Our Rainbow Handcraft Project continues to be a huge success.Since the project first began at the San Diego Annual Conference in 2009, we have given away thousands of rainbow scarves, hats, pins, name tag holders, and handcrafts! It is now commonplace to see rainbow colors all over Annual Conference and Church of the Brethren events. And the project goes on!
Wearing a rainbow handcraft at Conference is a meaningful and concrete way to show support for our lgbtq sisters and brothers. It is also a way to create safe space for those in our midst who are continually denied both a place at the table (and in the exhibit hall) and the support even the 1983 Human Sexuality paper instructs the church to offer.
When we wear rainbow colors…
- those who support lgbtq people are no longer invisible.
- the presence of lgbtq persons and those who love them in our Church can no longer be denied
- and, most importantly, for the first time, our lgbtq sisters and brothers can SEE the many welcoming faces that support them in the Church.
This powerful witness has been taken up by people of all ages and made a fundamental difference in how many people experience Conference. It has also put real faces on the many church members who welcome and support lgbtq persons in the church.
After a very difficult year at Annual Conference in 2011, we were surprised and gratified to witness two major decisions in support of lgbtq persons in the church. First, for the first time in the over 20 years that they have been applying, BMC has been approved for a booth in the Exhibit Hall at the 2012 Annual Conference! Second, BMC has been accepted as a placement site for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), which means that BMC volunteers will no longer have to go through the volunteer programs of other denominations to serve with BMC! We are so thankful for those who have made these decisions and offer our gratitude and continuing support. We also honor all those who have struggled over the years, remaining steadfast and persistent in the face of injustice and holding the future open for these decisions and make them possible. And we have so much more work to do!
It is more important than ever that we stand up and show our welcoming and supportive rainbow colors and create safe spaces, however small, for lgbtq persons and allies within the larger Conference body. God calls us to this witness of inclusion and support and we need your help to respond!
We need YOU to keep knitting and crocheting those rainbow scarves, hats, ties, beanies, nametag strings, pins, crosses, etc., for this summer’s Annual Conference. These scarves/handcrafts will be given free to conference-goers wanting to wear them in support of lgbtq persons in the church.
The scarves are simple to make and would be a great way to introduce others to knitting and crocheting. Both knitting and crocheting instructions for making the scarves and getting them to Annual Conference are posted on our website. If you, your church, or your knitting/crocheting group will make scarves/handcrafts, please drop us an email and let us know! Our goal is to offer a scarf/handcraft to anyone who wants one.
This means that:
- If you still have your rainbow scarf/handcraft from prior Conferences, please bring it to Conference this summer and wear it!
- There will be lots of folks who have not yet gotten their a rainbow scarf/handcraft or forget theirs at home, meaning we need hundreds MORE rainbow handcrafts made by June and either brought to Conference or mailed in (address to come).
Together, we can keep on making a difference and helping God create the Church as it is meant to be — a place where all are welcomed, included, supported, empowered, celebrated, and made whole!