Come join us at one of our monthly gatherings.

Gender Identity: Jesus, The Bible, and Sexual Orientation

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Washington Street United Methodist Church, Columbia

Dr. John C. Whatley, III, Founding Pastor and Senior Minister, The Community Church of the Midlands

Dr. John C. Whatley, III is a professor and a pastor trained in theology and psycho therapy. He was born in Augusta, Georgia, moved briefly to Alabama, and grew up in Columbia since he was 11 years old. His undergraduate work was done at the University of South Carolina. He has a doctorate degree from Emory University and post-doctorate degrees from Duke, Vanderbilt, and New York's Union Theological at Columbia University. John is currently the founding pastor and senior minister at The Community Church of the Midlands, part of the Alliance of Baptists which is considered the most progressive of denominations. It is the only church in Columbia affiliated with the Center for Progressive Christianity. Their slogan is "Unapologetically Christian and Unapologetically Progressive." John adds, "They follow the teaching of Jesus, as opposed to following the teachings of the followers of Jesus." They have been open and affirming since the inception of the denomination.

The Community Church of the Midlands meets at the 7 Oaks Community Center, 200 Leisure Lane, near St. Andrews Road and Piney Grove Road, with services starting at 10 a.m. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. Call 803-331-9999 for more information and to request a newsletter.Click here for more info.

Marketing for Churches and Non-Profits

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shandon Presbyterian Church, Columbia

Robbie Butt, President and Chief Creative Officer, Marketing Performance, LLC

Robbie introduced the Building an Inclusive Church training program sponsored by the Institute of Welcoming Resources of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the welcoming/opening and affirming/reconciling organizations within eleven Christian denominations.

Strategic Planning for Welcoming Congregations Workshop and for Openings

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

St. Martin's-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Columbia

Ben Bullock, SC Association for Non-Profit Organizations

Ben Bullock, administration and member services coordinator at the SC Association for Non-Profit Organizations, facilitated two groups: one that began planning a weekend workshop for Midlands churches on how to become more welcoming congregations and a second one that discussed the future structure and organization of Openings.

Training Military Chaplains in the Post-DADT/DOMA Environment

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Agapé Senior Conference Center, Columbia

Army Chaplain (Colonel) Samuel Boone, Retired Former Commandant, The U. S. Army Chaplain Center & School Fort Jackson, SC

The U.S. Army Chaplain Center & School, the Navy Chaplain Center and School & Center, and the Air Force Chaplaincy Corps College are co-located in the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center at Fort Jackson. Each school's mission is to educate and train Chaplains, Chaplain Assistants, and Religious Program Specialists to serve in their respective service-unique roles.

The Current State of HIV/AIDS in South Carolina

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Columbia

Elizabeth McLendon, Advocacy Consultant, The AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Elizabeth addressed the current state of HIV in South Carolina (SC is always in the top 10 in overall new cases.); AIDS as a civil rights issues (The African-American and Latino communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.); comprehensive health education in South Carolina and how enforcing the current act and improving it can address many health issues including HIV; and what the faith community can do to help.

Supporting the Parents of GLBT Youth

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Reformation Lutheran Church, Columbia

Openings own parents of LGBTQ children spoke about where they get support and how they support their children, and representatives of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapters in Aiken, Greenville and Spartanburg discussed their organizations. After the Openings meeting local parents of LGBTQ children began the process to re-activate the Midlands PFLAG chapter.

Legislative Update and a Report from the 2014 Creating Change Conference

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shandon Presbyterian Church, Columbia

Ryan Wilson, Executive Director, South Carolina Equality

Ryan provided an update on legislation pending in the South Carolina General Assembly that will directly affect the LGBTQ community and suggested ways Openings could influence legislators. He also reported on the 2014 Creating Change conference, sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, where he attended workshops on the important role that faith-based organizations can play in advancing equality issues.

What's Going on in The United Methodist Church?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Washington Street United Methodist Church, Columbia

Ed McClain, Member, The Grace Class at Washington Street UMC

Ed presented a history of the anti-gay language in The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline; an update on the recent happenings in The United Methodist Church, both nationally and in South Carolina; and what the plans are for more reconciling efforts in SC United Methodist churches and in the southeastern United States.