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News and Views: LGBT People and the Church

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    CALLED OUT ... Sunday, February 16, 2003 Broadway Tunes Make a Joyful Noise The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/national/16CHUR.html WEST
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 16, 2003
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      Sunday, February 16, 2003
      Broadway Tunes Make a Joyful Noise
      The New York Times

      WEST HOLLYWOOD � As a congregant at the Crescent Heights United
      Methodist Church belted out the opening number from "Cabaret" at a
      Sunday service some two years ago, worshippers at the St. Ambrose
      Catholic Church across the street were filing in for a Mass honoring
      an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that had been blessed by Pope John
      Paul II.

      What happened next suggests that somebody up there has a sense of
      humor. Both churches use microphones that were accidentally set on
      the same channel, meaning "Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome ..."
      greeted the mostly older and very traditional group at St. Ambrose.
      After about 15 seconds of bewilderment, the sound system was switched

      "It was a miracle," said the Rev. John Griffin from the Methodist
      church. <MORE>

      Sunday, February 16, 2003
      Hip or not, black or white, young or old, everyone's welcome at the
      square dance
      Kansas City Star

      Last October I stepped through the doors of the main hall at
      Northcross Methodist Church in Kansas City, north of the river. There
      were dozens of people there, and, I noticed, some much younger than I
      expected. However, no one looked like me. Plus, I didn't have a
      partner, so I would have to ask someone to dance.<MORE>


      Saturday, February 15, 2003
      New Archbishop Is Known for Taking Stands
      New York Times

      No doubt about it, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, who will
      be formally enthroned as archbishop of Canterbury on Feb.
      27, makes good copy. <SNIP>
      At age 52, Archbishop Williams may be the first world
      religious leader to be a child of the 1960's. His politics
      - and his facial hair - may reflect that era's
      rebelliousness but so, in a quite different way, does his
      theology. <MORE>

      Saturday, February 15, 2003
      Gay Couples Pop Big Question, but the States' Reply Is the Same
      New York Times

      LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14 - When the Rev. Troy D. Perry and his
      partner went to the marriage bureau today, they knew that
      the odds were not in their favor. But what better time than
      Valentine's Day to try?

      One of five gay couples who lined up for marriage licenses
      at a courthouse in the San Fernando Valley, Mr. Perry and
      his partner of 18 years, Philip Ray DeBlieck, were politely
      turned down along with the others: two male couples and two
      female. <MORE>

      Friday, February 14, 2003
      Churches Call For Same-Sex Couple Rights
      by Michael J. Meade

      (Boston, Massachusetts) A group of Boston clergy say the state's
      failure to legally recognize same-sex marriages stamps gay and
      lesbian couples with a brand of inferiority.

      The group, calling itself the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to
      Marry has over 400 members. <SNIP>

      "I suspect most of us here in this room see now persons whose lives
      have been terribly, terribly damaged by the position of the church
      that I'm part of and churches that take that position and the state's
      refusal to recognize legitimate relationships," said the Rev. Richard
      Harding. <MORE>

      Thursday, February 13, 2003 5:34 PM
      Oasis Ministry: Refuge for local lgbt Episcopalians
      By Cheryl Zupan

      For many lgbt Episcopalians near Ann Arbor, the name promises
      refreshment and relief: a monthly refuge in what can be a hostile
      desert of organized religion, a place of sudden company and

      With its "Evensong" celebrations the first Saturday of each month,
      Oasis is a pastoral and spiritual outreach to lgbt and questioning
      people in southeastern Michigan, especially those who have not found
      a church home. <MORE>

      February 10, 2003
      Lesbian Couple Whose Home Was Torched Honored
      by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

      (Missoula, Montana) Two lesbian couples who sued the University of
      Montana for spousal partner rights were honored over the weekend by a
      state gay rights group.

      One of the couples, Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff were victims of
      an arson attack shortly after the suit was announced. Their home was
      set on fire as they slept. The women and their small son climbed
      through a window to safety. At one point in their investigation
      police suggested that one of the women set the fire herself. There
      has been no arrest. <SNIP>

      A judge dismissed their lawsuit against the University System in
      November, ruling that the UM policy that denies health insurance
      benefits for partners of gay employees is not unconstitutional.

      Sunday the Montana Human Rights Network presented its Walt Brown
      Award to the two couples. The awards presentation, at First United
      Methodist Church marked the first anniversary of the fire.<MORE>

      February 9, 2003
      Gay Baptist Church Opens

      PHILADELPHIA- Baptist Pastor Jeri Williams said in a perfect world
      she wouldn't have to set up a congregation geared specifically toward
      gays and lesbians � something she said God told her to do a year ago.

      But Williams said many homosexuals often feel out of place in
      American Baptist churches. And because some church rules forbid gays
      from holding leadership posts, and because of a deep church divide
      over homosexuality, Williams said, a fully unified church between
      gays and non-gays "ain't going to happen" anytime soon.

      That's why she set out to start Fusion Baptist Church.<MORE>


      February 2, 2003
      Congregations Reach Out to Welcome Gays to the Fold
      By Mary Otto
      Washington Post

      Lay minister Ann McDonald is gathering her strength for what she
      expects will be "a heavy night" at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in
      Severn. <SNIP>

      Some churches are blessing same-sex unions or appointing gay
      ministers in defiance of their denominations' policies. Others are
      making subtle changes, such as adding welcoming language to their
      mission statements, displaying literature about gay community
      concerns, listing same-sex couples together in church directories and
      sponsoring reading groups for parishioners who want to learn more
      about gay issues.<MORE>


      February 4, 2003
      Gays Respond Quickly to Killings in Cape Town
      New York Times

      CAPE TOWN, Feb. 2 - The bodies are gone, but blood still
      stains the wooden floors at 7 Graham Road. For two weeks
      now, dozens of mourners have come here to weep and leave
      flowers in memory of the nine gay men who were killed in an
      attack on the massage parlor.

      The massacre was front-page news and the story is now well
      known: on Jan. 20, killers believed to be looking for two
      gay prostitutes involved in a drug deal entered the massage
      parlor and shot everyone inside, execution style, even
      though they could not find the prostitutes they were
      looking for. Some of the men had their throats slit and
      their hands bound with tape.<MORE>


      Plot Twist for a Gay Bookstore: The Last Chapter Actually Isn't
      February 4, 2003
      New York Times

      The Oscar Wilde Bookshop in Greenwich Village, the oldest
      gay and lesbian bookstore in the country and one of two
      left in the city, has been sold and will not have to close,
      the new owner said yesterday.

      The bookstore had been scheduled to close last month after
      its owner, Larry Lingle, said that it was losing money and
      that he could no longer afford to keep it open.<MORE>


      Texas School District Is Sued Over a Gay-Straight Club
      February 2, 2003
      New York Times

      KLEIN, Tex., Jan. 29 - Last October, Marla Dukler, a
      17-year-old honor student, and 16 other students at Klein
      High School asked the principal for permission to form a
      Gay-Straight Alliance, saying it would promote tolerance.

      In the months since then, neither the principal nor the
      school district in this affluent suburb north of Houston
      has given the students permission to form the club.<MORE>


      Judge Declines To Sentence 3 Catholic Gay Activists
      By Arthur Santana
      Washington Post
      Friday, January 31, 2003; Page B01

      Three Catholic gay activists were convicted of unlawful entry
      yesterday in D.C. Superior Court by a judge who then declined to
      sentence them, told them she was sympathetic and went on to apologize
      on behalf of the Catholic Church.

      Judge Mildred M. Edwards, who is Catholic, told the activists that
      she had to convict them but that she would do something she had not
      done in 15 years on the bench -- dispense with a sentence.

      "Tremendous violence was done to you . . . when the Body of Christ
      was denied to you," Edwards said, referring to the contention of the
      three that refusal of Holy Communion had prompted their actions. "As
      a member of your church, I ask you to forgive the church."<MORE>


      Wednesday, January 29, 2003
      Tolerance and Hypocrisy on Gay-Straight Clubs

      ASHLAND, Ky. A YEAR AGO, a small group of students at Boyd County
      High School in rural eastern Kentucky asked to form a
      Gay-Straight Alliance club. They had a sponsor, Kaye King,
      who is an English teacher and a certified counselor. They
      did research and learned that there were 1,200 such clubs
      nationally. Tyler McClelland, a senior, says they just
      wanted a supportive group, where no one whispered "queer"
      behind their backs. <MORE>


      Friday, January 24, 2003
      Gays to pray for peace at World Sabbath
      By Sharon Gittleman

      BLOOMFIELD HILLS - In 1999, Reverend Rod Reinhart's heart was broken.

      "So many Muslims were being murdered by Christians in Bosnia, and in
      Sudan so many Christians were being murdered by Muslims," said
      Reinhart, Pastor at St. Martha's Episcopal Church in Detroit. "I felt
      it was deeply important that we find some way to address the problem
      of religious hatred and religious prejudice in the world."

      So Reinhart took action. He created a local "World Sabbath for
      Peace," a day of reflection for members of every religion to come
      together and pray for harmony and tolerance.

      Reinhart said his ultimate goal is to change people's hearts so men
      and women of every race, faith and sexual orientation are loved and
      accepted for who they are. <MORE>

      January 22, 2003
      Pastor, wife reflect on gay union, repercussions
      Daily Nebraskan

      <SNIP>And thus began the planning, the soul-searching and ultimately
      the story Yost, Leak and Lincoln Pastor Jay Vetter and his wife
      Maureen shared Sunday at Lincoln's Southminster United Methodist
      Church, 2915 S. 16th St.

      The meeting was planned as a function of Lincoln's newly officiated
      reconciling United Methodist group, which works to "enable full
      participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender
      identities in the life of the United Methodist Church, both in policy
      and practice," according to the Reconciling Ministries Network Web

      The most painful part to me is that ... a number of people have cut
      off their relationship with me, cut off their relationship with the
      church and they haven't even talked to me," Jay Vetter said. "That's

      But, Jay Vetter said, those who have left his congregation prove to
      be the only negative result of Leak and Yost's union. That the church
      and community is having to discuss the concept of homosexual unions,
      he said, is a positive step in what Maureen Vetter called the "civil
      rights issue of our day."<MORE>

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