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Maryland Leadership

Tina Richerson
Tina Richerson

It is time to reach out beyond and make a safe space for everyone through understanding and love

by Tina Richerson

As I walked into the HRC building in Washington D.C. I found members of the Executive Committee hard at work, reviewing and discussing the values and objectives of Affirmation for the upcoming year. This is what we intently engaged in for the next 36 hours.

Although I was the only Lesbian in attendance, I did not feel out of place. A recurring theme for the gathering was that we wanted Affirmation to support individuals in every path.

After dinner Friday night we took the opportunity to share our stories. This turned into each of us bearing our testimonies of the power and realness of God’s love, and his inspiration through the Spirit to live rich, authentic lives. I am deeply moved by the fact that everyone at that meeting actively seeks a personal relationship with God, that we all feel moved to help grow Affirmation into an organization where every perspective and experience is valued and respected. I felt the Spirit that night as I listened to each person tell their story and how everyone had experienced a moment of “God knows that I am homosexual, I was created this way, I fit into his plan, and now it’s time to help others find that same peace.”

Saturday was a full day of understanding the history and mission of Affirmation, then coming to agreement of where and how to take Affirmation forward. Randall Thacker is a wonderful president, with such incredible organizational and leadership skills. Working under his direction is so easy, and he creates an environment in which people want to work together and get things done. He is a fantastic motivator and facilitator.

This weekend was well organized, well thought out and well executed. If this weekend is any forecast for the upcoming year, we are headed in an incredible direction with love, acceptance, clarity, action and wisdom. We have some fantastic people on the board of directors that are going to help us with connections and direction. Everyone involved wants to see Affirmation grow and become more sustainable and reaching out more widely than ever before. We are ready to broaden our perspective and help spirituality flourish and be a part of healing. Each of us wants to practice more love and understanding in relating to the straight members of the church and the church leadership. We want to create an organization that can accomplish goals and provide a space that offers good role models of healthy relationships and self-acceptance. We welcome our straight allies, and need their help! It is time to reach out beyond and make a safe space for everyone through understanding and love.

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