Getting To Know SDA Kinship International: An Interview with Floyd Poenitz

For more than four decades, Kinship, an organization dedicated to rewriting the narrative of isolation and exclusion within places of worship for LGBTQ Adventists, has fought to redefine parts of Adventist culture that they have experienced as harmful. Floyd Poenitz, who assumed the role of Kinship's president about three years ago but has been involved in some capacity since the late 1980s, acknowledges that growing up in Adventism can sometimes feel like existing within a bubble. When one's thoughts and experiences significantly diverge from those of their surroundings, an overwhelming sense of loneliness can permeate every aspect of their existence. The stark contrast between the church's proclamation of open doors, the preaching of Christ's all-encompassing invitation, and the harsh reality of ostracism, rejection, and shunning often creates an unfathomable dissonance. Consequently, many individuals conclude that the church is an unsafe space for them. Kinship strives to address this dissonance by reassuring members of the LGBTQ community that they are not alone in their perspectives and experiences. Not only do they not walk this journey alone, but they are celebrated and welcomed.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Floyd for sharing about Kinship’s history and its continuing importance. I have greatly valued Kinship. Even though I am am just an ally and not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I feel very much a part of the community because of Kinship. I especially value the yearly Kinship Kampmeeting. Although I have not been able to make it every year, I try, because the spirit of inclusiveness and acceptance I sense there makes it my favorite spiritual gathering.


Bryan, you are not JUST an ally. You are a very important part of God’s rainbow community. Each of us are. I hope that others will also check out SDA Kinship and go to our website and check out all the resources there and sign up to be a supportive part of the community. Ted will never need to know who is supportive of Kinship and who isn’t. Anyone can find us at: (you can sign up there), or follow us on social media @sdakinship.
I hope you (and many others) can make it to Kampmeeting this year in November. It is going to be a very special time felllowshipping.


It’s pretty much impossible to argue with Floyd’s conclusion.

However, and if it helps with feelings of isolation, I’d suggest keeping in mind that approximately 8,000,000,000 people-give or take about 0.007% of the world’s population-have figured out that there’s no place in Adventism for them, either.

Not a panacea or cure-all, obviously, just sayin’….



Hi there. I understand that you are writing about the leadership at the General Conference. For me it is a mistake to think of those administrators as the church. I believe the church is a rubic’s cube or a soup made up of many ingredients. I have seen people who were not accepting of the Adventist Rainbow Alphabet and and I have seen members, pastors, conference leaders, union leaders and division leaders - as well as those who have worked at the General Conference who are/were supportive and caring. I don’t want anyone to think that some people at the GC or other places are the only representatives of this church and its members. I treasure all of you who are also this church for you are Adventism’s best representatives.



Thanks Floyd for being such an amazing voice for inclusion of LGBTQIA2S+ people in the Adventist church. Though I’m not a part of the church any more, I feel a huge burden for young Adventist people who are discovering their orientation and identity and are not straight and cisgender. For so many, their home, church, and school are all Adventist and they lack the support they need to live genuinely and with integrity.

It’s important to have more than a few, mostly urban churches or schools, that are accepting. Young people can’t move to a city where they can get support as minors and as young adults. They may be financially dependent on their parents.

Kinship has attempted to open a dialogue with SDA church leadership for decades. They have had ample opportunities to reply. Instead, they talk about us, down to us, without ever speaking with us.

That’s why I think that the SDA church is not a safe place for me, and lots of others. No matter the accepting and affirming local congregations, the amazing allies we have here and there, the church itself is homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and engages in other bigotry without the will or ability to change this.

There is no church that is worth supporting if it officially continues to engage in homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny. I think kinship has worked wonders, it is a fantastic organization. The church doesn’t deserve Kinship, or any LGBTQIA2S+ members.


I am amused when an individual has a name that they can conveniently pull out of their hat with which they can label those with whom they disagree. Then they don’t have to engage in an actual discussion of the issues with them, for they are, well, just evil, and that is all there is to it. Case closed.

Isn’t that what bigots do?

Everything I said is true based on the church’s own statements and actions.

Misogyny: The church does not treat women equally. Officially the church won’t ordain women.

Homophobia and transphobia: the church calls LGBTQ+ people disordered in official statements.

If it hurts to be called out, maybe some self reflection is in order.


One could make the argument that misogyny is the worst of the things mentioned here because it impacts over 50% of the church’s members and because it is so subtly insidious.

My grandmother was a pastor’s wife in the SDA church from the 1930’s and endured unequal pay as a grade-school teacher and even no pay for the many services she provided for the church. In her later life she exclaimed, “That wasn’t right of the church!”. An understatement if there ever was one.

Women are not out-rightly rejected by the church as are the LGBTQ+, but it might be that acceptance as a second class is even worse.


Women can be ministers, but not conference presidents. If that is misogyny, I guess you are right.

However, the church voted not to ordain women in a general session of all the representatives from the whole world. The church is mainly third world, and that section of the church is more conservative in culture than the US, Europe or Australia. So, the idea was voted down. The vote was a democratic one, each representative having one vote. The issue was discussed thoroughly. I might add that the previous GC president’s speech did not help the cause.

Your have a right to your opinion, but yours is not the opinion of the world at large, which is more conservative than you, and would not consider this restriction on women ordination misogynist.

I think you can say that the church does not ordain women, but that does not make it misogynist. So, yes, discussing the issues is better than calling names.

I read the official statement of the church on homosexuality. The objection to it is based on scripture, not on being disordered. And it is the behavior that is condemned, not the individual.

As far as transgenderism goes, the church just addresses it with scripture, and states that as long as one follows the admonitions of scripture, sex only within marriage and continence outside of marriage, there is no problem.

The diagnosis of gender dystopia is found in the book of psychiatric diagnoses. Thus it remains a psychiatric disorder

You based misogyny on your opinion, ignoring the the third world would disagree with you on misogyny, probably most women. You misquoted church statements and ignored that even the medical community still calls gender dysphoria a psychiatric disorder

You can decide whether such behavior is bigotry or not .

If you are referring to 2015, then wrong, wrong, wrong! The church voted not to pass the authority for the decision to the Divisions (aka the GC). Thus, the authority remains with the Unions, some of whom are inclined to do so, hence the “threats” from the GC regarding compliance.


Touchy subject?

My observation is that when the church in session votes an issue, it does not return to the unions so that they can do as they please.

The GC in session is the highest legislative body of the church, it is representative, and it represents the church as a whole, not the executives, ore even unions etc. So when the whole body votes on an issues, it is done.

But perhaps I am mistaken. It’s been a while, but I think my thinking on this is correct. If you were correct, we would have seen all the unions in the NAD with ordained women. it has not happened, so I think you are mistaken here.

But this is a side issue . Why don’t’ you address the bigotry on the part of some who favor homosexual behavior? They distort the situation, and call people names. Not very nice.

In this case it does. Actually it means it never left the Unions. So, yes if it is done the GC should let the Unions get on and do the job rather than threaten non-compliance on issues of less concern than other forms of non-compliance (eg. fiscal non-compliance).

The GC in session may be the highest legislative body for the church, but it is not the highest authority (no matter what TW may wish). The highest authority is the conscience of the believer. No vote by the GCiS can ever over rule the conscience.

I would rather do something about the systemic discrimination of the many against the LGBT+ community. Also not very nice.


This is a dodge. And it has nothing to do with TW. Of course the conscience of the believer is that individual’s highest authority. But when people associate together, pooling their resources to have an influence in the world, they will decide among themselves how to govern themselves. The church did that many years ago. And they will decide on various issues.

The individual member of this voluntary society has to decide whether such a group decision is comparable with their thinking, and act accordingly. The GC in session had every right to make a decision on this matter, discussing according to the rules. You did not like the decision, as did several others. Can you live with it? Stay engaged, or if not, move on. But don’t make silly arguments.

I might add that this issue pitted white liberals in the church against the people of color in the church. Sort of hard to claim the moral high ground in such a case.


I dont remember a case where Christian’s sued a gay business for not helping with a program. But some gays did do that to that web designer. You take your livelihood in your hand if you say something against that horribly discriminated against LGBT+ community. There just might be more systemic discrimination in the reverse direction.

It has been decided that there were no gays in the web designer scenario. It was all hypothetical and no gays ever contacted the designer to have a website created.
Why would you want to say something against the LGBT+ community? Have any gays ever made your life unbearable or threatened your life?


That’s because the LGBTQ+ community are unlikely to refuse to serve.


This is worse than if they actually had. To the Supreme Court just on a hypothetical?? No harm done, and the Colorado board goes to the Supreme Court with it? They were really after her.

No threats. Plenty of name calling, but no threats. The example above, though, does show that if one behaves in a certain way, they will go after you. Others have lost their jobs for opposing gay marriage etc. And advocacy of child mutilation is a practice I oppose.

Yes, they have nothing to loose. The ones who oppose them do, and if they do will face such as the cake maker and this person did. Would a gay cake maker make a cake that said, “homosexuality is an abomination?” Should they be forced to do so?

No. That’s what wise people do.

An intelligent person knows that when you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you.

Therefore, he understands that engaging with evil only runs the risk of increasing the level of evil in the world without any possible upside.

Even if one only makes minimum wage his entire life but invests 10% of that income in any number of financial vehicles, he has the potential to become a millionaire by age 65.

If one makes millions during his career as a slum-I mean, as landlord, for example, but dutifully gives 10% of that money to the Adventist Church, what can he expect as his ROI?

A note encouraging him to remember SAD-ism in his will, as well as repetition of the pinkie promise that the “investor” one day, relatively “soon”, (but only according to how god’s wrist watch keeps time?!?!) will be eating pie in the sky with JC and his dad, forever.

IOW, it seems the best way avoid being disappointed by a church is to have no expectations of it.


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