Walking Between Worlds: A Groundbreaking Seminar Empowering LGBTQ People of Faith & Feedback

Anthony Venn-Brown OAM presenting 'Walking Between Worlds'

The Universal Church of Love Inc. recently hosted a groundbreaking seminar titled "Walking Between Worlds," presented by Anthony Venn-Brown OAM, targeting professionals who work closely with LGBTQ individuals. This event aimed to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ people of faith and equip community workers and service providers with the necessary knowledge and tools to better assist their clients. With a remarkable turnout and positive feedback, it's clear that the seminar made a significant impact on the attendees. Let's delve into the highlights of this insightful event.

Understanding the Challenges:

LGBTQ individuals who hold religious beliefs often find themselves caught between two contrasting worlds. Their journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and finding their place in the community is fraught with additional intensity and unique issues. Research has shown that LGBTQ individuals from faith backgrounds are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Recognizing these struggles is crucial for community workers to foster healing, support, and empowerment.

Creating Safe and Non-judgmental Spaces:

Specialized training plays a pivotal role in enhancing the effectiveness of professionals working with LGBTQ people of faith. The seminar emphasized the importance of understanding their background, worldview, belief systems, and specific mental health issues. This understanding allows professionals to create safe and non-judgmental spaces where individuals can authentically express themselves and seek assistance. By bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds, the seminar encouraged a rich learning environment where attendees could share experiences and expertise.

Learning Outcomes and Takeaways:

Throughout the training program, participants achieved several learning outcomes that will enable them to better support LGBTQ people of faith. These outcomes included gaining an in-depth understanding of the complexities of faith and sexuality conflicts, learning strategies to address belief systems, sexual identity, and scriptural teachings, creating safe spaces for LGBTQ people of faith, identifying specific issues faced by this community, understanding best practices when working with them, exploring additional support mechanisms, and comprehending the impact of the "Closet hokey pokey."

Feedback and Positive Impact:

Below you’ll read some wonderful feedback from participants. Contact us if you are interested in hosting a #WalkingBetweenWorlds seminar. Click here info@abbi.org.au.

"The seminar reinforced that there is such a need for change in churches. The damage churches can inflict on the wider LGBTQ community because of the outdated beliefs is enormous. The chart about the evolution of conversion "therapy" over the decades was helpful. Anthony was vibrant, interesting and honest and created a comfortable space for us to participate. He also has a great sense of humour. 10/10"

Walking Between Worlds validated and vindicated things I was feeling. The practical steps of how to help someone and the different ways that people might need to process these emotions was particularly helpful.
Tamara Jackson

 "The diversity continuum Anthony used helped me understand myself and others in response to LGBTQ issues and other social justice issues. I felt comfortable and at ease as a learner to ask questions and participate. Anthony was warn, honest, engaging and gracious. The seminar content was great. 10/10"
Cassie Love - School Chaplain and teacher

"The pain and mental health issues presented are extreme and very concerning. The space of "lostness" and confusion is unique for LGBTQ people of faith and PTSD is very real. The process of coping for some is long, protracted and needs understanding. Learning about the faith resolution options was very useful. I was reminded of the need to create a safe space for people to revaluate and explore - no compulsion. The seminar gave me so much I had never thought of at all and was pitched for both novices and the experienced. The conversion "therapy" history was very helpful. Anthony was honest, affirming, inclusive, gracious, wise, and made a difficult topic very safe. I left hopeful and wanting to advance the process of love, advocacy and fellowship. 10/10"
Bruce Flemming - Religious Education teacher

"The most helpful thing to me was the belief resolution process Anthony shared, and the stories of those who've contacted him he shared was very moving. 10/10"
Emma Leitch PhD student (theology) ACU

"The seminar gave me an understanding of the Christian perspective to improve my capacity to empathise and connect with my counselling clients. The history of conversion "therapy" was enlightening. The content covered everything and was more than I expected and the seminar flowed well. 10/10" 
Peta McCullagh - Counselling student - University of Southern Queensland. 

"I walked away with an understanding that resolution of faith and sexuality is more complicated than I previously imagined. I also learnt that the LGBTQ community is very diverse. After the day, I feel more equipped to help LGBTQ people along their journey. Thank you. I had a great day. 10/10"

Editors Note: Take a look at the subsequent story titled "Success of the Gold Coast Walking Between Worlds Seminar" published on the ABBI website on July 12th, 2023.

Walking Between Worlds: A Groundbreaking Seminar Empowering LGBTQ People of Faith & Feedback Walking Between Worlds: A Groundbreaking Seminar Empowering LGBTQ People of Faith & Feedback Reviewed by Shane St Reynolds on July 02, 2023 Rating: 5

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