Called Out eNews - January 2008
In this issue:
Feb. 6 -10, 2008
Creating Change Conference
June 25 -29, 2008
One Tribe, One Table
(Joint Fellowship/Coalition Gathering)
July 24 - 28, 2008
National Youth Event
Health and Wholeness Advocacy
Wider Church Ministries
United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
(216)736-3218 / 1-866-8224, ext. 3218
Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive
Rev. Lori Tisher, Intern
It is the stories of a movement that propel it forward.
Steve Clapp once shared with me a story about participating in a colloquy with a distinguished group of authors and thinkers from fairly conservative perspectives. Steve is the president of Christian Community and has been a champion of values based comprehensive sexuality education and an important leader in researching best practices. Steve said that when this particular colloquy discussed the issue of homosexuality, the tone of the discussion became negative, that is, until one among them spoke up and shared his story.
The man began by acknowledging his reputation for being a conservative writer who was especially harsh towards gay, lesbian and bisexual people. However, he said two weeks ago that changed when his grandson shared with his grandparents that he is gay. At first, they were stunned by what their grandson shared, but then his revelation led them to some deep soul searching.
The man then told the group not to assume that everyone in the room agreed with their conservative views on this and that they were now looking at one of the strongest gay activists they could ever hope to meet. He testified that they had known their grandson all his life, had held him in their arms moments after his birth. Their grandson had spent countless times visiting them, engaging in countless hours of conversation and activities together. They knew him well, the depth of his spirit and the integrity of his life and faith. The strength of their relationship with him was transforming their understanding of sexuality as people of faith.
I admire such courage, not only exhibited by the grandfather in that conservative group, but more importantly, by the grandson who had the courage to share his story, undoubtedly realizing what was on the line for his relationship with his grandparents.
In 2008, such courage is as important as ever in our church and throughout our society and world. Our stories are powerful and the more they are shared, the more this world will change. Don’t be shy, talk about it, especially with those with whom you are closest, with family and friends. Talk about it at home, church, work, and school. Talk about it with those who are running for office and those already elected. I don’t expect that everyone will experience the positive transformation those grandparents went through. But I do know, that as you share your story, there is a community of people in the United Church of Christ standing in solidarity with you, supporting you, and working together to transform our world into the open and affirming, multi-racial, multi-cultural, accessible to all community God intends it to be.
Helpful Coming Out Guides and Resources:
Creating Change is the one and only time each year when thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates from every corner of the country converge to strategize, socialize and mobilize for LGBT equality.
It features top-level trainings, workshops, networking sessions and action-planning with our movement’s best thinkers and brightest innovators. And there are also tons of opportunities for socializing, meeting up with old friends and making lots of new ones.
Be sure to check out the day-long Institute on Thursday, February 7th: Empowering and Working with People of Faith, led by the National Religious Leadership Roundtable as well as the workshop: Marriage Equality: Changing Hearts and Minds in Religious Communities and Beyond, led by Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, the UCC Minister for LGBT Concerns.
For more information and to register: www.creatingchange.org
Rev. Lori Tisher, Intern for the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office (HWA), has accepted a new call to serve as Minister of Youth and Young Adults at First Congregational Church, UCC in Columbus, OH. This sadly means that she must resign from her position with HWA, effective January 18, 2008. Lori has been a great gift to the Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office, Wider Church Ministries and Global Ministries. Her leadership was especially important during the recent sabbatical of Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, HWA Executive. Her deep faith, passion for justice, dedication to global ministry and caring spirit have been and will continue to be a gift to the church. We wish her many blessings and will miss her!