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15 September 2012 @ 04:01 am
Onto the Sexuality Service.

I woke up exhausted from having worked on my sermonette too late into the night. (I finished the order of service--picking out everything that would be spoken and in what order--earlier that week.) Went to the drugstore, got some coffee that I can stand (Starbucks), arrived at the meetinghouse incredibly early. Did most of my coordinator duties, although I couldn't for the life of me find the pulpit lights, which was problematic.

I had printed out 15 Orders of Service, which I thought was a 'just in case' number; many summer services don't bother printing any out at all. When I saw how many people were gathered before the service, I realised my 'just in case' had been a bit off--by at least 15. So, more than double the number of people I expected (which is quite large since most UU congregations take the 'summer off' with these little informal sessions). I also realised I hadn't opened all the windows on the pulpit side--oops. And Jake Who Runs Coffeehouse (and wife of Previous Minister Ann) arrived and managed to get into the closet with the pulpit lights; the door was jammed shut, hence why I and two others couldn't get into it but he knew to slam into it.

When everyone had arrived and the last person had shuffled into the service area, I stood up to the pulpit and wished everyone a good morning, got some laughter going. I used words from Robert S. Gilbert (from the hymn book) for the opening words:

We bid you welcome, who come with weary spirit seeking rest.

Who come with troubles that are too much with you,
Who come hurt and afraid.

We bid you welcome, who come with hope in your heart.

Who come with anticipation in your step,
Who come proud and joyous.

We bid you welcome, who are seekers of a new faith.

Who come to probe and explore.
Who come to learn.

We bid you welcome, who enter this hall as a homecoming.

Who have found here room for your spirit.
Who find in this people a family.

Whoever you are, whatever you are,
Wherever you are on your journey,

We bid you welcome.

(Bold words were spoken by the congregation.)

Since I didn't ask for a pianist for the week and everything was going to be a cappella, I went for well known hims. The opening hymn I used was "Come, Come Whoever You Are" which is rather simple:

Come, come, whoever you are:
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
Ours is no caravan of despair;
Come, yet again come.

(We sang it through twice.)

I had my friend Arah come up for the Chalice Lighting (often a child from the congregation will). The words I chose are credited as a Passover Haggadah:

May the light we now kindle inspire us to use our powers
To heal and not to harm,
To help and not to hinder,
To bless and not to curse,
To serve you, Spirit of freedom.

Next was a very brief sermonette by a woman in the congregation. It's the very opposite of mine, which gave the service some added dimension. She couldn't attend, so I read it. It was such an experience to have these words come out of my mouth; it let me feel, for a moment, just a fraction of what it might have been like to have this story instead of my own. It made me think that if I had such a story, I would hope like mad that lesbians of the future wouldn't have too--that they'd have something more positive, less painful. And so, knowing my own story, I was all the more grateful for it. Anyway...

Born in early 60’s during a time of great personal and social upheaval, I never did feel quite comfortable in my own skin. I carried with me into adulthood the sexual awkwardness we are told is supposed to end with puberty, all that time feeling as though I no more fit into society than I did into my own body. At 41 I came upon FUSF through a friend. The acceptance of this community was nearly overwhelming and certainly hard to believe. Over time, though, I dared share my ‘secrets’, my years of questioning who I was sexually, mentally and emotionally. I could have wept, and often did, when I got back not odd looks and rejection, but hugs of acceptance. Shortly thereafter, I got in touch with a therapist and together she and I lifted off the heavy veils of ‘me’ to again find that girl who had once been confident in herself and in her abilities. Ten years later I am able to surround myself with friends who accept me for who I am and talk honestly with my closest family members. I could not have done this without the support and love of FUSF members and UU’s in general. Their acceptance of me as a lesbian has paved the road to my acceptance of myself. Through them I have learned to honor the inherent worth and dignity of me.

(It ended with her full name and the year she joined the congregation. Also, "inherent worth and dignity of every person" is our first UU principle [and the one I revisit most frequently], so it was a poignant statement for all of us about how easy it is to forget that we ourselves count as an "every person" to find in which to find inherent worth and dignity.)

Then it was my turn, for something between a sermonette and a sermon. First of all, Rick (he spoke after me) requested 20 minutes--which is quite a chunk of time. Given that until something like, oh, a week before, I thought it would be the "Kiwi Talks Some Ears Off" show, I had to cut down on my sermon to accommodate him. Which I was happy to do. You know, if it had needed to be cut that much...

But I introduced my sermonette with some mention of giving a SparkNotes edition of it--to some extent--and that it was basically the list of diversity that together makes me. I will warn that, as far as sermon-writing goes, this is far from my best. I had been intending to write a real sermon and not an over-explained list. When I was writing this, though, I didn't want the words or the writing to be what stood out--I wanted the statements to, if that makes any sense. And remember, I'm saying all this in a church. I introduced it as "My Little Pieces of Diversity":

• 1) I am a lesbian. Yes, even with hair to my hips; I’ve always been fond of defying stereotypes (though I did play softball). I was out as bisexual for a few months as a young teen and then, seemingly without another Big Coming Out Moment, I was a fully-fledged baby dyke. The sexuality of this identity tends to be clear in that it is defined as a “sexual orientation” or “sexual preference” although for me there is hardly anything sexual about it: if any human is going to catch my attention and make me fumble over my words, the human is almost certainly going to be female, by whatever definitions.

As of next year, I will have been out for a decade. It hasn’t been difficulty for me to be out and proud in my life with the Unitarian Universalist community I’ve always had: I’ve had gay, lesbian, and queer role-models that are now friends; I’ve had others to march with and push my wheelchair in Gay Pride parades whenever I could attend; I’ve had Interweave Committees to join; I’ve been completely embraced as the colour-loving Rainbow Sprite that I am. However my Godmother once turned to me, looked me up and down, and said, “Kiwi, being a lesbian is the most normal thing about you, isn’t it?” That I can’t deny.

• 2) My gender identity is not concrete. When asked to give my gender identity, I will often answer that I am “girl-bendy” (based on the term “gender-bender”). I have a feminine form and long hair, which means I am forever struggling against others’ perceptions of me, including my preferred gender roles and identity based on my presentation; normally those perceptions are wrong. I always grapple with the idea of conventional femininity and I would feel confined by the traditional gender roles assigned to my birth sex. Some days I dream of drag, some days I dig dresses, nearly every day I don Doc Martens; I don’t do any of these feeling particularly “like a girl” but as either someone with a natural duality or just as a person. I love the thrill of hearing gender-neutral pronouns or the quick utterance of “sir” when I’ve tucked away my femme-ness. What this means for my sexuality, especially in regards to romance, is that if someone intends to hold open every door or pay for every meal, I’m not going to be a happy girl-bendy person; goodness help the suitor who expects me not to get dirty and finds me caked in mud by the end of the day. The UU program “Meeting of the Moons” taught me that being female does not mean presenting or acting the same way, and that “reaching my moon” did not mean my inner tomboy had to shrivel up and leave me. I am grateful every day that none of this has been a problem for me within UU communities. In fact, I often find kindred spirits.

3) I am disabled. I have chronic pain; I walk with a cane; I’ve had multiple hip surgeries; I have a hip replacement; I have a train-track of scars up my leg. What that means for my personal sexuality is that I don’t always trust my body as much as some—especially those my age—often would; I find I thus have to trust even more those who deal with my body. I am also self-conscious of the way it all makes my body look. Chronic pain means I am not always or frequently up for frivolous dating and certainly not the casual look-and-touch attitude of many in my peer group at the moment. However, I know how much I have been helped by the constant support—cards, meals, encouragement—from my UU community. It was thrilling being able to talk about disability and sexuality while with a group of understanding and non-judgemental young adults at General Assembly; those were beautiful moments for me that chip away at my self-doubt and increase my self-esteem.

4) I am aware of polyamory. I say “aware” because I currently don’t date and have little interest in it. Since I was 15, my favourite fictional relationship has been two older women that are primary partners within a polyamorous relationship. Many of my friends are polyamorous, with multiple loving partners and constant communication. When I daydream, polyamory frequently plays a role. It thus plays a role in my sexuality similarly to the way my orientation does, in that it is part of the very foundation. With Unitarian Universalism, I need not hide under blankets of shame for such an idea or identity. There is the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamorous Awareness (UUPA) group, which is quite probably the only religious polyamory group and which has representation in Massachusetts. They define polyamory as “the philosophy and practice of loving or relating intimately to more than one other person at a time with honesty and integrity”. Hearing that definition, and knowing there is a group of my denomination behind it, brings endless joy and a feeling of acceptance to my heart.

5) I am physically unconventional and don’t meet societal standards of beauty. I choose not to shave my body hair; I interact with the world with mostly my naked face (which is to say, no make-up); I wash my hair with home-made products instead of commercial shampoos and conditioners; I have a lip piercing; I am not skinny. On self-confident days, I feel no obligation to be pretty for others but instead present myself for myself, in whichever way I please and without guilt or shame at the idea of others considering me ugly. On self-conscious days, when I would still feel guilty to change my appearance or I find myself covering up my body, I am endlessly aware of how I weigh up against society’s ideals; I am aware of where I am lacking and it hurts. All of this plays into my sexuality and romance in impacting who would interest me and who would be interested in me, further diminishing a pool that is already not abundant. Sometimes that discourages me. I am less discouraged when I remember my times at Rowe Camp and Conference Center, a UU-based camp, at General Assembly, with FUSF, and with other groups of UUs. Such moments and memories make me feel less alone—and less ugly—against a backdrop of a photoshoped, airbrushed, made-up, and clean-shaven society.

6) I am a virgin. I’m 22 and a celibate by choice, which is one of the things I find most difficult to come out with; there is a lot of judgement concerning virginity. The “virgin and whore” dichotomy of the Mary’s is still alive and kicking. My choice for celibacy was not out of lack of education: the UU programme “Our Whole Lives” taught me well at 14, even including a panel on gay and lesbian lives and identities. I have read books, hosted discussions with my friends and with teenagers, been a voice against slut- and virgin-shaming, and more. It just hasn’t been a personal priority in my life, partially out of my insecurities but mostly out of my choices, and it is one of the things people are most likely to judge. It just has not been a feature of my free and responsible search for truth and meaning; UUism teaches me not to judge myself or others on that.

7) I am a white, upper-middle-class, well-educated young woman. This affects the people I meet, what others may think of me, and unfortunately—until I check myself and my privilege—it can affect my first impressions of others. I am attracted to many women outside of my white, upper-middle-class, college-educated, twenty-something demographic. Sometimes I worry, in regards to my sexuality, how my privilege and age will work with my attractions and interactions, and if I am aware and graceful enough to keep tabs on my varied privileges and how they impact my thoughts, life, and relationships. I was thrilled to find that many other UUs had questions like these at General Assembly, and that there is endless conversation and education to be found with all of it.

8) There is much about myself that I don’t yet know. I don’t know what my preferred dating method is, how I behave in relationships, what exactly I am looking for now or in the future. I am happy, currently, with a sexuality based on deep platonic relationships, inadvertently educating those around me with precisely the sorts of conversations I want to be having, and with helping my friends through the dramatic turbulences of their lives. The rest of it is a bit of a mystery for me: sometimes that thrills me, sometimes it chills me. For now it’s easy for me to say that I am happy with myself and with the community that I have grown up with and also built around me. I will see what the future will bring. Until then, I’ll keep dating my ukulele on Facebook.

Minister Carol was in attendance. It put me at ease how vigorously she nodded along with all of my points--especially the "virgin" point, which was where I heard my voice actually falter for a second. She listens hard to everything and everyone, of course, but... Alright, well, I don't often admit that I'm special in any way; I don't usually feel it. But I know, in this regard, that I am: I am a young adult who came back. I am a suburban young adult who was active in her religion throughout high school and college, and came back to her home congregation after college--and now I have the choice to go to one in the city but I am staying. (Even if I were to go, I would still be special in consistently holding firm in being a young adult who participates, joins committees [alright usually when asked], who is willing to host a summer service.) I'm a born-and-raised UU with no gap, as many have, between high school and "oh I have children now they should probably have some sort of religion so I'll head back to church". Minister Carol has been the minister of this congregation for 25 years; I am 22. She's seen me grow into this, from the small child who barely spoke to the young adult who went to her first General Assembly, finally bridged into feeling at "home" in her young adulthood (instead of "youth", which we use to mean "teenager"), and really wanted to implement some of what was learned there. It's because of much of that that I know, when Minister Carol is listening to me, that she's really listening--to the viewpoint of a Unicorn of UUism (my active young adulthood), to the person she has seen grow and still gets to see every week when my 'kind' have yet to return, to the sort of person UUism can raise, and just plainly to me. It's comforting and a bit frightening all at once.

After that, it was time for Candles of Joy and Concern, which is led by the lay ministers of the congregation (chosen and trained for the work). I asked who our lay minister would be today (we don't plan those as coordinators; they're assigned or volunteered or whatever). Minister Carol started standing up and said, "I'm your lay minister today!" I laughed and said, "Well that's an interesting definition of 'lay'!" She walked up to the candles, introduced them, and lit one for herself.

But really for me. She thanked me for being so open and honest, and told me how honoured she felt that I felt safe enough here to be that way. Privately as I was walking by (I think that's how it happened) she told me that my sermonette had made her cry; my knee-jerk response was to apologise (as I tend to when my writing affects people), although much later I explained that and thanked her.

After that it was Rick's sermon. He directs the choir at the church and is one of the usual faces, so I've always known him a bit but not much, and I was impressed when he asked me if he could speak. He ended up speaking about growing up as a closeted gay man (which is the story of his time), feeling like the Token Gay at his previous congregations, living with and loving his (platonic) life partner and best friend, and how our congregation has been for him. It was a coming out sermon, though--except for those he had actually told, he hadn't been out in the congregation, fearing again that he'd be a Token Gay. After a while he didn't come out since it had been so long that he'd feel silly (especially since he is far from the Token Gay). It was a wonderful sermon.

For the Offertory I played "In Or Out" by Ani DiFranco--after I ran to get my iPod, which was in the foyer; thank goodness for informal services. :P I joked as I handed around the tins that it was the first time I'd ever done the offertory, though I'd done just about every other job. Pam (one of the Active Lesbians) quipped that I'd be wanting to do it all the time now; she and her partner do it most weeks, sometimes with others.

For the final hymn I did one of my favourites and I explained that while I almost always use it--because it fits so many occasions and themes--I thought it fit this service especially, because sexuality was so tied up in identity and diversity and individuality that we want to make sure to let our little lights shine, and to help others' lights shine, too. I told them that I was adding a final verse to the song. "This Little Light of Mine":

1) This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine:
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

2) Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine:
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

3) Building up a world, I’m gonna let it shine.
Building up a world, I’m gonna let it shine.
Building up a world, I’m gonna let it shine:
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

4) Find a light like mine, I’m gonna help it shine.
Find a light like mine, I’m gonna help it shine.
Find a light like mine, I’m gonna help it shine.
Shine with mine, shine with mine, shine with mine.

(Minister Carol seemed to like that a lot, which made me laugh. My mother and I are known for frequently picking this hymn.)

For the Closing Words I combined two from the hymn book:

Be ye lamps unto yourselves; be
your own confidence.
Hold to the truth within
yourselves as to the only lamp.

Take courage friends.
The way is often hard,
the path is never clear,
and the stakes are very high.
Take courage.
For deep down, there is another truth:
you are not alone.

And that was it! I had mentioned hosting a discussion, but people were very chatty in groups and I always had someone approaching me. I wasn't sure I had it in me for a discussion in the end, anyway. I joked with everyone and had a good time; I tried to speak with everyone who came to me. It meant that some other congregants did my coordinator duties for me! I certainly stuck around 'til the end, though, to make sure everything was all cleaned up and set right.

I met some others for the Gay Lunch that often happens--Indian food, this time. The food wasn't fantastic but I had a great time chuckling with one of my lesbian 'aunts', Karen. (We were joking about how active the lesbians are in the community and she told me that, with Pam and Maddy--the offertory women--they had been called about being on the Board of Trustees. I don't remember who was doing the calling, but either Pam or Maddy picked up the phone and was invited onto the Board. Later the caller said, "We knew we wanted to invite one of you--we were actually just going to ask whoever picked up the phone!") Usually it's all couples and I'm the odd number in--which is perfectly fine by me, of course! But this time Karen's partner couldn't make it--flyball tournament with the pupster--so I was one of the Evens. Made me laugh. Went back to Karen's to hang out and breathe a bit.

Last week one of the men from the congregation came up to me and told me flat-out that I was the bravest and most courageous woman he had ever known. I fumbled my way through my polite dissent and ultimate thanks, although I kept thinking that he really needs to go out there and meet some of the amazing women out there! I was flabbergasted, anyway.

So it was a success and I am alive to tell the tale. Good on you if you made it through all that!

Now I just have to start thinking about the Reproductive Rights service... :Þ (Kidding. Youth programming first. They want a pillow/blanket-fort lock-in--which I may have had part in suggesting--and I want to include some sort of social action/social justice/fundraising. I'll find a way to combine them, somehow.)
minervas_eule: MHiU: hat patminervas_eule on September 15th, 2012 09:47 am (UTC)
Thank you Kiwi! I can imagine it so well now.... It is such a special situation that you grow up and stay in one spiritual community... enjoy it as long as possible...

I think I will translate and use your opening words - such great lines suitable for every service!

The point about polyamory came as a surprise to me: I had not idea there would be any Christian Church that feels it can accept the concept...; but as long as nobody breaks any promises to anybody else and everybody is happy with it, it should not be a problem - but obviously everybody is convinced it can't work out this way...
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Winter branch.cranky__crocus on September 15th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
No problem! I will definitely enjoy it as long as 'possible'--which, probably, is how long I choose. I know that at some point I will want to head off and make a new name in a new congregation. For now, it's fun to be that old "poster girl" from senior youth who has come back and remained. I love the community.

Feel free to use the opening words! I got them from the hymnal "Singing the Living Tradition" and the credit for the writer is up there. :D (I thought the "whoever you are, whatever you are, wherever you are on your journey" fit talking about sexuality and identity very well.)

I'm afraid we're not really a Christian Church. I mean, Unitarian Universalism does have a Christian background--the Unitarians didn't believe in the Trinity; the Universalists believed in universal salvation rather than believing that anyone 'other' went to hell--but we've taken steps away from that through time. It's really on a congregation-by-congregation basis. There are certainly some that are more Christian--King's Chapel in Boston, MA comes to mind--but there are equally some that are more Jewish, more academic, more fellowship (with no particular minister), more Pagan, more Zen, etc...

One of the things I love about my home congregation is that we're pretty humanitarian, earth-based, and agnostic. We do have Easter and Christmas Eve services that can get more Christian, but they also tend to include the holidays and beliefs of other religions (like often mentions of Eostre and Yule, plus Jewish holidays). The sermons tend to be more like moralistic stories, all metaphor, than told as Truths. Our congregation often comes off as very atheistic, since we have some loud atheist voices; we all get along for the most part, though. There are more tiffs over whether the Green Committee should put out sugar during their coffee hour than there are over religious beliefs.

So I don't consider myself a Christian. I hope you don't mind! :X I'm religious and spiritual, but not the way people expect...
minervas_eule: Go to Blazesminervas_eule on September 15th, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
we're not really a Christian Church - I had figured that out on my own thinking about it a little longer during the morning *gg*.... I realized that my assumption about all these pages and pages of churches in the Southern States' Telephone books (which completely blew me away when I came to the US), that they all are some kind of protestants, have been just that and not based on any knowledge about them at all ;-)

Do I mind ? You're happiness is the priority here, and if you don't feel like something is missing - which you obviously are not :-), that is fine. I can't possibly imagine, how I would feel about my life without believing in an eternal different one after death, so I am glad I trust in that...
Kiwi Crocus: HP || McHooch || Kittyhawk away.cranky__crocus on September 27th, 2012 10:36 pm (UTC)
No, I don't feel like something is missing. (: I'm not a staunch atheist in feeling there is nothing out there--and I am content with the spirituality I have. I find endless glee and gratitude in the fact that just the right circumstances, decades and thousands and millions and even billions of years ago, came along to produce animated life--and eventually me--out of stardust and energy. I am so lucky for this one precious life that I have been given, this animated carbon body that houses the 'self' I find in my brain, and that I have been born into the body and family and country and continent and planet that I have, however faulty sometimes. The idea that out of a universe so wide and wonderful, I could have a few solid decades of life to live and love and laugh and learn...that is certainly enough for me, and I do not feel I need more.

Although that isn't to say I don't believe some of us lives on. The air that we have breathed, the things and people that we have touched...and after all, matter cannot be destroyed. (: Sometimes I'm tempted by the idea of reincarnation, and sometimes it comes close to sticking, but it hasn't yet; perhaps some day it will and I don't mind that either.

For now, though, I'm very happy with what I believe my life to be.

I do sometimes worry when I am 'Outed' as not being Christian or God-believing, though, especially given how involved I am in a religious organisation (we generally describe ourselves as "by covenant but not by creed"). The discrimination goes both ways, which is so very sad; I wish there was more religious (and non-religious) tolerance. If one's beliefs makes one happy and feel secure, and those beliefs are not harming others (in keeping them from rights or resources), then what is the problem? Isn't diversity the spice of life?
bexamillion: am i gay? i'm ecstaticbexamillion on September 16th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say that I admire you so much. It is refreshing to hear people my age be so honest with who they are and what they want from life.
I've been to one UU service before and found it to be a welcoming experience.
I also wanted to say that I enjoy reading your posts even if I don't comment on them (which I really should get into the habit of doing). But mostly just thank you for being honest.

Edited at 2012-09-16 04:47 pm (UTC)
Kiwi Crocus: Ani D || Grinning.cranky__crocus on September 27th, 2012 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you, darling! ♥ And if you like it, go and spread the honesty if you can! (I know not all people our age are in places--physically or whatever else--in which they can, and it is partly out of my gratitude for the fact that I am that I feel the obligation to be so.)

It's difficult for me to go say "check out your local UU!" if people ask me (with genuine curiosity) about UUism and exploring it, just because every congregation is so very different, even 15 minutes away from one another. In Boston I know two congregations that aren't too far from one another, and one of them is the most religiously liberal and hodge-podge while the other is one of the most firmly Christian UU congregations I've known. So it definitely varies! I'm glad that your experience at a UU service was welcoming. :D

I'm so glad to hear you enjoy reading my posts! And while I'm obviously completely a-okay with people not commenting (people should do as they wish/have time for), I also welcome you to make brief comments with "♥" or "X" or something if you with to let me know that you've read! :P (But please don't feel compelled to do that, haha. I just like to bring it up as an option for those who feel guilty about not commenting but also don't feel great about their commenting 'skills' or don't have all the time necessary for full comments on their flists.)

Thank you for dropping by! ♥
101mutts: Border Collie101mutts on September 17th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
Wow, sounds like a wonderful service! Nice choice of hymns and readings. "Come come whoever you are" is a staple in youth worships at cons and Star. That and How Could Anyone. I wish the youth communities knew more of the lovely UU hymns.

Damn you're open in your sermonette. In services I've been apart of, I found it incredibly refreshing to share a thing or two that I don't normally share with people.

Your mentions of GA make me want to go. Did you go to mostly young adult parts plus the required voting sessions? What was the young adult programming like?

I squeed at the flyball reference. :D
Kiwi Crocus: Seasonal || Snowing Hogwarts.cranky__crocus on September 27th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
Ooooh How Could Anyone. I'm glad that was introduced to me during the "Before" time of Rowe, so it had a settled place in my heart previously haha. And "Come, Come" always gets to me; I sing it to myself fairly frequently.

Yup, open is how I roll. :P I usually share bits and pieces...but I wanted this one to be 'the big share' because people don't do that very often and all of it is wrapped up in my sexuality and Unitarian Universalism. I 'sold' the service as one that was more about any sort of identities or discoveries that impacted one's sexuality, and were touched/affected/brought about by one's Unitarian Universalist values and communities. Even things like realising one actually has more conventional desires (lifestyle-wise) than one thought, but realising that's okay, too, and being embraced for that as well while still being able to rally for those who live less conventionally.

I was a delegate at GA--the only delegate for my congregation, since the ministers' votes are grouped together and my minister was leaving the congregation anyway--so I attended all the plenary sessions. I did try to go to as many of the young adult sessions as well, since it was a great way to make friends. For the most part the young adult programming was just summarising what was going on in the rest of GA and having speakers come in so we could hear from them, learn from them, and speak from them in a smaller group and specifically as young adults. We went over the Congregational Study/Action Initiatives, what was up to vote, more information about all of them, etc. We also took straw polls on how all of us felt about some of the issues. For the senior youth (as in, not with us; they were separate) they tried to reach consensus, but then they also tend to go up as a group on issues and speak as one voice; that hasn't been as important to the young adults, historically, but we do like to get an idea of how all of us feel together, especially since a good number of us actually were delegates with votes. There was one issue--I forget which, but it was one of the most heated ones--that we actually reached almost 100% consensus, and there weren't any "against" votes, so when a group of young adults went up to speak on the issue they were able to say that.

It was definitely fun! I can't wait for it to be in Providence. :D
therealsnapetherealsnape on September 19th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
That was a very honest and touching sermonette - I can see why the group was impressed! Thank you for sharing with us.
Kiwi Crocus: Agnes Moorehead || Writing.cranky__crocus on September 28th, 2012 04:11 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I was stating before the service just how nervous I was because I was "really coming out" and no one understood since I'd come out so many times before, but they all understood afterwards haha. I think people too easily forget that one must "come out" with more than just sexual/romantic identity!

It was also wonderful to have left it on the counter (accidental, really; I didn't think about it) and to have my parents come speak with me about it--positively--on two separate occasions. They were both very proud and very accepting. I am an incredibly lucky young woman.