From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Gay-rights dinner speaker voices rage, pride

Date 16 Jun 2002 14:59:44 -0400

Note #7228 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Gay-rights dinner speaker voices rage, pride
June 15, 2002

Gay-rights dinner speaker voices rage, pride 

by Midge Mack

COLUMBUS, OH - Featured speaker Urvashi Vaid drew more than 240 GA participants to a June 15 dinner sponsored by Presbyterian groups that advocate for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) people.

Vaid, an attorney from India whose religion is Hinduism, said many social-justice organizations focus too narrowly on issues of specific interest to their members. She called for a new strategy of partnership between faith-based and secular justice-advocacy movements.

The annual event was sponsored by the "three sisters" of the GLBT movement: More Light Presbyterians, the Shower of Stoles Project, and That All May Freely Serve.

Vaid expressed rage at the curtailment of human rights she believes has been undertaken by the U.S. government since the terror attacks of last Sept. 11. She also expressed pride in the progress made in raising public consciousness about human sexuality in the past decade, and challenged her listeners to more cooperative action in fighting for full participation by GLBT people and groups in church and society.

"We need to strengthen our networks and create practical political partnerships that unite faith-based efforts with social justice efforts across society," she said. "There is deep commitment to justice of all kinds in the faith-based movements. We need to transform our vision, our courage and our commitment to a broader framework of action."

After leaders of the three sponsoring organizations reported on their groups' activities in the past year, two annual awards were presented. The David Sindt Award went to the Rev. Gene Huff, a pastor and former presbytery executive, in recognition of his 50 years of tireless advocacy for a fully inclusive church. The award is named for a pastor who was a pioneer in the struggle for inclusiveness in the church.

Good Samaritan Church, of Pinellas Park, FL, is the 2002 recipient of the Inclusive Church Award, presented by More Light Presbyterians. The church, one of the first redevelopment projects of the erstwhile Board of National Missions of the former UPCUSA, is now a federated Presbyterian and United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation. Since 1970, when Harold Brockus of UCC was called to reorganize the congregation, its mission has emphasized community ministry and justice advocacy. Good Samaritan has been a More Light congregation since 1993. It is one of two in Florida.
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