By David A. Aucoin, Pastor
Thank you so much for taking part in the RIDE (Rhode Island Department of Education) meeting whether by speaking, being a presence or praying. This is my take away from it…
We had about 13 people show up to speak against the guidelines and all did really well. Parental Rights was the biggest talking point. On the other side, 25+ showed up in favor of the guidelines. They were well organized with a lot of professionals: a few psychiatrists, clinicians, social workers, teachers, transgenders, LGBTQ groups, parents of transgenders etc. They must have received a lot of emails from us because they had their big guns there. Evaluation Positive: last time there was only 1 person, we had 13 people this time. 3 were pastors. Awareness is up and the email response must have been significant for them to stack the room. Those who spoke in opposition to the Transgender Guidelines were respectful and presented well. In fact, many took time to have conversations with those supporting the mandate. We all had a sensitivity to the brokenness in the LGBTQ community. Isn’t that what Jesus would have done. Compassion without Compromise. Negative: The general public was missing. It was really just us & them. There were no professionals to speak for us. And both Commissioners, Elementary & H.S., were obviously well connected with the LGBTQ community. All in all I thought it was a great start and I have to say we did well! They invited people to stay and dialogue around the table after the hearing. 4 of us and 10 of them did so. It lasted til 7:15 PM. The dialogue was good. Our folks stayed which showed great concern and courage. The Commissioners denied so much of what the guidelines said about parental rights saying it would never happen. And yet, there it is in print. It tells us they were prepared. I’ve been asking the Lord to help me rightly evaluate the meeting without hype and truthfully I think it was a success. It showed the progress we have made from the last time and gave hope for the future. Take away We need a grassroots, long term approach and I believe it’s beginning. One of the ways we can do this is to inform and educate people. There is a curriculum that Mass Family Institute has put together called ‘ENGAGE.’ It will apply nicely to Rhode Island. Check it out at www.mafamily.org/resources/resources-for-pastors/ I have taught it with a group of 10 and each said, “We never knew…. Everyone should know this!” I’m teaching ‘Engage’ at New Hope Christian Church in Swansea beginning Wed. Feb. 21st. It is a book/video series that you also can teach in your church. I would be willing to come and get you started. It is well worth it. To coin an old phrase, “There is a moral majority”… in RI. They just need to be AWAKENED. Let’s PRAY for another ‘Great Awakening’ and let it begin here in RI. A Mark Batterson quote that has been resonating with me: “We overestimate what we can doin 1 year and we underestimate what we can doin 10 years.”
You can connect with Pastor Dave A. Aucoin at Abundant Life Assembly of God, 135 New Meadow Rd., Swansea, MA 02777 or call 508-379-0780.