This past Sunday a group of HUCCers gathered to discuss the book Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt. My journey with this book began back in October when I first heard the Maines family’s story on the NPR program Fresh Air with Terri Gross. I was struck by the challenges the family had to endure and how at times they had felt very isolated and alone. I was particularly concerned by the cruel treatment of the child Wyatt/Nicole who was just trying live the gender she understood herself to be. I wondered (and I suspected there is) is there a family like the Maines family in our community? Unfortunately, I also thought I knew how such a family would be greeted in parts of community, because of the controversy over a school teacher reading a book about same sex couple in response to a bullying situation in his classroom. I could imagine the outcry if a transgender child tried to use the bathroom of his or her gender identity and it did not match the anatomy with which they were born. I wanted our faith community to be ready with support, to have the information we need and to look at ways for us to be more welcoming to the transgender community. So I invited folks to read the book and join in the conversation and on Sunday twelve of us sat down to begin the conversation. It was a wonderful time of sharing insight and our compassion for families like the Maines. Together we felt a renewed commitment to care for and welcome all transgender persons. We talked about everything from our own views on gender identity to bathrooms as we explored how we could make our church (and our bathrooms) a safe and welcoming space for transgender people. We concluded with question: where we go from here? And answer this question by saying we would seek to find ways big and small to come out and welcome those in the transgender community to our church family. I am sure there will be many more conversations to be had and continued callings to new ways to love and care for our diverse community. So I would like to extend an invitation and invite everyone into the conversation as we seek together to explore new ways of being God’s inclusive community. Look for future books to discuss and conversations that will help us to continue to expand the vision of what it means to be a progressive, inclusive, creative, caring and kid-friendly church in Hillsborough and beyond.