October 24, 2009
Confidential helplines are operated by parents. We are not counsellors but have been through the experience of learning to understand and support our own gay children.
Calls are welcomed at any reasonable hour.
A support group is held every other month, details on request.
One to One meetings can be arranged if required.
A quarterly newsletter is produced.
Click here to find out more.
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proper 25), Year B
God, who did you call us to be?" is the prayer we bring to these Scriptures. It’s a prayer about our identity, rather than simply behavior.
This week's lectionary Bible passages: Job 42:1-6, 10-17 and Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22) or Jeremiah 31:7-9 and Psalm 126 (not included in this week’s conversation); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52
Click here to read this week's commentary and questions for meditation/discussion.
Senior Pastor Susan George:
I was raised in a Christian home with attendance at church being an integral part of life. I grew up in Oklahoma and a number of other states because my father was a pipeliner. We would move from place to place with his work then return home when he finished the job. When I was 11, he stopped pipelining and we stayed in Oklahoma. I went to college, then got married and divorced, and went back to college but decided to join the Army when I was 21. During this time, I believed in Jesus, but I didn't have the deeper personal relationship I needed. I asked Jesus in my heart when I was 17, but I didn't have the complete understanding of what it meant to make a commitment to follow Him.
After a crisis of faith left me searching, I drifted away from Him and got involved with drugs. I thought that He had rejected me but I was wrong! In 1993 I returned to Him with a new understanding of His unfailing love and mercy. He has delivered me from addiction and taught me that I can trust Him to get me through whatever happens. I developed a deep personal relationship with God and learned to trust in His love for me as He has shown me over and over again that He is always faithful and that His love never fails.
I moved to Bothell, WA in 1998 and together with Pastor Debbie, founded Living Water Fellowship as a Bible Study in our home in 2000.
I love people and am sometimes known as the "huggy pastor", because I always have a hug to spare. My heart is to spread the good news that God loves you beyond what you could even imagine and wants to have a personal relationship with you!
Click here to find out more.
We found it hard to believe at first, too. But it is possible, and it is exciting. How can it be done? With people like you joining the Stop Child Poverty campaign to fight child poverty alongside a community of other changemakers.
In 2000, world leaders and governments made a commitment to halve poverty by 2015. Since then, other economists and leaders have announced that not only is it possible to halve poverty by 2015, we can end extreme poverty altogether by 2025. The Stop Child Poverty campaign works on this premise, and urges governments to fulfill their obligations to the world's children. The Stop Child Poverty campaign also works to raise awareness about child poverty and to transform the way people view child poverty. It's time for a shift. Child poverty doesn't have to be an irreversible reality. "Eat all your vegetables because there are children starving in Africa," doesn't have to be the dinner-time cliché.
The Stop Child Poverty campaign is just beginning and the possibilities are endless if we can work together. You have the opportunity to be on the forefront of a new movement dedicated to ending extreme poverty in our lifetime, and to help shape the way we grow as a community.
If you've heard a better world is possible, it's true. If you've heard it but never believed it, reconsider. By joining the Stop Child Poverty campaign, every year, every month, every day, we can end hunger, pain, fear and suffering for millions of children.
So join the campaign, join the community. Today is one of those life-changing days.
Click here to find out more.
As the struggle for marriage equality moves to the nation's capital, the District of Columbia is debunking many of the myths surrounding this important human rights issue.
For instance, few would expect the two of us -- a straight, black Baptist minister from east of the Anacostia River, and a gay, white Unitarian minister from Columbia Heights -- to share the same position on same-sex marriage. Our solidarity exposes two of the myths perpetuated by opponents of marriage equality and by the media. Let's call these myths "God vs. gay" and "black vs. white."
Opponents of marriage equality would like us to believe that one cannot be both pro-God and pro-gay. Yet we lead a coalition of nearly 200 D.C. clergy who support marriage equality precisely because of our commitment to God's inclusive love and justice. Our clergy are black, white, Latino and from every ward in the District. We are Baptists and Jews, Catholics and Methodists, who have worked side by side for years on issues ranging from peace to affordable housing, and who now stand together again to raise a faithful voice for justice. Let us be clear: God vs. gay is a myth we reject. God vs. injustice is a truth we affirm.
Meanwhile, opponents of marriage equality have tried to use this issue to divide our communities along racial lines, and the press often plays into their hands. The gay community is repeatedly characterized as a group of well-to-do white folks, while all people of color are portrayed as heterosexuals who oppose gay marriage. This is the myth of "black vs. white." To suggest that the struggle for marriage equality in Washington affects only a small number of white people from Dupont Circle is an affront to the rich diversity of the District's gay and lesbian community, and it erases the lives of thousands of gay and lesbian people of color, some of whom are members of our churches.
It's always good to see people of faith come out and strongly support LGBT equality.
Click here to read the rest of their essay.
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! —Psalm 46:10
When God spoke to Elijah on Mount Horeb, He could have done so in the wind, earthquake, or fire. But He didn’t. He spoke with a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). God asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (v.13), as he hid from Jezebel who had threatened to kill him.
Elijah’s reply revealed what God already knew—the depth of his fear and discouragement. He said, in effect, “Lord, I have been most zealous when others have forsaken You. What do I get for being the only one standing up for You?” (see v.14).
Was Elijah really the only one serving God? No. God had “seven thousand in Israel . . . whose knees have not bowed to Baal” (v.18).
In the depths of our fear or despair, we too may think we’re the only one serving God. That may happen right after the height of a success, as it did for Elijah. Psalm 46:10 reminds us to “be still, and know” that He is God. The sooner we focus on Him and His power, the quicker we will see relief from our fear and self-pity.
Both the clashing cymbals of our failures and the loud trumpeting of our successes can drown out God’s still small voice. It’s time for us to quiet our hearts to listen for Him as we meditate on His Word.
October 23, 2009
We are located at 1407 Sherwood Avenue (off Hermitage Road behind the Diamond, or off Brook Road behind Children's Hospital).
The Gay Community Center of Richmond was founded in 1999 to provide support for the agencies and groups that serve Central Virginia's sexual and gender minority people, and to educate the public about the many issues facing our community. In 2004, GCCR purchased our facility and began renovations that culminated in April 2008 with the dedication of Virginia's first community center serving the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. GCCR is a leader in the effort to create a permanent and sustainable non-profit structure in Richmond dedicated to serving sexual and gender minority people and their allies. In March 2009, the GCCR Board of Directors received a strategic plan that calls for the creation of a permanent Program Committee to research and develop an expanded series of offerings, in association with other established community service agencies and groups.
GCCR is also an endowment for the community. Our facility was purchased and renovated and will be expanded through the generous support of hundreds of community activists, visionary corporate supporters and foundations that recognize the important role our community plays in Central Virginia’s life and culture.
The Gay Community Center of Richmond is the home for our community. Our safe and welcoming facility and the exciting programs we offer and host make Central Virginia a better place to live for all fair minded people. Join us. Come home.
Click here for more information.
The Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center works to end hunger and increase opportunities for all Pennsylvanians to meet their food needs with health and dignity. In existence for 30 years, formerly as the Pennsylvania Coalition for Food and Nutrition, the Center serves as an active voice to shape public food policy.
The Center's efforts focus on:
Linking people to food
Policy studies, news, alerts
Here's why ...
Providing food to meet emergency needs is not enough. For people who have few resources, achieving health and dignity requires consistent access to nutritious food through the normal routines of daily life. This goal can be reached if we all pay attention to the causes of hunger and food insecurity, whatever those may be.
Here's who ...
The Hunger Action network of supporting organizations includes nutrition educators, food banks, advocacy groups, charitable food providers, religous and educational institutions.
Hunger Action's Food Stamp Line helps people decide whether to apply for food stamp benefits, as well as help those who decide to apply do so.
Click here to find out more.
His first article in the Washington Blade was a front-page scoop, but Lou Chibbaro Jr. didn't claim credit. He wrote under a pseudonym, Lou Romano, because those were the days when being associated with a gay newspaper could ruin a reputation.
More than 30 years later, as Chibbaro chronicles momentous changes in the gay community, the press credentials hanging around his neck bear his name and a photo of his smiling face. The notes and files he has accumulated have become part of the "Lou Chibbaro Jr. Reporter Files," a 26-box repository of gay life and the gay rights movement now stored at George Washington University's library.
"It's an amazing evolution," Chibbaro said, pausing to take it all in. "You do it story by story, issue by issue, and try to get to the bottom of what's really happening."
The Washington Blade turns 40 this month, and no one has worked there longer than Chibbaro, 60, who has covered it all -- the political campaigns, the historic marches, the scandals, the rise of AIDS, the hate crimes and more than a few salacious murders.
Click here to read the rest of the story.
The God of peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:9
I laugh every time I hear the radio commercial that has a woman shouting to her friend in conversation. She’s trying to talk above the sounds of the thunderstorm in her own head. Ever since a storm damaged part of her home, that’s all she hears because her insurance company isn’t taking care of her claims.
I’ve heard thunderstorms in my head, and maybe you have too. It happens when a tragedy occurs—to us, to someone close to us, or to someone we hear about in the news. Our minds become a tempest of “what if” questions. We focus on all the possible bad outcomes. Our fear, worry, and trust in God fluctuate as we wait, we pray, we grieve, and we wonder what the Lord will do.
It’s natural for us to be fearful in a storm (literal or figurative). The disciples had Jesus right there in the boat with them, yet they were afraid (Matt. 8:23-27). He used the calming of the storm as a lesson to show them who He was—a powerful God who also cares for them.
We wish that Jesus would always calm the storms of our life as He calmed the storm for the disciples that day. But we can find moments of peace when we’re anchored to the truth that He’s in the boat with us and He cares.
October 22, 2009
The Senate passed groundbreaking legislation Thursday that would make it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
The expanded federal hate crimes law now goes to President Obama's desk. Obama has pledged to sign the measure, which was added to a $680 billion defense authorization bill.
President George W. Bush had threatened to veto a similar measure.
The bill is named for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teenager who died after being kidnapped and severely beaten in October 1998, and James Byrd Jr., an African-American man dragged to death in Texas the same year.
Several religious groups have expressed concern that a hate-crimes law could be used to criminalize conservative speech relating to subjects such as abortion or homosexuality.
Attorney General Eric Holder has asserted that any federal hate-crimes law would be used only to prosecute violent acts based on bias, as opposed to the prosecution of speech based on controversial racial or religious beliefs.
Holder called Thursday's 68-29 Senate vote to approve the defense spending bill that included the hate crimes measure "a milestone in helping protect Americans from the most heinous bias-motivated violence."
"The passage of this legislation will give the Justice Department and our state and local law enforcement partners the tools we need to deter and prosecute these acts of violence," he said in a statement.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the measure "our nation's first major piece of civil rights legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
"Too many in our community have been devastated by hate violence," Solmonese said in a statement. "We now can begin the important steps to erasing hate in our country."
Click here to read the rest of the CNN report.
Click here to find out more.
"Real Christianity Is Accepting"
A daily devotional for GLBT and other alienated Christians --with occasional personal observations.
I'm a gay Pentecostal preacher's kid who gratefully managed to survive coming out of the closet with my faith intact. Over the years, I've met dozens of other GLBT friends who were less fortunate. This blog is for them--and tens of thousands like them. I pray that something here will encourage all of us to renew or strengthen our commitment to Christ. This starts by looking to Him for acceptance, not those claiming to speak for Him. Instead of waiting for fellow Christians who reject us to become "gay-friendly," I hope and believe that we can overcome our issues by becoming "straight-friendly"--loving them as Jesus told us to do. On the personal side, I'm a writer who lives in Chicago with Walt, my partner of 18 years. Cody, our mischievous yellow longhaired cat, knows no end of ways to keep things hopping around our house.
Click here to check it out.
The first step is to get our guests off the streets. Next we encourage sobriety in our recovery program, a traditional 12 step recovery process. Then we move to training in social and job skills, education and self-esteem, and finally to independent living training in transitional housing.
The Siena/Francis House is unique in that it cultivates the kind of responsibility required for productive lives. A result of this initiative is that our shelter is run almost entirely by homeless people in recovery. It has proven to be an excellent motivating factor, with many guests in our wet shelter anxious to join our therapeutic community and acquire job skills and training, By daily interactions with people in the work/recovery program, guests who are still caught in the homelessness and addiction cycle can see clear evidence of the potential to regain control over their lives.
Our belief is that by finding value and untapped abilities in people society has overlooked, we help them find value in themselves. With education, job training, counseling, and peer mentoring, we hope to furnish the tools that help residents recover from the primary problems that brought them to the doors of the emergency shelter, reducing recidivism rates among the population served. The primary goal of the Siena/Francis House is to work towards successfully ending the homeless cycle rather than providing only short-term, stop-gap treatments.
Click here to find out more.
ore than 42 percent of the country's homeless youth identify as LGBT, and approximately 90 percent of that group are of color. No matter how one feels about homosexuality, anyone in our community should be shocked and ashamed by these statistics: Think about it: 38 percent of our nation’s homeless youth are children from our community and our churches. After teaching them that the Black Church is their family, their home, our churches are failing our children and families in their time of need.
Recently, I had the opportunity to reflect on the strengths of the Civil Rights Movement that allowed so many of us to exercise our full freedom under the law. The success of that movement is tied so closely to the Black Church that it is nearly impossible to separate the political from the spiritual effort. This weekend as part of the National Equality March, I participated and preached at events in support of full civil equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. It was a wonderful to see that I numbered among several powerful African-American faith voices who gathered in the spirit of our civil rights leaders.
And still, it shocks me that the National Equality March did not have more support from the Black Church. After all, it was our church leadership that taught us to interpret the Bible in such a way that we did not see our slave roots as parallels to “tribes of Hamm” or ourselves as inherently inferior. So why do we now allow narrow views of select biblical passages to justify our prejudice against LGBT Americans?
Despite our own history, the pulpits of many Black churches continue to justify prejudice against our same-gender loving sisters and brothers using the Bible. At best, a pastor might preach about homosexuality by saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” which mollifies some of those congregants with LGBT family or friends. But to our youth who know they are not heterosexual, such teachings cause great social and emotional harm. It may seem harmless or even protective to use such language, but it creates a climate that enables gay bashing and hate-based violence to grow and fester in our schools and communities. In many ways, these seemingly softer words are no different than those used by others who call on congregants to “exorcise the gay demons,” or to “evict Satan from their lives.”
Furthermore, this kind of behavior has only brought us tragedy. Our failure in the 1980s and 1990s to address the spread of HIV and AIDS with love, caring and understanding has led to what is now an epidemic in our community. It is not only men who have sex with men or who are on the down-low who are affected, but African-American women are the fastest growing group of people with AIDS – and too many of our children are either born HIV-infected or lose parents to this horrible disease. Religion-justified bigotry kept us from addressing this problem early on, and now the same type of prejudice is putting our LGBT children on the streets.
Click here from more from Rev. Monroe's essay at ReligionDispatches.
[Abraham] waited for the city . . . whose builder and maker is God. —Hebrews 11:10
Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, was diagnosed years ago with the terminal disease pulmonary fibrosis. Eventually he required prolonged bed rest. Bright used this time of quiet reflection to write a book called The Journey Home.
In his book, Bright quotes Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who said: “May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house, but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.”
Struck by Spurgeon’s perspective concerning his own terminal prognosis, Bright commented: “Knowing that heaven is our real home makes it easier to pass through the tough times here on earth. I have taken comfort often in the knowledge that the perils of a journey on earth will be nothing compared to the glories of heaven.”
Abraham, the friend of God, illustrates this same otherworldly orientation: “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country . . . for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9-10). His sojourn was that of a traveling foreigner, who by faith sought an eternal city constructed by God.
October 21, 2009
Click here to find out more.
In 1977, two brave and determined women—fresh out of law school and eager to make a difference—decided to put their knowledge to good use. As legal scholars, Donna Hitchens and Roberta Achtenberg saw the courtroom as a way to change the world. As lesbians, they had experienced frustrations and fears—both personal and professional—and didn’t want others to suffer the same. And as future parents, they knew they would face even more challenges ahead.
On this foundation, the National Center for Lesbian Rights was born.
That was over three decades ago. Today, that pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to advance the civil and human rights of LGBT people continues. Each year, through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education, NCLR helps more than 5,000 LGBT people and their families nationwide. And our precedent-setting case victories literally re-write the law, changing the legal landscape for all LGBT people and families across the nation. For three decades we’ve led historic cases, and today we are still trailblazing in pursuit of justice, fairness, and legal protections for all LGBT people.
Making change means changing everything.
From a humble yet tenacious focus on the specifics of adoption law, to a broad vision covering almost a dozen diverse issue areas, NCLR has expanded its life—and law—changing work in order to advance the legal landscape for every LGBT person. No stone will go unturned in pursuit of our goal of achieving full and equal access to civil and human rights for all. Our programs focusing on employment, immigration, youth, elder law, transgender law, marriage, relationship protections, reproductive rights, and family law create safer homes, safer jobs, and a more just world.
Click here to find out more.
Open Food Bank 2nd Saturday Monthly from 10:00AM to 12:00pm
Every month we have fresh bread, eggs, canned vegetables, proteins, pastas etc.
Fresh or frozen meat and fruit on a limited basis as donations come in.
Assorted clothing, toiletries, etc as supplies last.
No income qualifier needed but you will be asked to fill out a one time Intake form for our records.
Click here to find out more.
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. —Matthew 28:20
When Jesus sent His disciples out, He gave them this promise: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Literally, the word always means “all the days,” according to Greek scholars Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.
Jesus didn’t simply say, “always,” but “all the days.” That takes into account all our various activities, the good and bad circumstances surrounding us, the varied responsibilities we have through the course of our days, the storm clouds and the sunshine.
Our Lord is present with us no matter what each day brings. It may be a day of joy or of sadness, of sickness or of health, of success or of failure. No matter what happens to us today, our Lord is walking beside us, strengthening us, loving us, filling us with faith, hope, and love. As He envelops us with quiet serenity and security, our foes, fears, afflictions, and doubts begin to recede. We can bear up in any setting and circumstance because we know the Lord is at hand, just as He told Paul in Acts 18:10, “I am with you.”
October 20, 2009
Marriage is now a minority lifestyle among black people. African American women in all socioeconomic categories are the group least likely to marry, most likely to divorce, and most likely to bear and rear children alone. And although marriage has fallen most precipitously among black people, it has declined throughout the United States. Since 1970, marriage rates in the United States have dropped more than 15% overall, and divorce rates have climbed steadily during this same time.
Fewer people who can marry are choosing to do so. More people who do marry are choosing to exit. This is not solely about selfish individuals unwilling to sacrifice for joint commitment. Marriage itself is still bolstered by a troubling cultural mythology, a history of domination, and a contemporary set of gendered expectations that render it both unsatisfying and unstable for many people.
In short, despite the fierce battles for marriage, contemporary heterosexual marriage is a bit of a mess. The current state of straight marriage is a reminder that simply having the right to marry is not sufficient to generate social equality, create economic stability, or ensure personal fulfillment. Marriage is a crucial civil right, but not a panacea. Even as progressives fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples, we need also to reflect on marriage as a social and political institution in itself.
Our work must be not just about marriage equality, it should also be about equal marriages, and about equal rights and security for those who opt out of marriage altogether.
I know from personal experience that a bad marriage is enough to rid you of the fear of death. But this experience allows me suspect that a good marriage must be among the most powerful, life-affirming, emotionally fulfilling experiences available to human beings. I support marriage equality not only because it is unfair, in a legal sense, to deny people the privileges of marriage based on their identity; but also because it also seems immoral to forbid some human beings from opting into this emotional experience.
We must do more than simply integrate new groups into an old system. Let's use this moment to re-imagine marriage and marriage-free options for building families, rearing children, crafting communities, and distributing public goods.
Click here for much more from The Nation.
Working in concert, the three agencies created an array of services to people infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS, meeting basic needs as well as more sophisticated ones, while simultaneously providing information and skill-building programs to help others prevent further infection.
In 1997, again responding to the needs of their clients and community, PACT, Shanti, and TAP merged under the name Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) creating one of the largest nonprofit consolidations in the history of Pima County. SAAF continues the traditions of PACT, Shanti, and TAP, providing direct services and programs in safe, supportive environments that enhance the quality of life for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; assisting people in avoiding HIV infection; and empowering people to lead healthy, productive lives.
In June 2000, the Arizona Department of Health Services named SAAF the state’s AIDS Service Organization of the Year. At the heart of our mission is the conviction that people living with HIV/AIDS have the right to determine what services they require.
In July 2007, SAAF celebrates its 10 year Anniversary as a merged AIDS service organization with a history of service going back to 1985.
Today, SAAF continues to be the only community-based organization in Southern Arizona providing case management and ancillary support services for people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, culturally appropriate prevention and education programs to reduce the rate of infection, and extensive trainings and opportunities for community members to fill critical support roles.
Click here to find out more.
Greetings BCF Family & Friends!
THIS HAS BEEN A SEASON OF TRANSITION, A SEASON OF TRANSFORMATION AND CHANGE! God is shifting the entire world and the stage is now set for the great epic endtime unfolding that will ultimately REVEAL JESUS CHRIST as King of kings and Lord of lords! Like King David, he was anointed at a very young age to be king of Israel, but it took many years and many transformations and transitions in his life before he was ready to emerge out of the cave and BE all that God had made him to be! And so it is with you and I, and so it has been with this GLBTS Christian Movement, and so it is with the true Church of Jesus Christ! God has had a lot of molding, shaping, chiseling, and refining of our hearts, our minds, our CHARACTER before we were ready to walk in the kind of anointing and power that He intends for the Saints in this hour.
The text above shows the same kind of transition and transformation that the Apostle Paul went through. Here was a HARD AGAINST THE FAITH man, Saul- ready to vehemently destroy God's people when he has a sudden encounter with the risen Christ and the impact of that encounter with Jesus CHANGED EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM! Notice the text says that he "grew MORE powerful". Wow! As difficult as the changes were to go through, ultimately he became more FULL of the anointing and wisdom, so that he became the Apostle sent to the gentiles and was used by God to transform continents of people! I believe this is the kind of relationship encounter Jesus has for you and I!! If you have never had such an experience with the Lord Jesus- then ASK Him to reveal Himself to you, believe Him, and seek Him with all of your heart! God is transitioning US to walk in greater anointing power than we have ever known! Believe it!
Worship service was just wonderful yesterday, and Brother Jim Johnson delivered the message on God's transitioning us from ordinary to extraordinary men and women of God! What a timely message for us all, especially with all of the ministry opportunities that we all are given throughout our day that can make a transforming difference for others! Let your light shine before all people so that they can SEE Christ and find Him through you!
We are only three weeks away from our Fall Renewal/Outpouring. The anticipation is thick and we are ready! Please continue to pray for our congregation as we step up and serve. GRACE, GRACE and MORE GRACE! LOVE, LOVE and MORE LOVE! We also covet your prayers for all of the ministers and Five-fold leadership who are coming to impart to everyone. Pray for everyone's finances to abound and God's gracious provision to manifest for all those who are sacrificing and sowing to come.
Have a wonderful week and stay close to the Lord DAILY, minute by minute, hour by hour! The steps of a righteous man/woman are ordered of God and He is leading us into paths of righteousness for His name's sake!
You are LOVED, you are ANOINTED of God, you CAN DO ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens you!
In Christ's faithful love and SHALOM-with nothing missing and nothing broken in your life!
He is the author of a book nominated this year for two Lambda Literary Awards, "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth".
Besen made international news when he photographed "ex-gay" poster boy John Paulk cruising in a gay bar in Washington, D.C.
Besen is a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian advocacy group. He has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, The Roseanne Show, CNN's Talk Back Live and The Point, Fox's O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, Hard Copy, MSNBC News, PAX's Faith Under Fire and Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Wayne has also spoken at many leading universities, including Vanderbilt, Harvard Law School, John Hopkins, and the University of Florida.
Prior to working at HRC, Besen worked in corporate communications for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and as a press secretary for democratic Maine State Senator Sean Faircloth's bid for the U.S. Senate.
In 1992 Besen co-founded Sons & Daughters of America (SDA), a gay and lesbian public awareness campaign based in Fort Lauderdale. He currently serves as the Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, an organization founded to combat the 'ex-gay' myth and right wing propaganda.
Besen graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in broadcast journalism in 1993. He is a native of Fort Lauderdale, but has also lived in Houston, Washington DC, New York and graduated from Kaiser High School in Honolulu. His hobbies include playing and watching basketball, traveling, reading and writing.
Click here to check out his blog.
Amos House is known for its soup kitchen but we’re much more than a meal. Amos House is people and a promise. A promise to always be here, providing direct support for men, women and children in Rhode Island who are hungry, homeless and in crisis. We feed as many as 800 guests a day at our soup kitchen, the largest in the state. And we provide vital social services, permanent and transitional housing, job training programs and a micro-business which serves and empowers people right here in our community.
Since 1976, our dedicated staff, board of directors, volunteers and donors have accomplished so many great things:
We’ve served more than two million meals.
We’ve provided emergency assistance to more than 500,000 men, women and children.
We’ve secured ten properties which have housed more than 2000 people over the years.
We’ve graduated over 200 men and women from ACE, the Amos Culinary Education program.
We’ve provided more than 200,000 nutritional meals to school-age children and high quality catering service for over 350 business meetings and events. All through our More Than A Meal micro-business.
Our goal is to practice our motto: “Helping people help themselves.”
Click here to find out more.
To be a congressional spouse, one must be, above all else, flexible. So I was told when I arrived in D.C. 10 months ago. At the time of my introduction, I was something of a novelty among the spouses. At 28 years old, I was one of the youngest spouses in the U.S. Congress. Jared is the second-youngest congressman. Almost immediately, I was mistaken for a staff aide; then again, for a son designated to attend in place of a spouse. More times than I care to remember, I was told, "But you're so young!"
Rarely has anyone seen me for what I actually am. I don my "Congressional Spouse" lapel pin proudly and hope each time not to be questioned, yet I still receive sideways glances and orders to produce an official ID. It is as if my story is too unbelievable to be true, that I am an interloper, someone in a place I do not belong.
Perhaps this has to do with my being the partner of the first openly gay man to win a seat as a nonincumbent. I have noticed among those I meet a tincture of incredulity; a reluctance to accept that which has not been seen before.
Washington is a place steeped in traditions, some fine, others deplorable. Both my partner and I, in many ways, are a challenge to the outdated notions that have reigned for so long. And just like those who arrive uninvited, from time to time, our experiences highlight differences rather than similarities.
Sometimes we are welcome; other times, our presence seems to inspire resentment and tension. Even among a group that is known for the unusual lifestyle of its members, ours seems to stand out. And yet, we are very much the same as any congressional family.
We take time, when we have it, to enjoy dinners together, to play video games, to walk our new puppy and to celebrate life's happy moments. Like any couple working to make things right, we check in with each other to be sure it all hasn't gotten to be too much.
Click here to read more of the CNN story, including Rep. Polis' view of his partner's role.
This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. —Mark 7:6
Smile,” said Jay as we drove to church. “You look so unhappy.” I wasn’t; I was just thinking, and I can’t do two things at once. But to make him happy, I smiled. “Not like that,” he said. “I mean a real smile.”
His comment got me thinking even more intently. Is it reasonable to expect a real smile from someone who’s being issued a command? A real smile comes from inside; it’s an expression of the heart, not of the face.
We settle for phony smiles in photographs. We’re happy when everyone cooperates at the photographer’s studio and we get at least one picture with everyone smiling. After all, we’re creating an icon of happiness, so it doesn’t have to be genuine.
But phoniness before God is unacceptable. Whether we’re happy or sad or mad, honesty is essential. God doesn’t want false expressions of worship any more than He wants false statements about people or circumstances (Mark 7:6).
Changing our facial expression is easier than changing our attitude, but true worship requires that all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength agree that God is worthy of praise. Even when our circumstances are sad, we can be grateful for God’s mercy and compassion, which are worth more than the “lip service” of a phony smile.
October 19, 2009
The Pride Collective and Community Center will realize its mission in part by providing space for GLBT and allied groups to meet and assisting with advertising the existence and schedules of these groups.
Since opening, the Pride Collective has been busy establishing contacts with persons and agencies in the Fargo-Moorhead area who provide services to the GLBT community and with fundraising activities to ensure the continued operation and financial health of the center. A number of groups now meet at the Pride Collective, and we have an office as well as a separate social/meeting space. We at the Pride Collective look forward to expanding our services to better serve the needs of GLBT people in our area.
Click here to find out more.
We encourage you to view the worship section of yesterday's service and previous sermons and worship also on the UStream site. You can also visit the BCF website.
Since then it has grown to provide coverage of the GLBT community for all of Tennessee. With a target audience of more than 250,000 people, O&AN provides in-depth local news coverage along with political, business, feature, sports and entertainment stories.
Click here to check it out.
Clients visit the Food Pantry when they have an urgent situation, and we work together to find a solution. In addition to distributing food, the Food Pantry helps individuals and families determine their needs and become more self-sufficient. The Food Pantry facilitates clients’ links with local agencies for budgeting assistance, food preparation, medical issues and employment assistance. The Food Pantry taps into existing community resources that supplement limited budgets by providing school supplies and medicines (both over-the-counter and prescription).
Food is distributed based on nutritional guidelines, family size, special dietary needs and the availability of provisions. Types of food distributed include a variety of nonperishable items; perishable items, including frozen meat and fresh milk; and formula and baby food. Food sources include donated; purchased; and reclaimed food from manufacturers, purveyors, growers and caterers.
The Food Pantry offers clients more than food. Our clients routinely request personal hygiene items, including shampoo, soap, toothpaste, diapers and more, so we also welcome these donations.
Click here to find out more.
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is “high-sounding, pious rhetoric.” The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn’t. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to “Roll on over or we’ll roll on over you!” Time waits for no one.
There is much, much more posted on the blog A piece of my mind.
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Ps. 105:3
The second fruit of the Spirit is joy. It is no mere accident that "joy" follows the first, love. Joy is a by-product of love. If you concentrate on getting joy, it will elude you. But if you concentrate on getting love, then joy will seek you out -- you will be automatically joyful.
The nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit are not natural attributes, but supernatural ones. You cannot manufacture them -- they just appear in our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way within us. I know many Christians who find it difficult to embrace the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. They not only don't expect joy -- they don't want it. One grim Christian said to me once: "At the heart of our faith is a Cross. This means we ought to be spending our time weeping, not laughing."Well, it is true that there is a Cross at the heart of the Christian faith, and that following Christ involves some rigorous self-denials, but it does not alter -- and cannot alter -- the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. We cannot deny that there is a good deal of suffering in Christianity, but beneath the suffering is a joy that will, if we allow it, burst upward through everything. I am bound to say that if there is no joy, there is no Christianity, for Christianity is inherent joy. The empty tomb takes away our empty gloom. We have an Easter morning in our faith, and that means there is always a reason to rejoice.
October 18, 2009
About 2 months ago, I joined several local and national organizers in planning a march on washington. It was called the National Equality March. About 30 of us met locally every week leading up to the big event. We talked strategy and we planned fundraisers, etc. We encouraged each other to reach out to everyone in our sphere of influence to try and get as many people as possible to attend this historic march!Now, I know some of you may think, "Why bother? Nothing ever changes!". Or you might think, "Why go to DC when no legislators are going to be there?". I'll tell you why...
I decided to go on this journey because I have become tired of sitting by and watching others work for my civil rights. I live in a fairly metropolitan area. My partner and I are treated pretty well. We don't fear anyone hurting us for being who we are.However, if I were to become sick and have to be hospitalized, I'm not sure my partner would be able to even visit me, much less be involved in my care. If I were to die tomorrow, she wouldn't get social security death benefits. If I had a pension, she wouldn't be entitled to it. It's not fair or just that someone who spent 16 years with me and loved me as any husband or wife would love their spouse should be treated as a virtual stranger by the system because we don't have the legal right to marry.
Not long ago, a transgendered woman and her friend were stabbed on the streets of Washington, DC. She wasn't trying to "flaunt" herself. She wasn't doing anything wrong. She was just walking down the street. Tyli'a "NaNa Boo" Mack was killed.It's not right or just for someone to be harrassed or beaten or killed in the street because they look different or are different. It's wrong and it has to stop.
When I read the Bible, I don't see Jesus saying that we should treat everyone equally with love, except gay people or black people or Jews, etc. Jesus said to love our neighbor and to me, my neighbor is anyone I come across. We need to remember to love one another and leave judging to God.So, I joined the March to speak out for all gblt people. I joined to let everyone know that I will not tolerate the hateful language that comes out of some in the Church. I will no longer keep silent when I hear someone say "those people" or "faggot". I won't do it. I don't care who you are, you do not have the right to be hateful or mean to me or anyone else. In America, you don't have a right to hurt me or anyone else because you don't like the looks of us or what we wear or who we hang out with or what you think the Bible says about us. Whatever the Bible says, it also says that God is love and that His followers need to be love to this world.
In my next post, I will talk about the process of planning the National Equality March. Thanks for listening!
The Rainbow Project is the only health organisation for gay and bisexual men in Northern Ireland and we operate two centres, one in Belfast and one in Foyle, L'Derry.
The Rainbow Project, like the six colours in the Rainbow flag, has six objectives:
Red – Information and Support
To provide information on behalf of and to gay and bisexual men and support individual men on issues around sexual orientation.
Orange – Education and Training
To provide education and training to gay and bisexual men and other community, voluntary and statutory agencies across Northern Ireland.
Yellow – Health Promotion
To prevent the further spread of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) amongst gay and bisexual men and promote physical and mental health.
Blue – Counselling
To provide counselling services to gay and bisexual men.
Green – Advocacy
To advocate on issues relating to the mental, emotional and physical health needs of gay and bisexual men.
Violet - Research
To complete regular social research into issues affecting gay and bisexual men across Northern Ireland.
Click here to find out more.
SNN ranking: 5 stars
What is the one aspect of this broken world that, when you see it, touch it, get near it, you just can't stand? Very likely, that firestorm of frustration reflects your holy discontent, a reality so troubling that you are thrust off the couch and into the game. It's during these defining times when your eyes open to the needs surrounding you and your heart hungers to respond that you hear God say, "I feel the same way about this problem. Now, let's go solve it together!"
Bill Hybels invites you to consider the dramatic impact your life will have when you allow your holy discontent to fuel instead of frustrate you. Using examples from the Bible, his own life, and the experiences of others, Hybels shows how you can find and feed your personal area of holy discontent, fight for it when things get risky, and follow it when it takes a mid-course turn. As you live from the energy of your holy discontent, you'll fulfill your role in setting what is wrong in this world right!
Click here to purchase the book and read customer reviews
Food is free to the families who need it but the agencies pay between 0 and 18 cents per pound to help compensate for shipping and storage costs incurred by the HAFB.
The HAFB's mission is to help feed hungry people by distributing nutritious food and grocery product through our pantry/agency network. The HAFB envisions a future where no person in the service area goes hungry.
The HAFB provides product to food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, senior citizen programs, youth programs, and residential programs that know and directly serve the needs of hungry people. Member agencies must be private, non-profit and have an IRS 501 (c) (3).
Sadly, hunger remains a serious problem in the Tri-State area. Currently, the food bank helps feed more than 85,000 people each month. These people are grandparents, kids, moms and dads that struggle to meet their basic needs. Many of the families served by the food bank are the "working poor" - people who work hard and still have to choose between eating and other basic necessities such as medicine and housing.
Click here to find out more.
Don't forget to click on the tab on the upper right of this blog and leave your prayer requests in the comment section so we can petition the Lord for your needs.
If you know of a service we should add to our list, please send an e-mail and share it with us.
Live Sunday Services (all times Eastern)
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren, 10:00 AM
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa, 11:00 AM
VA-Believers Covenant Fellowship, Vienna, 11:00 AM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham, 11:45 AM
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem, 12:00 PM
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa, 1:00 PM
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach, 1:00 PM
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore, 1:30 PM
Canada, Vancouver-Christ Alive Community Church, 10:15 PM
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program) 4:30 PM
AL-Covenant Community Church, Birmingham
CA-Glory Tabernacle Christian Center, Long Beach
FL-Church of the Holy SpiritSong, Ft. Lauderdale
FL-Potters House International Fellowship, Tampa
GA-Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
MI-Christ Community Church, Spring Lake
MI-Renaissance Unity Church, Warren
NC-Church of the Holy Spirit Fellowship, Winston-Salem
OK-Expressions Community Fellowship, Oklahoma City
OK-Diversity Christian Fellowship International, Tulsa
TX-The One Church, Garland
WA-Living Water Fellowship, Kenmore
AZ-Community Church of Hope, Phoenix
AK-Open Door Community Church, Sherwood
CA-Christ Chapel of Long Beach
CA-Christ Chapel of the Valley, North Hollywood
FL-Beacon of Hope Ministries, Dunedin (Living the Good Life radio program)
FL-New Hope Christian Center, Pensecola
GA-New Covenant Church of Atlanta
MD-Kittamaqundi Community, Columbia
OH-Emmanuel Fellowship Church, Akron
OH-All Saints Community Church, Cortland
TN-Covenant of the Cross-Madison
TX-New Hope Fellowship Church-Dallas
TX-White Rock Community Church-Dallas
TX-Community Gospel Church-Houston
TX-Through Him Fellowship-Houston
South Africa-Deo Gloria Family Church
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