August 15, 2008

MySpace Friend of the Day: Elder Sue Love of Oasis Fellowship Ministries

Elder Sue Love is a native of Belleville, Illinois where she was raised by loving and nurturing parents who pastored a United Pentecostal Church. She received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 12 and began playing the organ for her father’s church at the age of 13. She was formerly educated in the public school system of Belleville, IL.

Elder Sue continued her ministerial training and music education at Jackson College of Ministries in Jackson, MS. under the tutelage of Lanny Wolfe, song writer of such songs as “More Than Wonderful”, “Surely The Presence Of The Lord Is In This Place” and many others. She received her Bachelors of Arts from Southern Illinois University.

Elder Sue began her professional career as Minister of Music at the age of 20. Her first position was at Radio Tabernacle in Herrin, IL in 1977. In 1980 she became the Director of Music for Kent Christian College in Dover, DE where she managed a staff of ten with a student body of approximately 125. In 1983 she relocated to Apopka, Florida to become the Minister of Music for the Pentecostals of Apopka. There she served for ten years. Since that time Elder Sue has served as Minister of Music for New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando and Greater New Hope, both located in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to serving as Minister of Music, Elder Sue formed Keynote, Inc. in 1991. It is through this corporation that she has introduced into private Christian schools the concept of bringing private piano lessons into the academic day. The idea has since caught on, as most private Christian schools desire to offer their students extracurricular opportunities geared toward the arts.

In June of 2003 Elder Sue and her life partner Pastor Brei Taylor became members of Potter’s House Fellowship, an open and affirming ministry in Tampa, Florida. It was then that her ministry took on a new dimension as she began to minister for the first time in “Spirit and in truth” by walking out her call as the unique individual God has truly purposed her to be. After more than two years of faithful service at Potter’s House, Elder Sue and Pastor Brei were appointed by God to begin a work in Orlando, Florida. On Sunday, October 1, 2005, Elder Sue Love became one of the Founders of Oasis Fellowship Ministries, Inc. where she serves as Elder and overseer of the Ministry of Praise and Worship and in Administration.

August 14, 2008

Link of the Day: GayAgenda

GayAgenda is a political based news site featuring stories that affect the global GLBT community.

Categories include:

Gay Rights
Gay Marriage
Money and Finance
Right Wing Watch

August 13, 2008

MySpace Friend of the Day: Stonewall--Education4All

You think anti-gay bullying is a problem in your school? You're not alone, it happens in most schools. It can be stopped though, just check out the links here.

Add us as your friend to show your support for Stonewall and our campaign against homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools.

Help us make people realise homophobia isn't acceptable. Some people are gay. Get over it!

For more information on Education for all, click here.

"When Saying Sorry is a Risk"

From the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald:

WHEN Mike Hercock, a Baptist pastor, put out a call for Christian clergy who wanted to make a public apology to gays and lesbians, he was knocked over in the rush. But when the time came for the priests and pastors to march at this year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, some of the so-called "100 Revs" lost their nerve.

"A few days before the march, I started getting phone calls," said Mr Hercock, a pastor with the Hope Street community project in Darlinghurst. "The harder calls were the ones saying, 'The dog ate my homework and I can't make it on Saturday to march.' "

The apology should have been big news. But as word spread that the 100 Revs would issue a statement condemning the church for being "profoundly unloving" to gays and lesbians, church leaders flew into action.

The Baptist Union sent a one-page letter to its members warning them that it did not support the apology. Catholic priests and Uniting Church ministers were discreetly told not to get involved.

A preacher at a Pentecostal church received hate mail.

In the end, only 30 ministers marched. Even those who did not worried about their jobs.

Mr Hercock said signing the apology was a career-defining move for many of the 100 Revs. "For a lot of people it was always going to be a tough call," he said. "It can affect your ordination; it can affect your call to ministry. I don't know of one person who signed without going through some kind of internal process. They had to go through what the cost was to them, professionally and personally."

The struggle to match one's actions to their convictions is often a difficult one, even (sometimes especially) for leaders in the church.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Thanks to "A Life of Unlearning" for the link.

August 12, 2008

Link of the Day: Seven Straight Nights

Atticus Circle and Soulforce are pleased to bring back Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, a national event that will provide straight Americans with opportunities to do justice and motivate new allies to stand up and be counted for equal rights.

Last year, stories of friendship and political transformation emerged across the country during Seven Straight Nights, a first-of-its-kind event. Through Seven Straight Nights, the power of straight ally voices resonated in 38 cities in 28 different states across the country. Soulforce and Atticus Circle partnered with more than 30 national and statewide equality organizations to bring together a true grassroots effort on the part of straight allies standing up for equality.

We want YOU to be a part of the action this year!

Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights consists of nighttime vigils led by straight allies during the week of September 14th through 20th, 2008.
The vigils are led by families, individuals, or groups, and focus on their personal decision to speak out on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality. Depending on the city, Action Leaders will either offer thanks for their state's positive policy record or issue a call to action on pertinent issues such as hate crimes, employment discrimination, and marriage equality.

Straight leaders are also needed for this effort. Here is a link to the press release regarding that effort.

Are Gays Becoming More Domesticated?

Is the focus among GLBT people becoming more toward having a family and less toward being fabulous? Sounds like it according to this study.

A new study finds a vast generational shift among LGBT people.

The survey, for Logo Network, discovered that more LGBT people expect to lead an integrated life raising families in suburbs or small towns while maintaining their identity and sense of community.

The study was conducted in in partnership with Simmons and TRU. 365gay is owned by Logo, a division of Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks.

The survey found that 79 percent of gay people think it’s important to integrate into the greater culture and 64 percent are open about their sexual orientation to at least their family members.

It also found that less than half of gay people want to live in a city and a majority want to live in suburbia or small-town America. Regardless of where they want to live, 58 percent want to live closer to other gay people.

The researchers said that two-thirds of younger gay people expect to be partnered with kids at some point in their adulthood, while less than a third of gays 35 and older expect the same.

Younger gay people have an even mix of gay and straight friends, the network said in a statement. And overall, gay people rank marriage equality as the number one issue about which they’re passionate, followed by the environment, health care and the economy.

“We’re trading in West Hollywood for West Texas and big disposable incomes for disposable diapers,” said Lisa Sherman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Logo.

“Most important, we’re integrating without abandoning our community or sense of identity. These developments are good for LGBT people and good for America.”

The research also found that despite gay people’s love for mainstream media, they want entertainment that speaks to their uniquely gay lives and experiences. Sherman said that this finding supports Logo’s efforts to develop programming like the recent Sordid Lives: The Series that tell authentic LGBT stories, sometimes with many LGBT characters and sometimes only a few.

The research involved a qualitative study in partnership with TRU Research of 21-45 year olds in New York and Dallas as well as a national survey in partnership with Simmons of 1,800.

August 11, 2008

MySpace Friend of the Day: Untold Stories

So you fancy yourself as the next Martin Scorsese? You actually give a **** about HIV and AIDS, and the number of lives it affects? You want to do something about it… make an impact?

Untold Stories is a competition that gives you the chance to do exactly this (while simultaneously exercising your creative super powers…!)

So what’s the skinny? It’s really simple – take a look at the three videos below… decide which one you think rocks – and then… finish it off. Its ending is determined entirely by you…

On September 2nd, the person whose ending really packs a punch' and impresses our panel of judges will be chosen as our winner. If you’re that lucky person, you’ll get to make the script into a short film – with the help of MTV producers! Not only will your finished masterpiece be shown on MTV channels, but you’ll also be whisked off to watch your film played to a rather large audience, at a World AIDS Day event, in India.

Support for Same-Sex Couples During Straight Couples' Weddings

From the Canadian Press via Freedom to Marry:

When Marisa Miller married David Wolfson last year, the couple added a statement to their vows that they both passionately believe in the right of all people to marry regardless of sexual orientation.

With gay friends making up about 20 per cent of guests and two openly gay religious clergymen officiating, it seemed appropriate to note they felt "somewhat out of step with society's views on marriage."

"I thought it was really, really beautiful and very healing," said the Rev. Nate Walker, who presided with Rabbi Frank Tamburello. "It brought tears to my eyes, thinking that I am legally entitled to marry this wonderful couple but I am not entitled to have the same joy in my own life."

Such statements have become more common at heterosexual weddings. But not all gay guests appreciate the gesture. Some, like Pattrice Jones, compare straight couples' efforts at solidarity to a white person joining a whites-only country club and making a quick statement of support for blacks who are excluded.

"Just don't join the club, it's that simple," said Jones, a lesbian author.
After a wedding last year in which a straight couple read a statement of solidarity with gay couples, Jones said her "gay friends rang to tell me about it. They were horrified and really annoyed. We all felt it was so wrong to grab all the benefits that marriage gives you and just make a little statement to calm your guilt."

That last statement strikes me as misdirected anger and way off base. When Brenda and I got married, we had no reason to feel guilty because the several same-sex couples in attendance could not also enjoy those legal benefits. I wish now we had included a statement of support in our ceremony, but everyone there knew how strongly we felt about equality so we didn't feel it was necessary.

In fact, Brenda has presided at same-sex committment ceremonies, and I participated in the only one we've had at church since I've been attending.

These statements are nice, but need to be followed up with action to have any real meaning. In the meantime, those who support same-sex marriage who currently have the legal right to marry should do so without apologizing to anyone.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

August 10, 2008

Is Anglican Church Head Actually Sympathetic to Gays?

According to this article from Time magazine, it would appear the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican Church (and it's American branch, the Episcopal Church) is putting order in the denomination ahead of his personal convictions regarding the issue of ordination of gay bishops.

Last week, 670 bishops of the Anglican Communion returned from the Lambeth Conference outside London to their dioceses around the world, their faith fortified by 19 days of prayer and theological debate and buoyed by relief that the once-a-decade meeting had passed off with little public acrimony or mention of schisms.

But just days later, the patient efforts of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the man charged with holding the Anglican church together despite huge internal differences over the issue of gay clergy, lay in tatters following the leak of letters to the London Times newspaper that show where Williams' own sympathies lie on the matter.

In correspondence dating from 2000 and 2001 with Welsh psychiatrist and evangelical Christian, Deborah Pitt, Williams described how his literal faith in the scripture's prohibitions against homosexuality began to crumble after about 1980 and that 20 years of study and prayer had led him to the "definitive conclusion" that "an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage ..."

In itself, the revelation comes as no surprise to either liberal or conservative camps within the Anglican church. But Williams' previous writings on the subject have been few and couched in theologisms. This is how he tackled the issue in his essay The Body's Grace in 1989: "The absolute condemnation of same-sex relations of intimacy must rely either on an abstract fundamentalist deployment of a number of very ambiguous texts, or on a problematic and non-scriptural theory about natural complementarity, applied narrowly and crudely to physical differentiation without regard to psychological structures."

We can be thankful, at least, for his later brevity.

When he wrote his letter to Pitt, Williams was the Archbishop of Wales, his homeland and a diocese where he openly ordained gay priests. His appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003 was made in the full knowledge of that and liberals within the Church reasonably assumed that he would be the charismatic champion of the kind of church they longed for.

The realization that Williams would prioritize unity over change came when he balked at appointing as bishop the openly gay priest Jeffrey John. In this, Williams aimed to assuage the protests of a number of more traditional bishops. In a painful meeting, Williams persuaded John to withdraw his candidacy — an act that many liberals in the church saw not only as a capitulation but also as a missed opportunity to plant a flag for his true convictions. "Had he gone through with it," a gay vicar in Wales and a friend of Williams told TIME over 18 months ago, "We would not be where we're at. It would either have nailed the problem or it would have caused a split very quickly. He's delaying the inevitable."

An early indication of how he would manage the discrepancy between his views and the requirements of his high office come in the leaked letters. "I don't see myself as a campaigner for a new morality," Williams writes in a letter of September 2000, "but if I'm asked for my views, as a theologian rather than as a church leader, I have to be honest and admit that they are as I've said". But the logic of his position unravels when he notes that the church has "shifted its stance on several matters, notably the rightness of lending money at interest and the moral admissibility of contraception, so I am bound to ask if [homosexuality]is another such issue." Change can be slow, but it is never won by sitting on high, uncomfortable fences.

Leadership is supposed to draw people off the fence and point them in a specific direction. Failure to do so isn't very effective leadership, if it even qualifies for that title at all.