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What My Parents Needed

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

When I first came out to my parents, they needed someone to talk to. Someone who understood their perspective – someone who understood their world that had taught them that being gay was wrong, that it was a choice, and that surely I was confused, had been led astray, and needed help. They needed someone to talk to who understood that in the unspoken recesses of their minds, there was the shameful conclusion that they must’ve done something to cause me to be gay.

What my parents needed most was someone who could help them understand that these things they’d been taught to believe were not true – that being gay isn’t a choice and that they hadn’t caused me to be gay.

My parents needed someone who would listen to their feelings and help them navigate what was a very new and frightening territory for them.

What my devoutly Christian parents needed most were other Christian friends to walk alongside them, listen to them, reassure them, pray with them – all the things that we do for each other in the Body of Christ when someone is facing something challenging, right?

My parents needed CenterPeace.

My parents & me on Mother’s Day, 1998, about a year after I came out to them.

CenterPeace provides a whole network of opportunities to get plugged in with fellow Christian parents and learn more together about supporting LGBTQ+ children of all ages.

CenterPeace provides resources to help parents understand that we’ve learned things about the development of our sexuality that we didn’t previously know.

And this informs how we respond.

The CenterPeace Conference is a prime place for parents of LGBTQ+ individuals to connect. The main conference will feature singer/songwriter and mom of a gay daughter, Staci Frenes, as the opening keynote speaker on Thursday night.

Staci is the author of Love Makes Room, a memoir about her daughter’s coming out and how she as an evangelical Christian processed that experience. Through music and story, Staci is sure to be an encouragement to parents as we begin the conference.

But stick around, because Staci will share even more of her story and what she’s learned about parenting an adult LGBTQ+ child at the Parent Workshop on Saturday, November 5, after the main conference!

The Parent Workshop is an additional opportunity for moms and dads to share, to ask questions, to be with friends who understand the unique challenges of resolving faith and sexuality that face parents of LGBTQ+ children. Dena and Aaron Edwards will host the workshop and moderate the discussions that we hope will be a primary part of our time together.

Parent Workshop Hosts, Dena & Aaron Edwards, from Edmond, Oklahoma

You’ll meet folks who have been part of our parent network for a long time, who remember what it was like for them when their child first came out. They remember the array of emotions and how isolated they felt. How torn they felt, believing they had to choose between loving and staying in relationship with their child, or loving and being right with God.

What a life-changing relief to find out they didn’t have to choose between their child and God!

Dads talking, praying together at one of our recent parent retreats.

My parents needed friends like that to talk to. My mama and daddy needed spaces like the CenterPeace Conference and the Parent Workshop to connect with other parents and develop meaningful relationships.

In a place that was familiar and life-giving and most of all,

Spirit driven,

Spirit led,

Spirit filled.

Click on the photo below to register for the conference at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, November 3 – 5, 2022, and the Parent Workshop immediately after the conference on Saturday, November 5, from 1:30 – 5 p.m. Nearly 100 parents have already signed up! We’ll look forward to seeing you soon!

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