The Sabbath morning program opened with music from a local Christian folk group. Before the panel, conference organizer Nick Miller interviewed Inge Anderson, a retired school teacher.
She got involved in ministry to gays in the classroom, where one of her students was persecuted for being gay. But she became involved in ministry to Adventist homosexuals in the late 90s after conversing with some and listening to their stories on SDAnet. After two gay friends came out to her, she felt called to minister to homosexuals. Her first website was called GLOW--God's Love Our Witness--now known as GLADventist.
Inge says that GLADventist's Yahoo group is where the real work goes on. It functions on the principles of body theology, where the members bear one another's burdens. Her philosophy of support comes from her involvement with the SDA Kinship mailing list, where she learned how to express a welcoming and caring attitude towards homosexuals. She defends SDA Kinship as a good organization that has saved a lot of people from committing suicide, but she believes they haven't gone far enough in teaching the people the freedom they can have in Christ.
Inge shared several stories of lesbian and transsexual women who were helped through her ministry. She says that she is definitely not running a change ministry. Her focus is on helping people improve their relationship with Christ, and she regards any changes in orientation that might come as a side benefit.
Inge's message to the conference is that we should accept and love people where they are. She also believes that it is important for the church to distinguish between the sinful nature and sin itself. She elaborated that a homosexual orientation is part of the sinful nature, and should not be understood as sexual sin.
Disclaimer: I have summarized the views of the presenters to the best of my ability, however my summary should not be conflated with their actual views. For this reason, any attempt to debate the presenters views in the comments section will be deleted. Comments that seek clarification are welcome.
Blogging the Homosexuality Conference (other posts)