Critical Conversations: Creating space with and for LGBTQIA+ identities - Jess Cook - AM 4 Day
Evolving understanding of gender beyond a binary presents a sea change to the way we understand our identity, community, and theology. The ways youth understand and live into their gender offers rich ground for new ways of being for the Church. Similarly, some of the Bible’s most celebrated characters defied their culture’s gender norms. Yet, for many of us, the conversation about LGBTQIA+ identities feels more like a tidal wave than a sea change. This workshop will equip participants to be sensitive to emerging language around gender identity and nuances of sexual orientation, and opportunities to practice putting new terminology to us. We will discuss how to start the conversation about LGBTQIA+ identities in your setting, hone skills, and create resources for participants to take back to their congregations.
Rev. Jess Cook is the Program & Communications Manager for More Light
Presbyterians, and was the first non-binary person ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PC(USA). A native of East Texas and lifelong Presbyterian, Jess holds an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary, an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas, and a BFA in Studio Art from Baylor. Prior to joining MLP, Jess was the Youth Programs Director at Side by Side, an organization serving LGBTQIA+ youth in Richmond, VA.
Jess’s call is to help facilitate spaces where reconciliation is possible, with the acknowledgement that reconciliation is only possible if we are able to be honest with ourselves and one another about the ways in which we are broken. True reconciliation requires relationships, and relationships require trust and vulnerability. Jess sees their role as helping make spaces where that vulnerability is celebrated and trust can be built.