This is a note to my congregation that I posted in the April 2008 issue of our newsletter. I thought I would post it here as well so you can know why I am an advocate for PFLAG.
I am excited to report that a new chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) has now formed for the Tri-Cities area. It is called PFLAG Tri-Cities and covers the area of East Tennessee. The first meeting will be Thursday, April 17th at 7 p.m. in room #503 in the Warf-Pickel Hall (College of Education building) on the campus of ETSU.
Among the various ministries in which I have engaged in my nearly 16 years of ordained service, ministry to glbt people and their families has been one of the most controversial. Even more than my views about politics and theology, my public advocacy for sexual and gender minorities has raised eyebrows the highest.
I will tell you why I do it.
I have seen high school students disowned by their parents. I have seen the results of emotional and physical abuse. I have seen people shunned by their churches all because people do not understand or are afraid to embrace the complexity of human sexuality.
I have also seen families come together and people increase their awareness because clergy and congregations have opened their eyes and their arms and have spoken clearly that homosexuality is no more a sin or an illness than heterosexuality. The way we treat people is the important thing.
It means a great deal to me to pastor a congregation that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. I hope that some of you will be able to participate in the work of PFLAG Tri-Cities. I make a special invitation to straight allies. Their work is crucially important. They have more freedom than many lesbian and gay people do to speak out for fairness.
If you cannot participate in person, perhaps you will support the work of PFLAG Tri-Cities financially. You can contact me to find out the specifics. Our first meeting is April 17th. Please get the word out.
If people ask why PFLAG? Why do this? Tell them it is about healing families.
You can find out more about the work of PFLAG by going to www.pflag.org and the work of PFLAG Tri-Cities by going to www.pflagtricities.blogspot.com.
Let us work for a world in which all people can live in peace and freedom.