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Faith forum

Audio from the faith forum. The discussion was facilitated by Maggie Shippam and featured Christoph Hackenburg, Torranice Campel, Peter Williams, Jessica-Rose Hopkins and Brittany Hobcraft.

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The recorded event hosted at Tapu te Ranga Marae in Wellington encompasses a faith forum discussion as part of the Shift hui (2016). The conversation was skillfully facilitated by Maggie Shippam and involved Brittany Hobcraft, Christoph Hackenberg, Jessica-Rose Hopkins, Peter Williams, and Torranice Campel. The participants' experiences provided rich insights into the intersectionality of faith, sexuality, genders, and sexual identities, bathing light on the complexities individuals face within religious institutions and communities.

Spanning over an hour, the dialogue revealed personal anecdotes and perspectives on the influence of faith in the lives of the speakers. The participants shared their individual journeys, highlighting the challenges of aligning their faith with their sexuality and gender identity. For some, growing up in a religious setting provided a sense of identity and community, yet, over time, the conflict between personal beliefs and the church’s stance on sexuality led to feelings of alienation and ultimately a departure from the church. Others discussed their ongoing relationship with faith and how despite discrimination and challenges within religious circles, they found solace and reconnection in more inclusive and accepting congregations.

Participatory narratives painted a portrait of individuals striving to live authentically within their faith, navigating the fine balance between their religion and personal identity. Some narratives underscored the significance of faith in providing moral grounding, community, and spiritual fulfillment, while also underscoring the ongoing struggle and need for greater inclusivity and acceptance of diverse identities within religious communities.

During the discussion, questions were posed regarding public perceptions of faith in queer spaces. Vulnerabilities were expressed about the fear of judgment or not being open about faith within the LGBTQ+ community due to negative past experiences with religious institutions. Dialogue centered on the difficulties and stigmatization faced when reconciling faith with LGBTQ+ identity both in religious and queer spaces.

Several suggestions were made for making queer community spaces more inclusive, emphasizing normalizing conversations around faith, fostering understanding, creating safe, respectful environments, and avoiding stereotypes. An important aspect of the conversation revolved around the personification of God and the impact of language in framing divine entities within specific gender constructs.

Participants emphasized personal resilience, the support from understanding family members, and the importance of surrounding oneself with nurturing spaces and communities. They encouraged those grappling with their faith and identity to embrace their journey, find personal peace, and seek environments that honor both their spirituality and their individual truth.

In conclusion, the forum served as a powerful vehicle for sharing experiences and fostering understanding of the nuanced relationships between faith and identity in the LGBTQ+ context. It underscored the ongoing need for dialogue, compassion, and advocacy for inclusion within religious settings and society at large. The recording concludes with an acknowledgment of the need for continued discourse on faith diversity, encouragement to seek support as needed, and the hope that future gatherings may offer a broader representation of faith perspectives.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:24th April 2016
Location:Tapu te Ranga Marae, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004448).