The Club's Beginnings

Early in 2016, a small group of Emmaus' High School-aged members sat down with Youth Pastor Deb to discuss direction for the 2016 programming year. Literally writing their thoughts on the table, this small think tank set forth a number of topics they wished to study and learn more about. Initially presented as, "What does the Bible say about homosexuality?" one topic stood out as among their top priorities. An expanded group returned the following week and further defined the challenges and objectives.

The students, many of whom openly admitted to questioning their sexuality, shared that whether for their personal selves, or on behalf of friends or family members, they had a deep desire to learn not only what the Bible had to say about homosexuality, they also wished to understand where Scripture fell on the topic of Gender & Sexuality on a more broad level. Furthermore, the group explained that many of their friends attend Surprise's more conservative churches, and that these friends often asked their advice about whether or not it is safe to come out to family, at school, or in church. The group asked for a better understanding not only of what we believe, but to better understand the views of other worshiping congregations and organizations in our community.

As the study commenced, students from area high school Pride Alliance Clubs joined the conversation, stand-alone LGBT groups were located in the Sun Cities, open and affirming congregations and advocates doing valuable pro-LGBT work in and around our community lent their voices to the discussions. Educators began asking for resources for parents of questioning teens. Students expressed a desire to connect with an older generation of mentors. The need for connection between fragmented group and a venue for public education became apparent.

From these discussions that the club was born. Pastor Emilie & Deb, both residents of Surprise's Marley Park Community, committed personally to organizing a space for networking, sharing, and learning. The Marley Park Community Association accepted their proposal to start a community club, open to all LGBTQ+ Surprise residents and allies. The club held its first meeting - an introductory brainstorming session - in August 2016. While still functioning under the personal direction of Emilie & Deb, club leadership now includes high school student and young adult members and parents. We continue to build and invite supportive community members to join us.

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