On the tenth anniversary of her baptism, we gathered with our congregation, our family, and Rebekah’s godparents and we celebrated and blessed her and her forever name. This is the liturgy we used in that service.

Faith, Hope & Love is a ministry of the New Jersey Synod, ELCA. Leading this event is one of my greatest accomplishments and privileges. It is my heart and soul. The event grew out of a request from some of the Synod’s young people who wanted to talk about how the church walks with LGBTQ+ youth. The church has a complicated history with the LGBTQ+ community. These young people were, and continue to be, deeply aware of the mixed messages the Church sends about gender and sexuality both by what we say and do and what we don’t.

For three years 120+ youth, young adults, parents, youth leaders, pastors, and congregational leaders have come together to celebrate the rich diversity of God’s people and learn how to make their homes, congregations and communities a safer, more welcoming place for LGBTQ+ children and youth. Rooted in lifting up the voices of LGBTQ+ people, the day is filled with education, story-telling, community, and worship.

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