Today was the final day of #RioTXac, and it was plenty busy for the SWTX Reconciling Team. Our exhibition space design this year proved very effective. We had space to talk, hang out, and connect with others, making more friends across the conference, even up to the last hour of being present. We are grateful to have been able to create a very much needed safe space for queer friends and allies.
The #CallDenied display we set up at the end of our space had a powerful impact over the past several days. SWTX and Rio Grande United Methodists with varying levels of LGBTQ acceptance visited the display. Some questioned, many took photos, but most importantly, almost all looked at it — really looked. Not too shabby for a display located in the exhibition hall at the furthest point possible from where the delegates were working. Each name at the base of the display represented someone rejected from ordination or defrocked due to sexual orientation or gender identity. There are 40 confirmed names, but there are also many names left unsaid.
This afternoon was the ordination service. Fifteen of us sat together, wearing all black and rainbow stoles, and during the Examination of Provisional Members, as a reminder that Mary Ann Barclay would have been up on that stage with the other Deacons in process if she had been a straight woman, the fifteen of us stood until the last Deacon in process was prayed over by Bishop Dorff. After the service, several of us went to the reception to engage in respectful conversation with those present. It was a meaningful witness.
If you are in the (soon-to-be) Rio Texas conference and did not get a chance to visit us this week, you can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org