Name: Mads Benishek

Location: South River, NJ

My walk with God has pushed me to be courageous and honest with myself, uncovering my queerness layer by layer. Meanwhile my queerness has given me energy and curiosity toward God and others. Thus my faith and my queerness are inseparable gifts which build and reinforce each other. This retreat is the only place I know where the leaders and the participants are overwhelmingly LGBTQ Christians who are passionate about both the church and queerness. This retreat is a unique opportunity for me to be nourished as I listen to the stories and questions of others who also know their queerness and their faith to be intertwined sources of strength, resilience and renewal. As a young (almost-) pastor beginning to serve the church, the chance to build this community of support is precious beyond measure.

Dear Friends,

This August, I’ve been offered the amazing opportunity to attend Parity’s 2017 Emerging LGBTQ Pastors Retreat. It is an incredible chance to join other LGBTQ people pursuing ministry, and recently ordained pastors in fellowship, worship and training.

Parity’s retreat gives people like me the unique opportunity to reconcile their identity and faith, and share and learn from one another in a supportive and healing environment. Within the last two years, six LGBTQ pastors from Parity’s community have been ordained -- their past participation and attendance at previous retreats helped them gain the confidence and spiritual support they needed to live into their calling.

I know I will benefit greatly from having that same life-changing experience, and this is where you come in. The gift you make today will go directly to covering the costs of travel, housing, food and training expenses for me to attend the retreat. I am truly grateful for any amount you can donate. Anything I raise over my goal of $500 will go to help others like me reconcile identity and faith. 

With deep appreciation,

Mads Benishek