Tag: beyond horizons

“Coming Out” Monologues: Listen to the Sacred Stories of the LGBTQIA+ Community

“Coming Out” Monologues: Listen to the Sacred Stories of the LGBTQIA+ Community

Submitted by Sean Langdon, Rocky Mountain Mission Center President

A few years ago, my friend Dylan and I attended an event called the “Coming Out” Monologues in Portland, OR. It was an evening of celebration, vulnerability, and courage. Six individuals shared deeply and authentically their Coming Out stories with those gathered. There were tears, there was laughter, and there was a strong sense of safe space and supportive community. Various sexual orientations and gender identities were represented that night. A mother of a trans child even shared from their perspective as an ally and then the child bravely shared with the audience. As Dylan and I continued to reflect on that experience, we knew that we wanted to create a similar experience for a Community of Christ audience. So, during the Pride month that follower, we hosted Chapter 1 of the Community of Christ “Coming Out” Monologues in June 2021. We are now preparing for Chapters 6 and 7 to take place in the remainder of 2023.

We invite all to join on Zoom and listen with open hearts, ears, and minds to the sacred stories of those within the LGBTQIA+ community as well as those who journey with them. To help preserve the sacred practice of listening, the chat feature is turned off until the end of the event. In respect for the vulnerability of the stories shared, we do not record the monologues. We invite folks to join and be fully present to what is unfolding in the lives of our storytellers. These are stories from our journey, past and current, with hope shared for the journey forward.

Our next two “Coming Out” Monologues will be:

  • Friday, June 30: “The Story of Who I Am: Authentic Stories of Truth and Hope”. Help us close Pride month on a high note by listening to the stories shared during Chapter 6 of the monologues.
  • Wednesday, October 11: Join us on National Coming Out Day for Chapter 7 of the monologues.

Storytellers for both Chapters will be shared as we get closer to their respective events.

If you are in the LGBTQIA+ community and associated with Community of Christ and are interested in sharing your story during a future monologue, please contact Sean Langdon (slangdon@cofchrist.org).

These 2-hour events will begin at the following times: 6:30p PT / 7:30p Mt / 8:30p CT / 9:30P ET.

How to connect to the “Coming Out” monologues:

Join us by using the following Zoom Link:

Alternatively, to join by phone and listen in, use this number: 1-253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 851 8667 0433
Passcode: 942012

The Community of Christ “Coming Out” Monologues is co-sponsored by Beyond Horizons and Harmony. Beyond Horizons is a New Expression of Community focused on relational ministry for the LGBTQIA+ and Allies Community in the Greater Pacific Northwest USA Mission Center. Harmony is a non-profit organization that provides advocacy, education, and resources for Queer voices in Community of Christ with a shared vision of full participation.

Club Q and Safe Space: Reflections from a Queer Minister

Club Q and Safe Space: Reflections from a Queer Minister

By Sean Langdon

“…I’m so sorry to learn of the Colorado Springs shooting. There are just no words anymore…”

This was the text I received on Sunday Morning from our Mission Center President Kim Naten. You see, I was at the Beyond Horizons Retreat at Lewis River Campground where cell reception is spotty. So, I had not yet heard the news about the mass shooting at Club Q, a queer nightclub, in Colorado Springs. This was another targeted attack on the LGBTQIA+ community and furthermore, it took place on the weekend preceding Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20). On this day, we “honor the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.” (https://www.glaad.org/tdor) This attack happened in what should have been a safe space for the community.

Let’s back up for a moment though. This past weekend, 18 of us gathered for our inaugural Beyond Horizons Retreat. This retreat had been delayed three times already due to COVID-19. While present together at the retreat we lived the theme of “Chosen Family: A Place at the Table” through storytelling, laughter, and moments of blessing. We decorated pride cookies and shared in a Friendsgiving meal together. Then just before our closing Communion Service, I received the news about the mass shooting.

Beyond Horizons 2022 Retreat Group Photo

The Beyond Horizons Retreat was a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community as well as the allies who journey alongside us. It was an example of what our sanctuaries should be, both the physical sanctuaries in our congregation buildings as well as the sanctuary that is created through mutual respecting relationships. Those who attended were free to be themselves and express that in the way that was natural and authentic for them. What a gift that was and could continue to be.

In times like this, I am reminded of the need for our congregations and new expressions of community to continue the work towards being open and affirming welcoming communities. It is not enough to just be “nice and kind” people anymore. We must continue the work to look within and confront our biases and allow the Holy Spirit to shape us as we live into new ways of going beyond the horizon to which we are sent. And while this work is important for us to do for all marginalized communities, the LGBTQIA+ community has been specifically targeted by those claiming to represent Christ.

Currently, Salem and Crystal Springs Congregations are the only congregations who have done the work with Harmony to become an official Welcoming & Affirming Congregation in our mission center. Harmony is the non-profit organization that, “provides advocacy, education, and resources for Queer voices in Community of Christ with a shared vision of full participation.” To learn more about their “Welcoming & Affirming Congregation” program, click here: https://www.harmony.lgbt/waprogram.html. I encourage your community to consider participating in this program.

There have been many times over the past few days that I have found myself in tears. Knowing that you are part of a community targeted by others, is an exhausting place to be in. Knowing that some want you dead just because of who you are, is an exhausting place to be in. And, if I’m being honest, being a full-time minister in a religion that is expressed in ways that fuels murderers to commit their heinous acts, is an exhausting place to be in.

I am grateful to have been raised in, serve in, and be a member of, a denomination that I believe does not express Christianity in that way, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t still have a lot of work to do. I invite… no, I plead… to our members, friends, congregations, and new expressions of community to explore ways that ensure that our communities are safe spaces for all marginalized communities. And to not only provide safe space but to also actively participate in helping transform our schools, places of employment, and neighborhoods into being more welcoming and inclusive as well. Some of our lives depend on it. The lives of people you love depend on it. Maybe even more so than you realize. If you need a face to put to this reality, use mine.

We cannot continue to sing “For everyone born, a place at the table.” or “may our hearts and minds be opened, fling the church doors open wide. May there be room enough for everyone inside. For in God there is a welcome, in God we all belong. May that welcome be our song.” unless we are willing to do the work to make these hymns a reality in our Community of Christ spaces. We have come far. Let’s continue going the distance.

A note from Sean: I know that reading the word “queer” in a positive way might be new for some as it is a term that historically has been used to oppress those in the LGBTQIA+ community. Even I have struggled with claiming this term for myself. To do so, is new for me. I think this note from Harmony might be helpful: “The term Queer is being reclaimed by some who identify as LGBTQ+ and is used as an umbrella term for the LGBTQ+ community.  We use the phrase “Queer voices” to describe all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI), who have the courage to use their voice to speak for justice for the marginalized in the Queer community.​”

Rezoomion 2021

Rezoomion 2021


We will be having our online Rezoomion experience from Tuesday Evening, July 13 – Sunday Morning, July 18. Through classes, chats, worships, and more, we’ll be guided by the theme of “Claiming Our Prophetic Voice: Anointed to Respond” by exploring the application and implication of Luke 4:18-19 in our discipleship. Directors will be Sean Langdon (slangdon@cofchrist-gpnw.org) and Ashley Whitham (awhitham@cofchrist-gpnw.org).  

THIS JUST IN… We’re excited to share that the following people are already confirmed to provide ministry during Rezoomion 2021: Apostle Ron Harmon, Field Support Minister Richard Betts, Apostle Catherine Mambwe, Presiding Bishop/Counselor to the First Presidency Stassi Cramm, Presiding Evangelist Jane Gardner, North American Climate Justice Team, Beyond Horizons Team, Orphans Africa, and our GPNW USA MC Leadership Team. As more are confirmed, we’ll share them with you here!

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Cape Town, South Africa