Gay Day @ Great America to Benefit the 2008 Equality Ride

 

COME PLAY WITH US DURING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!

Join Soulforce Q for a great day of fun and advocacy in the SF Bay Area.

Grab your sunblock, water bottles, activist hats and celebrate summer!

Gay Day @ Camp America

Part of the proceeds will benefit the 2008 Equality Ride.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS click here.

For all inquiries, please, contact Alexey Bulokhov at alexey@soulforce.org

Special thanks to Gay.com

Jay Bakker to Join Gay and Transgender Families at Austin Training

Son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker Will Preach at Local Church on February 24

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: February 15, 2008
For Immediate Release

Contact: Paige Schilt, 
Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
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What: Jay Bakker, son of noted evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, will join gay and transgender families from across the country in Austin on February 22-24. The families will be training for a nationwide project called The American Family Outing, which aims to engage families from six prominent mega-churches in dialogue about faith, family, and freedom.

As part of the weekend events, Bakker will preach at MCC Austin at Freedom Oaks.

When: Sunday, February 24 at 9am and 11am

Where: 8601 South First

Who: Bakker pastors Revolution NYC, an unorthodox storefront church that ministers to “people who have given up on church.”  Bakker achieved national prominence when a Sundance Channel documentary crew chronicled his decision to speak out from the pulpit on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities in the series One Punk Under God.  

Bakker points to his own family’s rocky history in the evangelical community as the source of his inclusive ministry:

“As a child growing up, I saw a side of the church that to me did not always reflect God’s grace. This experience has lead me to be concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ who sometimes may feel rejected and left out of the church.”
 
Why: Bakker will join LGBT families and their allies between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2008 as they travel to mega-churches to share the message that justice for LGBT people is compatible with Christian teaching.  Pot lucks, picnics and soulful talk are the order of the day as Soulforce, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the National Black Justice Coalition, and COLAGE invite churches to talk-the-talk so everyone is free to walk-the-walk.

Bakker will serve alongside Rev. Troy Sanders of Atlanta, Rev. Kevin Taylor of New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Rev. William Knight of Los Angeles as clergy leaders on the American Family Outing.
 
Although these conversations will happen at churches across the country, the American Family Outing has deep Texas roots.  The families will travel to two Texas churches—Rev. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston and Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House Church in Dallas. In addition, five of the families involved in the American Family Outing hail from the Austin area.

For interviews with the families or clergy leaders, contact paige@soulforce.org.

Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) is an international fellowship of Christian churches with a special ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The National Black Justice Coalition(NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.

COLAGE engages, connects, and empowers people to make the world a better place for children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents and families.

Schedule for the Direct Action at the 2008 UMC General Conference

The Soulforce 10th Anniversary Reunion and Direct Action at the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church

Schedule for the Direct Action at the 2008 UMC General Conference

This schedule is subject to change, so please check back frequently.

Updated 4/18/2008

Friday, April 25, 2008
12:30pm – 2:00pm Picnic in the Park with Transgender People of Faith featuring Soulforce Board Member Judy Osborne, UM Affirmation Spokesperson Diane Delap, Rev. Drew Phoenix, and many others. Join us for lunch, listen to moving personal stories, and ask questions in an informal environment. Free lunch for GC delegates and volunteers sponsored by Soulforce, Transgender Advocates of Central Texas, UM Affirmation, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Institute for Welcoming Resources.
General Worth Square (9th and Main, across from the Convention Center)
6:00pm Registration
Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth Airport South – 4151 Centreport Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas
7:30pm Soulforce 10th Anniversary Reunion
Celebrating a Decade of Relentless Nonviolent Resistance!
Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth Airport South – 4151 Centreport Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas
Saturday, April 26, 2008*
6:00am Bus Departs Marriot Dallas/Fort Worth Airport South for downtown Fort Worth
7:00am – 7:30am Training in Nonviolent Resistance – General Worth Square (corner of Main & 9th Street – directly across from the Fort Worth Convention Center – site of the UMC Conference) – featuring Rev. Jimmy Creech and Rev. Dr. Mel White
7:30am – 11:00am Vigil outside the Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street.
11:00am – 1:00pm
(tentative)
Join Haven Herrin and her team from Soulforce Q for the Youth and Young Adult Rally and March of the Reconciling Ministries Network. Details TBA.
1:00pm Bus departs to return to hotel.
2:00pm – 5:00pm Soulforce Volunteer Forum – "Envisioning the Second Decade Together" – led by Marsha McDonough, Ph.D. (Be part of the planning process as we discuss our goals for the future)
6:00pm
(optional event or dinner on you own in downtown area)
Soulforce to join the Affirmation OUT Awards Dinner in Fort Worth (Intermodal Transportation Center, 1001 Jones Street). The dinner is $20, payable at the door, and is available to the first 75 Soulforce volunteers that make a reservation (due to space constraints at the dinner). To reserve a space at the Affirmation dinner, please type "Affirmation Dinner" in the comments box when you register for the Soulforce 10th Anniversary. If you plan to attend the dinner you need to do this by no later than April 18. (If you have already registered for the Soulforce 10th Anniversary and want to attend the dinner, please send an email to kara@soulforce.org.) Come help Soulforce support the great work of Affirmation!
8:00pm Free outdoor screening of For The Bible Tells Me So (General Worth Square – corner of Main & 9th Street). Soulforce will sponsor dessert for the Methodist delegates and the Dallas/Fort Worth community and begin the free screening of this prize-winning film at dusk. Producer Dan Karslake, Rev. Dr. Mel White, Rev. Jimmy Creech, and Mary Lou Wallner (all featured in the film) will be in attendance.
Sunday, April 27, 2008*
6:00am Bus Departs for Downtown – Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street
7:00am – 11:00am Vigil outside the Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street (site of the UMC General Conference).
11:00am – 12:30pm Lunch on your own in downtown area
12:30pm – 1:30pm The Struggle Continues: Racism and Heterosexism in the Church – a panel discussion featuring Rev. James Lawson, Bishop Melvin Talbert, Rev. Phil Lawson, and Rev. Gil Caldwell – General Worth Square (corner of Main and 9th Street)
2:00pm Reconciling Worship with Reconciling Ministries Network, First United Methodist Church, Preacher: Don Guest of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church
Conclusion of worship service Bus returns to hotel. Those staying the weekend only will depart.
Monday, April 28, 2008*
7:00am – 9:30am Vigil outside the Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street. Sign up to vigil here.
9:30am – 12:30pm Break
12:30pm – 2:30pm Continue vigil outside the Forth Worth Convention Center. Sign up to vigil here.
2:30pm Return to hotel – evening free
Tuesday, April 29, 2008*
7:00am – 9:30am Vigil outside the Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street. Sign up to vigil here.
9:30am – 12:30pm Break
12:30pm – 2:30pm Continue vigil outside the Forth Worth Convention Center. Sign up to vigil here.
2:30pm Return to hotel – evening free
Wednesday, April 30, 2008*
7:00am – 9:30am Vigil outside the Fort Worth Convention Center – 1201 Houston Street. Sign up to vigil here.
9:30am – 12:30pm Break
12:30pm – 2:30pm Continue vigil outside the Forth Worth Convention Center. Sign up to vigil here.
2:30pm Return to hotel – evening free
Thursday, May 1 and Friday, May 2, 2008*
  Soulforce will provide supportive collaboration in planning activities with the Reconciling Ministries Network. Details TBA. Sign up to vigil here.

*Scheduled activities are tentative and subject to change based on the events that occur within the UMC General Conference. Schedule changes and updated times will be reviewed and communicated to Soulforce volunteers on a daily basis. If possible, please plan to stay all week and help us to peacefully challenge the injustice within the United Methodist Church.

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New York Students Join Forces with Business Leaders for Marriage Equality

New York Students Join Forces with Business Leaders for Marriage Equality

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: February 7, 2008

For Immediate Release

Contact: Haven Herrin, 469-867-5725, haven@soulforce.org
Jarrett Lucas, 215-917-3703, jarrett@soulforce.org
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(Thursday, February 8, 2008)—This spring semester, some New York state students are learning real-world skills while contributing to a community-based project.  But for the young New Yorkers participating in the Right to Marry campaign, what’s at stake is much more than just a grade or an item on a resume: the outcome will shape one of the most personal and significant aspects of their adulthood.

“If New York students don’t speak to our community leaders about how marriage equality will impact us, we’re letting a previous generation determine the future of our families,” says Alexey Bulokov, an alumnus of the College of New Rochelle.

The Right to Marry campaign is the invention of Soulforce Q, the young adult division of Soulforce, a national social justice organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. 

In July 2007, Soulforce Q organized teams of young adults to travel across the state of New York, from Long Island to Niagara Falls. Partnering with local citizens and organizations, the youth met with lawmakers and mayors, and spoke with ordinary citizens at events from the state fair to the Ironman competition, all in the effort to create a statewide conversation about the need for marriage equality.

This semester, Soulforce Q is training student leaders and student organizations in four regions—the Bronx, Binghamton, Plattsburgh, and the Hudson Valley—to reach out to local business leaders and ask them to publicly express their support for marriage equality.

It’s a model with multiple benefits according to Haven Herrin, Director of Soulforce Q. 

“The students learn to organize a grassroots campaign, interact with business professionals, and become more engaged in their communities.  The businesses have the opportunity to interact with trendsetters and future leaders and to build new constituencies,” says Herrin.

According to a 2006 study by the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, numerous businesses stand to reap direct gains from marriage equality: retail gifts, hotels, florists, restaurants, caterers, etc. The study estimates that same-sex couples’ weddings could create approximately $2 billion in new business for those industries nationwide.  Many more businesses stand to gain through increased employee productivity and competitiveness in workforce recruitment.

College students will take the lead in identifying pro-equality businesses, marriage-related businesses, and other businesses that are leaders in their communities. Teams comprised of students and local citizens will go out into the community to speak with business owners and get their feedback. Those who are willing to go on record in support of marriage equality will receive a plaque, a window sticker, and an invitation to write a letter of support.

“Their responses will become part of a document that tells the story of small business owners who are ready to support marriage equality because it is necessary for the vitality of their community that they help sustain,” says Jarrett Lucas, Director of Outreach for Soulforce Q.  Soulforce Q will work with local students to share the document with key decision-makers, including mayors and state legislators.

"The more connections we make within and between our communities, the more unity we find. It gives us hope and strength to work until all citizens are ensured the equal rights they deserve,” says Erica Olmstead, a student at SUNY Plattsburgh who will work on the campaign.

To find out more about the Right to Marry campaign, to get involved, or to become a supporting business, go to: www.righttomarry.org

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

New York Students Join Forces with Business Leaders for Marriage Equality

New York Students Join Forces with Business Leaders for Marriage Equality

******************************************


SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: February 7, 2008


For Immediate Release


Contact: Haven Herrin, 469-867-5725, haven@soulforce.org

Jarrett Lucas, 215-917-3703, jarrett@soulforce.org

******************************************

(Thursday, February 8, 2008)—This spring semester, some New York state students are learning real-world skills while contributing to a community-based project.  But for the young New Yorkers participating in the Right to Marry campaign, what’s at stake is much more than just a grade or an item on a resume: the outcome will shape one of the most personal and significant aspects of their adulthood.

“If New York students don’t speak to our community leaders about how marriage equality will impact us, we’re letting a previous generation determine the future of our families,” says Alexey Bulokov, an alumnus of the College of New Rochelle.

The Right to Marry campaign is the invention of Soulforce Q, the young adult division of Soulforce, a national social justice organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. 

In July 2007, Soulforce Q organized teams of young adults to travel across the state of New York, from Long Island to Niagara Falls. Partnering with local citizens and organizations, the youth met with lawmakers and mayors, and spoke with ordinary citizens at events from the state fair to the Ironman competition, all in the effort to create a statewide conversation about the need for marriage equality.

This semester, Soulforce Q is training student leaders and student organizations in four regions—the Bronx, Binghamton, Plattsburgh, and the Hudson Valley—to reach out to local business leaders and ask them to publicly express their support for marriage equality.

It’s a model with multiple benefits according to Haven Herrin, Director of Soulforce Q. 

“The students learn to organize a grassroots campaign, interact with business professionals, and become more engaged in their communities.  The businesses have the opportunity to interact with trendsetters and future leaders and to build new constituencies,” says Herrin.

According to a 2006 study by the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, numerous businesses stand to reap direct gains from marriage equality: retail gifts, hotels, florists, restaurants, caterers, etc. The study estimates that same-sex couples’ weddings could create approximately $2 billion in new business for those industries nationwide.  Many more businesses stand to gain through increased employee productivity and competitiveness in workforce recruitment.

College students will take the lead in identifying pro-equality businesses, marriage-related businesses, and other businesses that are leaders in their communities. Teams comprised of students and local citizens will go out into the community to speak with business owners and get their feedback. Those who are willing to go on record in support of marriage equality will receive a plaque, a window sticker, and an invitation to write a letter of support.

“Their responses will become part of a document that tells the story of small business owners who are ready to support marriage equality because it is necessary for the vitality of their community that they help sustain,” says Jarrett Lucas, Director of Outreach for Soulforce Q.  Soulforce Q will work with local students to share the document with key decision-makers, including mayors and state legislators.

"The more connections we make within and between our communities, the more unity we find. It gives us hope and strength to work until all citizens are ensured the equal rights they deserve,” says Erica Olmstead, a student at SUNY Plattsburgh who will work on the campaign.

To find out more about the Right to Marry campaign, to get involved, or to become a supporting business, go to: www.righttomarry.org

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance.

A Call to Action From Gil Caldwell

The Soulforce 10th Anniversary Reunion and Direct Action at the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church

A Call to Action From Gil Caldwell

A few years ago I saw the Slave Narratives, a presentation of some of the stories that were told by my African ancestors who were slaves. There were nine words in that presentation that I will take with me to my grave; "They used the Bible like a stick against us". This was a graphic way of saying that Christian slave masters living in what is called the "Bible Belt", used the Bible to commit unspeakable crimes against slaves. Paul’s, "Slaves be obedient to your Christian masters…" became justification for demanding obedience and exerting punishment, whenever a Black slave did not please the wishes and needs of his/her master.

When I heard those words I reflected upon how anti-Semitism, sexism, classism, punishment of Methodist clergy who smoked and consumed alcohol, and of course slavery and racial segregation, all of this and much were perpetrated by those who used sections of Scripture as justification for their prejudices and acts of discrimination. In time most Methodists realized it was a desecration of the Bible to use it to support and sustain personal and cultural prejudices. But sadly, the United Methodist Church continues to utilize a narrow Biblical literalism and prejudicial interpretation of Scripture to justify its Book of Discipline language that demeans same gender loving persons.

I first heard Martin Luther King, Jr. at a Prayer Pilgrimage in May of 1957 in Washington, DC. That exposure to him motivated my participation in the Civil Rights Movement. I am convinced that Dr. King who spoke out against the Vietnam War and initiated the Poor People’s Campaign and spoke so many times of the necessity to create the "Beloved Community", if he were alive today, would challenge the Church and Government for their insensitive judgmental approach to LGBT persons.

I will be participating with Soulforce at the General Conference in Ft. Worth as we seek to contribute to the liberation of the United Methodist Church, urging it, "To be the Church". Martin Luther King asked more than once, "Why is the Church always the taillight and not the headlight" (on issues of human justice)? I am saddened that as a fourth generation Methodist, my United Methodist Church (in the 21st century!) desecrates the mission and ministry of Jesus in its attitudes and actions toward LGBT persons.

I invite all persons, especially persons of color and women who have awareness and experience of the Church "using the Bible like a stick" upon those before them and upon them personally, because of race and gender, to be present with me and Soulforce in Ft. Worth.

-Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell (retired)

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