Deepened Commitment to Leadership Development at Affirmation Mexico Conference
September 13, 2017
Affirmation held its sixth Mexico Conference in Mexico City, August 26-28, 2017. Mexico City was home to the first chapter of Affirmation formed outside the U.S. and first Spanish-speaking chapter, in 2001.
This conference featured a much stronger emphasis on leadership development and training than ever before, with a five-hour-long leaders session on Friday, focusing on themes chosen by the Mexican leaders.
Francisco Ruiz began the leaders session by reminding participants that the work of Affirmation is about saving lives.
This year, the leadership experimented with a different workshop structure. Themes emphasized throughout the conference included emotional intelligence; wellness and resilience; diverse spiritual paths; and family support.
Göran Gustav-Wrathall, husband of Affirmation’s Executive Director John Gustav-Wrathall, began the conference with a brief talk on the subject of “Faith,” after which conference participants participated in an icebreaker activity that involved telling one’s story to another member of Affirmation, and then having that story shared with the group by the person who had received the story.
On Saturday, Diego Alejandro Martínez Gutiérrez led a workshop on “The Art of Living.”
Xian and Becky Mackintosh spoke on a panel about the experience of being featured in a film on MormonAndGay.org that was the first ever to feature an openly gay individual in a same-sex relationship, and that focused on his (Xian’s) positive relationship with his family.
Carson Tueller and Laura Skaggs Dulin led a workshop on creating a personalized wellness plan, while Randall Thacker and John Gustav-Wrathall led panel discussions on supporting LGBT Mormons in their wards, and finding a personal spiritual path that works for you.
There was also a workshop on living with HIV, and a panel featuring trans, bi, gay, and lesbian Mormons, and a straight spouse in a mixed orientation marriage.
As is the tradition in Mexico, Saturday workshops and panels were followed by a dinner and awards ceremony, followed by a rousing party, complete with skits, party masks, balloons and party jester!
A series of moving talks on Sunday morning by Mama Dragons focused on what they have learned from the journeys of their LGBTQ kids.
Sunday devotional talks were given by Francisco Villalobos, president of Affirmation Mexico, Francisco Ruiz, vice president, and John Gustav-Wrathall, Affirmation Executive Director. The devotional was followed by a moving testimony / spiritual story sharing meeting.
The conference ended after a closing luncheon, new friendships made, old friendships renewed, and with partings both reluctant and grateful.