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American Family Outing to Six Mega-Churches Has Begun

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  • MrChuk@aol.com
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    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2008
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      American Family Outing to Six Mega-Churches Has Begun
      In this Email Update:
      1. LGBT Families to Host Families from Lakewood Church on Mother's Day
      Weekend
      2. Next Weekend: Bishop T.D. Jakes and The Potter's House
      3. Mother, Trans Son Embark on Soulforce Journey
      4. Soulforce Needs You to Sponsor One or More Families

      ____________________________________

      LGBT Families to Host Families from Lakewood Church on Mother's Day Weekend
      At a press conference in Houston on May 7, Jay Bakker, pastor of Revolution
      NYC church, issued an open invitation to families from Lakewood Church --
      the largest congregation in the U.S. -- to share a picnic with lesbian, gay,
      bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families in Houston's Levy Park on Saturday,
      May 10, 2008.
      "I want to celebrate my mother's life," said Bakker, "and help spread the
      message she lived and preached. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as 'us'
      and 'them.' We hope the families of Lakewood Church will open their hearts
      and minds to us and sit down and have a conversation and share a meal. ...
      Let's put our differences aside and share the love and hope of Christ."
      The press conference kicked off The American Family Outing, which aims to
      create dialogue between LGBT families and families at six American
      mega-churches. The majority of the churches, including The Potter's House in Dallas,
      Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, and Hope Christian Church in
      Maryland, have agreed to meet lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families
      through The American Family Outing.
      However, after five months of letters and phone calls, Osteen and Lakewood
      Church have not yet agreed to sit down with the families for a meal and
      conversation. Following the press conference, Bakker attempted to deliver his
      letter in-person, but was told that no one was available to receive it.
      Bakker was joined at the press conference by Kim Beggs, a local lesbian mom,
      Rev. Kristen Klein-Cechettini, Director of Life Development at Resurrection
      MCC in Houston, and Caitlin MacIntyre, a Rice University student and member
      of COLAGE's Speak Out program.
      Bakker's direct invitation to the families at Lakewood Church was delivered
      at the site of Saturday's picnic, Levy Park, which is less than a mile from
      Lakewood. Video of the invitation and press conference can be viewed _here_
      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=54510&N=516&L=1832&F=H) .

      What: American Family Outing Picnic in Levy Park, featuring Jay Bakker and
      lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families from Houston and beyond.
      When: Saturday, May 10, 2008 from 11am-2pm
      Where: Levy Park, 3801 Eastside St., Houston, TX, 77098. (Just off of
      Richmond, between Buffalo Speedway and Kirby).
      Read the Houston Chronicle story at
      _www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5762904.html_
      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=54510&N=516&L=1834&F=H) .
      Photo credit: Dalton DeHart

      ____________________________________

      Next Weekend: Bishop T.D. Jakes and The Potter's House
      Bishop T.D. Jakes agreed to meet and our families will be attending church
      at the Potter's House in Dallas on May 18. Later that afternoon, families
      from the church will meet with our families with the hope of creating a
      meaningful dialogue on faith, family, and LGBT people. We will keep you updated
      throughout the American Family Outing!
      More information on the American Family Outing, as well as a complete
      schedule, can be found at _www.soulforce.org/afo_
      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=54510&N=516&L=1815&F=H) .

      * Rev. Joel Osteen and the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas
      * Bishop T.D. Jakes and The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas
      * Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Hope Christian Church in Beltsville,
      Maryland
      * Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in
      Lithonia, Georgia
      * Rev. Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church in South
      Barrington, Illinois
      * Dr. Rick Warren and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California


      ____________________________________

      Mother, Trans Son Embark on Soulforce Journey
      This Mother's Day, Soulforce is proud to share the inspiring journey of one
      of the mothers of the American Family Outing, Mary Helen Phelps, and her
      son, Angel Collie. This account was written by Matt Comer for Q-Notes.
      Mary Helen Phelps, 43, calls herself a "reformed redneck." Her journey
      toward accepting her female-to-male transgender son has taken her from valleys
      of worry and despair to mountain tops of joy and reconciliation.
      Phelps, who grew up in this traditionally conservative Baptist town just
      outside Raleigh, said she didn't hesitate when invited to participate in the
      American Family Outing by her son.
      "I didn't have to think about it," she told Q-Notes. "As soon as I was
      invited I was ready to go. I feel like I've been there and I know where these
      parents are at."
      She said she wants to let parents of gay and transgender children know that
      they can accept their sons and daughters for who they are.
      "I remember sleeping outside Angel's door at night, afraid to death Angel
      would commit suicide," she said. "I want to tell these parents, 'You're trying
      to change something your children were born with and what you're doing is
      putting bullets in a gun.'"
      Phelps said her own journey to acceptance was filled with obstacles. To
      this day, she still faces challenges, especially when it comes to using the
      correct pronouns for her transgender son.
      "Angel wanted boys clothes every time I put clothes on him," she said. "I
      was not supportive [after Angel first came out] because of my Baptist
      religion. I told Angel he was going to Hell and we even tried counseling."
      The family finally came to a turning point when all the landmark
      institutions if their lives began turning against Angel.
      "Angel's school turned against him. Angel's church turned against him --
      even telling him he couldn't pray on the altar," Phelps related. "Any mother in
      the world is going to stand up for their child. All the negativity around
      Angel is what really turned me around."
      The full version of this article can be read at:
      _www.q-notes.com/2008/05/03/mother-trans-son-embark-on-soulforce-journey_
      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=54510&N=516&L=1833&F=H) .

      ____________________________________

      Soulforce Needs You to Sponsor One or More Families
      Can you take part in the American Family Outing by sponsoring one or more
      of the families leading the effort? Each of our twenty-one families have
      pledged to raise $2,000 through their own sponsor page. Your tax-deductible
      contribution to Soulforce will be used toward the expenses associated with
      planning and completing this important work towards equality and understanding. The
      American Family Outing would not be possible without your generous financial
      support. Thank you!
      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/link.php?M=54510&N=516&L=1811&F=H)

      (http://www.soulforce.org/sendstudio/sendfriend.php?M=54510&N=516&L=3&C=1029f63279237129e2755a11f2faf832&F=7&i=256)
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      &i=256)

      ____________________________________

      The goal of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
      transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of
      relentless nonviolent resistance.
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