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 Judicatory Leaders Convocation

November 29 – December 2, 2011


Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center

Carefree, Arizona



Dear Bishop or ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Judicatory Leader:


Greetings! We write you today to invite you to an ecumenical gathering for bishops and judicatory executives for the purpose of addressing issues related to the welcoming and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the church. Leaders are invited from the Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist communions.


The barriers against the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the church and society are falling. Many observers have identified the changes in both society and the church regarding LGBT people and their families as a major paradigm shift. Like all paradigm shifts, the changes occur in different ways in different places and at different rates, depending on theological, denominational, and regional differences. Nevertheless, the shift has affected and will continue to affect your work as a judicatory leader.

This convocation will provide an opportunity to discuss these issues with other judicatory leaders in an ecumenical setting. Goals for the convocation include:

  • building relationships among and between denominational bishops, judicatory leaders and welcoming program leaders
  • fostering ongoing ecumenical dialogue about the full participation of LGBT people and their families
  • providing education and training in anti-bullying as an entry level strategy to build common ground for the good of all children
  • considering the impact of the downsizing of judicatory and denominational structures and strategizing opportunities for partnership and collaboration


Through panel presentations, facilitated discussion, small- and large-group interaction, the Convocation will address such topics as:

  • Education about anti-bullying as an opening for beginning conversations in congregations and judicatories
  • Working with congregations and judicatories before and after a change in policy
  • Navigating civil marriage in states that support it
  • Preparing the church for marriage equality
  • Understanding the nuances of full inclusion in congregations of color (convocation features a  multi-cultural panel discussion of pastors of color serving congregations of color)
  • Working with global partners
  • Working with publicly identified LGBT clergy
  • Working with and supporting pastors who are in the process of coming out to their congregations


We will share information, insights, and best practices on the following: 

  • How you see your role as a judicatory leader in your denomination?
  • How does the paradigm shift toward full inclusion affect your work as a judicatory leader?
  • What doors are opening in your judicatory and denomination for LGBT inclusion?
  • What resources do you need to be more effective in helping your congregations be more welcoming and inclusive?
  • How does the whole church benefit from the full inclusion of LGBT people and their families?
  • When we have crises and conflicts, how do we navigate them without sowing seeds for subsequent unrest?
  • In what ways is the church being reborn in the 21st century?



  • Housing and meals provided
  • Sleeping rooms will be at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center and at a nearby hotel (LC/NA will make the housing reservations for you). Single occupancy.
  • If reimbursement for airfare is desired, up to $400 will be provided after the event
  • Fly into and out of the Phoenix airport (PHX)
  • All ground transportation will be provided
  • Retreat center and hotel are wheelchair accessible
  • Lutherans Concerned/North America is the fiscal agent for the convocation



  • Please arrive at PHX on Tuesday, November 29, by 6:00 pm.
  • Arrange for flight to depart on Friday, December 2, after 3:00 pm.



  • Registration is free
  • Registration deadline: November 15, 2011
  • Please register here
  • Please let us know your flight information as soon as you are able so that we may make ground transportation arrangements accordingly. Please send that info to Lissa Messner in the LC/NA office at (Note: You may also provide this info on the online registration form in the “Travel Comments” box.)


I hope you are able to take part in this important event. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Grace and peace,                    

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director

Lutherans Concerned/North America




You may also contact your respective welcoming organization in your denomination:



Harry Knox, Interim Executive Director    



Michael Adee, Executive Director

More Light Presbyterians



Andy Lang, Executive Director

UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns



Troy Plummer, Executive Director

Reconciling Ministries Network