Sunday, May 2, 2010

BE IN, Be out, Be yourself

Hope Is Ready would like to invite people to come BE IN the pine grove anytime from noon to noon, Monday to Tuesday. Come express your dreams for the Hope community. The members of Hope Is Ready want to share our love for this community. We are having this 24 hour event to talk and spend time with the people we care about. Let your love light shine!

You are free to stop in anytime for hanging out, letter writing (write to the Board of Trustees to share your story, vision, or why you care about this issue), petition signing, tree hugging and much more.

There are a few planned events...


Noon Let the BE IN commence!! Foot washing, chalking, banner hanging

12-1:30 foot washing

1:30 Dance Party!!

2:30-4:30 Hang out/study time

4:30-6:30 Potluck, come be in community

6:30-7 Bible Study

8:15 Opus Reading

10 Candlelight: Let your love light shine!



7:30 am Egg breakfast

10 Yoga

Monday, March 22, 2010

Help Us Remove the Hope College Institutional Statement on Homosexuality

We have submitted a petition to the Hope College Board of Trustees! Please read the petition below and let us know what you think! If you would like to sign it, please email with your name as you would like it to appear, your graduation year if you are a Hope grad and/or your current title or occupation.

Dear board members:

We petition the Board of Trustees to remove the 1995 Institutional Statement on Homosexuality.

In the attached letter we explain in full detail the reasons and rationale for our petition on this point.

We ask you to distribute this petition to the members of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees in advance of the upcoming meeting of the full board in May, 2010. We request the placement of this petition on the agenda of the meeting.

We stand ready to respond to any questions you or the board members may have. Karis Granberg-Michaelson, Hope Alumna, has agreed to serve as contact and respondent to your questions and/or comments. She may be contacted at

For the reasons stated on the following pages, we, the undersigned, ask for the dissolution of the Hope College Institutional Statement on Homosexuality.


Alison Bernard (’11)
Katelyn Beuker (’10)
Stephanie Dykema (’10)
Leah Ennis (’10)
Elise Filka (’11)
Arin Fisher (’10)
Karis Granberg-Michaelson (’09)
Ann Green (’10)
Paul Hile (’12)
Jacqueline Jara (’10)
Erin Michalowski (’10)
Katelyn Sherman (’10)
Elizabeth Tieche (’10)
Emily West (’10)

1.) We reject this policy because it claims a sole and reigning interpretation of scripture on the matter of homosexuality.

As stated in the Hope College Institutional Statement on Homosexuality, “The witness of Scripture is firm in rejecting the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior.” We fundamentally refuse that this is the sole Christian interpretation. The college cannot conduct itself as if there is consensus on this topic on Hope’s campus or in the universal Christian community.

In recent years, as the debates about homosexuality have continued unresolved, the RCA General Synod has recognized the complexity of the issue and has declined to take action. It has instead called for a time of open discussion and discernment. We strongly agree with the conclusions of the 2009 General Synod Counsel of the RCA that:
“Certainly, there is no consensus in the church regarding the antecedents of sexual orientation among humans, no consensus about whether same-sex unions can be faithful expressions of covenantal commitment, and no consensus about what ecclesiastical roles are appropriate for those who engage in homosexual practices.” On the grounds that there is a clear lack of consensus on this issue in the RCA, we firmly oppose that the college impose a single position onto the entire community through institutional policy. We believe that this statement is a false representation of students, faculty, staff, and alumni spanning the generations. We are deeply concerned about an official college policy that aligns an institution of higher education with a single position on this or any complex social and ethical matter. We call for Hope College to adhere to the approach described by its founding denomination, openness and understanding of the mysteries of human sexual orientation and practice.

We see the mere presence of this statement as a clear prioritizing of sin. In its singling out of the perceived sin of homosexual practice, the statement places imbalanced emphasis on this matter. It elevates the perceived sinfulness of homosexuality as a greater sin than bearing false witness, theft, greed, murder, gluttony, etc. On this account, it is unfaithful to the historic Christian faith and Christian witness which instructs us that all sins are equal in the eyes of our Creator. There are many issues which require decisions based on an individual’s own spiritual convictions and moral priorities. Even so, the Hope College Board of Trustees has not issued restrictive policies in an attempt to control the individual beliefs and behaviors of its students, faculty and community in regards to these other issues.

The existence of the Institutional Statement on Homosexuality assumes that all students should hold the particular beliefs and moral standards as outlined, therefore restricting personal freedom. The moral standard of Hope College should not be dictated by one policy, but instead represented in the lives and choices of each unique student. Moral standards, especially regarding sensitive subjects such as homosexuality, should be discerned both in community and on the individual level. The administration and the Board of Trustees may not condone the “moral acceptability” of abortion, for example, but they do not implement a college-wide policy on the matter. By the absence of similar policies regarding such issues as abortion, the death penalty, women's ordainment or environmental issues, we know that the college understands that it can operate effectively without issuing or imposing a required form of theological or biblically referenced institutional policy.

2.) We reject this policy because it creates a hostile environment for individual LGBT students and their allies.

We know that for the college to sustain its policy on homosexuality it must also publicly defend how the policy continues to create a dehumanizing environment of prejudice and homophobic responses. In a powerful confessional statement in 1994, speaking to how many within the church have shared in such discriminatory acts, the church encouraged all of us to end such practices by identifying how: “many in the Reformed Church have participated in or tolerated forms of speech and behavior, which humiliate or degrade such persons…for all of these wrongs this General Synod expresses its humble and heartfelt repentance, and its desire to reflect the love of Christ to homosexual persons”.

While we acknowledge the efforts of many of Hope’s faculty to engage this issue on campus in an academic setting, this statement on homosexuality disables individual students. We, as Christians, are encountering homosexuality as a lived experience in the lives of our friends, our family and the undersigned. We have noticed that this policy excludes students who engage in “the practice of homosexuality” from the health and vitality of the Hope community, both spiritually and personally.

This policy is destructive to the spiritual life of homosexual students. No student will feel welcomed when not being affirmed as an individual. The policy states that Christians are expected to have a fair and accepting attitude towards homosexuals. However, as homosexual practice is banned by this policy, the LGBT community and its allies do not feel welcomed and equal on the basis that their desires are shameful and to be disregarded. The campus ministry staff, to be in line with this policy, cannot openly welcome students who practice homosexuality into the campus faith community. This creates an exclusive community that seems dangerously closed to essential aspects of diversity.

This policy is also damaging in the personal lives of homosexual students. We have knowledge of powerful stories that exist in both our own lives and in the lives of those in our community that reveal the severity of this issue and how this policy specifically impacts these experiences. On behalf of LGBT students, we resent the assumptions made about this group of people. These assumptions are dehumanizing in the sense that they ignore the fullness of the entire person by focusing only on the alleged lifestyle and assumed sexual practice of these students, binding them to a negative self-image.

The LGBT community has a valuable and unique experience to share with the Hope community. As a Christian community we need to come together in solidarity, including our LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ. This solidarity allows for the diversity of student experience to enrich the community at large.

Experientially, we as students know that Hope is not living up to its own deeply rooted beliefs and values. On Hope’s website, directly below the mission statement, it states: “As a liberal arts college offering education within the context of the historic Christian faith, Hope is a place of open inquiry, acceptance of intellectual challenge, rigorous engagement with hard questions, and vigorous but civil discussion of different beliefs and understandings.” We do not see a “vigorous” discussion on the “different beliefs and understandings” of human sexuality happening on Hope’s campus. Previous panels, speakers, and texts discussed in class, although pointed to as evidence of campus dialogue on homosexuality, do not exhibit “rigorous engagement” with the “hard questions” of this pressing, contemporary Christian issue.

We honor and uphold the best of Hope’s beliefs and values and care deeply for our Hope community. Therefore, we insist that Hope begins to better reflect its own core values in its campus programming and student organizational activities concerning matters of faith and sexuality. As long as the college forbids LGBT advocacy on the part of student groups and campus speakers, it cannot presume to be in dialogue on homosexuality. The question of advocacy for the rights and protections of the LGBT community, and whether it is a faith and justice issue, is an indispensible part of the Christian conversation on homosexuality. We invite the college to be “a place of open inquiry” and “acceptance of intellectual challenge” by welcoming voices of LGBT advocacy to join the conversation.

To entertain this needed community process we pray for the qualities and fruits of the Spirit as evidenced in the Virtues of Public Discourse: “humility to listen, hospitality to welcome, patience to understand, courage to challenge, honesty to speak the truth in love.” We feel passionately that students need spaces of open and authentic conversation to process the delicate intricacies of mental and moral development. We do not believe that morality is a simple "check a, b and c" issue. Neither, for that matter, is the Christian faith.

3.) We reject this policy because it is hidden and ambiguous.

The policy is hidden and is not a part of the application process when students enter Hope. It remains hidden for the duration of students’ time here. It is an abuse of power to have a policy with no clearly stated offenses in the lives of both homosexuals and advocates for the LGBT community. This policy forces students and faculty into deceit and dishonesty. People who “engage in homosexual practice” in this community must learn to deceive, cover, and protect by secrecy their own development and expressions of love and fidelity. It collectively rewards students who “practice” heterosexuality or “practice” celibacy, and discriminates against students who “practice” homosexuality. Without an explicit policy to be signed by students upon admittance to the college, Hope College cannot expect to be an institution free of homosexual behavior or groups and individuals standing in support of LGBT relationships.

The use of ambiguous language in this policy does not outline the repercussions for Hope students who violate the policy. It implies that judicial action will be taken but the extent of punishment is non-existent. In this policy, “homosexual acts” and “homosexual behavior” are not condoned by the college, but the distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior is not explicitly specified. This leaves students in a place of uncertainty. This policy not only states that groups cannot advocate for homosexuality, but that they may not even appear in “the manner of presenting themselves” to be aiming “to vindicate the moral acceptability of homosexual acts.” Once again, the policy does not specify what constitutes a violation. It instead in vague and superficial terms forbids vindication of the “moral acceptability of homosexual acts.” Further, this limitation affects all students on campus beyond that of the LGBT community because it outlines how friends and family of LGBT persons are to respond to their loved ones’ given orientation and corresponding desire to live in same-sex relationship.

In public institutions, it is not only disallowed, but illegal to have any policies that are discriminatory based on individual identity. The only reason Hope College legally retains its policy is because Hope is a private institution. As a private Christian institution, however, it should serve to be an example of Christian love and justice. As a Christian body, we have to lead the way in promoting justice and protection for God’s beloved LGBT children in our world, starting at Hope College.

To be clear, this petition does not ask the board or President to impose a new position affirming homosexuality or vindicating same-sex marriage. We simply ask for this issue to be treated the same as all other controversial, moral concerns, with an absence of a mandated position. We see no reason for the college to retain this institutional statement. We have full confidence that Hope College, without this statement, will continue to foster academic excellence, grow global citizens, honor its Christian tradition and boast a strong, clear and vibrant Christian identity. In fact, it will do all of this better. Concerns of how to best bear Christian witness to the LGBT community will not leave us. The matter is not closed and we must pray for the humility to listen for how God will carry us, giving us ready hands to help the needs of this hurting world.

It is in this spirit of love that we ask for the removal of the Institutional Statement on Homosexuality. Hope excelled without this policy in years past and will do so again. The college is sure to receive continued blows, on the national level, if it retains this onerous, careless and fear-based statement. We passionately believe Hope’s Christian values will not fall by the wayside when this policy is removed. Rather, Hope will know the peace of a healing community, instructed by the historic Christian faith, open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We look forward to Board action on these matters.


Christina Aardema
Ashley Adkins ('10)
Aida Alvarado ('12)
Rachel Anderson ('11)
Tessa Angell ('13)
Sarah Anker (’10)
Megan Aprile
Emily Armbruster ('13)
Rachel Austin ('10)
Amy Bade- Ed.D., Licensed Psychologist
Gretchen Baldwin ('12)
Ben Barkel ('10)
Esther Barrett ('12)
Jackie Bartley - Adjunct Assistant Professor, English
Cynthia Barto ('11)
Sara Batts ('12)
Nikeata Bechtel ('09)
Alison Bernard (’11)
Michelle Berngruber - Exchange Student at Hope
Katelyn Beuker (’10)
Joel Birdsall ('10)
Jessica Black ('99) - Environmental Engineer
Maggie Blaich (’12)
Victoria Blanton ('07)
Marlee Bogema (’10)
Abby Bok (’11)
Nick Boersma ('13)
Michelle Bombe -Faculty
Chad Bonfiglio ('09)
Teresa Borst ('10)
Sarah Borzym ('10)
Christina Bowles ('11)
Thomas Boyer ('91)
Robert Bradford ('02)
Sharon Bradford ('02)
Timothy Brandt (’10)
Christi Broersma ('92)
Aaron Brossiet ('91) - Language Arts Teacher
Rachelle Brouillard - former Hope student, class of 2012
Adrianne Brown ('13)
Rev. Dr. Michael Brown -clergyman of Marble Collegiate Church
Stephanie Browne ('13)
Kurt Buchholz ('12)
Lauren Bull ('12)
Sarah Burrichter ('10)
Isaac Bush ('09) - Actor
Rebekah Bush ('12)
Kristina Bueter ('12)
Megan Campbell (’10)
Madeleine Cantor ('14)
Mary Cantor ('11)
Ruth Cantor - Hope Parent
David Caplan (’11)
Kathleen Carlson ('13)
Erin Carmody ('12)
RJ Casey ('09)
Megan Dougherty Cheek ('07)
Nicole Ann Claucherty ('13)
Delilah Clement ('13)
Lindsay M. Close ('02)
Melissa Clutters ('09)
Rebecca Coe ('12)
Janelle Coffey ('99)
Harry F. Coffill (’89)
Kaitlin Colburn ('13)
Jillian Conner ('12)
Lorna (Nyenhuis) Cook (’84)
Erika Coombs (’12)
Kelly Cooper ('11)
Stephen Corenelius ('10)
Bruce Cornwell - Community Reformed Church of Colonie
Gabe Courey ('10)
Alison Coyne ('13)
Colleen Creamer ('10)
Brenda Crisp- Hope Education Department Staff
Kathryn Curley ('13)
Ward Dales- Former Instructor of One of Hope's Gay Students, Teacher, Albany High School, Albany, New York
Kelsey Davis ('12)
John D. Dean ('09)
Rebecca Dean ('11)
Sarah DeLapa ('10)
Kyle Delhagen (’04) - Senior at New Brunswick Theological Seminary
Nicole DeMaree ('12)
Grace Denny ('10)
Caitlin Derby (’10)
Calvin Deur ('66)
Carrie DeVries ('98)
Meghan DeWees ('09)
Rachael DeWitt ('05)- Graduate Assistant, GVSU Women's Center
Jane Dickie - Hope faculty
Michael Dirksen (’12)
Rachel Doherty (’10)
Rachel Dorr (’08)
Kate M. Dornbos, MA, ATC Class of 2003
Jake Douma ('11)
Leah Drapkin - Wittenberg University ('10)
Allyson Dreger ('12)
Joline Christina Dreyer ('12)
Martin P Dugan - Oberlin College ’73, Father of Hope College Graduate ’04, Active Member St Francis de Sales Church)
Elizabeth Dwyer ('12)
Stephanie Dykema (’10)
Brooke Dykstra ('11)
Erin Eddy (’10)
Sarah Eklov ('11)
sir noosha elami (’12)
Meaghan Elliott ('05)
Betsy A. Emdin ('77)
Maria Emerson ('10)
Eric Engerman ('12)
Leah Ennis (’10)
Rebecca Ennis
Alyson Epolito ('13)
Delaney Erickson (’12)
William Essling - GVSU ’98
Kelsey Fegan ('12)
Patricia Dykstra Felix (’69)
Elise Filka (’11)
Arin Fisher (’10)
Kaitlin Flanigan ('11)
Terra Fox (’11)
Susan Van Eenenaam Fiallo ('80)
Rev. Andres Fierro (’79) - Pastor of Crossroad Chapel, Holland, MI
Debra Fierro (’77)
Alexis Foster ('13)
Kate Folkert ('99)
Corey Franks ('10)
Carleen Franz, Ph.D.
Robert Franz, MSW
Daniel Frayer-Griggs (’00)
Jennifer Frayer-Griggs (’01) - Seminary Student and Director of Children and Youth Ministry at Sixth Presbyterian Church
Ann Frisella ('11)
Erik J. Fuller ('07) - Distributed Learning Service Coordinator Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Daniel Furman (’94) - Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Benzonia, MI
Briana Galbreath (’07)
Kelly Garcia (’10)
Kristen Garrison ('11)
Helen Gay ('12)
Melissa Gayles ('11)
Lana Gentry ('12)
Mary Piers George ('68)
Jayne Olsen Geribo ('68)
Stephanie Giegler (’09)
Lenore Ariel Ojibway Gifford- Former Hope Student ('10)
Raquel Giron (’13)
Erin Gilbert (’13)
JoEllen Gilbert - Hope Parent
Mark Gilbert - Hope Parent
Heather Gill ('12)
Jensen Goczalk ('12)
Thomas C. Goodhart (’98) - RCA Pastor, Trinity Reformed Church, Ridgewood, NY
Benjamin Gorsky ('10)
Sara Gosses ('10)
John Gould (’07)
Abigail Gowman ('10)
Karis Granberg-Michaelson (’09)
Chelsea Grainer ('13)
Andrew Gras (’12)
Jared Graybiel (’10)
Adam Green ('10)
Ann Green ('10)
Hannah Green ('11)
Ross Green ('10)
Summer Griesinger ('13)
Nathan W. Griffith ('10)
Angie Griffore (’11)
Amy Grossman (Dopita) '07
Matthew S. Grossman (’07)
Marissa Grott (’09)
Robert Guimond (’11)
Gina Guzdziol ('10)
Allison Haan ('09)
Tania Habbouce ('13)
Matt Hahnfeld ('00)
Cara Haley ('13)
Lauren A. Halvorson (’07) - CPA
Brigitte Hamon-Porter- Hope Faculty
Stephanie Harrier ('07) - Alpha Gamma Phi Preseident 06-07, MSU Vet School ('11)
Russell Duane Harris - Owner, GreenSource
Joel Hartleroad ('13)
Emily Hartner ('11)
Peter Havlatka ('11)
Kelsey Hawkins ('11)
Rebecca Hawkins ('13)
Marilyn E. Heiss - retired teacher
Dr. Stephen Hemenway (English Dept.)
Stephen Herrick
Jon Hertel (’10)
Claire Higginbotham ('10)
Paul Hile (’12)
Cassandra Hildebrandt (’08)
Lucy Himes ('10)
Samuel Hirt ('12)
Sarah Holbrook (’11)
Christine Hostetler ('10)
Jeffrey M. Howard, M.Ed. (’01)
Ariel Humphrey ('11)
Rev. Henry Idema III. PhD- Associate minister at Grace Episcopal Church, writer for the Holland Sentinel
Lauren Ireland ('11)
Marissa Jackson ('11)
Cecilia Jaime ('11)
Jennifer Mills James (’03)
Anne Jamieson (’12)
Lauren Rebecca Hinkle Janes ('04) - current PhD candidate at UCLA Department of History
Reanna Janisse ('13)
Annie Jang ('11)
Jacqueline Jara (’10)
Tracie Jeffries ('11)
Kristen Johnson (’10)
Meagan Johnson ('12)
Deirdre Johnston - Hope faculty member
Barbara (Granberg) Joldersma (’67)
Kelly Joldersma (’98)
Kevin Joldersma ('98)
Rev. Dr. P. Kimberleigh Jordan - clergy of Marble Collegiate Church
Jes Kast-Keat - Holland community member, former Hope staff
Amanda M. Karby (’11)
Kaylynn Keedy ('11)
Ricky Kelley (’09)
Jenny Kellogg (’10)
Kaitlin Kessie ('10)
Aria Kieft ('11)
Cortney Kimmel (’12)
Dr. Julie Kipp - Associate Professor, Dept. of English
Katherine Kirby ('12)
Emily Kirschbaum ('12)
Caitlin Klask ('13)
Theresa Klepitsch ('11)
David Klooster, English Department Chair
Fallon Klug ('10)
Marcia Knapp (Bennink) ('67)
Julie A. Kofron (’10)
Jan Koopman (’74) - Board Member, Room for All
Michael Kooistra ('05)
Rebecca Kragt ('11)
Maria Krebs (11')
Jessica Kregger (’09)
Katherine Krueger ('11)
Sarah Kuhn ('13)
Kate Lawrence ('12)
Shirley Lawson
Rachel Le ('07)- Occupational Therapist at Battle Creek Health Systems
Alison Lechner ('12)
Rev. David Lewicki - clergyman of Marble Collegiate Church
Bethany Lieberman ('07)
Erica Long ('12)
Marka Luce ('12)
J. Mark Lunderberg ('10)
Laura Lynch ('10)
Steven Maas ('10)
Lois Maassen (’78) - mother of 3 Hope grads, 2004, 2009, and 2010
Samantha Madson ('12)
Isabel Malone (’09)
Emily Mannakee (’03)
Lee Marcus ('12)
Travis Martin ('12)
Shauna Markby ('09)
Alexander Martin ('10)
Katlyn Martin ('11)
Mario Martinez
Lucia Martis ('11)
Marissa Martz ('13)
Micah Matthias - CoFounder, Sanctuary Collective
Marianna Maver (’75)
Ann Mayers
Morgan McCardel ('13)
Dan McCue ('99)
Sara Eveland McCue ('01)
Meghan McNamee (’10)
Sarah Mejia ('10)
Maureen Keenan Meldrum - Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure Chair
Janice Meyers- friend of Hope student
Andrew Mezeske ('02)
Erin Michalowski (’10)
Emily Mills (’06)
Adam Missad ('12)
Lauren Moak ('10)
Zachary Mobley ('11)
Kathleen Mojzak ('09)
Samantha Molnar ('10)
Katherine Moore ('10)
Andrea Mora ('13)
Jennifer Moreau ('10)
Diane Morgan, Ph.D.
Tim Mulder ('76)
Kathleen Munoa
Paola Yvett Munoz ('11)
Brian G Murphy - Member, Marble Collegiate Church; Servant Leader, Marble Connection
Karly Murphy ('11)
Mark Murr
Nickolas C. Nanry ('04)
Robert Nash (’12)
Brittany Nelson ('12)
Leif Nelson ('10)
Andrew Nichols ('11)
Matthew Nickel- Resident Minister, First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor
Alexis Nickols (’11)
Christina Nielsen ('12)
Sara Nielsen ('10)
Amanda Norris ('12)
Brittni Nowicki (’12)
Kara Oakley ('10)
Stevan R Oakley - Hope parent
Virginia H Oakley - Hope parent
Judy Oberholtzer
Gabrie O'Brien ('12)
Linda Van Voorhis Olson ('85)
Brenda O'Malley - local professional
Julie Oosterink ('13)
Tracy Ore ('84) Professor of Sociology, St. Cloud State University
Grace Osborne (’12)
Rebekah Ostosh ('08)
Ryan Otterstrom ('11)
Erin Overmeyer ('99)
Kelley Pace ('13)
Stephen E. Paffrath ('78)
Lindsey Palar ('10)
Holly Palmer (Cheff) (’99)
Michael Parmelee (’12)
Jessie Parsons ('10)
Francine Podenski- Aunt of Hope student
Judy Tanis Parr (’67)
Pamela Pater-Ennis- Hope parent
Aryn Pawloski (’10)
Staci Pessetti ('10)
Jeanne Petit - Hope faculty member
Anna Pillot (’09)
Rev. Steven Pierce - clergyman of Marble Collegiate Church
Anna Pizzimenti ('10)
Carolyn Powers ('10)
Jessica Pratley ('12)
Emilie Puttrich (’09)
Kevin Raley (’10)
Kat Ramsey (’06)
Laura Redebaugh ('13)
Richard Rhodes ('10)
James Richardson ('10)
Blair Riddle ('12)
Jack Garlinghouse Ridl ('82)
Julie Garlinghouse Ridl ('82)
Kristina J. Rikkonen (’13)
Elena Rivera ('13)
Jessica Roberts ('13)
Lindsay Roberts '09
Rebecca Robinett ('13)
Kelsey Robinson ('11)
Daniel Roembach- Uncle of Hope student
Claire Roembach-Clark (’12)
Jeanine Roembach/Clark- Hope parent
Esperanza Rodriguez (’10)
Abby Rogers ('04) - Production Coordinator, Primitive World Productions
Room for All
Miranda Rooy ('04)
Rebecca Rooy (’06) - Account Executive
Michaela Roskam ('13)
Marla Rotman (’96) - Seminary Student / Spiritual Director
Sarah Russo ('11)
Eric Rusticus
Jason Ruud ('10)
Sanctuary Collective
Kelsey Santamaria - former Hope student, class of 2012
Caitlin Seay ('12)
Andrea Schmidt ('10)
Gwenda Schmidt, PhD- Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program, Hope College
Leah Schreiber (’11)
Alex A. Schwiebert ('10)
Matthew Scott (’00)
Allison Seib ('10)
Arye Shannon-Carmichael ('11)
Katelyn Sherman (’10)
Rev. Lorie A. Shier ('78)
Kelly Shugart ('11)
Cheri Smith (’74)
Haley Smith ('10)
Keri Smith ('11)
Matthew R. Smith ('10)
Sally Smits (’01)
Allison Spyke ('12)
Courtney St.Clair ('10)
Caitlin Stanley (’10)
Cyndy Stannard ('86)
Brittany Stock ('10)
Michelle Stoel ('10)
Nicholas Stone (’10)
Jason Storm (’11)
Felicia Strong ('12)
Leslie Stuifbergen ('13)
Katherine Sullivan - Hope faculty member
Lindsay Sweet (’11)
Jeffrey Sweet ('13)
Bethanie Bomers Swier (’05)
Annie Swier (’03)
Kristi Szczepanek ('07)
Charity Taitt
Eileen Talamantez, Holland resident
Tessa Talsma ('10)
Chelsea Tarnas ('11)
Lindsay TerHaar ('10)
Julie TeWinkle (’99)
Peter TeWinkle (’99) - RCA Pastor, Grand Rapids, MI
Allison Theune ('12)
Chip Tieche - Hope Parent
Dorene Tieche - Hope Parent
Elizabeth Tieche (’10)
Christopher Tidmarsh (’10)
Trena Thomas (’10)
Whitney Thomas Eads ('08)
Sarah Gonzales Triplett ('04)
Mary Tripp ('13)
Joseph Turbessi ('05) - Minister of Music, Belmont United Methodist Church, Belmont, MA
John VanDusen ('10)
Todd Van Grouw (’86) - M.R.E. Western Theological Seminary '92, MDiv McCormick Theological Seminary '08
Joan Van Houten - Hope faculty member
Erin VanDellen ('12)
Andreas VanDenend ('10)
Jack Vander Velde (’52)
Marilyn (Veldman) Vander Velde (’52)
Amanda Vander Byl ('12)
Wayne Vander Byl ('71)
Christine Zuverink Vanderhill (’69)
Sally VanderPloeg ('10)
Katelyn Vanderson (’11)
Megan VanderVeen ('06)
Madelyn Van Eck ('11)
John P. Van Eenenaam ('51)
Beth Van Hoeven ('82)
Jim Van Hoeven
Mary Van Hoeven
William Van Hoeven, Ph. D. ('64)
Courtney Vellmure
Victoria Vicencio ('10)
Katherine J. Voorhorst ('12)
Anne Voss ('11)
Marianne Wierks Van Eenenaam ('56)
Carla Vissers (’88) - Hope faculty member
Chrissy Wahlstrom ('09) - WorldTeach Ecuador
Bethany Wagner (’10)
Charlie Walter (’11)
Stuart Webert (’11)
Ana Weaver ('13)
Hubert P. Weller - Professor Emeritus of Spanish, Hope College
Adam Wesselink ('00)- Software Developer
Emily West (’10)
Emily Wheeler ('12)
Jonathan Wesley White (’06)
Madison White ('12)
Bethany Wichman ('07)
Avril E. Wiers ('10)
Matthew Wiersum (’10)
James I. Wiley
Richard Williams ('75)
Victoria Williams ('12)
Catherine Wilkie ('13)
Laura Wilson ('11)
Hannah Wimer ('13)
Matthew Witt ('11)
Dan Wizner ('07)
Amelia Wolter (’10)
Kyle Woodworth ('10)
Christine Worden (’11)
Alana Wright ('13)
Lauren Wright ('10)
Jonathan Yarranton ('13)
Jennifer R. Young- Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies
CristiEllen Zarvas ('13)

Sent in cooperation with and in support of:

Ron Bos (’52)
John Corry (’54)
Willard (Bill) DePree
Elizabeth DuMez
Don Lubbers (’53)
Donald Van Hoeven (’56)
Bruce van Voorst (’54)
Ron Wiegerink (’61)
Margery Kempers Wiegerink (’61)
Fred Yonkman (’53)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality

Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality

Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, two mainline Protestant denominations, are considering whether to allow the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians as members of their clergy. The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that majorities of both denominations say that homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society. Among mainline Protestants overall, 56% say homosexuality should be accepted, compared with only about one-in-four evangelical Protestants and four-in-ten members of historically black Protestant churches.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010




Winter 2010

Hope College administrators blocked a campus roundtable’s invitation to pro-gay Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black. The administration’s objection was to his gay advocacy. It ruled that the theater department could have him speak about his screenwriting without discussing homosexuality. Students on both sides of the issues of homosexuality said they were offended that the administration implied that they were not mature enough to hear Black speak on homosexuality. Hope College is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and considered “the 4th oldest evangelical college” in the country.

In striking contrast to this recent situation, on January 28, 1983, EC founder Ralph Blair gave an address to the Hope College community at the invitation of the college. His pro-gay speech was entitled: “Hope’s Gays and Gays’ Hopes”.

Social psychologist David G. Myers convened the assembly and the respondents were Hope College faculty members, Allen Verhey and Lars Granberg, and Elton M. Eenigenburg of the adjacent Western Theological Seminary. Eenigenburg agreed with Blair while Verhey and Granberg did not much disagree.

Throughout his weekend on campus, Blair lectured in classes of the college and seminary, spoke at student and faculty luncheons, and led discussions at Hope Church. He also counseled several students. Other supportive faculty members included Hope College chaplain Gerard Van Heest, religion professors Wayne Boulton and Elton Bruins psychology professors Jane R. Dickie and Bob Brown, and seminary professor Stan Rock. Especially encouraging was the warm support of Lester Kuyper, emeritus professor of Old Testament and formerly the president of Western Seminary and New Brunswick Seminary, the theological schools of the Reformed Church in America.


Oh to be back in '83...

Read more of the Winter 2010 Newsletter here:

Monday, February 22, 2010


Thank you to our dear friends Brian Murphy, Micah Matthias and Matthew Beams of Sanctuary Collective, who met us at the Room for All conference in Grand Rapids, MI and inspired us to live out our faith and questions, together, as Hope is Ready. We are honored to be with them on this amazing journey.

Learn more about Sanctuary Collective here:


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Hope is Ready unanimously agrees with President Bultman's decision. Let's take another look at the Hope College Institutional Statement on Homosexuality.

Call to Action
We see that the current Hope College Board of Trustees Institutional Statement on Homosexuality is now under review. The Rev. Dr. Timothy Brown, Hope Trustee, will review "with others" the "theological foundation and language of the current Trustee position on homosexuality." We of Hope is Ready thought you may like to be one of those others. Hap at it. :)

Some History + a Question
This policy was last presented at a meeting of the Executive Committee (only) of the Board of Trustees sometime in 2001. To the best of our inside knowledge, there has never been a *full* Board of Trustees review of the 1995 Institutional Statement on Homosexuality Hope College policy.

So, our question to all of you lovely and astute scholars, theologians, lovers of Jesus Christ, movement-makers, friends and family of practicing homosexuals is this:

***How would you feel if the Hope College Board of Trustees reaffirms its Institutional Policy on Homosexuality yet again in 2010?***

Here for your viewing pleasure, with hopes for many enlightening conversations, the policy:


Hope college, like its founding denomination, the Reformed Church in America,distinguishes between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior or practice. Not all people who have a homosexual orientation engage in homosexual practice and not all people who engage in homosexual practices have a homosexual orientation. The witness of Scripture is firm in rejecting the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior while affirming the responsibility of Christians to be fair and accepting of persons with a homosexual orientation.

The College does not condone the commission of homosexual acts. Neither does it condone organizations or activities that aim to vindicate the moral acceptability of homosexual acts, or that suggest by their manner of presenting themselves that they have that aim in view. Specifically, the College will not provide recognition or financial or logistical support for organizations or groups whose purposes include the advocacy or moral legitimization of homosexual behavior.

The College does support fair and kind treatment for people with a homosexual orientation. It likewise supports the scholarly examination and discussion of all the issues surrounding the phenomenon of homosexuality. The College affirms the right of students and faculty to propound and defend ideas that may be at variance with the institutional position of the College. Persons expressing such views are expected to take care not to attribute those views to the College either by direct statement or by intimation.

--John Jacobson, President, August 16, 1995


please see "We are ready."

By the joint effort of Hope is Ready and Holland is Ready we will be starting an online communal reflection and theological discussion on the HOPE COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY. We invite you to join us here on our Hope is Ready blog, to share your convictions, fears, experience, and frustrations concerning the 1995 "Statement on Homosexuality" Hope College Board of Trustees policy. Also, follow us on Facebook. On the Facebook group page, "We are ready." we've opened a Discussions board dedicated to this theological wrestling.

We welcome an open forum, open to all questions on the "theological foundation" (Is advocating for the LGBT community a faith and justice issue? Is the Biblical interpretation presented in this statement absolutist?) and the ramifications of the precise language of the statement (how does this effect students and effect student groups?). We welcome *all* feedback, but will focus primarily on the statement's theological foundation as well as its exact language, inviting the Hope community into a close reading.

Come One Come All
We know that Hope College boasts a wide range of talented and skilled Biblical exegetics—skilled students, faculty, alumni and staff alike. Let's practice our hermeneutics on this complex issue and celebrate that "the Truth shall set [us] free." To entertain this needed community process we pray for the qualities and fruits of the Spirit as evidenced in the Virtues of Conversation in the Hope College Community (found here: and

Let’s Talk
I mean, really, crank out the Bibles, consult theologian friends, consult yourself if you consider yourself a theologian, talk about it at a Hope Bible study, talk about it in the classroom, talk and pray about it with your Hope Chaplains. Talk about it with your Hope Professors, with your Holland RCA pastors, and with your friends at Western Theological Seminary. Talk about it in church and outside of church. Talk about it with someone who feels differently than you do. Ask questions. Talk about it with your families. Talk about it loudly (or softly ) in coffee shops, JP's, lemonjello's, The Good Earth, and over Kletz coffee. Let's have a Hope/Holland community-wide theological conversation about this policy.

Remember the Rally?
We quoted from the Virtues of Conversation in the Hope College Community at our "Invitation to Conversation" campus rally on Tuesday, October 13th after the Dustin-Lance-Black-hit-Hope-like-an-earthquake upset. For those of you who weren't with us, we gathered in the bowl outside of Dewitt encouraging all attending to wear their best and brightest Orange and Blue as we publicly responded to the administration's repeated statements of "We are not ready to have this divisive conversation" wearing our first round of t-shirts that proudly say "We are ready." (We can order more if there’s another round of shirt orders. E-mail us at

Here's part of what we read at the rally and sent out in a campus-wide e-mail blitz:

"We believe in the virtues that mark conversation at Hope: humility to listen, hospitality to welcome, patience to understand, courage to challenge, honesty to speak the truth in love."

This Ain’t No Partisan Issue
We still say emphatically that whether we fall to the right, left or smack in the middle on this issue, we are ready to talk, read, wonder and pray about it. We want to have this conversation. We feel passionately that students need spaces of open and authentic conversation to process the delicate intricacies of mental and moral development. We do not believe that morality is a simple "check a, b and c" issue. Neither, for that matter, is the Christian faith.

Let's go Hope!

yours truly,
Hope is Ready

Hope is Ready

Hope is Ready is a Holland, MI based community revitalization organization. Essentially we're a collective of students, alumni, and faculty who are disappointed with the way Hope College's administration handles LGBT students, conversation and lack of protection. We want to ensure that young LGBT students understand that they're valued as much as any heterosexual student. At the moment we're continuing communication with local churches and organizations, like Latin Americans United for Progress in Holland, as well as Hope Reformed Church and Grace Episcopal in Holland, because we believe in ensuring the collaboration and unification of oppressed voices.

We also believe in collaboration within our organizational structure, meaning that the current number of students involved in more 'direct' planning is approximately 20, while the number of students attending our events is about 150, and our e-mail list is over 400. We believe in the power of story. We are pursuing a campus-wide conversation through diverse dialogue, sharing of stories and collaborative energy-giving efforts.

Our main objective as an organization is to create a safe space for conversation in the Hope and Holland community. We want to ensure that open dialogue is not only allowed, but respected, for Hope students, faculty and staff. The current position within the Reformed Church of America on issues of sexual orientation is to be in open dialogue about these issues. We believe that Hope College, as an affiliate of the Reformed Church of America, has a responsibility to be engaging in this open dialogue.

As a part of this process, we are hoping to encourage the administration to fully acknowledge and affiliate with the Gay Straight Forum, currently a non-official student group on Hope's Campus. We are also hoping to ensure that Hope College includes LGBT students under their protection and non-discrimination ordinances, currently they are not included.

Our dream is for the Holland Community and Hope College, as an educational institution that all of us value and love, to be places where everyone can share their story and know that they are equally valued, respected and welcomed.

yours in the journey,
Hope is Ready