We want to provide an update regarding Greenville United’s meeting on February 12th, 2016 with a subcommittee of the Greenville College Board of Trustees. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss “How can Greenville, a Free Methodist affiliated institution that takes a traditional view on marriage, best help gay and lesbian Greenville College students?”. A small group of Greenville United members were invited to offer suggestions to board members.
The board subcommittee has been reading through Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin, and they requested additional reading resources, which we are providing today. Among other suggestions, we have encouraged trustee members to allow for safe spaces for current students to go, in order that they might have a trusted person and space in which to talk about their sexuality.
While the College still holds to its “traditional” stance, we have been encouraged that through this process, they have intentionally reached out to us as a resource and welcomed us back. We also offered, and intend, to be a more regular resource for the College, especially as they approach Title IX legalities.
As a sign of good faith, and in an effort to support Greenville through the loss of the MAP grant, we are asking that members donate as they are able to the College. If you feel so led, you can enter “in honor of Greenville United” or “member of Greenville United” under the optional gift designation space.
Thank you for your continued support along this journey. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.
We’ve created a Facebook group! It is designed to be a safe space for dialogue among Greenville College folks who support our mission. As a closed group, you must request to join the group. Keep in mind that the public will be able see that you’re a member if you join. We will monitor activity to keep comments loving and productive. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/456959511125450/ Feel free to invite other allies!
On Friday, February 27th, Greenville United was asked to send representatives to meet with a subcommittee of the Greenville College Board of Trustees to discuss the language of the Lifestyle Statement. In our one hour meeting, we had the opportunity to discuss our concerns regarding what we knew at the time to be the draft the committee was evaluating. Our discussions included the difference between statements of belief versus action, the importance of distinguishing between gender identity and sexual orientation, the recognition of people born intersex, harassment of current and previous LGBTQ students, and more. We are very grateful for the board’s invitation to speak with them, and we hope to see positive change moving forward. We reiterated at that meeting that we would like to stay in dialogue and we are preparing a message that includes other ideas and factors that we were not able to discuss in our one hour meeting. If you are reading this message, we’d like to thank you for your support and ask you to continue contacting the College as it concerns this statement. We can do more when we are united.
This is a copy of the previous draft:
FREEDOM OF PURITY. We believe certain sexual behaviors, conduct and practices, go against God’s design as articulated in Scripture, and from which a person in this community should naturally abstain. We believe God created male and female with gender at birth, that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that extramarital sex, premarital sex and homosexual intimacy are distortions of God’s created order. In all issues of purity, we have a corporate responsibility to be God’s agents of transformation to persons as they learn to live a Christian life that is wholesome and pure.
Here is the text of the revised, final draft released today by the Board of Trustees:
FREEDOM OF PURITY. The College, guided by the historic church’s understanding of sexuality and marriage as interpreted through Scripture and tradition, believes that God created male and female in God’s own image; that the gift of sex is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman; and members of our community should therefore abstain from premarital, extra marital and same-sex sexual relationships. We recognize that there are individuals who experience same-sex attraction, and/or self identify as LGBTQ in our community. Regardless of one’s perspective or tradition, we encourage all community members to engage one another with civility and respect. In all issues of purity, we have a corporate responsibility to be God’s agents of transformation as we learn to live a Christian life that is wholesome and pure. We commit to help all of our students thrive and find fullness in Christ within the context of our Wesleyan tradition.
Good morning Alumni & Former Students,
In less than 48 hours, we have collected over 300 signatures from those of you who share our concern about the proposed changes to the Lifestyle Statement. If you signed before this afternoon, you will be included in the hard copy of the letter that gets delivered to the Board; signatures will not be posted to this website. Please encourage people to keep signing, even after we send the first draft!
We know that our numbers do not yet reflect those whom we have been unable to reach. We have also received emails from many people, who share our affirmation of LGBTQ people, but who do not feel able to sign the letter because 1) some are not ready to take a stand publicly, 2) some are not alumni (students, former faculty and staff, etc), 3) some feel uncomfortable with the overtly Christian language in the letter. We are encouraging people to write letters or start conversations with members of the Greenville administration or board with whom you have relationships, because there is nothing more powerful than your personal story, and though this group letter does its best to try and incorporate a range of feelings and experiences, it’s near impossible to get everything in without writing a treatise.
Friends, please remember those individuals on campus today who may be struggling with these issues in isolation. It’s never easy, but especially when everyone around you is voicing heated opinions about you.
Thanks to all the folks who were courageous enough to sign!
To sign your name, follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/25NN756
To contact the folks who drafted the letter: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few years ago, we started a secret Facebook group for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and/or queer (LGBTQI) members of the Greenville College community. We are mostly alumni, but we welcome anyone with a connection to Greenville College. As of today, February 7th of 2015, we have 58 members. Our oldest alumni attended Greenville in the 1950s and we have a few folks who are recent graduates. While we are a diverse group, we all have at least two things in common:
1) we lived at Greenville College
2) we are minorities when it comes to gender identity and/or sexual orientation
It has been a great joy to connect with others and to realize that although many of us endured painful experiences, often in isolation, we are not alone in the journey! If you are/were a member of Greenville College community and you identify as LGBTQI, please consider joining us!
Whether you want to talk about your experiences in ex-gay therapy, process a courageous conversation you just had with your mom, discuss how to integrate your faith and sexuality, or vent about the time someone spit on your dorm room door or spray painted “faggot” on your car — we’re here to listen and encourage, and chances are good that at least some of us have been through something similar. You’re not alone!
Feel free to contact us at GreenvilleLGBTQ@gmail.com for more information.