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Seventh-Day Adventist Kinship International Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Protestant, Religion

Mission: Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International is a volunteer support organization that champions human rights for all people and has been affirming diversity within the Adventist community since 1976. We provide a safe spiritual and social community to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex current and former Seventh-day Adventists around the world.

Target demographics: LGBTI and gender variant people, their families and friends, and allies who care about equality.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,700 people in more than 43 countries

Geographic areas served: North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I married a man, even after having been in a lesbian relationship for six years. She had been raised Catholic, and I was raised in the SDA church, so we had convinced ourselves that we were simply two women who happened to fall in love with each other. After she married a man, I figured that was what I was also expected to do. After all, the church taught that God would put "the heterosexuality of Jesus on you" if you obeyed and married the opposite gender.

Loneliness set in after I left a job I loved and all my friends and family, to move across the country because of my husband's job. Once we bought a VCR, I rented a movie called "Personal Best" and admitted to myself that I've always been a lesbian. During my coming out process, I saw an ad in the back of MS. Magazine for "Adventist Lesbians" and thought at first that it was a trick by the General Conference to catch sinners like me. But I needed to know if there really were more people who had grown up Adventist and then realized they were lesbians, so I rented a post office box and made up a pseudonym.

SDA Kinship turned out to be an actual support group of and for SDA & former SDA gays, & lesbians, as well as their friends and family. With all the support I received, I found the courage to get a divorce, after which the SDA church threatened to bring up the issue in a full membership meeting after church, unless I would willingly request my name be dropped. That felt like having my identity yanked right out from under me, leaving me gasping for breath.

The longer I've been on the outside looking in, the less likely it is that I will ever choose to re-join the SDA church. But the longer I've been a member of SDA Kinship, the more I feel like I have a family of choice.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found Kinship because of a friend of mine from high school who was gay. I knew he had suffered because our denomination couldn't fathom, at least then, loving the LGBTIQ community. They still don't, for the most part.
I went to the annual Kinship Kampmeeting that year and always wanted to go back because I felt so accepted and supported by those I met there. I saw many old friends there. I made new ones too.
It was quite a few years before I could return, but joined in local activities as much as I could.
I shared my wonderful experience with others as well. Not everyone was supportive, but everyone at Kinship was. I go yearly now.
I even served two years on the Board of Directors as the Friend and Family coordinator. I helped new friends and family members with getting acquainted with our organization. I offered reading materials and other support as needed.
I am an Ally in this organization and felt some ofriends the same rejection from the church because of wanting to be a female in ministry,and was rejected. So I feel a kindred spirit with them.
I enjoy contributing to the group projects. I feel safe and loved there.
I recommend anyone join us.

1 Alix C.

Client Served

Rating: 3

I am a proud member, participant, and supporter of Kinship International because I have witnessed the redeeming value of their work. This organization provides opportunities for meaningful interactions among its members. For those of us wanting to make a difference in the community, Kinship International offers opportunities for outreach projects and to practice solidarity among its members. I believe my life has been enriched by my affiliation with Kinship International and its members from around the world. As its name indicates, this is an international organization. Its members are diverse in many ways; age, gender, ethnicities, occupation, nationalities, interests, education, sexual orientation, etc. This diversity ensues dynamism and greater levels of engagement from its members. Furthermore, Kinship International merits include the fact that it is operated by volunteer board members committed to serving the community. I personally know five of its current board members, including two college students who are already engaged giving back to the community and taking positions of great responsibility.

1 Floyd P.

Board Member

Rating: 4

I have been actively involved with SDA Kinship since the late 1980's. I am proud of the work and accomplishments that SDA Kinship has made over the years. Pointing out hypocrisy of "change ministries", educating church leaders what it means to be LGBTQ, showing the difference between gender and orientation and that neither is a choice. SDA Kinship is the only Adventist related organization that provides a community for those who are current and former SDAs and are dealing with their orientation or gender being on the margins of the mainstream teachings of the SDA Church. SDA Kinship is all inclusive and unconditionally accepts everyone just where they are. Please join me in your support of SDA Kinship, join us to continue the work, pray for us to have the wisdom to share God's love and remember SDA Kinship in your charitable giving to spread the good news that God's love is unconditional for ALL.

Previous Stories
3

Board Member

Rating: 5

Growing up I thought I was the only Seventh-day Adventist who was "different" than my other Adventist friends. Later I learned that this "difference" was called homosexuality and I was gay. I thought that getting married would change all that, but after 6 years of trying to be heterosexual, it wasn't working. During the time of the divorce I looked for others who may be going through a similar experience and I found SDA Kinship listed in a local gay publication. I wasn't alone! There were others like me. SDA Kinship became a lifeline for me, helping me to realize that I am OK just like I am. I became involved as a volunteer and Board Member. SDA Kinship works to promote an affirming community around the world, letting them know they are not alone. A great trait of SDA Kinship is that it is not just for one particular group, but is open to diversity of all kinds, including allies who support this inclusivity.

3 Elias R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

These people (aside from being around the world) are an oasis in an otherwise desert of confusion shame guilt and ignorance. the number of lives saved from suicides/ attempted suicides will never be known.

Most of benefit; they exemplify that religious affiliation and sexual orientation aren't mutually exclusive.

1 Yeshara A.

Board Member

Rating: 3

Kinship has made an important impact in the Adventist community and has helped many people create support networks and build friendships. My hope is that more people get to know about this organization and benefit, as well as contribute to the cause, creating a safe space to grow spiritually and live out our lives authentically and honestly.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

The people in Kinship just seem to care so much about anyone who is hurting. They were there for me when I most needed them. Their love and dedication is simply amazing.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is a beacon of light to the community that holds no sympathy, compassion, or understanding of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. The services that this charity offers has given hope to someone like me and to thousands around the world.

2 Keith11

Volunteer

Rating: 4

SDA Kinship is part of me extended family. When I was literally kicked out of Gate Way Adventist Centre with others who believed in Equal Love and Equality for all. Kinship was there with full support and practical love. Kinship friends empowered me to care for the GLTBI people who were marginalized, stigmatized and disembraced by the SDA Church.
It is through SDA Kinship that Iam working part time at a suicide prevention centre which specializes in preventing self harm and suicide to young GLTBI People. Kinship provides the practical resources through its virtual community Face Book pages where we as a Kinship Family communicate and discuss issues.
Kinship also provides social networks were we meet face to face every Friday in Melbourne and embrace those who were persecuted by the Christian Churches because of their sexual orientation, we have movie nights, book reading club and a health and fitness.
Many young SDA people are participating and finding meaning and acceptance. Kinship members in Melbourne Australia are vitally involved in community service such as volunteering to do breakfast for 80 homeless people four days per week, conducting English Language classes for refugees. That is what I like about Kinship it’s inclusive and while our service is toward the GLBTI community we do help with the community at large.
Keith Paulusse
Kinship member Melbourne Australia

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found/joined SDA Kinship a few years ago when I was hurting from the treatment I recieved from the church when someone 'outed' me. I was getting more and more depressed and was looking for love and support as well as someway to connect who I was with my spirituality. I found that with SDA Kinship. After attending our first Kampmeeting, my wife told another member it was nice to have her wife back. And I am still 'back'. Thank you to Kinship members.

4 Yolanda E.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I heard about Kinship when I was in college but didn't connect to it until 1995. I've been involved with Kinship since then because from the first moment I attended my first Kampmeeting I knew I was "home". Kinship gave me the place where I could be myself and reconcile my sexuality and my spirituality...something very difficult to do coming from a fundamentalist religious background. I continue to offer my time and financial assistance to this organization because I believe in the mission of Kinship. Because it had such a profound impact on me, I want to make sure the love and support I found in Kinship continues to be available to others. Seventh-day Adventist Kinship is a wonderful organization for everyone...former or current SDA members...all are welcome. I feel blessed to be a part of this organization and to have formed awesome friendships that I'm sure I'll have for the rest of my life.

2 Ruben L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first joined in 2001, I was at an Adventist campus and feeling like the only gay man there. Once, I joined, I had a network of others like me. I attended my first Kampmeeting soon after and forged many long time friendships. I am continually grateful for the work Kinship does and decided to give back by serving on its Board of Directors. I cannot thank Kinship enough for being a major part of my life.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined SDAKinship International in 1981, through an ad in Ms magazine. I am so grateful someone too the time and finance to place that spot. I respnded to the invitation to connect with this organization and a volunter was kind enough to take the time to come to my home in very rural Massachusetts. My first meeting with the local group was full of warmth, support and infomation that was part of a journey that changed my life for the better. The people I met there have been part of my heart and my life for more than thrity years. Since that time this group allowed me to use gifts and talents in ways that my church gradually closed off to me. Kinship enouraged me to grow from a membership to leadership role. IN my times of celebration and of deep grieg, this organization has wrapped around me. To say that this is a daily and growing part of my life is an understatement. This is a gift, a healing, a hope and a call to do more to change the prejudices of my world and to grow more whole as an individual.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a member of SDA Kinship since 1993 when I joined during my coming out process. Kinship provided the support system I needed to live authentically as a gay person and yet remain of person of faith. The local regional group provided social, emotional, and spiritual support, especially in a super-conservative state like Texas where I lived at the time. Throughout the years, I have observed Kinship's support of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals, providing advocacy and affirmation in ways that they were not able to find anywhere else.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I sought out SDA Kinship I was questioning my sexuality. I needed information and social interaction with people who were LGBT and Seventh-day Adventist. Kinship provided this important role. I attended a regional meeting which was low key and fun. We discussed everything under the moon including being ostracized by the greater SDA community and specific outings that turned out to be terrible breaches of trust. I had offered by home for members who were from out of town. One member was scheduled to stay at my house but had a car break-down and couldn’t make it. We kept in touch via email and fell in love before we even met. We have been together for over 9 years and are legally married now.
SDA Kinship provides me an outlet to discuss issues and stay connected with others with my religious background. I am most active on Facebook where the community is diverse and discussions are as well. I like being able to speak about personal, political, theological and a variety of other issues. The community includes pastors, educators, musicians, academics, therapists, scientists, retail workers, managers, retired people, parents, and so much more.
Kinship is a lifesaver to many of us and provides a much needed service to Seventh-day Adventists who believe that committed relationships that fit our sexuality are not only a blessing but consistent with Biblical values.

2 DaveJ

Advisor

Rating: 5

Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International became an important part of my life starting in the mid-1990's. The annual Kampmeeting that year featured a theologian who helped me to accept my orientation after nearly thirty years of trying to change who I am. Since that time, I have been actively involved at the Regional, National and International levels of the organization in helping to bring a face for LGBTIQ Seventh-day Adventists to the Church. This has provided me with opportunities I would not have enjoyed apart from Kinship. I have new friends in my own area, I have new friends and colleagues across American and around the world who have also become involved in providing support. These friends are both LGBTIQ and straight allies who are giving tirelessly to support the work of Kinship. Kinship has also supported efforts to develop a book, "Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives" and a documentary, "Seventh-Gay Adventists" These are valuable resources for changing hearts and minds. I am currently serving on an interim basis on the Board until someone can be found for the position.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDA Kinship is a great organization that helps anyone who as ever been associated with the SDA church that is LGBTI and their allies. They have been a great resource and many have become good friends. I recommend them to anyone who is interested in making like minded friends or need support in their own struggles with their orientation as an LGBTI SDA.

3 Carrol G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SDA Kinship is a blessing not just to glbti Adventists who are feeling rejected and lost, but also to their family members. Many years ago, soon after I learned my son is gay, I received unconditional love and support and HUGS from the members of Kinship that brought solace, healing, and understanding to my soul. Because of Kinship, I have gradually come to embrace a role of advocacy and support to other families.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a life! I am Seventh-day Adventist and in a mixed-orientation marriage - two things that are puzzling to most people until they learn more. How much more complicated is life for my gay SDA husband! Kinship has provided us with much information, resources, and comfort, and we are very grateful for this organization. Of course we recommend it to others!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am very thankful for this community and website that freely allows and accepts those struggling with their sexual orientation within the SDA church. It is a "safe haven" for LGBT members (some out and other nots) of the SDA church. If it wasn't for this wonderful organization, i would still be questioning my self-worth. Feel welcome without judgment.