A regional faith symposium on LGBTQ Inclusivity – Saturday, March 16, 2024


Tickets: $15 for adults, $5 for students
Admission includes lunch and all sessions.

The Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center hosts LOVE ONE ANOTHER, a half-day symposium designed to create a space where people from across eastern North Carolina can come together to explore, share, and listen. For many in the LGBTQ community, the quest for understanding and acceptance is often fraught with rejection and shame—often based in religious traditions. The symposium will take place in the Main Campus Student Center from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

Featured speakers include Rev. Micah C. Ma, Interim Minister, Unitarian Coastal Fellowship in Morehead City and Samuel R. Heath, Doctoral student in the Medical Family Therapy program at East Carolina University.

The theme of the 2024 symposium is “Share the Light.” In sharing the light, each one of us can become a beacon of hope – shining through the chaos of fear and misunderstanding to foster kindness and compassion.

Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for students (open to all students). Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (252) 328-4788. The public is invited to attend. If you are attending the symposium and are interested in childcare, contact


11:00 am          Registration and lunch

11:30 am          Welcome

11:40 am          Opening Keynote

Noon                Questions and Answers with audience

12:20 pm          Break

12:30 pm          Workshop Sessions #1

1:30 pm            Break

1:45 pm            Workshop Sessions #2

2:45                   Break

3:00 pm           Closing Keynote and Ceremony

4:00 pm            Final remarks


Comforting and Calming SpaceTrained professionals are available to speak with you should the need arise for private consultation.12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Creative Expression SpaceJuniper LaNunziata, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, GreenvilleJoin us in this space to create, play, and engage the holy that lives in our heartbeats and fingertips and deep breaths.12:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Widening the CircleRev. Todd Humphrey, Crystal Coast Unity, Atlantic Beach and Rev. Micah C. Ma, Interim Minister, Unitarian Coastal Fellowship, Morehead CityWhether you're a seasoned worship leader or new to the worship game, everyone has something to offer and something to learn at this workshop. We will explore ideas and opportunities to make worship more inclusive as a means of welcoming to EVERYONE, regardless of age, race, national origin, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or class.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Butches and Bull Daggers: Voices from a (Now Aging) GenerationRabbi Dawn Rose, PhD, Congregation Bayt ShalomAn embracing exploration of the lives, then and now, of some of the gender warriors of our turbulent gender history. They defied the boundaries and lived life as closely to their true selves as they could find a way. Who are they now? What have been their challenges, decisions and compromises--socially, economically and spiritually--as they age? What might they teach us? What might be their contributions and needs in relation to faith-based communities and spirituality movements?1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
A Place to Call Home: Finding an Affirming CongregationRev. Karen Jackson, First Presbyterian Church, GreenvilleThe quest for love and acceptance in places of worship can be exhausting and disheartening for many in the LGBTQ community. This session will explore this journey with people who have found safety, love, and respect in spiritual circles and supportive congregations.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Draw the Circle Wide: Queering the Music of Our FaithByron Aynes, Will Banks, Brad Collier, Morgan Lane, and Alida LeeHymns are a normative part of most religious communities. While much of the theology we have experienced in churches has been alienating to us as LGBTQ people and allies, the music of our services has often provided spaces for us to feel valued and supported. In this session, LGBTQ/ally musicians talk about the role church music has played in their own faith journeys. Join us to hear some of our favorite hymns as we explore the meanings these songs have had in our lives.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
God, Gender and FaithPaully Adams, Lauren Clark, and Beyonca MewbornAusten Hartke, author of Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians, has stated, “If there’s a mistake at all, it’s that we’ve created this understanding of gender that is so deeply limiting of God’s creation.” Panelists explore the intersections of sex, gender, and religion from the transgender perspective.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Growing Up and Coming OutJacob Giardina and Reagan Leandro, East Carolina UniversityIt is not uncommon—even today—for a young person to come to terms with their LGBTQ identity and feel forced to make a choice between their truth and the place of worship in which they grew up. In this session, the presenters—both ECU students—will share their experiences, their frustrations, and their hope for the future.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Queer Theology 101Rev. Ian McPherson, Minister of Social Justice and Students, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, RaleighThe Christian story is one of holy disruption and shattered binaries. In the person of Jesus, we see divisions between heaven/earth, divine/human, sacred/profane, foolishness/wisdom, and even life/death disrupted for the sake of a more just and loving world. Rejected and erased for far too long, the queerness embodied by the LGBTQIA+ community is not merely a gift to the church today. It is a much-needed reminder of who the church was called to be all along. It shatters the binaries that separate us from our transgressive God, from one another, and from the fullness of who each of us was lovingly created to be. This workshop moves us beyond the "welcoming" and "affirming" language of most liberal church spaces to reclaim Christianity as an inherently "queer" project; that is, a love-fueled, boundary-crossing revolution for justice.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Tai Chi for Balance and HarmonyJulie GavenHave you ever wanted to experience a deeper grounding in your mind-body-spirit connection? Explore a gentle path to mindfulness, centering and presence through one of the world’s most popular forms of energy cultivation, Taijiquan (Tai Chi). The graceful wisdom of this ancient "meditation in motion" can be a transformative spiritual practice, as well as a relaxing (and fun!) form of dynamic embodiment. Come feel a sense of inner peace, connection to life, and freedom to go with the flow while honoring the breath. All are welcome!12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM
Unconditional Love: Persevering through IntoleranceDr. Deborah Thomson, Associate Professor, School of Communication, East Carolina UniversityThe coming out journey impacts the entire family. The long-held faith traditions of a family can collide with the reality of institutionalized homophobia and transphobia. This panel discussion will explore the varied experiences of families who support their LGBTQ loved ones and how it has affected their relationship with the church and their own belief systems.12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and 1:45 PM to 2:45 PM

Faith offers context and gives us hope. Belief in the divine brings comfort and truth, as well as meaning to the struggles we often face and to the grace we witness in our daily lives. 

For many in the LGBTQ community, the quest for understanding and acceptance is often fraught with rejection and shame in many religious traditions. The vision of the LOVE ONE ANOTHER symposium is to create a space where people from across eastern North Carolina can come together to explore, share, and listen.