The Wayfarer's Creed

Archive for the ‘church’ Category

  • Still working at Lord & Taylor, though I’m a Specialist now for Kenneth Cole New York.
  • Member of Green Party of Monroe County Steering Committee, and working on Alex White for Mayor campaign, we can win this!
  • Organizing Interfaith Advocates for LGBT People to become more active, reaching out to local faith communities regardless of theological positions
  • Buddhist/Christian contemplation and meditation, reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
  • Living and hanging out at Ant Hill Cooperative, community living is the way to go!
  • Take the bus everywhere, isn’t it nice when low-income status forces action on something I should have been doing already?
  • Singing and laughing as part of the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Going to Albany next week as part of Marriage Equality New York’s lobby day
  • Finding paradise amongst the suffering
  • Attending worship at Rochester Area Mennonite Fellowship when I can, why do I have to work on Sunday?
  • Crossing my fingers that I don’t burn myself out

 

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So I know many people have been anxiously waiting to hear from me about what has been happening as I travel for justice.  There’s just been so much going on that I haven’t been able to write down my thoughts about everything that’s happening.

Baltimore, Feb. 25th-Mar.3rd

The train took me from Syracuse to New York City and then on to Baltimore, with me being one of the last arrivals Thursday evening.  And because doing absolutely nothing all day is most draining of activities I had to go to sleep immediately.  Can’t start this wonderful 2 month journey with a sleep deficit can I? Lots happened over that week, but the one thing that I wanted to describe was an exercise that Mel White did with us.  As part of our nonviolence exercises we were required to step into the shoes of the most hateful extremist and then interact with another of the Riders in that role.  We were required to spew all of those things that we’ve heard in the past at our friends.  We got in each others faces.  We made each other cry. We made ourselves cry.  I actually found it to be more difficult to vocalize that hatred, than it was to take it.  Essentially, we’ve grown accustomed to hearing these things, but how can anybody ever spew such hateful things at another human being?  If they think that this is Love, then I must conclude that they have never known the touch of Love in their lives.  And that is something to mourn.

Valley Forge Christian College, Mar.4th-Mar.7th

VFCC is an Assemblies of God institution near Philadelphia and was our first campus stop on the Ride this year.  And what  a way to start out.  The administration from the very beginning of hearing that we would be visiting insisted that we not show up.  They were not interested in having any sort of discussion, and they were insistent that their students not have any discussions with us.  Because of the threat of expulsion from the school simply based on talking with us, we unfortunately did not have any face to face conversations with current students.  But we could see that students were watching from the buildings and as we left for the day we could see them waving to us.  Even if we were not able to talk directly to students, we know that somebody that needed to hear us did so, and hopefully that spark that we created will contribute to the fanning of the flames of this conversation for this community.  While we held vigil outside this campus, we also spent the day trying to deal with a group called Repent America.  Similar to Westboro Baptist Church, this group travels to many queer related happenings in Pennsylvania and uses their bullhorns and signs to proclaim their hate message.  When the members of our group attempted to engage in conversation with them and offered their hands, the response was a refusal to shake and a complete twisting of our words.

Fortunately, our entire time in Philadelphia was not spent around such hostility.  Members of the local Metropolitan Community Churches joined us at the College, and then welcomed us into their churches.  They fed us, talked with us, and filled up our love tanks, knowing that our experiences in this community would not be the only ones that were less than welcoming.  We worshiped at Imago Dei MCC on Sunday morning, which was actually my first time worshiping in an MCC setting.  And it was moving.  Hearing the word of God from a such a queer perspective and participating in Communion with a primarily queer group was life-giving in a way that I have not experienced in quite some time.  And while the MCC is not my home, I greatly appreciated their ministry to me while I was in their midst.

Houghton College, Mar.7th-Mar.10th

After leaving Philadelphia, we headed up to Houghton College in upstate New York, which is my home turf.  This stop had the potential to be very triggering for me personally, as I was a student at Houghton for five semesters, a time that I spent deeply in the closet.  While I was at Houghton, I struggled greatly with my sexuality, primarily because their was an enormous silence around the issue.  Was there really anybody that I would be able to talk to about this secret of mine.  Because of my history with the College, our conversations with the administration had been “interesting.”  So having been in charge of planning everything my stress level was a bit high going into this visit.  But regardless of my expectations for this visit, the reality of that day on campus far surpassed anything I could have imagined.  Despite the limited interactions that we were given to have with students, the students came out in force, wanting to hear what we had to say, wanting to hear our stories.   Houghton College is fertile ground.  We had straight students coming out as allies, we had queer students identify themselves as such to various Riders.  After hearing the statistic that 1 in 4 Houghton students “struggles with same-sex attraction” I personally wish that more of those students would have identified, but I know that each of us must go through that in their own time.  And even if they haven’t publicly identified themselves yet, I know that our shattering of the silence on this campus has enabled them to move one step closer to living their lives as their authentic G0d-created selves.  Whether it was coming out to themselves, coming out to a close friend, or coming out to a Rider, any of these movements is welcome to me, and the smallest shift to them accepting themselves makes the entire experience worth it.

We created a safe space while on the campus of Houghton College, and from the energy that I saw amongst the students there, I am confident that this safe space will remain.  Some students have even started discussing the formation of a Queer-Straight Alliance, which would be an enormous step to making this campus safer and more inclusive.  While none of us are fooling ourselves into thinking that this will be a college-recognized organization, we must accept the small ripples that we are making.  We may never see the change that we want to see, but the only way to get to that point is to make the small changes, and someday somebody will be able to reap the full benefits of our actions.  And as long as that happens someday, all the work is worth it.

Knoxville, Tenessee, Mar.11th-Mar.12th

After our time in New York, we made a LOONNGGG journey down to Knoxville, TN where we visited with several Unitarian Universalist churches that welcomed us and once again we had our love-tanks filled up.  They fed us with delicious food as we sat and talked with them about the work that we’re doing, and sharing our life stories.  After our brief stop we then left for Huntsville, Alabama where I sit writing this.  Hopefully as the Ride progresses I’ll be more diligent on recording my experiences, so you’ll get updates much more often and in much more detail.

PeaceLove&Rainbows

So a few months back, I had applied for the 2010 Equality Ride, been interviewed twice, and then was told that there was not enough space to include me.  Well, today I got a call from Asher telling me that they would like me to join them!  I guess I haven’t officially accepted the offer yet, but I can’t imagine anything at this point that would be keep me from the Ride.  Hooray!

This past weekend was one that gave me great hope, great courage, great knowledge, and great people.  Where was I that this happened?  At Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster for the Institute for Welcoming Resources‘ training “Building an Inclusive Church.”  Led by Anita Bradshaw of IWR and by Carol Wise of the Brethren Mennonite Council, I was among 15 people of Mennonite, Brethren, Baptist, Catholic, and UCC background, learning what we as individuals and as congregations could do to make our congregations and our denominations welcoming and affirming for queer-folk.  Amongst the participants, we had a wide spectrum of where our home congregations are on this matter. So a few things I learned, or was reminded of, perhaps? Read the rest of this entry »

This morning in our service and education hour, the story of Esther was discussed in relation to how we relate to Empire. But in our discussions got a little into how Queen Vashti is depicted in the book as a villain, but how her actions are actually pretty virtuous to us as modern feminist Mennonites. So I’d love to do some reading on this, but have no idea where to find the resources. If you know of anything regarding this let me know.

For lyrics, go here.

Over the next month or two (or three….) I plan I writing on the closest thing the Mennonites have to a creed, the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective.  I’ll try to explain what each article means for me, maybe discuss what it means for others, what it intentionally does or does not say, etc.



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