top of page

WEEK OF ACTION PUBLIC RESOURCE PACKET

What do we mean by Week of Action?

 

As we discern our individual paths translating our convictions into active practice, we are also aware of the potential impact of our collective voice. In community our ideals are honed and sharpened. In community our very human need for partnership is given room to be nurtured and to find joy and fruit through our common goals, hopes and practices. Through the synergy of community our work toward affirmation and inclusion is amplified. This resource packet is provided to help us engage in the life-giving practice of community. Amplify your affirming voice through this week of communal action. 

 

We have been in communication with many people in the Church of God who are concerned, dispirited, frustrated, or just have questions about Indiana Ministries’ decision to investigate ordained clergy in Indiana who have signed the CHOGAffirm statement. 

 

For more background on what’s going on in Indiana, see this news article and our statement of response:

17 LGBTQ-affirming ministers face church investigations for signing belief statement | RNS 

 

CHOGAffirm Statement in Response to Indiana Ministries Investigations 2 April, 2024 


Why I Left the Church of God Ministry | Joe Allison

 

We want to help individuals and communities process these events in spiritually healthy and relationally mature ways. To that end we offer the following guidance for a suggested  Week of Action on Sunday, April 14 - Saturday, April 20. For each day, we have recommendations for possible actions concerned individuals might take to educate themselves as well as communicate their concern for what Indiana Ministries’ posture is communicating to the Church of God, the church more broadly, the watching world, and especially the LGBTQ+ community. 

 

None of these recommendations are intended to be prescriptive, and any group or individual is free to participate in only certain days’ recommended actions, as well as to take what speaks to them, modify it, and make it their own.

 

At the same time, we intend and expect that all who do participate do so in the spirit of Christian love we have attempted to embody throughout this process. While we disagree strenuously with the actions of Indiana Ministries, we understand that everyone involved is following their conscience, which is precisely what we argue should be permitted to all believers in the Church of God movement. We do not desire to intimidate, pile on or inconvenience Indiana Ministries leadership with these actions. We do hope to foster positive, informative communication in both directions. 

Daily Actions

Sunday, April 14

Prayer, on this day, we ask you to pray for all those involved in this dispute.

Pray for national, state, and local leaders who are faced with difficult decisions. Pray for their wisdom and discernment. Many pastors at both Church of God Ministries national offices and local congregations in Indiana will have concerns about the unfolding of this situation but do not feel empowered to directly involve themselves. Pray for their peace of mind and the wisdom to engage in this conversation in appropriate ways.

Pray for the credentialed ministers who face the revocation of their ordination. For many of them, this possibility entails economic hardship as well as possible vocational changes. Pray for their wisdom, discernment, courage, and peace of mind as they face a stressful process with an uncertain outcome.

 

Pray for the Church of God as a movement. Many in the movement are afraid this conversation may lead to permanent cleavages, or fear that one side or the other will be victorious in an ultimate sense, changing the very fabric of the movement in a way they could not continue to abide with. Pray for unity, pray for dialogue, pray for the Spirit to move in church services and agency offices and meeting rooms. Pray that through nuanced and intelligent handling of this issue, the Church of God could provide a witness to a way of being the church that has eluded denominational churches. 

 

Pray for the LGTBQ+ community, for whom many of these actions have opened or reopened painful wounds. Pray that the Church of God may become a place of welcome, comfort, and healing for the gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people in its communities and churches, and that no person will feel shame or estrangement from God due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

You may also wish to engage with some prayers offered by writers from the CHOGAffirm team:

 

 

Monday, April 15

Contact Church of God Ministries offices with your concerns. 

 

You may send your email to the staff at CHOG Min through this link by filling out the form found at the bottom of the staff page. In addition to expressing your own concerns, you may wish to say a few words about your relationship to the movement. Are you a Church of God parishioner? Have you served in congregations, Church of God agencies, or task forces? Have you attended or voted at the General Assembly? Are you a pastor or on staff at a church? 

TUESday, April 16

Post your concerns through your social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc). 

 

You may want to post links to the RNS story or our statement above to give context to your statements, but we also recommend giving voice to your concerns in your own words. Some thoughts to consider: What are you concerned will happen as a result of Indiana Ministries’ actions? What do you hope we can avoid? What positive outcome would you like to see instead?

WEDNESday, April 17

Contact Indiana Ministries Board of Directors members with your concerns.

 

You may contact each member individually by clicking on each name and submitting a message through this website: Boards and Committees - Indiana Ministries. In addition to expressing your concerns, you may want to explain your connection to Indiana Ministries. Do you attend a congregation in Indiana? Are you on a state board? Are you a pastor in another state who is concerned about the impact that Indiana’s decisions may have in your own ministry context? 

THURSday, April 18

Communicate with your pastor.

 

On this day, we encourage you to express your concerns to the pastoral staff of your regularly attended church. Does your pastor know about the situation? Even if they don’t agree with CHOGAffirm theologically, communicate concerns they may share over the tactics and posture that Indiana Ministries has displayed in response to CHOGAffirm. 

FRIday, April 19

Offer words of encouragement and engage LGBTQ+ voices and affirming perspectives. 

 

Many of you know one or more individuals being investigated by Indiana Ministries. Consider sending a word of encouragement to these individuals. Consider engaging with material produced by the LGBTQ+ community, writings or recorded material about LGBTQ+ affirmation, or reaching out with a note of support to LGBTQ+ people in your own life. 

 

Possibilities for readings include

 

SATURday, April 20

Reflect and refresh. 

 

Inclusion work takes significant emotional and cognitive investment. A regular practice of stepping back from the center of that work can bring renewal of purpose and provide a refreshed perspective. Acknowledging our limits as human beings is an essential act of humility for longevity in allyship. 

 

Create space today for reflection and listening, for rest and refreshment. Set aside at least thirty minutes for one or a combination of reflective practices. Some may want to set aside more time. One way to do this might be to create space for one hour of reflection or action toward refreshment then split this time into three twenty minute segments; morning, afternoon and evening. Be creative with this time tailoring it to the rhythm of your day. Find some possibilities for aids in this process below. Feel free to incorporate your own habits that you have found bring renewal and opening to the Spirit’s prompts. 

 

Suggested Meditation and Refreshment Prompts

 

  • Consider setting aside technology or even one kind of technology for the day. Pay attention to the nuances of your routines without the demands of media and technology driven intrusions. Consider natural interruptions as paths to self awareness and growth. Lean into gaps and spaces of time to just be.

 

  • Using the practice of lectio divina, read Philippians 4:4-9. Read the passage four times, each time with a different emphasis: 1) Read, holding back any analytical impulse. 2) Read a second time then Reflect and notice any nudge of the Spirit toward a word or phrase that may speak to you in particular. 3) Read a third time and Respond by writing your thoughts or journaling in response to impressions brought to mind as you’ve engaged the text. 4) Read a final time then Rest in the truth of the text, lifting the thoughts and words that have been especially present in the reading. Offer gratitude for the opening of scripture in a fresh way.

 

  • Other passages that you may want to use with the lectio divina practice: Psalm 42, Psalm 23 (The Message), Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24, Matthew 5:1-14, Matthew 5:27-36, Luke 12:22-34, John 17, Ephesians 4:1-6

 

  • Walk, just walk, outside if possible. Set yesterday aside. Capture thoughts of the future for another moment. Be present to the walk. Be present to the feel of your body moving, the sense of the earth or pavement beneath your feet. Notice the feel of the air. Is there a breeze? Is the sun offering warmth? Or, is there a chill? Listen to the sounds, of quiet, of still, of others working, playing or talking along your path, of wildlife scurrying or chirping. Offer a word or phrase of thanks for the moment. Listen. Notice, Be present. Walk. Give thanks. 

 

  • Take time to do some square breathing. Sit in a comfortable position, feet planted on the floor, arms relaxed at your sides, hands open to the ceiling or sky. Breathe in counting to four. Hold for four. Release your breath counting to four. Hold for four. Repeat the square four times. Allow the breathing in and out to reframe your posture toward your day. 

 

  • Another option for use as you engage in square breathing is to include a phrase as you breathe in and a complementary phrase as you breathe out. Some examples: Breathe in, “I take in the breath of life.” Breathe out, “I release my breath into nature’s beauty.” Or: Breathe in, “Create in me a clean heart oh God.” Breathe out, “Renew a right spirit within me.” Or: Breathe in, “O love that will not let me go.” Breathe out, “I rest my weary soul in you.” 

 

  • Dance! Put on your favorite, can’t-help-yourself-but-move song (you know the one), bump up the volume and let it go. Dance!

 

  • Take time for gratitude. Create an expression of thanksgiving through journaling, spoken word, poetry or other art form. 

bottom of page