather is the Program Coordinator at LOVEboldly and serves on the Steering Team at Brownsburg Vineyard Church. She also served on the board of directors for Walls Down, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping the conservative Christian church love LGBTQ+ people generously. Heather lives in Brownsburg, Indiana with her husband Jamie and their 2 baseball-playing sons, Kade and Carson.