Friday, March 03, 2017

Panel on Sexuality and Religion

Featuring four faith traditions

A panel discussion entitled “Faith Matters: Religion and the LGBTQ Community in Fractious Times” will take place Sunday, March 26th at 3 p.m. at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church (1320 Park Avenue, Bolton Hill). Delegate Mary Washington will serve as moderator, and participants represent Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist faith communities. The event is co-hosted by Brown Memorial’s Tiffany Committee and the Human Rights Campaign.

Tickets are $15 ($5 students) and are available at and at the door. Parking in the Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School lot on the 100 block of Mosher Street, together with free shuttle service to the church, will be available.

Panelists include Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen, Buddhist Jann Jackson, and Brown Memorial Senior Pastor Andrew Foster Conners. Sachs-Cohen has served as a rabbi at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation since 2004. In addition to sharing teaching, pastoral and liturgical responsibilities, she advises the congregation’s Social Action Task Force which has concentrated in recent years on marriage equality and civil rights issues.

Jann Jackson has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism since 1975. She has studied with a number of masters in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Since 1994 she has been a student of Her Eminence Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche and has served as a teacher at the Mindrolling Lotus Garden Retreat Center in Virginia. Jann works in human services in Baltimore.

Andrew Foster Conners has been senior pastor at Brown Memorial since 2004. He is passionate about leading a church with a commitment to welcoming all God’s children into the life of faith, particularly people who have been frustrated by the insular exclusionary tendencies of church communities. He also serves as the clergy co-chair of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD).

Among the topics that they will discuss are the commitment of different religions to supporting LGBTQ people, and the ways that the larger religious community can come together to stand with LGBTQ people should hard-won rights and freedoms be under attack.

Addressing the need for such a conversation, Andrew Foster Conners said, “With many LGBTQ people actively fearing that there will be attempts to roll back basic constitutional rights, it’s important for the faith community to reinforce our commitment to stand in solidarity with them.”

Brown Memorial Assistant pastor Tim Hughes, who is gay, added, “Many of us who identify as both LGBTQ and people of faith are tired of being scapegoated in the name of divisive politics.  In fact, the very existence of LGBTQ people of faith defies the narrative of ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ There are depths of wisdom in our traditions that speak to the virtues of diversity and inclusion.”

The Tiffany Series is named for the historic 1870 church’s unparalleled collection of 11 original Tiffany stained glass windows. Proceeds from Tiffany Series events suport the church’s mission work, which includes a youth organizing project in West Baltimore and the Brown Memorial Tutoring Program, which presently serves more than 80 students who are bused from three neighboring elementary schools to the church during the week for individual tutoring in reading.

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