This is a report we received this week from FULC member Heather Hargraves, in the Peace Corps in Uganda:
I was at a Training for Trainers in May for Ugandan staff and peace corps volunteers who would be training the incoming volunteers. (Ugandans LOVE trainings for trainers . . . they will even pre-train for THAT if they can! lol) . . . anyway, we had a session on homosexuality. I know you know the climate about that here, but PC (Peace Corps) triiiies to get open-minded and educated Ugandans.
We played the game where if you agree with a statement you go to one side of the room and if you disagree, you go to the other, then those in different places have the chance to support their opinion. The statement was, “You can be homosexual and a Christian”. Virtually ALL the Ugandans disagreed, of course. supporting with a bunch of BS, including saying animals are never homosexual (which a volunteer shot down instantly with scientific studies and anecdotes to the contrary).
I was SO proud to share the story of First United and the ELCA. I think I was somehow eloquent, but basically I said church dogma is not static. Just because your religion believes or practices something does not mean it is correct, and churches can evolve as they are enlightened. And I told our story of hiring Jeff, etc and where we are now. (I also gave the example of Mormons preaching that the mark of Cain was being
black until they had a revelation to the contrary).
. . . ANYWAY, after the session, I got a TON of compliments and people seemed very impressed with our church, both FULC and the ELCA. Even two Lutheran friends hadn’t known about everything, and one has a gay brother and was very heartened to learn about the religion he grew up in opening their eyes a bit more (he may actually be agnostic, but his family is Lutheran). I’m not sure how much the Ugandans learned or grew from my story but I was SO proud to tell it, and also encouraged by all the positive responses from my peers.
Please give my love to everyone—Heather