Pathways to power was the main topic of discussion at the “Empowering Action for the Common Good: Affirming Faith Forum” at the LGBT Center of Raleigh on Friday, March 23, at 6:30 pm. The goal to work for the common good extends to and beyond the vote on May 8th. The forum generated more ideas on how to join with others in improving relationships in the community while working to defeat the proposed amendment to the state constitution.    (more…)

RCCares’ work this past week provided a scope of snap shots of the many different parts Being church incorporates. There are many more faces to ministry as you surely could attest.  We enliven the praxis of living into the kindom of love’s reign in many bits and pieces. Our life is a lively kaleidoscope of how we love in sorrow and joy every day.  Thank Goodness that we do not stand alone.

On Saturday we were engaged via phone conference with other Rainbow Access Initiative board members in the Capital District in New York as we designed the next steps for establishing the program format for RAI’s Art of Health Expo 2012. Focus on breakout sessions included discussion on the content of the presentations and the support needed for proposed sessions. The aim of the Expo event is to bring the artistic skills of LGBTQ people to the foreground for the purpose of enhancing healthy living amid creative exchange. (more…)

Andy and I have been deeply involved with and heavily invested in the passage of the Marriage Act in New York. Our ministry in community has reached out from within the neighborhood into city wide efforts to create loving and justice-seeking actions. And today we celebrate with all those who are making their covenants legal, renewing their promises and/or enlarging the scope of the marriage rite. Our gift to you who are looking for just the right words to express love and care for each other is the Marriage Service/Covenant Renewal Service we performed with friends.   (more…)

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender partners and their families are categorically denied full engagement in the communities in which they live, all in the name of religious “morality,” while the heart and essence of the source of life and love upon which religion is derived remains ever present ready to break through the oppressor’s blindness and let the captives go free.  In naming and claiming the spirituality that is inherent in our lives and written on our hearts, we are enthused to love ourselves and live in care of neighbor as self.  The Spirituality Training PowerPoint that follows was worked out during three workshops with LGBTQ participants.

The culture in which we live is undergirded by a socialized religion granting heterosexual couples’s status in the way of financial, legal, psychological and spiritual supports denied gay and lesbian relationships.  Those persons who vary from the “moral” norms of sexual identity, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, established in the same discriminatory manner by the dominant minority, are denied the safeguards that protect their full rights, as well.

Leaders in our nation will sometimes define social practices as “moral,” and therefore “acceptable,” based on dominant religious biases irrespective of the reality of the diversity of relationships lived in community. Heterosexual coupling has been legally identified as meriting “moral” status with the entitlements that go along with it, while discrimination against other relationships is sanctioned. The burden of proof that relationships other than heterosexual coupling are “moral” is placed on the community in a system where the leaders refuse to recognize the “acceptable” existence of diverse relationships. There is no legitimate place allowed for justice in this system. Blindness to the diversity of relationships in community creates an unjust living environment resulting in the denial of civil rights, inequality, oppression, and strife in the name of “morality.”

Practicing Safe Spirituality  –  PowerPoint presentation

 A 2007 study found that in NY State, 64% of LGBT High School students reported feeling unsafe in their schools.  Help make schools in your area safer by supporting LGBT youth and the agencies that serve them…and advocate for school change by supporting organizations like GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) and/or legislation to make LGBT students safe like the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side. Of particular interest might be the section on obtaining the services of culturally-competent health providers – it explains why special attention is needed for  LGBTQ healthcare in the first place.

For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me. CWAC’s anti-heterosexist, anti-racist stand for spiritual justice might just provide the safe place you’re looking for.

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.

Marriage 1At some point in this coming week, there will be notification to let us know when you can call your NMarriage 2Y State Senator as part of Statewide Marriage Call-In Day. Watch this blog for further information as it becomes available.

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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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…)

When faced with urban decay, homelessness, drugs and other crimes, as well as the cultural depression that occurs within a blighted area, some communities take action. The results of that action can be visible, sometimes manifested in cleaner, safer, more optimistic environments. Sin and grace are both visible in the steps taken to “clean up” neighborhoods. It appears, at least to this observer, that the initial effort to resolve the problems, as described above, can eventually turn into efforts to take care of our situations. My observations thus far indicate the existence of a substantial amount of self-interest in revitalization actions taken, as opposed to acting primarily for the larger good of community. (more…)

A powerfull, moving video from ray Boltz and our friends at Soulforce (www.soulforce.org)