The Rev. Dr. Gavin Shumate convened “God’s Love and the LGBT+ Community,” a summit for PFLAG members and the welcoming Episcopal Churches of the Diocese of Oregon to facilitate discussion, mutual community, and commitment to justice. The summit was held in July ‘17 at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Salem, OR for 200 attendees.
The conference was organized into three sections. The Faith section featured a diverse panel of LGBT+ persons sharing their stories. The Hope section was clergy-led presentation of Bible texts typically used against the LGBT+ community. The Love section was the keynote address, delivered by the Rt. Rev. Eugene Robinson. The conference concluded with a celebration of Holy Eucharist, at which Bp. Neff Powell presided and Bp. Robinson preached.
Shumate reflects on the groundbreaking diversity of the summit ad the message, and believes that the Spirit was at work in implementing a large summit in a short period of time. He believes that the summit contributed to the awakening of a hunger for diversity and radical inclusion, and he dreams of expanding the program in the diocese and nationally, noting the need for such work outside of the urban areas where such inclusion is more established. He dreams of giving LGBT+ persons hope that Christianity is not universally opposed to their full recognition and inclusion in the Body of Christ.