October 10, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Obama's HRC Speech--reactions updted Sunday AM

President Obama spoke to the Human Rights Campaign dinner within the last hour.

Here is the link to C-SPAN's video of his entire speech.

Here is the Associated Press summary of the speech from MSNBC's website.

Here is CNN's summary.

A summary from ThinkProgress.

A skeptical response from Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend.

On the other hand, HRC President Joe Solmonese was practically giddy.

The Washington Blade gave Obama's speech an F.

AMERICAblog thinks we've heard it all before.

The New York Times weighs in.

Pam's House Blend has video of a spirited post-speech panel discussion on CNN.

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You thinks its all about an educated view of the Constitution.

Our take: As usual, a fine speech from Obama. He made some very strong statements of support for the LGBT community, some of which he made during his campaign for the White House. We'll see if he is soon ready to take action.

LGBT Helping Hands 10/10/09-Triangle Project (Mowbray, South Africa)

Triangle Project offers a wide range of services for the LGBT community. These include a variety of different health services, such as sexual health clinics, counselling and the helpline, public education and training services, an Educator’s Awareness Project, community outreach and safe spaces, and facilities such as the Drop-In Centre and the Gay and Lesbian library.

Gay & Lesbian Library and Book Clubs
This specialised library provides the LGBT community and the general public with easy access to up-to-date information and literature on LGBT issues. The library is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10h00-14h00, Mondays and Tuesdays from 10h00-19h30. First Wednesday every month from 10h00 to 19h30. Triangle Project is also linked to a book club for gay men. These book clubs meet regularly and provide a pleasant and safe place for people to socialise and share access to LGBT reading material.

Drop In Centre
Our offices in Mowbray provide a safe space for all LGBTs who need assistance. Pop in for coffee, browse the books in the library, meet others for a chat or come and type up your CV. Open during business hours and until 19h00 on Tuesdays.

Media and Materials
We provide a range of literature on a wide variety of subjects relevant to LGBT lifestyles and issues of sexual orientation. These are available for distribution on request or may be viewed online under our Information section.

Triangle Project also participates in interviews and discussions on radio and television and often makes submissions to the print media on issues related to sexual orientation. We produce a quarterly newsletter and send regular email updates to keep the LGBT community and the general public informed about our activities.

Triangle Project Events
Triangle Project hosts and participates in events throughout the year that bring news of our services to the public. Public events and happenings provide an opportunity for members of the lesbian and gay community to celebrate with each other and the broader community in an open, often light-hearted, safe and accepting context. Past events include the Sex & Kultuur Festival, Day of Dialogue, Cape Town Pride, the Community Award and the annual Triangle Extravaganza. Triangle Project also participates in community based events and activities by doing talks and providing displays and information tables related to sexual orientation.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Words 10/10/09-God, Have You Forsaken Us?

From the HRC's Out In Scripture series, scripture taken from the Common Lectionary:

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proper 23), Year B

This week's lectionary Bible passages: Job 23:1-6, 16-17 and Psalm 22:1-15 or Amos 5:6-7, 10-15 and Psalm 90:12-17 (not included in this conversation); Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

Click here to read this week's commentary and questions for meditation/discussion.

SNN Recommends 10/10/09-Open Door Community Church, Sherwood, AK

Open Door Community Church is a nondenominational Christian Church.

Many have been bruised in the name of "religion." We believe that it is time for the healing to begin! Our worship is contemporary, meaningful, uplifting, and fun.

Open Door Community Churches offer a message of reconciliation and bridgebuilding between the Christian community and those who have felt alienated from it through law-filled teachings not based on the grace we believe Christ intended. We exist to proclaim God's unconditional love to all and to provide fellowship, friendship and spiritual opportunities to all.

The leadership at Open Door Community Churches are excited to see gay and non-gay Christians worshiping together as one. We believe that gay and non-gay Christians can and should come to the table of the Lord together, side by side, without labels. We believe that as these two historically separate communities join together at the cross of Jesus Christ a healing and a new understanding of oneness in Christ occurs in both groups. We are part of a growing revival of grace-filled Christians transcending either the terms "conservative" or "liberal". Above all things, we are a GRACE CHURCH!

We are a family embracing the full spectrum of race, age, gender, family status, sexual orientation, economic status and denominational background.

We invite all who have a heart to follow Jesus to join us on this exciting journey of bridge-building and ministry!

Click here to find out more, including their fall conference on October 16-18.

Encouraging Music 10/10/09 "With All I Am" by Hillsong

Matthew 25 Resource 10/10/09-Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger ACF International was founded in France in 1979 among the so-called “second generation” humanitarian organizations— those agencies whose identities were forged in response to the perceived limits of traditional humanitarianism. Seeking a less deferential role for humanitarian actors, these organizations sought a brand of humanitarian politics that could influence political actors and outcomes, not just mitigate atrocities on the ground. The resulting organizational shift revolutionized how humanitarian professionals responded to international crises and interacted with key actors, institutions, and agencies.

Action Against Hunger’s founding took this evolution even further. While hunger had been addressed in general campaigns against poverty and poor public health, Action Against Hunger was established specifically to combat hunger worldwide, leading the way in defining the terrain, developing appropriate strategies, conducting vital field research, and delivering life-saving programs.

Named for the original member of the International Network, Action contre la Faim, or ACF, the ACF International Network shares an overall vision of a world without hunger, collaborating closely and sharing human resources, logistics, and technical capacity. As a non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious organization, our International Network is committed to principled humanitarian action as outlined in our International Charter of Principles: Independence, Neutrality, Non-Discrimination, Free and Direct Access to Victims, Professionalism, and Transparency.

Click here to find out more,

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart Rants Against Don't Ask, Don't Tell

This is one of the better pieces/rants that I've seen from Jon Stewart as he rips on the Obama administration for not acting on the President's campaign promise to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gay After Tomorrow
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Daily Devotional 10/10/09 Finding Peace In Him

From: Reflections

Matthew 6:33-34, NIV: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It is truly God's desire to work within our life situations, bringing us peace and resolution before, during and after our storms. We often frantically search our minds for answers. We might even pray first and then, praying aside, we begin to search our minds for the answers. But we should keep in mind that there are many times that we have no answers on our own, and when we reach the end of our list of possibilities we will become worried and frustrated--and worried and scared--and worried. . . You get the idea. Yet rather than finding comfort once we have found an answer, God would have us find our comfort and then find the answer. For as we seek Him first, we find His peace and comfort and we release worry and anxiety, and then our eyes are open to see His answers for our situations.

October 09, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/9/09- Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE, New York City)

Despite advances in LGBT civil rights, many senior care providers never stop to consider that their older clients may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) - and even those who do may not know how to provide services in culturally-sensitive ways. As a result, LGBT seniors often avoid seeking needed services out of fear of discrimination. The tendency for LGBT seniors to go "back in the closet" is particularly pronounced in situations where they are most vulnerable - such as when accessing home health care or residing in assisted living or residential care facilities. One study indicated that LGBT seniors may be as much as five times less likely to access needed health and social services because of their fear of discrimination from the very people who should be helping them.

This type of social isolation has an enormous impact in the health and wellbeing of LGBT seniors. With LGBT seniors twice as likely to live alone than heterosexual seniors, more than four times as likely to have no children, the informal caregiving support we assume is in place for older adults may not be there for LGBT elders.

SAGE is the world's oldest and largest non-profit agency dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender older people. Since its inception, SAGE has pioneered programs and services for the aging LGBT community, provided technical assistance and training to expand opportunities for LGBT older people across the country, and provided a national voice on LGBT aging issues. In 2005 SAGE became the first official LGBT delegate at a White House Conference on Aging. In 2008, SAGE presented its Fourth National Conference on LGBT Aging, entitled "It's About Time" sponsored by AARP.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Words 10/9/09-Seeing People Through the Eyes of God

If you have not given your life to Jesus, this video by best-selling author and popular speaker Lee Strobel will help you understand that God loves you and is not waiting to smack you upside the head for your sins.

If you have given your life to Christ, this video will help you understand how God wants you to approach those who have not yet done so.

Click here to watch the video by journalist now evangelist Lee Stroebel.

SNN Recommends (just for fun) 10/9/09-Hey Nunnie Nunnie

We saw these entertaining (and somewhat twisted) ladies at the Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD last year, and had the chance to subject, er, introduce our best friends to them this year. Here is a clip of "Hey Nunnie Nunnie." If you don't enjoy satirical religious humor, then move along, there's nothing to see here.

Encouraging Music 10/9/09 "Daystar" by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Matthew 25 Resource 10/9/09-Harvard Square Homeless Shelter

We are a student-run homeless shelter currently operating out of the University Lutheran Church in Harvard Square that serves 24 men and women every night for the five coldest months of winter. We strive to provide our guests with resources and services that will help them successfully transition into housing. In the meantime, we hope to ensure a sense of dignity that is often absent when people have been maltreated or stigmatized because they are homeless.

While we love the work that we do, the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter exists with the hope that one day soon our services will no longer be needed.

Work Contract: At a given time, up to six guests will be a part of this transitional housing program. Those guests receive long-term beds, save money, and actively search for housing.

Resource Advocacy: Trained staff are available each evening to help guests with a variety of resources. Through this program, guests receive guidance in navigating the labyrinthine maze of applying for governmental benefits such as medical insurance, SSI, food stamps, Section 8, and more. Additionally our staff will help guests in job search and finding affordable housing options.

Street Outreach: Street Team goes out into Harvard Square 6 times a week to provide individuals with basic amenities (i.e. food, blankets, and socks), distribute information about local shelters, and build relationships with people sleeping outside.

Computers: Three computers with internet connection and a printer are available for guest throughout their stay.

Laundry: We maintain a washer and dryer for guest use.

Meals: Guests at the shelter receive breakfast and dinner; blankets and food are available at the door for guests and non-guests.

Referrals: If no beds are available at HSHS, staff will make referrals to other area shelters upon request.

Click here to find out more.

Another LGBT-Favorable Court Ruling--in Montana

From Queerty:

When the Montana Supreme Court yesterday upheld a lesbian mom's right to custody over two children she shared with a partner, the 6-1 decision didn't just secure a gay parent's rights to see her kids, but set a new tone in the state's high court: gays are equal, and the law must treat them as such.

The scene was Michelle Kulstad's joint custody fight over a a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl she adopted (in 2001 and 2004, respectively) with now-former partner Barbara Maniaci, who left Kulstad and married a man. The twist: Montana state law prohibits two same-sex partners in a relationship to adopt, which meant Maniaci retained legal custody, effectively letting Kulstad parent the kids at Maniaci's pleasure (in the law's eyes). When the pair split, Kulstad in January 2007 filed for joint custody; Maniaci filed a motion to dismiss. The case went through the ringer (during which the former partners shared custody) before ending up in front of seven Supreme Court justices.

And while Justice Brian Morris wrote the majority opinion ("Maniaci cannot rewrite the history of the fact that she and Kulstad lived together for more than 10 years and jointly raised the minor children in the same household."), it was Justice James Nelson who went one step further.
In an additional concurring decision, Nelson wrote: "I remain absolutely convinced … that homosexuals are entitled to enjoy precisely the same civil and natural rights as heterosexuals, as a matter of constitutional law. … [The ruling shows gays are ] equal participants with heterosexuals in our society … with exactly the same civil and natural rights, lesbian and gay citizens will continue to suffer homophobic discrimination. Regrettably, this sort of discrimination is both socially acceptable and politically popular. Sadly, this case represents yet another instance in which fellow Montanans, who happen to be lesbian or gay, are forced to battle for their fundamental rights to love who they want, to form intimate associations, to form family relationships, and to have and raise children – all elemental, natural rights that are accorded, presumptively and without thought or hesitation, to heterosexuals."

First Texas, now Montana. The court rulings in both states are far from closed cases, but just the specter of LGBT equality being raised in two right-wing strongholds is certainly encouraging.

Click here to read more of the story at Queerty.

Daily Devotional 10/9/09 World Gone Mad

From: Reflections

Matthew 24:6, NIV: You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

Look around these days, and you may wonder what the world is coming to. The simple answer might be, that it is coming to an end. When, however, is completely up to our Lord—not presidents, politicians, priests, or any other people. And though the world around us may seem to be falling apart, let not your hearts be troubled, God is in control. We know our Lord could come tomorrow, or perhaps not even in our lifetime. Yet we know with certainty He will come, and we know without question, the world will come to an end. At times, it is easy to see why we would become preoccupied with the end of the world. But worry and over-speculation are not fitting for the mind of a believer. We acknowledge what is, but trust that He is greater. We continue on in Christ, and we continue to love God and to love others. The whole world may be crumbling around us, yet we need not fear, but simply find peace in the eyes of Christ. For our home is in Him. And He will never be shaken.

October 08, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/8/09-Identity Inc (Alaska)

Identity, Inc. envisions a world where all people are free to express and be proud of their sexual and gender identities.

Identity, Inc. builds the infrastructure for a strong Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allied community in Alaska through its core programs:

* The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Anchorage
* The statewide Helpline
* NorthView, a quarterly publication
* Youth Program Support
* Identity Advocacy Team
* PrideFest
* The Pride Conference

Our goal is to strengthen and affirm our community.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Words 10/8/09-Material Things

From the Christian Century:

Mark 10:17-31 (NIV)
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

This is why Jesus' words in Mark are like a "two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit." It's always tempting to look away when Jesus speaks to us of wealth, convincing ourselves that the rich young ruler is someone else who makes more money than we do. In subtle ways we say to Jesus, "Surely not I, Teacher."

Jesus' conversation with the rich young man presents two versions of the material life: the first is the young man's life of wealth and status. This is the kind of material life our culture trains us to long for, whether we are the immigrant hoping for a better life or the uber-wealthy person trying to "make do" with a 20,000-square-foot house.

Jesus called the young ruler to a new kind of material life, a life given to serving the poor with the "materials" of tears, blood and sweat. Clearly, this life is not marked by the kinds of happiness used to sell goods. But we do honor Jesus' call in our culture when we honor volunteers and all those who serve others.

Jesus was not calling the rich young man to an esoteric spiritualism, a gnostic abandonment of the physical world. Instead, he was calling him to move from one kind of materialism, the self-absorbed variety, to one that focuses on others' needs, including their material needs.

Click here to read the rest of the essay from The Christian Century.

SNN Recommends 10/8/09-More Light Presbyterians

Our Mission...

Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Who Are We?

We are individual members and congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who are faithful to God's call and believe that God continues to open new understandings of scripture and the Word in the life of Christ. As a Christian community, we believe that the church must seek to live out those understandings in our life together. Our work is supported by an elected board or lay and ordained persons and full-time staff.

What Does MLP Do?

* Provide a ministry of care for inclusive congregations and build new MLP Chapters around the country through the outreach of the National Field Organizer;
* Educate individuals, churches, and presbyteries on GLBT issues through published materials and programs;
* Train leaders in congregations and presbyteries to advocate for the full participation of GLBT Christians in the life and ministry of the Presbyterian Church;
* Fund proactive work in passing legislation that eradicates homophobia and injustice in the Presbyterian Church and in society;
* Partner with other faith traditions to support the GLBT community in matters of justice;
* Bear witness to the individual God-given gifts of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the Presbyterian Church.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Music 10/8/09 "Sea Inside of Me" by Shawn Thomas

Matthew 25 Resource 10/8/09-Meals on Wheels

The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the oldest and largest organization in the United States representing those who provide meal services to people in need. MOWAA works toward the social, physical, nutritional, and economic betterment of vulnerable Americans. The Meals On Wheels Association of America provides the tools and information its programs need to make a difference in the lives of others.

MOWAA is a Member organization, and its Membership comprises of Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. MOWAA Member programs throughout the country provide nutritious meals and other nutrition services to men and women who are elderly, homebound, disabled, frail, or at risk. These services significantly improve the quality of life and health of the individuals they serve and postpone early institutionalization.

As a national organization, MOWAA focuses on those issues that can best assist its Member programs in achieving their individual missions of providing quality meals and nutrition services to as many vulnerable people as possible in the most efficient and effective manner, all so no senior goes hungry®.

Click here to find out more.

Time Magazine Covering Gay Marriage in DC

Time magazine has given the issue of same-sex marriage in Washington, DC national attention with a story just posted on Wednesday. Here's an excerpt:

The war over same-sex marriage has rolled from state to state, almost always stoking fierce debate and bitter acrimony. On Tuesday, Washington, D.C., became the battlefield when council member David Catania, an at-large independent, introduced legislation that would make the nation's capital the latest jurisdiction where gays and lesbians could legally wed, and the only one south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

But while noisy debate has accompanied the issue here, there has been little doubt about whether the legislation will succeed. Nine of Catania's colleagues on the 13-member council have co-sponsored the measure, prompting him to say he was "completely confident" in its passage. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has also pledged to sign the bill. If that were not guarantee enough, a precursor bill that allowed Washington to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions sailed through 12 to 1 in May, with the sole opposition vote coming from council member and former mayor Marion Barry. The Democratic-controlled Congress, which can reject legislation affecting Washington, is not expected to block the bill, nor is the White House expected to object. And prospects for any referendum effort to halt same-sex marriages appear equally dim. When opponents sought a ballot initiative to halt the earlier bill, the board of elections deemed the effort illegal under Washington's Human Rights Act, a decision that was upheld in court. A pending effort to do the same with Catania's new bill will likely meet the same fate.

Click here to read more, including speculation on the impact of the opposition.

Daily Devotional 10/8/09 Yes, God Does Care

From: Reflections

1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

God Intervenes. He runs to our rescue. He sees us in our need, and works to meet our need. At times, this is difficult for us to see. At times, it is hard for us to understand. Sometimes, it seems as if God is far off; almost as if He is unaware of our need. Sometimes, it may seem as though we are less important than others, or as though our need is negligible in the eyes of God. But our eyes have difficulty seeing clearly through the tears. Our minds get confused when emotions mix with our perception that is limited to our account of the facts. God sees all, cares for all, and will work all things to the good. Sometimes, we cannot see this but only through the eyes of faith. Sometimes we have to be willing to say, “Lord, I don’t understand, but I trust You.” It is in that complete surrender, that we find peace in the storm. It is in that childlike faith that we find we do not have to have an answer from God that meets with our own understanding--we simply only have to have God--believing that in Him is all we need.

October 07, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/7/09-Matthew 25 AIDS Services (Kentucky)

The mission of Matthew 25 AIDS Services, Inc. to support, educate and treat those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS is lived out in many ways. From the very beginning, Matthew 25’s commitment to treatment has been based on the philosophy that HIV/AIDS care must be high quality, comprehensive, and holistic. Imagine a wooden stagecoach wheel. The patient is the center of that wheel, the very HUB. Surrounding the center is spokes. In our world at Matthew 25, each of the spokes represents a critical connection for the success of the patient as well as the organization. The treatment services spokes represent many of the disciplines we provide to each patient receiving care.

The first spoke is the HIV Specialist Provider in collaboration with an infectious disease physician making an assessment of each patient’s disease process by critical examination of the patient, laboratory data that is obtained on-site at our facilities, past history, medication history, and an array of other factors. Based on the assessment, a treatment plan is established, a medication regiment is selected if indicated, and future visits and laboratory tests are determined.

The second spoke, the Adherence Nurse, works with patients to educate them about the disease, their medications and safety information. She then follows them for assertive side effect management and to help them adhere to their medications and appointments.

Matthew 25 feels that mental health plays a huge role in how the patient learns to cope with the chronic disease state of HIV/AIDS; therefore we add the third spoke. We ask that each patient meet with our Social Worker for as assessment of any mental health problems that may need assistance such as depression, substance abuse or anxiety.

Another important spoke, the Care Coordinator, works with each client to ensure access to entitlements such as insurance, disability, and any state programs.

The fourth spoke, the clinic nurse ensures that the patient’s immunizations and nutrition needs are evaluated. Finally the last care issue is explored by one of our Comprehensive Risk Counseling and Services staff members who help look at any barriers that might prevent the patient from dealing with their diagnosis and interaction with others. Such things as disclosure issues and protecting their partner from transmission of the HIV virus in a non-judgmental way, eases the stress and strain this may be causing the patient.

As you can see, managing the health of the HIV patient is very comprehensive and requires a team of folks, with the health and well-being of the patient always directly in the center, the HUB.

Click here to find out more.

Welcome to Midweek Worship 10/7/09


SNN Recomends 10/7/09-Equality Illinois

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage was recently introduced in the Illinois state legislature, and Equality Illinois is working to rally support for its passage:


The mission of Equality Illinois is to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois.


We envision a fair and unified Illinois where everyone is treated equally with dignity and respect and where all people live freely regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.


Inclusiveness. Equality Illinois belongs to all those who believe in our vision and mission. We will be accessible to and proactively engage others in our statewide community as owners of our vision and mission.

Respect. Equality Illinois believes in the value of others—their opinions and their work. It is our respect for others that builds our collaborations and partnerships.

Fairness. Equality Illinois believes that everyone should have the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities afforded to them regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Effectiveness. Equality Illinois believes that success comes from the highest impact approaches to achieving our vision and mission.


* Promote legislation to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals with regard to safe schools, hospital visitation, inheritance rights, bereavement leave and the many other rights that affect LGBT citizens across Illinois.
* Maintain the visibility of LGBT issues in the Illinois General Assembly, the community and the workplace.
* Oppose legislation which seeks to limit the civil rights of the LGBT community, such as anti-gay adoption bills, constitutional bans on same-sex marriage or attempts to rescind or restrict the Illinois non-discrimination bill signed into law in January 2005 (SB3186).
* Expand statewide grassroots support through an enhanced communication network, technical assistance and on-site support.
* Mobilize support and increase statewide participation in the legislative process through activities such as conferences and lobby days.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Music 10/7/09 "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" by Amy Grant

Matthew 25 Resources 10/7/09-Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee opened its doors in 1978 with commitment from several community leaders. The purpose of the organization was to provide a central distribution center for companies, groups, and individuals who wished to help provide food for Middle Tennessee's hungry. Second Harvest's mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community.

Modeled after the first food bank established in Phoenix in the mid-1970s, Second Harvest was designed to collect food that would otherwise be wasted, inspect and sort this food, and distribute it to soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters serving the hungry. During the first year, this process resulted in a total distribution of 160,000 pounds of food to 75 member agencies.

Today, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is one of the largest and most comprehensive of over 200 food banks and food distribution centers nationwide. During the 2006/2007 fiscal year, Second Harvest distributed more than 37.4 million pounds of food to hungry men, women, and children. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee was named 2003 Affiliate of the Year by America's Second Harvest. The Food Bank is proud to share this prestigious award with the thousands of supporters and leaders who have supported Second Harvest over the past 30 years.

Second Harvest’s vision of ending hunger is more important than ever. Hunger is a big problem, and it cannot be solved without everyone’s help. There are 35 million Americans deemed by the government to be food insecure, and there are more than 8 million children receiving food assistance. One in five people in a soup kitchen line is now a child. In Middle Tennessee alone, 47% of the people Second Harvest serves are children.

Click here to find out more.

Daily Devotional 10/7/09 While You Wait

From: Reflections

Psalm 37:4, NKJV: Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

When we make our requests to God, do we consider His request of us? He knows our requests before we ask, even as He knows our hearts. But He also desires that we know His heart, and that the nature of our requests will mature into something that reflects His desire for us. I may have a situation I am waiting for Him to resolve. Perhaps I need a job, or to sell a house, or something else I feel I have little control over. I make my request to God, and I ask people to pray for me that my situation be resolved quickly. But what might I be missing? Why does God wait to meet my need? There is a good chance that there is a need I have that God needs to show me that is not the need I am focused on. There is a good reason why God is not resolving my issue quickly. My prayer request, therefore, needs to mature to a level wherein I ask Him, what He needs of me. My prayer request turns from, “Lord, please fix this;” to “Lord, show me what You need from me where I am.” The Lord will indeed meet all of our needs. But what is it He desires from you while you wait?
The threat of a same-sex couple not being together when one of them is in a life-threatening situation in a hosiptal is very real, and so are the pain and the scars it leaves. Here is a story from the New York Times which illustrates it:

When a loved one is in the hospital, you naturally want to be at the bedside. But what if the staff won’t allow it?

That’s what Janice Langbehn, a social worker in Lacey, Wash., says she experienced when her partner of 18 years, Lisa Pond, collapsed with an aneurysm during a Florida vacation and was taken to a Miami trauma center. She died there, at age 39, as Ms. Langbehn tried in vain to persuade hospital officials to let her visit, along with the couple’s adopted children.

“I have this deep sense of failure for not being at Lisa’s bedside when she died,” Ms. Langbehn said. “How I get over that I don’t know, or if I ever do.”

Isn't this situation most often brought about by the prejudices of the hospital staff or those who make regulations the staff is required to follow? Hopefully telling these stories will help prevent more from occurring.

Click here to read the rest of the New York Times story.
The case, now the subject of a federal lawsuit in Florida, is being watched by gay rights groups, which say same-sex partners often report being excluded from a patient’s room because they aren’t “real” family members.

And lawyers say the case could affect the way hospitals treat all patients with nonmarital relationships, including older people who choose not to marry, unmarried heterosexual couples and single people who rely on the support of close friends rather than relatives.

October 06, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/6/09-Milwaukee LGBT Community Center

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is a community-based organization represented by more than 150 volunteers and over 300 members. It's mission is to improve the quality of life for LGBT people in the Metro Milwaukee area.

This is done by focusing on five core objectives:

1. Provide a home for the birth, nurture and celebration of our organizations, culture and diversity
2. Initiate, implement and advocate for programs and services that meet the needs of our communities
3. Educate the public and our communities to encourage positive changes in the systems affecting our lives;
4. Empower our individuals and groups to achieve their fullest potential;
5. Cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion in all phases of the project.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Words 10/6/09-Religion Is Easy

From Relevant Magazine:

Religion (in an admittedly strictly Christian sense of the word) is a verb. It is an external act without internal change. It means living a life where God only exists in our daily habits, but not in our heart. It is an easy way into heaven. A way in which we give nothing up, except maybe an hour a day for a devotion. Maybe it’s even just that hour per week that you make it to church.

That, my friends, is a lie. Here is the truth: “The most important one [command],” answered Jesus, “is this … ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31, NIV).

I am sure most of you have heard this at some point in your life. The gist is quite easy to figure out actually: love God first, love people second. That is it. Do you see anything about going to church? Here’s a hint: I don’t.

Sadly, our culture has turned loving God into a one-hour per week coffee date. We’ve turned it into something we simply put on our to-do lists and weekly calendars. Think about what would happen if that was what your relationship with your spouse looked like. Or with your best friend. Would it get the job done? I won’t even give you a hint for that one because the answer is too easy.

If you are someone whose spiritual life revolves around a checklist of going to church, reading your Bible, praying, evangelizing or even serving the homeless, you are living a religion.

Click here to read the rest of the essay and get a taste of what living beyond religion means.

SNN Recommends 10/6/09-Good As You

Irreverent doesn't do this site justice, but justice is one of the primary goals of its founder and editor, Jeremy Hooper:

Good As You represents a new generation of GLBT activism. Now is the time for intelligent, progressive-minded individuals to step up and fight for the common rights of which they might be denied. We're here to rally the troops.

* We have made it our mission to investigate any organization/media outlet/personality in regards to discriminatory language or actions. In turn we will always extend the opportunity for these individuals or groups to speak on their own behalf, as we do support the First Amendment Right of all.
* We strive to provide a safe, progressive, and positive forum in which we work to eliminate discrimination and intolerance. Privacy will always be protected, and all sources/tips will remain anonymous.
* We don't feel it is our right or responsibility to "out" anyone, and we vow to never do so. Don't bother sending us "we saw so-and-so groping a twink at SBNY" messages. We do not care.

Our tone is light, but our message is firm: We will not sit back and be led to a society that favors discrimination over diversity.

Click here to check it out.

Encouraging Music 10/6/09 "Beautiful Savior" by Casting Crowns

Matthew 25 Resource 10/6/09: Sulzbacher Center (Jacksonville, FL)

We are Northeast Florida’s only provider of comprehensive services for homeless men, women and children.We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.We serve nutritious meals and offer safe shelter. But that is just the beginning. We provide outstanding health care and high-quality children’s programs. Our job placement assistance and life skills programs equip men and women for employment and for success. We offer something simple, but important—hope.

Transforming Lives
Three thousand of our neighbors—men, women and children—are homeless every night in Jacksonville. Each one has an immediate need for food and shelter. But just as important, each one deserves the opportunity to achieve a better life with a home of their own, an income to live on and access to health care. Sulzbacher Center provides programs that transform lives. In the process, we create a better city for all of us. And we need your help.

Our Mission
To empower homeless and at-risk men, women and children to achieve a better life through a full range of services, both direct and in collaboration with community partners, thus renewing hope and restoring lives back into the fabric of the community.

Click here to find out more.

Daily Devotional 10/6/09 Christ Goes With You

From: Reflections

John 15:4, NIV: Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Regardless of where you are, Christ is there. When you are atop the mountain praising God and walking in the warmth of His love, He is there. When you are walking through the valley of the shadows, He is there. You may be saying, “Yes, I know that, but…” one thing or another has stolen your joy or your peace. And yet, the joy and peace you need is not yours but that which resides in Christ. Do we fully understand what it means to say that Christ is there, whether good times or bad? The hard truth may be that you will come down from mountaintop experiences, but the wonderful truth of God is that, no matter where you are, you can remain in Christ. No matter how dark the valley seems, the light of Christ can be with you. You can draw near to the warmth of His light, draw near to Him, and draw from His perfect peace, and endless joy. Seek Him out and draw near to Him. Learn from Him what it means to remain in Him. Spend adequate time with Him each day, and you will have all that you need.

Voilence Against Transgender People Getting Worse

From the Edge in Boston, MA:

The latest, and most reliable, statistics on anti-LGBT violence reveal that it is still a major factor facing the transgender community.

According to a 2008 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), anti-transgender bias is reported crimes is holding steady, in fact, it has increased 12 percent over the previous year.

The murder rate for LGBT Americans as a whole stands at the highest it has been since 1999. There were 29 related such murders reported last year.

When asked why the rate of violence has continued to surge, Sharon Stapel, NCAVP executive director, complained, "We have set up a culture that explicitly sanctions violence against LGBT people. When we have a federal government that says it’s OK to discriminate against people because of sexual orientation or gender identity, we shouldn’t be surprised when violence occurs because there is no protection against it."

Stapel is referring to the fact that the U.S. does not currently offer federal protections against hate crime violence for LGBT people.

As it stands, 32 states include sexual orientation in their hate crime legislation. But only 11 protect gender identity.

Legislation aiming to extend hate crime protection to all LGBT people, called the "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act," passed through the U.S. Senate earlier this year but has languished in the House.

Violence toward the transgender community, however, is far from being only an American problem.

A report by Transgender Europe estimated that nearly 200 trangender people have been murdered between January 2008 and June 2009. The American numbers rank second only to Brazil, where over 80 transgender individuals have been killed in that timespan.

Those numbers--both outside and inside the United States--very likely underestimate the problem.

Click here to read more analysis of this disturbing situation in the Edge's story.

October 05, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/5/09-Indiana Youth Group

Founded in 1987 as a response to the needs of self-identified Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Questioning youth, Indiana Youth Group held its first meeting in the living room of founders, Chris Gonzales and Jeff Werner with support from Pat Jordan. It was a mere five years after those meager beginnings that IYG was named a Special Project of National Significance for its programs protecting the mental and physical health of Indiana's LGBT youth. IYG now proudly operates a drop in and program facility donated by the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, which was renovated and maintained by community supporters.

IYG programs focus on 5 primary areas: Education and career development, character and leadership development, personal development, social development, and information and referral. Our successes have been honored by numerous local and national groups including: the City of Indianapolis recognition for "contributions toward the betterment of the community", the Indiana State Department of Health, and Youth as Resources. IYG has also been featured on numerous national outlets including ABC's 20/20, In the Life (PBS), and Rolling Stone magazine.

From the beginning, IYG set out to improve the lives of youth using research-based and "best practice" programs. These include weekly support meetings helping those dealing with coming out, either to themselves or to their families and friends. Speakers from diverse fields encourage youth members to explore a variety of educational and vocational experiences, as well as educate members on risk behaviors and positive decision-making skills. Program topics range from domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide prevention to arts & crafts, and dating skills. Overall the goal is a fun program that offers a message and an enjoyable social opportunity for all youth.

Click here to find out more.

Encouraging Words 10/5/09-BCF Praise Report

GOD IS ON OUR SIDE! HE LOVES US SOOOO MUCH! AND HE HAS A PLAN THAT HE IS FULFILLING EVEN NOW!!! What an awesome revelation that will change your whole outlook on your life and ministry calling if you will only BELIEVE! Remember that Jesus said to Mary & Martha regarding Lazarus' death and resurrection, "Didn't I say unto you that you WOULD SEE the glory of God if you would only believe!?!"

I know that I added the emphasis and exclamations, but don't you know that Jesus was CONFIDENT in what He was saying! And isn't it true that they DID SEE the glory of God when Lazarus came out of that tomb of death and despair! TODAY I am praying that all of us will come up higher in our passion for the Lord Jesus, and to step into the realm where nothing is impossible for us because nothing is impossible with our God!

We had a fantastic worship service yesterday at BCF. We are so humbled and overwhelmed at the intensity of the presence of the Lord and how the Holy Spirit IS leading and directing our services! Our hearts are growing in a firy expectation for an indescribable outpouring of GLORY at our upcoming Fall Renewal, and we are preparing our lives, our hearts, our abilities to be fully ready to serve as He leads. Our sermon title was called "The Intentional Christian" and the Lord admonished us to prioritize our walk and relationship with the Lord Jesus MORE THAN EVER- to be full of purpose and INTENTIONALLY LIVE FOR CHRIST! I hope that you will go check out the podcast. We had some more glitches with our ustream and unfortunately it did not record online- but you can still listen to the podcast. I hope that you will, it will bless you and speak to you, I know because it did us!! :-)

I want to express our deepest gratitude to Pastor Doug Sewell, All Saints Community Church in Ohio, who drove all the way to DC this past weekend to do some leadership training/activation of spiritual gifts in our leadership.

He did an awesome job teaching us, and we ALL received! It's so exciting to see people hear the Word, believe it, then ACT on it- and then SEE God move! Wow, what an exciting life- living with Jesus! It only keeps getting better!

We love you and we are praying for each of you- today and everyday! You matter to us- and for that matter- truth be told- WE ALL MATTER TO ONE ANOTHER!!! We WANT you to succeed in your ministry calling and life. Isn't it wonderful to be a part of the Family of God, and to know that you are loved and deeply cared about? We will always do our best to love and support each other, to help one another, to encourage each other. Keep on praying and getting close to Jesus, keep on praising God- it opens the door into His presence, and STAY IN THE WORD!!! Keep your spiritual tank filled to overflowing so that you have something to give out to others.

God has a DIVINE APPOINTMENT for YOU- to share your faith and the love of Jesus Christ with someone today and this week! So be ready, be open, be watchful- and be BOLD!

Ap Dale

SNN Recommends 10/5/09-Southern Voice (Atlanta, GA)

No one knows gay Atlanta better. And there’s no smarter way to build your business than through the pages of Southern Voice. With more than 100,000 weekly readers, we’re the region’s most respected and most read gay and lesbian newspaper.

Since 1988, Southern Voice has delivered unparalleled local and national news coverage, hard-hitting editorials and provocative op-ed pages. Factor in our comprehensive lifestyle coverage, with thorough guides to theatre, dining, nightlife and local arts and entertainment, and it’s no wonder more men and women pick us up every week.

Averaging more than 64 pages per issue and distributed at more than 600 locations throughout the metropolitan area, Southern Voice is the authoritative gay news source for Atlanta and the entire Southeast. From Downtown to Midtown, Buckhead to Smyrna and Decatur, and everywhere in between, we’ve got you covered.

Click here to check them out.

Encouraging Music 10/5/09 "Shine, Jesus, Shine"

Matthew 25 Resource 10/5/09: Hunters for the Hungry (Virginia)

Regardless of how you feel about hunting, it's good to see it being used for its most basic purpose--to provide food for the hungry.

.Hunters for the Hungry operates by solicitation of successful hunters to donate venison. The deer are accepted by professional meat cutters who process (cut, wrap, and freeze) the venison. The meat is provided at no cost and is distributed by foodbanks and other 501 (C) (3) nonprofit organizations feeding Virginia's needy. We are not supported by any state funds nor are we a United Way Agency.

...Funds are raised to cover the cost of processing, distribution, and the overhead expenses of operation (less than 20% of total expenses). Financial support is currently the limiting factor.

...The simplicity of the program makes it not only easy to understand but also practical to operate. Hunters, all volunteers, do the work of providing the food. Processors inspect, cut, wrap, and freeze the meat (most charge us a fee reduced from normal rates). The venison is distributed through agencies already equipped for and in the business of feeding the needy. The food provided is a quality high protein, low-fat item not normally available.

.We have a proven track record. We have received and distributed over 3 million pounds of venison to the needy across Virginia. The potential exists to provide almost this quantity on an annual basis.

...Our long term goal is to make 500,000 pounds of venison available to the hungry annually. We already have in place the needed program to receive and distribute this quantity. As funds are available more meat will be accepted and distributed.

Click here to find out more.

Obama Official-ENDA Should Be Top Priority

From the Washington Blade:

The highest-ranking openly gay appointee in the Obama administration is encouraging LGBT Americans to make passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act their No. 1 priority and said its success would place within reach other civil rights goals.

John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, called for greater focus on ENDA on Saturday following his keynote address at Out for Work's national convention at the Westin City Center Hotel in D.C.

Berry advocated for the importance of ENDA — and identified repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act as other priorities — in response to an audience member's question about possible legislative issues on the horizon and criticism that President Obama isn't moving quickly enough on LGBT issues.

"The most important thing we can do right now is we got to … secure the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — and it's got to include full transgender protections," Berry said. "I believe that if we all concentrate our efforts where it needs to be concentrated, which is on the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, we can get the job done."

Other pro-LGBT legislation can be more easily achieved, Berry said, if Congress were to pass ENDA.

"If we can get ENDA enacted and signed into law, it is only a matter of time before all the rest happens," he said. "It is the keystone that holds up the whole bunch, and so we need to focus our energies and attention there."

That seems like a very well reason approach to us. What do you think?

Click here to read the rest of the story

Daily Devotional 10/5/09 "Spiritual Tenacity"

From: My Utmost for His Highest

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered. The greatest fear a man has is not that he will be damned, but that Jesus Christ will be worsted, that the things He stood for - love and justice and forgiveness and kindness among men - will not win out in the end; the things He stands for look like will-o'-the-wisps. Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted.
If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the greatest strains in life is the strain of waiting for God. "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience." Remain spiritually tenacious.

October 04, 2009

LGBT Helping Hands 10/4/09-Gay Men's Domenstic Violence Project

The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project is a grassroots, non-profit organization founded by a gay male survivor of domestic violence and developed through the strength, contributions and participation of the community.

Misson Statement:

The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project supports victims and survivors through education, advocacy and direct services. Understanding that the serious public health issue of domestic violence is not gender specific, we serve men in relationships with men, regardless of how they identify, and stand ready to assist them in navigating through abusive relationships.

Click here to find out more.

SNN Recommends 10/4/09-"Faith & Doubt" by John Ortberg

If you think your faith is weak because you have doubts, we highly recommend this book.

Amazon customer ranking: 11 of 16 gave it 5 of 5 stars
SNN ranking: 4.5 stars

We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God? According to John Ortberg, best-selling author and pastor, the very nature of faith requires the presence of uncertainty. In this refreshingly candid look at a life of faith, he traces the line between belief and unbelief: less a dividing line between hostile camps than a razor’s edge that runs through every soul. His findings point us toward the relief of being totally honest. Questions can expand our understanding, uncertainty can lead to trust, and honest faith can produce outrageous hope. Written from Ortberg’s own struggle with faith and doubt, this book will challenge, comfort, and inspire you with the truth that God wants all of us—including our doubts.

Click here to purchase the book and read the customer reviews.

Matthew 25 Resource 10/4/09-The Coalition for the Homeless Mentall Ill (Atlanta, GA)

We are . . . . anyone who has an interest in helping homeless men, women, and children in Atlanta who have a mental illness.

We are outreach helpers, shelter supervisors, mental health care managers, adult protective service workers, agency directors, legal aid staff, government employees, to mention just a few. We are mostly just ordinary citizens who believe we can, small as we are, make a difference in the lives of individuals with a mental illness. Some of us attend the CHMI monthly meetings regularly, some from time to time, some never, but support our mission and goals.

We are an open forum where everyone is welcome at any level of participation they wish and where we can discuss any issue, even disagree amicably without alienating anyone.

We seek to be strong advocates on important issues that affect the homeless mentally ill in metro Atlanta

Whenever possible we seek support and give support to other mental health advocates and service providers on issues of mutual importance.

We work diligently to complement, not duplicate, what others are doing . . . . always in a constructive manner.

We identify gaps and offer proposals for improvement in services to homeless people with a mental illness to the responsible agencies. In doing so we give other key agencies involved in providing mental health services an opportunity for comment and hopefully gain their support.

Click here to find out more.

Welcome to Sunday Worship 10/4/09

If you don't have a welcoming church near you, or you just can't make yourself step into one, we're bringing worship to you. Here are links to some worship music and services from open and affirming ministries (all times eastern). I hope you are blessed and take time out of your busy schedule to enter into the Lord's day.

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

Video Archive

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

Audio Archive
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
NC-Revolution Charlotte
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

Can we pray for you? E-mail straight_notnarrow@yahoo.com