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The Religious Dialogue Partners’ Process

The Religious Dialogue Partners’ (RDP) process is a highly locally-grounded project, currently active in 3 Southern African countries and is steadily expanding to 10 SADC countries over a period of time.  The programme selects approximately 15 LGBTIQ+ people of faith at a given time and takes them each through a five-day process in journeying through their faith and spirituality with the use of a tool, called Hearts Set on Pilgrimage (HSoP). The outcome is for LGBTIQ+ individuals of faith to journey into a place of dialogue with religious leaders and communities with confidence, compassion, mutual respect and sensitivity. Many GIN organisational and individual members have been engaging in work with religious leaders around gender and sexuality. The Hearts Set on Pilgrimage manual adds to this existing work through the partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa’s Health and Gender Justice Network (FHGJN) and the support of the Norwegian Organisation for Gender and Sexual Minorities (FRI).

Once LGBTIQ+ individuals have journeyed through the five-day retreat, GIN, together with in-country LGBTIQ+ anchor organisations, provides ongoing support and capacity building for dialogue partners, who then participate in dialogues organized by the Christian Council in their country, acting as resource people and dialogue partners to influence the attitudes of religious leaders. We work very closely with each Christian Council Coordinator through the FHGJN.

The HSoP manual is an open source for all GIN members, partners and allies. We have already shared this manual in other regions such as Asia, East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, The Caribbean and Pacific. This tool is a working document and has been updated to suit the needs of LGBTIQ+ communities of faith. The latest version incorporates considerations from LGBTIQ+ dialogue partners themselves, the GIN Secretariat and as well as the expertise of a group of theology students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal‘s School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics’ Gender and Religion Program.

The manual is also now available in Portuguese and GIN is consistently looking for new ways to expand this experience into other faith traditions.

If you would like a copy of the manual please contact Pierre at pierre@gin-ssogie.org  If you or your organisation are able to provide expertise and support for our dialogue partners in the areas of public speaking, psychosocial support, conflict management, pastoral care and facilitation skills please reach out to Pierre to find out how we can collaborate in providing the above.