From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Churches, University Join to Discuss Sexuality Issues
12 May 1996 20:20:20
May 9, 1996
96153 Churches, University Join to Discuss Sexuality Issues
by Jerry L. Van Marter
DAVIS, Calif.--It may come too late for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),
but a consortium of churches, campus ministries and the University of
California at Davis are gathering 300 religious leaders from across the
United States next fall to explore how American religious institutions can
talk about issues of sexuality without creating division within their
The Sept. 5-7 conference, "Finding Common Ground: Human Sexuality and
American Religious Institutions," will be hosted on the UC-Davis campus by
The Belfry, the Lutheran/Episcopal campus ministry at the university.
Among the co-sponsors are numerous congregations, including the Davis
Community Presbyterian Church, and several denominational entities in
"All of us in American religious communities are now, or soon will be,
facing major issues around sexuality in our institutional life," noted the
Rev. Jim Kitchens, pastor of the Davis Community Presbyterian Church.
"What we are seeking to do through this conference is to help one another
discover ways to engage in civil conversation and debate about these issues
which do not tear our denominations apart."
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America-related Knutson Endowment,
which has provided major funding for the conference, stipulated that the
conference "address human sexuality and the church from a broad-based
perspective to encourage dialogue and promote respect, dignity and
courageous awareness among Christians."
Belfry campus pastor the Rev. Don Ranstrom said the intent of the
conference is to create dialogue where little currently exists. "We are
convinced that there is a broad middle group concerned about this issue
that can be engaged in such a civil conversation." He said a university
setting, where the church and academia "overlap" is "ideal for such an
Featured speakers at the conference will include the Rev. John
Buchanan, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and a leader in
the PC(USA)'s efforts to find reconciliation after the furor that
surrounded the denomination's involvement in the November 1993 Re-Imagining
conference. Keynote speaker is the Rev. Mel White, a Metropolitan Community
Church pastor who served as a speechwriter for television evangelist Pat
Robertson before makng his own homosexuality known publicly.
Further information about the conference is available from Jean
Holsten at The Belfry, (916) 756-1550.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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