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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Panel encourages dialogue on religion, GLBT issues

Through a question-and-answer panel discussion on GLBT issues, United Campus Ministry, in collaboration with Treehouse Lutheran and Canterbury House Episcopal Student Center hopes to share a clerical perspective on the matter.
The panel will consist of two campus ministers from Treehouse and the Canterbury House as well as one pastor from the Friends Congregational Church.
According to the United Campus Ministry, the event, which will include a meal catered by Fuego, is funded by the Lynn Johnson Social Justice Grant, a grant from a regional church body designated to be used for developing peace and justice ministries within the region.
Rev. Dan DeLeon, panelist and pastor at the Friends Congregational Church, said the event is a matter of givingcollege students a safe environment where they can ask important questions pertaining to their faith without being chastised or judged for their curiosities.
“What I hope will come of the event is that students will be have the opportunity to enrich their faith by exploring this topic that is needlessly taboo and often toxic in Christianity while meeting new people and enjoying free food,” DeLeon said. “This kind of event doesn’t happen every day. It has the potential to transform people’s perspectives to be more inclusive and loving toward all of God’s people, and I hope that it accomplishes just that.”
Rev. Matthew Wise, panelist and Canterbury House Episcopal Student Center campus minister, said the three student groups are coming together in hopes of deepening the dialogue on how to become the more fully welcoming communities the three organizations believe God is calling the church to be.
“Historically, these issues have at times divided and fractured the Body of Christ, but they can also create a sacred space in which the Holy Spirit can open us up to the radical nature of the Love of God,” Wise said. “This is also an opportunity for our three groups to come together in fellowship and meaningful conversation, to get to know one another better and perhaps will open some doors for future ministries together in Aggieland.”
Rev. Ted Foote, panel moderator and First Presbyterian Church pastor, said the event provides an opportunity to work towards the United Campus Ministry’s goal of discipleship and outreach following Jesus Christ.
“One aspect of that discipleship and outreach is caring for every person regardless of background or circumstance,” Foote said. “That means, of course, that ‘we’re all included.’ So, since enhanced understanding is crucial to building healthy communities of God’s people, we find ourselves with an opportunity to enhance that understanding with a group effort like this one.”
Katherine Higgins, freshman English major, said she thinks the discussion will be a sincere one.
“I think that any potentially offensive dialogue will come from the audience rather than from the invited speakers, not because the audience is mean, but because a lot of students haven’t really been exposed to LGBT people of faith, and they see the two identities as mutually exclusive,” Higgins said.
The panel will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Treehouse Student Center.

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