Jenna being interviewed for local TV

Jenna being interviewed for local TV. The "Ask me about CWAC" button showed up on camera, but not in the picture."

Some of the young people marching for the Trevor Project

Some of the young people marching for the Trevor Project

Statewide Marriage Call-In Day TODAY – It’s Time to Act!

Today, Monday, June 8, is the New York Statewide Marriage Call-In Day. You need to make contact because the New York  State marriage equality bill has been passed by the Assembly, and it’s now time for the State Senate to vote on the bill. 

 
You need to get on the phone today to call your NY State Senator and tell them that you want them to support and pass the marriage bill NOW.  Tomorrow, anti-marriage forces from the religious right will be lobbying in Albany against our rights. We need to make sure that your Senator hears from you so that opposition voices aren’t the only ones being heard—we’re in the final stretch and it is vital that they hear from you TODAY. 

To read talking points and to find a link to your senator’s phone number, click here.

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Recently, I underwent facilitator training for the Lifeguard Workshop Program of the Trevor Project, in which I was trained to give presentations and lead programs in schools. This school workshop program was developed to help young people become more aware of the myriad issues surrounding sexuality and gender identity, and to promote acceptance of LGBTQ youth nationwide.

StaticLatinGirl300x250The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth. Staffed by trained volunteer counselors, the helpline provides support and crisis intervention services for young people.

In addition to operating the crisis and suicide prevention helpline, The Trevor Project also provides online support to young people through the organization’s website and provides lifesaving guidance and vital statistics to educators and parents.

The Trveor Project also conducts outreach programs accross the country to educate young people about suicide prevention and to help build acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in classrooms and communities around the country.

Opportunities continue to present themselves, more so now since my participation in E&J Day at the capital on 4/28. It is a practice that helped me remember my worth as a minister and my ability to nurture my passion in engaging with a community in servant leadership. Andy and I represented the church as a body living in the community of love, nurturing each other.

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On April 28, I participated in a rally for equality and justice at the New York state capital with 2000 people. We were an incredibly diverse crowd, including constituents from the far reaches of the state. We spoke with those who have been voted into office to represent us. We spoke so that those representatives would recognize the common interests and the needs of the people of New York state. We know the stories of our lives shed light on why passing into law GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act), Dignity (Dignity for all Students Act) and same-sex marriage is the way to opening civil rights to LGBT in order that we all might flourish.

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Last year, the 1st year, we walked around the block, Andy and I, in the freezing cold wondering what the year would bring; believing God has a hand in it all; hoping that we could come to know the neighborhood and learn to be community together.

This year, we have the experience of a year lived on this block. We have shared the street with ambulances, police cars, taxis, fire trucks and kids throwing the ball to each other. (more…)

Out of a starting point connected to those who are marginalized comes the theological spiral that Beverly Harrison has called a “liberation social ethics methodology” and Katie Cannon calls “emancipatory praxis”. This style 0f theologizing in a continuing spiral of engagement and reflection begins with commitment to the task of raising up signs of God’s new household with those who are struggling for justice and full humanity. It continues by sharing experiences of commitment and struggle in a concrete context of engagement. Third, the theological spiral leads to a critical analysis of the context of the experiences, seeking to understand the social and historical factors that affect the community of struggle. Out of this commitment to action in solidarity with the marginalized, and out of sharing of experiences and social analysis, arise questions about biblical and church tradition that help us gain new insight into the meaning of the gospel as good news for the oppressed and marginalized. This new understanding of tradition flows from and leads to action, celebration and further reflection in the continuing theological spiral.

from Church in the Round

Finally someone who has deliberately undergone [one’s] own destiny in all its tragedy will also detect more  clearly and more rapidly the suffering of the other, even if [one] must go beyond it. [One] will not be able to mock strange feelings of any kind if [one] can take [one’s] own seriously. [One] will no longer go round the vicious circle of contempt.

As the Body of Christ in community, church has a role. Since CWAC is a movement in response to oppression, we covenant to filter conversation through the following (you can hold us accountable in loving support):

1. The starting point of theological thought and action is the experience of social oppression.

2. The goal of theology is human worth, the possibility of being a person within a just order of society.

3. Theology is praxis. Theology takes place in just action and the struggle for a new society.

These tenets were taken from Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel’s A Land Flowing With Milk and Honey (1989).

The Open National Coordinating Team meeting in White Plains, NY, will be meeting March 13-15. Follow this link to learn more: CWAC Meeting

The Church Start/Redevelopment Team (Ministry Development) will meet on Friday, March 13th at 3:00pm. We will be gathering to discover what BEing church looks like in ministry as new church starts and revitalizations. We are stepping out into communities as church – the Body of Christ. What exactly does that look like?

It looks like a communion table that always has room for one more.

It looks like a place where every pew is a sacred space of sharing

It looks like a time/place in which no voice is valued above another.

It looks like a place where everyone is a participant, not a visitor.

It looks like …

We would love to be able to come together to talk about how this is lived in reality – here, now, today – in our ministry.

I need mentors to guide and inspire. I need mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers of the church, the body of Christ, for me to grow in the call to the servant leadership. Our Church Within A Church Movement is about BEing the church today, with justice, mercy and equality overcoming the push to conform to the will or the way of a socialized hierarchy of worth. At times I lose focus as I lose heart.

I have discovered that I especially need the companionship of a woman of wisdom born of experience in visionary work. (more…)

I began writing this covenant renewal service with a friend at work who wanted to celebrate five years of marriage and to heal a rift in their lives. It was exciting to plan and take part in this event since my friend has never “gone to church” and is married to a Catholic. Because I am ordained in a church movement, how we “do things” is evolving within the tradition. I have discovered a place of freedom where I can be responsive to the situation specific to the people gathered, looking forward to the designs of the Holy Spirit rather than conformity to a rule. Good thing, since conforming is not a high priority in life.

I am anxious to do more toward gathering people for shared spiritual events of celebration and healing in the love of Christ Jesus. I faithfully pray for the opportunity to help shape and care with people gathered to BE church, the body of Christ, in expressions of our common “Belovedness” lived in diverse experiences. I have talked with individuals who are really interested but extremely cautious about getting too quickly involved. This weblog may help us begin to carefully connect with each other. People may understand more about what I represent as an ordained servant leader. I am sure, like this renewal service, the nature of the services over which I preside will be formed around those of us involved. That’s the most exciting part for me. (more…)

divorce_vid2This is a movie from the Courage Campaign in California. It is truly poignant. I encourage all, no matter your thoughts on same-sex marriage, to see this video and ponder the effects of potentially being forced to divorce your spouse.

Or, you can go to http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/s/divorce

Perhaps this begs a question. If you don’t believe they should be married to each other, who do you believe they should marry?

This is an offering from the Power Flower discussion at the last national meeting in October. I hope it gives further food for thought and, at least, keep the issue of -isms in the forefront of dialogue.

Privilege is one of those very strange things. Those who lack it generally recognize it as either something to envy or something to despise. Those who know they have it and are inclined to have more, manipulate it to their own advantage. Then there is the great, largely clueless majority who, if asked, will tell you they don’t have privilege – they are just as downtrodden as women, people of color, GLBT or whatever other group they may name. Sometimes I think that the invisible unflective privilege is the most heinous and insidious.

To fully understand privilege, we have to first unpack its two close relatives – bias and prejudice. While we tend to use these words interchangeably, they are quite different. Bias is an ingrained preference for or against particular things, and it ranges from the mundane to the notorious. Preferring strawberries over apples is a bias, as is having a preference for white people or against people of color. One is relatively harmless and mild, while the other may be hurtful to both persons involved. Prejudice is pre-judgment based on some criteria or bias. It is one thing to be biased towards whites, but another to prejudge the characteristic of white as better than all other possibilities. Prejudice elevates bias to an action or belief system that is illogical and not just hurtful, but potentially truly harmful. (more…)

This is a video compilation of key moments in the Church Within A Church service of extraordinary ordination.  Revs Annie Britton and Jenna Zirbel were ordained in the Methodist tradition in an ecumenical service. What can you say, it was a beautiful event – one that changed us forever. Praise God!