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Michiana Forum: Voices of Parents of LGBT+ Children

The Michiana Adventist Forum presents:

The Voices of Parents of LGBT+ Children: Their Journey and Process with:

David Sedlacek, PhD, LMSW, CFLE

Professor of Family Ministry and Discipleship

Andrews University

Nancy Carbonell, PhD

Professor of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

Andrews University

Shannon Trecartin, PhD, LMSW

Research Assistant Professor of Social Work

Andrews University

Curtis VanderWaal, MSW, PhD

Chair and Professor of Social Work

Andrews University


Date & Time:

Saturday Afternoon

January 25, 2020

3:30 p.m.



Garber Amphitheater,

Chan Shun Hall

Andrews University

Berrien Springs, MI


About the Speakers:

David Sedlacek is Professor of Family Ministry and Discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He received his master's and doctorate in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  He has worked in various settings, both public and private, as a clinician, researcher, teacher, pastor, and administrator. He has worked extensively in the areas of addiction, abuse, relationships, marriage and family.  He is a Certified Family Life Educator and a Licensed Masters Social Worker. He has been the Principal Investigator of studies of both SDA LGBT+ millennials and the parents of SDA LGBT+ children. He co-facilitates a care group for LGBT+ students on the campus of Andrews University. Together with his wife, Beverly, he has written a book entitled Cleansing the Sanctuary of the Heart: Tools for Emotional Healing.

Nancy Carbonell has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and has specialized in family/child/adolescent therapy for the past 30 years.  She is a fully licensed psychologist in Michigan and maintains a private-practice in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  She works as Professor at Andrews University where she teaches in the Ph.D. and M.A. programs in psychology and counseling and coordinates the M.A. program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  In 2010, she started, and continues to guide, an off-campus support group for LGBT+ students attending Andrews University. She has learned from this involvement about the challenges and experiences of Christian LGBT+ young people and their families in a unique way.  Her research interests lie in factors that aid or hinder LGBT+ adjustment, as well as the factors that contribute to affirming or non-affirming family, community, and churches.

Shannon Trecartin has a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is also a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Michigan. Her practice experience includes medical social work, public health, community counseling, and research and evaluation. She has provided case management, counseling, and therapy to children, adults, and families since 2005. She works for the School of Social Work at Andrews University teaching courses in research, group practice, and death and grief. She co-facilitates the Haven Care group for LGBT+ students on the campus of Andrews University.

Curtis VanderWaal received his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 1987 from The University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in Social Welfare in 1995 from Case Western Reserve University.  He is Chair and Professor of Social Work at Andrews University, where he has taught since 1990.  He is also Director of the Center for Community Impact Research at the Institute for Prevention of Addictions.  He teaches classes in drug and alcohol addiction and treatment, values and ethics, and program evaluation.  The majority of his research has focused on addiction treatment, prevention, faith-based ministries, and LGBT+ issues, and he regularly publishes and presents in these areas. He served many years on the board of Riverwood Center, the community mental health center for Berrien County.


About the Topic:

The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church contracted with David Sedlacek, and Nancy Carbonell, researchers from Andrews University and Rene’ Drumm, researcher from the University of Southern Mississippi, to conduct a groundbreaking study of the Seventh-day Adventist parents of LGBT+ children who have come out to them. Titled “Parental reactions, responses, and adjustment after a child comes out as LGBT+ among Seventh-day Adventist families,” the purpose of the study is to explore the experience of SDA parents when their child(ren) come out to them as LGBT. The research investigates both the initial parental reaction to the child’s disclosure and how the family has adjusted over time.  The major anticipated benefit of the study will be help guide the North American Division in how to better support the families of LGBT+ children.

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