Dear Friends of RfA:

A few months ago, RfA released a short film, “Room for Me?”  In it, twenty-six LGBTQ people in the Reformed Church in America consider questions about their lives, their faith, and their hopes for the RCA. Their responses are inspiring, painful, gracious and challenging.

We had long conversations about how to punctuate the film’s title. “Room for Me” seemed safe enough.  Yet, so many of the participants express clear and resounding assurance that there’s room in God’s embrace for LGBTQ people.  “Room for Me!”would capture that confidence.  Sadly, though, the exclamation point would collide with denominational reality.  God’s embrace may be wide and welcoming, but the same can’t be said about many parts of the RCA. LGBTQ people, family members and allies continue to struggle to find acceptance in their own congregations, and debate in denominational assemblies continues.  Thanks be to God, there is a growing community of RCA members who would favor a declarative title, but for now, the question remains:   Room for me in the RCA?

Among those who would do away with the question mark are Phil and Nancy Miller, lifelong and loyal RCA members from Holland, Michigan who look for the day when our church doors are fully open.  Phil and Nancy believe that Room for All has modeled faithful and grace-filled efforts toward that goal, and they have recently demonstrated their confidence with a generous gift of $25,000.  We’re pleased to challenge you, our supporters, to match the Millers’ gift with another $25,000. Any gift between now and December 31, 2014 will count toward fulfilling this matching challenge.

What will our combined support accomplish?  Most immediately, we’re preparing to create a second full-time position!  In just four years since RfA’s active volunteer Board hired an executive director, our growing ministry of support, education and advocacy has exceeded the capacity of one staff person.  With this addition, we expect to expand our ability to reach individuals, families, campuses and congregations.  This will mean more “Building an Inclusive Church” workshops, more classis and congregational visits, more video and print resources, more partnership with LGBTQ students at our colleges and seminaries, more empowerment of our regional groups, and an increased presence at denominational gatherings.  Besides sustaining and building on these existing efforts, we believe that the collaborative creativity brought about by additional staff will lead to new initiatives in support of our mission.

RfA is approaching its tenth anniversary, and we plan a grand celebration on October 22-25, 2015.  We have accomplished a great deal since our beginnings in 2005, but we’re not there yet.  On a regular basis, we meet people like the woman at General Synod 2014 who said, “I wish my family had known about RfA a couple of years ago when our daughter came out and felt she had to leave our church; it would have meant so much to us.”   For that family and others in the RCA, the question remains:  “Room for Me?”

Thanks to people like you, the punctuation is shifting.  May we count on your help to replace the question mark? You may mail us a check at P.O. Box 11495, Albany NY 12211, or to use PayPal, click the “Donate” button on our homepage.

rainbow exc 2Grace and Peace,
Marilyn Paarlberg
for the RfA Board of Directors