From “Don't ask, don't tell” to “Thanks for asking me to be an elder” - - How One Congregation Moved from Exclusion to Inclusion of its LGBT Community

Speaker: Categories: Sep 14, 2013

[1hr, 8min, 39sec]

One file/CD only


 Pastor Torres firmly believes that the role of a church congregation is to reflect God's unconditional love. This presentation will not deal the rightness or wrongness of the gay lifestyle—leaving that issue to God for He alone is the judge. Rudy will tell the whole story of how the Glendale City Church moved from the exclusion to the inclusion of its LGBT community. He will use multiple explicit examples that reveal the agony and the ecstasy of their journey and emphasize that the result was worth the painful struggle. Each vignette is compelling and illustrates the broad principles that guided this progressive congregation.

Since every church congregation is unique, what was accomplished at Glendale won't necessarily work elsewhere and a “cookie-cutter” approach will not be suggested. However, sharing the Glendale story now is important because many Adventist churches are currently wrestling with the issue of how to relate to their LGBT members and the Seventh-day Adventist Church is poised to address the issue the morality of the gay lifestyle in official statements and proclamations. In many ways the Adventist Church in America is a microcosm of American society where the debate of the civil rights of gays followed the debate of the civil rights of women.


After earning a BA in religion at La Sierra College and receiving his MDiv at Andrews University, Rudy has enjoyed serving a wide variety of pastorates ranging from Appalachia (Staunton, VA), to the Inner City (Capitol Memorial Church, Washington, DC), to a college church (Sligo Church at Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD), to suburban and city churches (Green Lake Church, Seattle, WA and the Glendale City Church and Garden Grove Church in California).

Rudy was the pastor at Sligo when it courageously ordained the first three SDA women to the gospel ministry (including Dr. Kendra Haloviak, our Spring Meeting speaker) in September 1995 just a few months after the SDA General Conference session in Utrecht voted against ordaining women.

Although Rudy is retired, he is delighted to be serving as Pastor Emeritus of the Glendale City Church. He lives in Huntington Beach with his wife, Linda Nelson.

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