Our highlighted ministry for February – April (normally Jan. – Mar. but I’m late) is The Table in Nashville. The Table provides worship, scripture study, pastoral care and support, encouragement and advocacy to youth and families who are members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as those persons and their families who are impacted by poverty and incarceration. The Table promotes spiritual wellbeing for LGBTQIA+ and minority people groups in the exploration of self, faith, community and the deeper issues of being and belonging. The Table centers the voices of LGBTQIA+ people and vulnerable identities as we form intentional faith communities and opportunities for engagement that are inclusive of all and alienating of none.
The Table has its beginning at the call of its Pastor, Rev. Dawn Bennett by Bishop Kevin Strickland in December 2019. Faith formation, worship and discipleship look very different at The Table than in other traditional settings. We create space for these opportunities in ways that allow vulnerable people groups to embody their faith in a way they understand and is meaningful to their lived experience. For the majority, religious trauma is a foundation to their lived experience. To that end, advocacy and faith engagement begins with a trauma-informed approach. Worship includes Drag culture and faith formation often includes the study of secular text via song lyrics to see where divinity is woven in. Gentle reintroduction happens with preaching and study using the Dwelling in the Word [like] format.
Outreach is organic and is built on an as-needed basis. The two questions Rev. Bennett asks is what do you need? and how can we help? From here, we have established a Community Hope Chest (to provide free clothing/apparel to transgender folx experiencing a barrier to transition), a Transgender Support Group meeting twice monthly, online worship, food supplement ministry, and soon to come a computer/reading room for LGBTQ+ to safely look for jobs without the fear of homo/transphobia. Rev. Bennett is also active in community advocacy at protests, rallies and legislative sessions. Moving forward, we have dreams of producing a video series in an effort to educate, inspire and build bridges to re-forming and re-membering the Beloved Community to a place of healthy spirituality.
Your gifts to our ministry will help ensure that all of God’s children feel the same welcome at The Table!
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