LGBT couples will receive support to strengthen their relationships during a free workshop in Havertown. St. James United Church of Christ will host its LGBT Couples Workshop, with lunch provided, on Jan. 20.
According to the event’s flyer, the workshop “will be a fun, meaningful and helpful day where there will be great takeaways for couples on how to communicate more effectively, ‘fight fair,’ and the importance of gratitude and appreciation in your relationship. Our desire is to provide a place where your commitment to one another is celebrated and you feel safe and affirmed by just spending time with those who understand you and your story, because it is their story too.”
The Rev. Lynn Lampman, who is a lesbian, will oversee the workshop.
Maureen McGuirk, St. James’ ONA chairperson, noted that the church became open and affirming in 2014 and this workshop is part of that commitment. According to the church’s website, “Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.”
“One of the things we want to do is not just have an ONA statement on our website, but we also really want to live up to that commitment, and we want to continue to find ways to serve our community,” McGuirk said. “This was one of the things that the church leadership brainstormed.”
Lampman previously attended couples workshops with her wife but said they were not particularly sympathetic to the unique challenges of LGBT couples, McGuirk said.
“When you go to a place to work on your relationship, the best way to be able to do that is to feel completely comfortable,” McGuirk added. “I think it will be a unique resource for couples in our area to be able to come and be with other couples who have similar experiences.”
She said being around other LGBT couples will also create a supportive environment.
“It’s a place to talk about the unique issues for LGBT couples in an environment because everyone will have an understanding of those issues and get a way to come closer and build their relationship.”
McGuirk also called the workshop a “unique experience.”
“It’s something that they can get that might not have been available to them before. There’s a point for everyone to work on their relationship. It’s not just for people who are struggling. Relationships take work. You always hear that and that’s true for all relationships. It’s important to continue working on it. That’s something that couples sometimes let go. We all get busy in our lives. We don’t always take time to work on our relationship, so it’s a unique resource.”