CHI RHO CONNECTION
The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
Vol. III, No. 15
31 October 2002
1. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith
Journeys, by Charles Coventry, Edinburgh, Scotland
2. Calls for Submissions
3. 2003 Liturgical Calendar Published!
4. Book of the Month: Come Home!
5. Adam's Last Word
'God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is
yes. Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the answer
is, you've got to be kidding.'
Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States and
recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
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1. 'The Journey is Our Home:' Sharing Our Faith
Journeys, by Charles Coventry, Edinburgh, Scotland.
As one of the new features of the Chi Rho Connection,
we have started a series in which people tell about
their faith journeys.
We hope you are blessed by the spiritual insights
To continue 'The Journey is Our Home' series, we have
called upon Charles Coventry, of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Here is Charles' story of faith:
+ + +
I am connected with Metropolitan Community Church
(MCC), Edinburgh, Scotland, which I found out about
through a friend. I have been disabled since birth
(cerebral palsy) and had very little contact with
other children, my primary education was in special
schools, a year behind others. When I did get into
mainstream education (age 12) although I got
qualifications for university entrance, I was never
fully integrated because no attempt was made to
integrate me into sports, and I was still that bit
There was pressure on me to have girlfriends, and
ultimately, after graduation and in employment to
get married and produce a family. This kind of
teasing about not having girlfriends stopped having
any effect on me after about 17. I had doubts about
managing school teaching, controlling a class, and by
extension, knowing what I had lost, about bringing up
children of my own.
I failed to fit into ideals of manliness, first of
all being frightened by pressure to smoke. I was
expected to take up the pipe and cigars on special
occasions like Christmas, but the fear of fire was
part of my disability, I am partially sighted, so
there was a real risk of being burned. I failed to
reach the standards of alcohol consumption expected
of a man, finding spirits impossible for me. When it
came to shaving, the safety razor was impossible,
and it was only after a serious accident that I was
allowed to buy an electric shaver. Again, because
of my partial vision, I can't drive, and after
graduation I never got the right kind of job for
long enough, and was last in employment in 1982.
My disability includes a severe numeracy problem,
which extends to anything not a continuation of the
school syllabus. I was always in trouble for this
and it was after I was nearly convinced that I was
mentally subnormal that I heard about the Transcendental
Meditation technique. I learned and got the chance
to leave home for further study in the Department of
Celtic at the University of Edinburgh. I am in fact
now a linguist and local historian. It was here that
I also got the chance to learn to swim.
After my parents died I came to understand that I am0
gay, and this was confirmed by subsequent experiences.
I found a gay swimming group and it was through this
that I heard about MCC. Not only in MCC, but in all
the gay groups I have become involved with, I have
found acceptance as a human being, a swimmer, and
Gaelic scholar, not a specimen of cerebral palsy.
It was because most church people latched on to my
disability that I was very suspicious of religion.
At school I was used as a moral example of goodness
to the rest of the pupils, and it was only later, when
I could be sure of not being pestered with magic cures
derived from literal interpretation of the New
Testament, that I had anything to do with the church.
As long as nobody asks about my marital status, I don't
really need to come out, and in a place like Edinburgh
it is quite easy to find gay groups. Outside of
university circles, straight people tend just to talk
about how their marriages and families are going, but
in MCC and my other gay groups, although there are gay
dads, even if I ever find a partner, and could never be
a parent, it doesn't seem to matter to gay friends.
I'm just another member of the group, a swimmer, and
Gaelic scholar. One of my swimming sessions happens
to be at a time which means that for most of the year
I can't make the MCC service, but when I apologized for
this at MCC, they just said that my swim still counted
as a kind of worship.
+ + +
2. Call for Submissions
With changes in the look of the Chi Rho Connection, Chi
Rho Press is pleased to issue a Call for Submissions for
articles to appear in future issues of our electronic
newsletter. We are especially looking for the following
kinds of articles:
a. Faith Stories for the column, 'The Journey is Our
Home:' Sharing Our Faith Journeys. If you would like to
contribute the story of your faith journey for inclusion
in 'The Journey is Our Home,' please try to limit your
story to 500 words.
b. Reviews of Books. Whether published by Chi Rho
Press or any other publisher, we are looking for book
reviews. What have you read recently that has inspired
you? What do you think other LGBT Christians would
benefit by reading? Please don't forget to include
the full title, author, publisher, ISBN number, date
of publication, and price of the book. Word limit,
c. Inspirational stories are always welcome, but not
the stuff that is already making its way around and
around and around the Internet. How about coming up
with your own original inspirational story?
d. Link of the Month. What are the Internet Web pages
that are most helpful and interesting to you? Submit
the complete link and your brief description of what
it is and why you are recommending it.
e. Finally, your letters, suggestions, comments,
criticisms, and contributions are always welcome.
Please send your submissions to Connection@...
3. 2003 Liturgical Calendar Published!
'A Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary, Year B, December
2002 through November 2003,' compiled by Dr. David Kerr
Park. Spiral bound, 8 ½" x 11", 78 pages. $9.95 each,
six or more copies for $7.95 each, plus shipping and
handling. Now available on our Web site at
Chi Rho Press is pleased to announce a brand new
Liturgical Calendar for the coming church year. Our
newly designed Liturgical Calendar is packed with
useful information for planning worship and preaching
in the local church for each Sunday and Holy Day of
the Church Year. It is intended for use by pastors,
musicians, altar guilds, teachers, theological
students, and anyone using the Church Year as a
basis for worship or education. The Liturgical
Calendar is spiral bound so it can lie flat for
easy use, in a new, larger 8 ½" x 11" format.
Order your copy of the 2003 Liturgical Calendar today!
$9.95 each, six or more copies for $7.95 each.
4. Book of the Month: Come Home!
'Come Home! Reclaiming Spirituality and Community as
Gay Men and Lesbians,' second edition, by Chris Glaser.
first published in 1990 by HarperCollins, the second
edition was published in 1998 by Chi Rho Press with the
addition of five new chapters to the original 20.
'Come Home!' is perhaps Chris Glaser's best book. It is
divided into five sections, each with five chapters.
The five sections are entitled, 'Welcoming God's
Acceptance,' 'Receiving Our Inheritance,' 'Discerning Our
Call,' 'Making Our Witness,' and 'Declaring Our Vision.'
Bishop John Shelby Spong called 'Come Home!' 'powerful,
sensitive, and provocative. . . . Glaser stands inside
his own humanity as a gay male and hears the word of God
through the Bible. Christians, gay and straight, need
this book if we are to be the body of Christ.'
This is a brilliant and important book by perhaps the
best-known Gay Christian writer in the U.S. today.
The Rev. Carter Heyward called 'Come Home!' 'an
enthusiastic compelling testimony to the power of faith
in the lives of many gay and lesbian Christians.'
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott said, 'If courage, honesty,
and insight are beautiful, then this is one beautiful
book. . . . I rejoice that in this book all the gay
men and lesbian women who have been robbed of their
spirituality are issued an urgent invitation: Come home!'
'Come Home!' by Chris Glaser offers a vision of faith,
hope, and affirmation inviting gay men and lesbians to
come home to their spirituality through Christian faith
and community. Order your copy today!
'Come Home!' is available for $19.95 each, $14.95 each
for six or more copies, plus shipping and handling.
5. Adam's Last Word
It is Hallowe'en here in the United States as we send
out this edition of the Chi Rho Connection. It is not
a holiday celebrated in much of the rest of the world
and is a peculiarly American event, which has been
adopted by many LGBT people as a special night to
dress up in costumes not reflective of who we really
are. Or are they? Perhaps the LGBT community likes
Hallowe'en precisely because we CAN dress up as we
really are in the depths of our closeted psyches, and
appear before the world without blush or embarrassment.
Or maybe it is just because part of LGBT culture is
the celebration of the theatrical residing in so many
I shall put on the brown monk's robe I bought a few
years back at Maryland's Renaissance Festival and hand
out candy to the children who will wander up to the
front door of Tawdry Tower, my little town house.
Hallowe'en is a linguistic corruption of All Hallows
Eve. The evening before All Hallows Day or All Saints
Day, November 1. Christians inherited, or rather
co-opted Hallowe'en from the Pagan celebration of
Samhain, the day on which the veil between the living
and the dead is thinnest.
All Saints Day is an especially wonderful day in the
life of the church. Our new Liturgical Calendar says
about the Feast of All Saints, 'The tradition of
remembering all the saints together dates to the
early history of the Church, which affirmed 'the
communion of saints' as the mystical Body of Christ,
transcending both time and space. Even when no one
is visibly with us in our prayers and our spiritual
path, we are surrounded by their presence and inspired
by their witness. All the saints, some famous and
some known only to God, answered God's call in their
life in their own unique way. This collective feast
reminds us that each of us has our own special gifts,
and we are each called to DO something holy for God.'
The next day is All Souls Day, Nov. 2, about which
our Liturgical Calendar says, 'In some traditions
there has been a distinction between remembering the
official canonized saints on All Saints Day and
commemorating those whose names are not on any
calendar, but are cherished as models of faith,
or are dearly loved family and friends. They, as
well, are part of that great 'cloud of witnesses'
who encourage us in our spiritual journey.' In
Mexico this is la Dia de la Muerte, a popular
Mexican holiday of remembering and honoring the
However you honor the saints who have gone before
us and your own well-loved friends and relatives who
have passed away, this is a special time to reflect
on the Saints who have inspired us and the Souls who
have loved us.
Friday evening, I will be attending an All Saints
Day event at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Washington
DC with my friends Bill and Bob. Bill and Bob are
great Anglo-Catholics and major royalists with whom
I spend Christmas day every year. The St. Paul's
Parish Choir with orchestra will be performing the
Lord Nelson Mass by Franz Josef Haydn. Not a bad
way to mark All Saints Day, I figure. And I will
reconnect with my high Anglo-Catholic roots. A
Suffragan Bishop from New York will be preaching
and a retired Bishop will be celebrating the
Eucharist so it will be a high old Anglican time
In the United States next Tuesday is also Election
Day. I encourage all our readers, as I do every year,
to vote! This is an especially important election,
with the entire United States House of Representatives
and a third of the United States Senate up for
re-election. If you think that your vote doesn't
matter, you are sadly in error. The last election
showed the United States to be almost perfectly
divided between those who voted for Democratic and
Republican candidates. The division was so sharp,
and the Electoral College system we have of electing
the President, that Mr. Bush won the Electoral
College votes (thanks to the intervention of the
U.S. Supreme Court majority appointed by his father
and Mr. Reagan), even while Mr. Gore won the popular
vote by half a million votes. With the control of
both the House of Representatives and Senate in the
balance, your vote is very important.
Please don't forget to vote Tuesday!
The GLBT community lost a good friend with the death
of Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. He was a man
of integrity and nobility, unabashed by the trappings
of high office, wearing the same rumpled suits he had
worn as a professor at Carlton College, and keeping
his self-effacing good humor. A man of principle, not
to be trifled with, Paul Wellstone was a political
hero in a time when politics is filled with charlatans,
cads, the greedy, the vain, and the unprincipled. He
will be missed.
In his stead, the Democrats have named former Senator
and former Vice President Walter Mondale to stand for
the Senate seat vacated by the death of Paul Wellstone.
'Fritz' Mondale is another friend of the LGBT community.
His wife Joan is a potter and created the first pottery
baptismal bowl and pitcher for the new building built
by the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington DC.
Autumn is here in the Washington DC area. A long
drought is being moderated by days of rain and the
leaves are changing here. Things seem to be relaxing
with the passing of summer into autumn. Perhaps the
capture of the hunter/snipers that have plagued our
community for three weeks in October has helped the
overall mood. But it is a good, mellow harvest time.
I hope you are all blessed and filled with love and
joy as we begin to prepare for the year-end holiday
Please take a moment this weekend to honor and bless
all those faithful saints and loved ones who have
gone before us. And Americans, don't forget to vote
R. Adam DeBaugh, Director, Adam@...
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Copyright 2002, Chi Rho Press, Inc.