Hi!  This is Barbara Wadzuk wanting to share a little bit about myself and my involvement in the Welcome and Inclusion Taskforce.  I am a seventy-eight-year-old mother of three and grandmother to six.  My career as an educator — High School and Community College —took place in between raising children.  I am proud of my attendance at Valparaiso University in Indiana, Southern Methodist University, and Rice University.  Teaching at various churches over the years,  my presentation topics have been about death and dying; church-wide mission statements on sexuality; and women active and equal in the church.  These are often topics it seems like no one wants to talk about, even parents with their children.  But they are all aspects of God’s wonderful creation and, I believe, important to discuss.  Yet another topic typically unaddressed in the past has finally turned up in our secular and religious media.  Joining the Worship and Inclusion Taskforce is helping shift some of my time and energy to the LGBTQ+ community — a minority diverse group in our world.  My interest in LGBTQ+ issues began with gay friends and membership in Lutherans Concerned, an early organization for those working to support the LGBTQ+ community.  My first Pride Parade was in Wheaton Illinois over twelve years ago.  I am learning more and more as working with the Welcome and Inclusion Taskforce has given me the opportunity to meet more members at New Hope, learn from them, and work to address inclusion of LGBTQ+ at New Hope.  I know God’s Love is unquestionably for us all.  We can make a special effort of broadcasting that love.

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