This is a film about those living at the intersection of faith, identity and sexuality. The film invites us into the lives of six adults who were raised in the Adventist faith tradition. As children they attended Church school, Sabbath School, Pathfinders and ate countless meals of haystacks. As adults, they live with competing and often painful realities of being in same-gender relationships while struggling to belong to a spiritual home.
Why did your Church Board vote to show this film? We have a deep awareness of our responsibility as a campus Church to be a safe place of conversation for the next generations. And, this topic impacts us all. We are talking about people in our families, schools and churches right now. We are talking about people who struggle, feel isolated and live alone with this pain because the church rarely discusses this topic. We are also talking about people who endure severe bullying. Just a few weeks ago in year-end meetings at the General Conference, a denominational anti-bullying initiative was announced.
In our Church Board last month, many Board members recounted stories of family or friends who left the Church over their struggle to belong. We listened to deeply painful memories for some, including individuals who committed suicide in part because of not being able to reconcile being homosexual in a faith community.
On December 1, we are not debating the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s statement against homosexuality. Some have asked what our agenda is, or, our end point. Our agenda is to be true to the gospel, which demands we act with respect, compassion and hope for every person. Listening to the honest and painful journeys of the six individuals in this film is one way we express our commitment to the gospel. So we are listening—just listening.
The film has been shown in 40 locations, including a few churches. Many teachers across North America viewed this film in August while at the Teacher’s Convention in Nashville. The reports from so many testify to the positive impact of the film. We ask that our Church family pull together in support of those who want to see this film, as the film is not available commercially. La Sierra University is co-sponsoring the event with the Church.
Our prayer is that in the sacred act of listening, we will send a signal of reconciliation and healing to hundreds in our own community who are isolated. We won’t have all the answers after watching this film. We will live with these complexities until Jesus returns to welcome us home. In the meantime we can embody the grace of the Jesus for whom we wait.
Your Pastors, Church Board, and Co-head Elders of the La Sierra University Church
Please note: Because we know the film can stir response, we have several licensed counselors available to serve the congregation on December 1 and forward by free appointment times. Also, we will have a child-friendly zone available for children ages 5-12 during the showing of the film.