within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)!
|GLAD Alliance Announces New Executive Director of the Open & Affirming Ministry Program
The GLAD Alliance Council is excited to announce the creation of a new position, Executive Director of the Open & Affirming Ministry Program, and is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Mark C. Johnston has accepted the call to this position.
Dr. Johnston will work under the direction of the GLAD Council and alongside GLAD's Open & Affirming Ministry Team to build a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that welcomes persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations to the table of Christ’s communion and to the full life and leadership of the Christian Church.
"Having an Executive Director enables the Open & Affirming Ministry Program to do so much more,” said Rev. Derek Penwell, Open & Affirming Ministry Team Leader and Alliance Council member. “We can provide congregations guidance and nurture, we can develop resources, and we can fulfill the Mission of the Open & Affirming Ministry Program: Setting a place at the table for persons of all gender expressions and sexual orientations."
"This is an exciting opportunity for the O&A Ministry program," says Karen Barr, Moderator of the GLAD Alliance. "Mark has worked with GLAD and the O&A Ministry Program for many years and in many ways. There's no one more qualified and more committed to do this work in the Christian Church."
Dr. Johnston, a psychologist in private practice, has been a member of GLAD for almost 25 years. He has served the church and the Open & Affirming Ministry Program in a variety of ways: on the first O&A Ministry Program Steering Committee, as the Moderator of the Alliance Council when the O&A Ministry Team was formed, and with the steering committee which created the materials for the Disciples discernment process on the place of lesbian and gay Christians in the church. He currently serves on the Commission on the Ministry for the New England District of the Northeastern Region, and has served on the Northeastern Regional Board and the General Board of the Christian Church.
"I'm very grateful for this opportunity," said Dr. Johnston. "The Christian Church is at a crossroads today. We have been discerning for well over a decade, and now there's a resolution before the General Assembly this coming July calling the church to become a people of grace and welcome to all. I very much believe in that 'all' - I believe in a God who loves everyone everywhere always. I am excited to be able to commit myself full time to this ministry."
Dr. Johnston explains his passion for the Mission of the O&A Ministry Program and points out that LGBT persons are still discriminated against in society and in the church. "In my practice as a psychologist I have met many people whose lives have been scarred because of discrimination against LGBT persons; and those are the lucky ones: I never again want to hear about a young person who attempts suicide because she or he didn't know that there's a God and a church who loves and accepts them."
"This is a real moment of faith for me," says Dr. Johnston as he points out that he's leaving behind a successful psychotherapy practice for a position that is not yet fully funded. He has accepted the call at a reduced salary until GLAD can raise the contributions to fund this position. Dr. Johnston continues "I am confident that the members and supporters of the Alliance will step up and contribute to this important ministry."
Rev. Penwell invites all to support this ministry by making monthly contributions via the GLAD website and by working with their congregations to support GLAD and the Open & Affirming Ministry Program.
Contributions can be made via PayPal on GLAD's contribution page.
Suggestions for working with your congregation to support GLAD and the O&A Executive Director position can be found here.
Checks can be mailed to
P.O. Box 44400
Indianapolis, IN 46244
Download a PDF of this press release to share with your congregations.
Contact Mark Johnston: firstname.lastname@example.org
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