End-of-Year Ministry Newsletter 2020

Dear Friends,                                                                                                                         

I hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy after one of the craziest years any of us have ever seen. In the midst of all the chaos, hardship, and pain, I want to take time to let each of you know how deeply grateful I am for your consistency in supporting my work through this extremely difficult year. Your steadfastness has kept me afloat.

In January, I made a trip down to Atlanta where I had the honor of spending time with Dr. David Gushee and spoke at his university class as well as his Sunday school group. I also was hosted by The Village for an event around coming out with Pastor Ray and Jane Waters. It was such a refreshing trip for my soul, rich in meaningful conversation with incredible people. Little did I know that would be my only trip of the year.

When March 13th arrived, our world (as yours too, I’m sure) came to a halt, cancelling all upcoming speaking engagements and events for the foreseeable future. I haven’t been on an airplane since and my wife and I have now been quarantined in our house for over 9 months (yikes!). Because of my health diagnosis in June, we’ve had to be extremely strict in regards to safety and social-distancing, which has basically meant that we never came out of lockdown and have only “bubbled” (or spend in-person time) with one other couple since March. We’re grateful that both my wife and I have been able to work 100% remotely and that we have a big enough house to keep us busy with projects and avoid driving each other crazy (at least most days). But I admit that I deeply miss YOU. I miss being with my people, hugging and laughing and crying and holding space for one another. I miss traveling and speaking and seeing your faces. And I hope that in 2021, we will find a safe way back to each other again.

During this time at home, I became a monthly columnist for Baptist News Global and have enjoyed writing about a broad range of topics. I had the (rare!) opportunity to speak virtually to a Fortune 200 company in July, and I’ve offered a series of free webinars and events online as a way of supporting people during this time of social distancing. I’ve also enjoyed being a part of a variety of podcasts, interviews, and panels discussions.

But my favorite project that I’ve launched during the pandemic is an LGBTQ Faith Book Club. Comprised of both LGBTQ people as well as allies and parents of LGBTQ kids, we read one book a month written by a queer author or ally and meet virtually to discuss the book in small groups and dialogue with the author. The private online Facebook group has become a safe haven for those involved as they process things about life, faith, coming-out, relationships, sex, etc. and build an affirming community with one another where they can truly be seen and heard. I’ve have loved watching this beautiful group of people develop rich relationships with one another as they dialogue online throughout the month and connect at our virtual monthly gatherings. This season, we’ve been honored to host authors such as Dr. David Gushee, Matthias Roberts, Mihee Kim-Kort, and Austen Hartke. We are already gearing up for Season 2 with a stellar line-up including Nadia Bolz-Weber, Colby Martin, Abby Stein, Emmy Kegler, and Kathy Baldock. I couldn’t be more excited about continuing this project! If you or someone you know would be interested in joining us, registration will begin on January 15th and you can get all the info by visiting: AmberCantorna.com.

Again, I can’t say how thankful I am for your continued support during this season. I couldn’t continue doing what I do without you. Thank you for the part you play in my ministry to others. I am so deeply grateful. I pray that this season blesses you with morsels of joy amidst a very difficult season, and that hope will lead us into the new year with much better things to come. Until then, please be safe and know that I love each of you dearly.

Be Brave, Live Unashamed,

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