Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Gathering in New Orleans

Many Stories, One Voice

It was three years ago this past week that my wife and I arrived in Kansas City, she anxious to begin a new, exciting job, me having jettisoned a lifelong career in radio broadcasting for something I knew not what - but somehow sensed the move would be good for me as well. Who knew????

As we arrived, there were a lot of things on our To Do List - the most pressing was finding permanent housing after not one, but two offers had to be withdrawn due to poor inspections. Not on the list, not even as a footnote after the bottom, was locating a suitable church. I wrote earlier, I was not religiously engaged and had no plans to seek any spiritual home.

What an amazing journey it has been and now comes a trip to New Orleans after the Labor Day weekend to attend "Many Stories, One Voice" a broad, ecumenical LGBT faith gathering organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources along with many co-sponsoring organization. And a special "pre-event" called "For Such a Time as This" has been organized for Transgender and Faith that will feature: Rev. Erin Swenson who tranisitioned in 1996 as an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA); Dr. Julie Nemecek who was fired by Spring Arbor University, a "Christian" college, when she tranisitioned in 2006; and Chris Paige, the founder of TransFaithOnline among others. I am excited at the chance to meet all three of them.

The main gathering will be keynoted by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu - what an honor it will be to hear him speak. The list of leaders and presenters is incredible, perhaps even too much - like a grand buffet in which everything looks wonderful, but you just don't have enough time or tummy to experience everything. But I'll try. High on my list will be the closing worship led by Bishop Yvette Flunder, the guiding light of City of Refuge Ministries in San Francisco which gave hope and a home to the Transcendence Gospel Choir.

The hotel reservations at a special rate are available through Monday, July 28th. If you decide to attend, I hope to meet you!

No comments: