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)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LOVEboldly's annual Devoted seminar for ministry leaders will be offered as a series of webinars between September 10 - October 13 of this year. Although we are disappointed that we won't be able to gather in-person to learn, share, and grow, we are excited about some of the benefits that online programming provides. Geography and travel expenses are no longer limiting factors, so people from all over the world are now able to participate in our biggest event of the year! Sessions will be recorded so that registrants who aren't able to join live can view the content at a later time.
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 a series of webinars 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+.
Session topics include:
Sep. 10: Caring for Families of LGBTQ+ Youth, Andy Buechel
Sep. 16: Equipping Ministry Leaders to Love LGBTQ+ People Boldly, Heidi Weaver-Smith
Sep. 23: Creating Safety in the Church, Greg Coles
Sep. 30: LGBTQ+ Forum with Q&A, Carson Sotelo, Siobhan Boyd-Nelson, Stephen Crouch & Kat LaPrairie
Oct. 8: Two Views of Sexual Ethics, Dave Kuta and Jon Morgan
Oct. 13: Removing Fear from the Conversation, Aaron Munson
Click on the session above to register for it! You may register for single sessions if desired. All webinars will be recorded and registrants will receive a link to the recording in the event they are unable to join live. Past webinars are available for purchase and download at the links above or by clicking here!
All sustaining givers supporting our work on a monthly basis (including those who sign up today), will receive a special all-access pass to LOVEboldly’s webinars. Sign up to become a sustaining supporter here or contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Group rates are available for groups of 5 or more. Contact Heather at email@example.com for pricing.
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.
Andy Buechel holds a doctorate in Theological Studies at Emory University, and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton and Xavier University. His area of research was the LGBTQ experience and what insights it could bring to Christian theology. Since then, Andy has joined Safe and Supported, a program of Lighthouse Youth and Family services in Cincinnati, as program coordinator to work to end LGBTQ+ youth homelessness and family rejection.
Heidi Weaver-Smith is the Founder and Executive Director 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, she founded LOVEboldly in 2011. Through her leadership of LOVEboldly, 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 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 daughters, Felicity and Violet, in Columbus, OH.
Gregory Coles 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 (forthcoming in 2021). He holds a PhD in English from Penn State and lives in central Pennsylvania, where he works as a writer, speaker, editor, baker, and worship leader. You can follow his authorial activities on Facebook or at gregorycoles.com.
Dave Kuta 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.
Jon Morgan 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 (16), JJ (14), and Eli (12). Jon and his wife, Elizabeth, have been married for 19 years.
Aaron Munson is a licensed school counselor with Indianapolis Public Schools. He is also a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who provides virtual counseling for people who are struggling to reconcile their faith and their sexuality. 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. Aaron is married to his favorite human, Liz, and they have two incredible and curious children. Aaron and Liz are both passionate about helping the church love those in the LGBTQ+ community, and making churches safe places for queer people.
devoted forum panelists
Carson Sotelo is member of New City Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, OH. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Spanish, and International Studies from Saint Louis University. Carson seeks to pursue what it looks like for a gay Christian to live out a life that honors God, and believes that includes upholding a traditional sex ethic. He currently teaches English as a Second Language and leads a community group through New City. He resides in Cincinnati, OH.
Siobhan Boyd-Nelson 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.
Stephen Crouch serves as Marketing and Creative Coordinator for LOVEboldly. After coming out as bisexual in 2016, Stephen stopped calling himself a Christian because he could not reconcile the harm that LGBTQ+ people have suffered because of the actions of the church. After much soul-searching and becoming connected with LOVEboldly, Stephen has re-engaged with Christianity as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Stephen is currently attending Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York where he is studying social ethics.
Kat LaPrairie obtained both an undergraduate and master’s degree from Grand Valley State University, near Grand Rapids, MI. Kat currently works at a metal recycling center in Grand Rapids, but has done everything from selling vacuums door to door to coaching at the collegiate level. Kat became a Christian in 2018 after coming out as Transgender in 2017 and same-sex attracted (gay) in 2007. The journey has been just that… a journey, as God continues to show, sculpt, and move in Kat’s life. Kat continues to seek who God is, how He sees her, and how radical surrender can bring peace, joy, and flourishing to her life.