Soulforce Alert #3 for USCCB 2004 Action in Washington, D.C.

Alert #3: 11/12/04

Dear Soulforce volunteers:

We are just a few days away from our time together in Washington, D.C. We are really excited about the focus of this year’s campaign to reach the hearts and minds of the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our vigils across the country in eleven different cities were a wonderful success, and we are in ongoing dialogue with at least 3 new bishops coming off of those planned vigils. I have to acknowledge that the results were way beyond my expectations. And I am so grateful for all the prayers and work that went into making this happen.

The forecast for D.C. couldn’t be better – temperatures will be from a low of 37 to a high of 58, sunny days, with no forecasted wind factors. But despite that I recommen you bring hats, gloves, and long underwear as are vigils will be early morning and late night and it can get pretty chilly.

If you have room in your bag, consider bringing a blanket to leave for our homeless neighbors. Check the website, one last time to be sure to be up to date on final changes to our plans. Also use that time on the website to pull up the Pledge to Non-Violence and go over those vows.

In the vein of spiritual preparation , I include one of my favorite meditations:

YOU CONTINUE TO CALL ME:
A MEDITATION ON LUKE 19:1-10
By Eugene Blake

Gracious & loving God,

you continue to call at our homes, school, and places of labor,

Daily you pass under our sycamore tree saying,

“Come down, for today I must abide at your house,”

Like Zacchaeus, may we have the courage to journey with you

into new hope & joyful service.

May we come down from the safe places of

ideology, theology and academics.

May we come down from the defensive notions of

race, creed, color, orientation, gender and class.

May we come down from the dividing lines of denominations & sects.

May we come down from the anguish & failures of the past.

May we come down & live in the aliveness of possibility

and not in the despair of human liability.

May we come down and no longer view our service to others

from the safe distances of false human security.

And when we have come down to walk with you and one another,

grant us salvation in our serving,

blessing in our generosity to others,

and peace at the end of our journey.

Shine the light of grace & forgiveness into the dark & unseen corners

of our hearts.

May we make room for you.

May your spirit find in each of us a resting place.

 

Amen.

Soulforce Alert #2 for USCCB 2004 Action in Washington, D.C.

Alert #1: 10/27/04

Greetings Soulforce Volunteers:

We’re just a little more than two weeks away from our time together again, in Washington, D.C.

In order to keep costs down, our Catholic Team decided not to have a special shirt printed up for this action. So bring your shirts from other Soulforce actions. Our wonderful generic shirt with the large size logo on it, will be available for a $10 donation.

There are a few folks still looking to share hotel rooms, so if you’d like to do that, write Kara@Soulforce.org and I’ll try to connect people up. The hotel no longer has rooms saved for us at our special rate.

There are still spaces available at the hostel. The cost for the hostel is just $15/night. We’re asking people who are interested in staying there to write and request an application. Our wonderful folks from our D.C. local Soulforce group have arranged to have Starbucks provide us with coffee and pastries for the hostel. Those staying in the hostel need to remember to bring sleeping bags, pillows, towels, pillows, etc with them.

Copied at the end of this Alert is the tenative schedule for our time together in D.C. For those of you who have been to a Soulforce event you know that everything is subject to change.

One of my favorite Catholic writers is a Franciscan by the name of Fr. Richard Rohr. I thougtht this prayer of his would be excellent preparation for our upcoming time together.

God, bless me with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial
relationships, so that You will live deep in my heart. God, bless me with
anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people and the earth so
that I will work for justice, equity and peace. God bless me with tears to
shed for those who suffer so that I will reach out my hand to comfort them
and change their pain into joy. God bless me with the foolishness to think
that I can make a difference in the world, so that I will do the things which
others say cannot be done.

Hope you’re checking out all the information on the website to keep up to date and to prepare yourself for D.C.

Kara and the Catholic Team

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

Sunday – Nov. 14

2 pm Registration – First Trinity Lutheran Church – 4th & E Streets, N.W.
3 – 3:30 Spiritual preparation
3:30 – 5 pm – DC overview – Assignment of Squads, explanation of anti gay teachings of the Catholic Church.
5 – 7 pm – vigil – at the Hyatt by those who are already trained at Previous actions
5 – 7 – Introductory training for those who have never attended a Soulforce training program.
7:15 – 7:45 – We will gather again at the First Trinity and break bread together
7:45-9:30 – Advance specific training for this direct action

Nov. 15, 2004 – Monday

7am – 9:15 vigil at Hyatt
11:30 – 1:30 vigil @ Hyatt
5:00 – Vigil at Bishops Mass (1 squad Hyatt)
7;30 – 10 pm vigil at the Hyatt

Nov. 16, 2004 – Tuesday

7am – 9:15 vigil at Hyatt
11:30 – 1:30 vigil @ Hyatt
5:00 pm – Peace Mass celebrated by Bishop Gumbleton at St. Aloysius
7:30 – 10 pm Return to vigil

Nov. 17, 2004 – Wednesday

7am – 9:15 vigil at Hyatt
11:30 – 1:30 vigil @ Hyatt Process to Church for closing
Closure at First Trinity

Kara, Catholic Team Chair

Soulforce, Inc. Launches Two Prong Campaign to Stop Roman Catholic Church Leaders’ Attacks against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals and Couples

Vigils at Local Catholic Chanceries to take place across the United States in November

***************************************************
Soulforce Press Release: October 20, 2004
For immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592
****************************************************
November 9, 2004: Local Catholic Chancery Vigils across the United States – Soulforce National Call to Prayer and Vigils

November 14-17: Soulforce Protest at U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC – 5th year in a row

(Lynchburg, VA) – In response to continued attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals and couples, Soulforce is implementing a two prong campaign this year to try to change the hearts and minds of Catholic Bishops, and beseech them to stop the spiritual violence perpetuated by Roman Catholic religious policies, teachings and anti-gay rhetoric.

Local Soulforce groups and other supportive groups in a dozen different cities are trying to dialogue with their local bishops through letters and other correspondence. Soulforce’s commitment to the non-violent principles as taught by Gandhi and King dictates that each group first try to dialogue with their local Bishop first. If these attempts fail and Bishops refuse to dialogue, vigils are being planned in front of local chanceries. Local Soulforce groups planning vigils on November 9 include, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City, Albuquerque, Washington, DC/Arlington, Orange County (Los Angeles), Atlanta, Detroit, and San Francisco. Additionally, supportive groups in Denver and St. Louisare also planning vigils outside their local chanceries on November 9th. (Call media contact above for specific details on each location)

Soulforce Twin Cities will attend Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday, November 7 wearing rainbow sashes. The bishop in Oklahoma has agreed to dialogue, so no vigils will be taking place.

"We are praying for these bishops to follow in the footsteps of Oscar Romero, who gave his life to stop the violence against the Salvadoran people. Most of these bishops, know the truth of our lives, but they are fearful to speak out,” said Kara Speltz, Chair of the Soulforce Catholic Denominational Team. “They know the gifts we have brought to our church, because they’ve seen them first hand, in their families, parishes and chanceries. On this day we call down the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their fear and temerity into courage and prophecy. As M.L. King, jr. said in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, ‘We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.’"

On November 14, 2004, Soulforce volunteers will gather in Washington, D.C. to try to continue to speak to the bishops, and vigil outside of the USCCB meetings. If the USCCB persists in ignoring Soulforce’s requests for dialogue, a civil disobedience will be considered.

This will mark the fifth year in a row that Soulforce has had a presence outside of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual meeting. This is the first time Soulforce and Soulforce local groups have done vigils at their local Chanceries prior to the USCCB’s annual meeting.

Additionally, Soulforce is encouraging supportive people to individually communicate with their local bishops concerning the devastating effects of their anti-gay rhetoric, their outspoken support of the now-defeated Federal Marriage Amendment, and their involvement in electoral politics. For more information, see www.soulforce.org/denomination/rc/usccb2004/.

Soulforce, Inc. is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Soulforce teaches and employs the non-violent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities. www.soulforce.org

Soulforce Alert #1 for USCCB 2004 Action in Washington, D.C.

Alert #1: 10/14/04

Dear Soulforcees: We’ve been so busy planning our two prong campaign that time has crept up on us and here we are just a month away from our time together in D.C.

If you haven’t made your reservations at the hotel, do so today, as most hotels only hold the rooms for 30 days prior to the date of the event. Details regarding the hotel can be found at: www.soulforce.org/article/622

If you wish to stay at the hostel and haven’t asked for an application, I also recommend you do it right away.

Things are coming along very well and we’re very excited about our plans. We already have as many people signed up today as we did in the last week of signups last year!!!!! To check out the tentative schedule: www.soulforce.org/article/618

For more information on the teachings of the Catholic church as regards to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders, I hope you’ll use our Catholic denominational page www.soulforce.org/article/95

Also, I hope you’re considering taking part in our Nov. 9th National Call for Prayer and Vigils. To find out more about that see: www.soulforce.org/article/623

Remember that Washington, D.C. can be quite cold in November, so plan on bringing some long underwear, especially for our early morning and late night vigils.

One of my favorite prayers is a prayer of Thomas Merton’s, and I’d like to share it with you as our spiritual preparation for this action:

Generous God, you who made the sun to shine on
everyone, help us to understand that a good action is never
wasted, that doing what is right is a way of being rather
than a means to an end.

Allow us to let go of the need for results and to understand
that our work may sometimes even achieve the opposite of what
we had expected.

Give us the wisdom to watch out for the signs of egoism in
our service — extreme excitement at success or devestation
at failure. Help us to maintain and evenness of purpose and
not to be disturbed by either success or failure.

Guide us then, Gentle Father/Mother to work in peace without
forcing results, confident that all will come to fruitation in the fullness of your time. Amen

See you in D.C. and looking forward to doing justice with you.

Kara, Catholic Team Chair