Friends and allies, I wanted to give you a brief report from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly held this past week in Dallas. As some of you know, Nathan Russell and I are co-leading the creation of the Affirming Network within CBF that will be an official gathering spot for LGBTQ ministers and their straight allies. During this year’s assembly, we held the kick-off breakfast for the network and after a great deal of planning, coordinating and prayer, I can say it was a huge success!
As LGBTQ folk and their allies work to rid the CBF of the homophobic Implementation Plan that was “accepted” along with the new hiring policy but not voted on by the Governing Board, the inception of the Affirming Network took place. Understanding that change is often most effective from the inside out, I and other committed LGBTQ ministers and allies within CBF will now have our own network to advocate on issues that matter to us, most urgent being the eradication of the remaining homophobia that exists within the denominational body.
With all of this on our minds, Nathan and I opened the doors as 140 people took their seats for the historic kick-off breakfast. While the room could only hold 140 seats, there were many people who stood along the walls just to be present for the first LGBTQ-led official event at a CBF General Assembly. Straight ministers sat and listened to LGBTQ ministers share their testimonies and their hopes for change within CBF. In the 27 years of CBF’s history, this had never happened. It was so monumental but at the same time extremely personal for me. Of all I’ve done and been part of to bring about change and equality for LGBTQ folk, this was the most spiritually significant by far.
If you are asking yourself how you and Highland Baptist can be part of this exciting and hopeful work, please consider designating funds for True Colors Ministry and/or the Affirming Network. As you might imagine, budgets for LGBTQ ministries and networks in Baptist life is very limited. To grow and bring about lasting change, we need financial help from people and organizations that value LGBTQ inclusion and affirmation. Highland Baptist is the beacon in the storm for so many LGBTQ adults and youth in the CBF and I’m so very grateful to you for being doers of the word and not only hearers. ~ Rev. Bojangles Blanchard