Other Sheep Europe 2013 Annual Report

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COPENHAGEN, DENMARK. K. RENATO LINGS. DECEMBER 6, 2013.

K. Renato Lings

K. Renato Lings

A. HIGHLIGHTS

Madrid, Spain, April 20
Gave a talk to a Spanish audience of approximately 110 people. Title (English translation): “The Strange Repression of Same-Sex Love: Why Do Bible Translators Get It Wrong?”

Switzerland, May 10–11
Attended the annual meeting of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups, held this year in Switzerland. Offered two workshops to a total of 30 people. Title: “Love Lost and Found: Translating Homoeroticism in the Bible”. Distributed bookmarks with a reference to Other Sheep.

5175eWgNc6L._SY300_[1]June 10
Received the first printed copy of my latest book (at right) entitled Love Lost in Translation: Homosexuality and the Bible. 

Birmingham, England, Late June–Early July
In Birmingham, England, for a weeklong research seminar organized by Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. Gave a paper and had an official book launch, both of which were attended by approximately 35 persons. Nicola Slee, OS advisory board member, attended my paper and offered helpful comments. Distributed bookmarks.

Scotland, July 7—11
Attended the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature held at the University of Saint Andrew’s, Scotland. Gave a paper on “Changing Approaches to Sodom and Gomorrah”.

August & September
Planned a tour of the east coast of the United States to promote Love Lost in Translation among welcoming, affirming churches, LGBT faith organizations, and academic institutions with affirming gender/sexuality programs.

East Cost of the United States, October 17–December 1
My book tour began in New York and took me to the following places (in chronological order): Manhattan, NY; Cambridge, MA; Boston, MA; Northampton, MA; Highland Park, NJ; Princeton, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Fallsington, PA; Washington, DC; Manhattan, NY, and New Rochelle, NY.

Lings signing books

Lings signing books

During 40 days I gave twelve presentations to a number of congregations and church groups, including Friends Meetings (Quakers), Lutherans (ELCA), Episcopalians, Metropolitan Community Church, United Methodists, and Catholics (Dignity). At the Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ) I delivered a lunchtime lecture to approximately 50 students. In Philadelphia, I presented my book and signed copies at Giovanni’s Room, one of the few remaining LGBT bookstores in eastern USA.

In the academic sphere, I had fruitful interviews with Patrick S. Cheng (Episcopal Divinity School, Boston), Ben Dunnings (Fordham University, NY), and Brian Rainey (Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ).

In Philadelphia, I had an interview with two Lutheran pastors. Thanks to Philip Moeller (Reconciling Works), I met Lutheran (ELCA) bishop Richard Graham in Washington, DC. Another connection was with Sharon Groves, of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (DC). In New York, I had lunch with Luciano Kovacs, of the World Student Christian Federation (NY).

B. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

For spreading the news of my book tour I received invaluable support from Steve Parelli, executive director of Other Sheep, and his husband José Ortiz. Several Quakers were active in making very helpful contacts. In Washington, DC, I am particularly indebted to Philip W. Moeller (Reconciling Works) and José Luis Sánchez (Dignity).

 

Nicola Slee (member of Other Sheep Advisory Board), left, with Renato Lings. SBL Conference, Baltimore, MD, November 2013

Nicola Slee (member of Other Sheep Advisory Board), left, with Renato Lings. SBL Conference, Baltimore, MD, November 2013

C. EVENTS IN BALTIMORE

At the annual meetings of AAR and SBL in Baltimore, I had the pleasure to reconnect with, among others, Tom Hanks, Steve Parelli, José Ortiz, Tom Bohache, Patrick Cheng, and Nicola Slee (based in the UK, member of the OS advisory board for Europe).

D. EUROPE O.S. BOARD OF ADVISERS

In 2013, the Rev. Kerstin Soederblom (Germany) joined the OS Board of Advisers for Europe. For a number of years she has been actively involved with the European Forum of LGTB Christian Groups, including consultations with the World Council of Churches. Kerstin attended the recent assembly of the WCC in Busan, Republic of Korea, as part of a five-person delegation representing the European Forum.

E. SIGNIFICANT GRANT FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NETHERLANDS

In November, very encouraging news came from the Netherlands. The Dutch government has granted the European Forum a sizeable amount of money for the purpose of employing a full-time project manager for at least one year. Among seven applicants, Florin Buhuceanu, a well-known human rights activist from Romania, has been selected for the job. Given the huge challenges facing LGBT Christians in eastern Europe and in view of the need for strengthening ties with the World Council of Churches, this is indeed a blessing for the Forum (and for LGBT believers in general). Starting January 2014, Florin will be based in Amsterdam.

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