Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Texans of Faith Storm U.S. Capitol for Human Rights

Washington, D.C. – The largest delegation of fair-minded Texas faith leaders since the conception of LGBT rights are on their way to the Nation’s Capitol to participate in the third Human Rights Campaign’s Clergy Call for Justice and Equality, May 22 – 24.  Twenty-two clergy, theologians, and seminarians from across the Lone Star State are registered for this year’s lobbying effort on Capitol Hill.  The Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program mobilizes people of faith to advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people every other year, and among the important items on the agenda will be the full implementation of the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), anti-bullying efforts across the nation (such as the one just passed by the Texas House, strengthening the penalties for harassment and bullying in public schools), and the status of the Dream Act. Texans have a particularly tall order as grassroots citizen lobbyists, since both U.S. Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, have consistently voted against human rights initiatives during their legislative careers in Washington. At the core of the Texas delegation are fifteen students, faculty, and alumni of Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, the largest from any seminary or divinity school in the state.  Brite, founded in 1914 by an endowment from Marfa rancher Luke Brite, is located on the campus of Texas Christian University.  In former years, Brite was conservative on the issue of LGBTQ-inclusion, but now is the only accredited institution of theological higher education in Texas to extend welcome status to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons by action of its board of trustees.  Among the faculty are two openly gay and lesbian professors, and the number of LGBTQ students in the Fort Worth school is growing. “Students are learning how to take a stand for justice by becoming clergy for whom all people matter, and are eager to work for equality in public forums like Clergy Call. Our students are taking their roles as public theologians seriously,” said Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at the Divinity School, and Theologian in Residence at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. “Each of the students who have traveled to Washington chose voluntarily to participate in Clergy Call because they believe faith calls them to be here.”  Billed as the largest interfaith gathering of LGBTQ and Allied Clergy and Faith Leaders in the United States, Clergy Call will bring representatives of faith communities from all fifty states to the capitol for training in faith messaging, skill-building for advocacy with legislators, interfaith worship, and person-to-person lobbying of senators and congresspeople.  This year’s headline speakers include Rabbi Denise Egger, Rev. Harry Knox, Bishop Gene Robinson, Bishop Yvette Flunder, Rabbi David Saperstein, Rev. Nancy Wilson, and Bishop Carlton Pearson.  Dr. Sharon Groves is the Director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program, based in Washington, D.C.

May 22, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Asian Americans, Bisexual persons, Brite Divinity School, Bullying in schools, Cathedral of Hope, Clergy Call, DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), Dream Act, gay men, gender identity/expression, GLBTQ, hate crimes prevention, Homosexuality and the Bible, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, Latino and Latina Americans, Legislation, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, Marriage Equality, Media Issues, military, Military Chaplaincy, Politics, Public Theology, Queer, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Texans of Faith Storm U.S. Capitol for Human Rights

Unfinished Lives Book Debuts in DC and Dallas

Interfaith Peace Chapel on the Campus of Cathedral of Hope, Dallas, Texas

Washington DC – Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims, made its debut at the annual meeting of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy this past Friday. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle will kick off a series of book signing events nationally, beginning with a lecture, panel discussion, book signing and reception at the Interfaith Peace Chapel on the campus of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas, next Sunday, March 27. The Cathedral of Hope, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, is the world’s largest LGBTQ-predominant faith community. Members of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, meeting at the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, received the book with enthusiasm. Dr. Sprinkle was a guest at the 19th Annual Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Dinner, held at the National Building Museum on F Street. A stellar gathering of LGBTQ heroes and their allies celebrated the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and honored two mothers of gay servicemembers who were murdered because of their sexual orientation. Dorothy Hajdys-Clausen of Chicago Heights, Illinois, the mother of slain sailor Allen R. Schindler, and Pat Kuteles of Kansas City, Missouri, mother of murdered soldier Barry Winchell, were given a standing ovation.  A chapter on Schindler, “Hell to Pay on the Belleau Wood,” is in Unfinished Lives, and Winchell has been featured in this blog repeatedly. A panel discussion is planned for the March 27th book signing event at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in response to a short lecture by Dr. Sprinkle.  Dr. Keri Day, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of Brite Divinity School’s Black Church Studies Program, Pastor Alex Byrd of Living Faith Covenant Church of Dallas, and Colonel Paul Dodd, U.S. Army  Chaplain (Ret) of Austin will be on the panel. The event is scheduled from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.  Dr. Sprinkle will be signing his book following the 9 am and the 11 am services at the Cathedral that morning in the Sources of Hope Bookstore. Cathedral of Hope is located at 5910 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas. For more information about the book signings on Sunday, March 27, contact Sue Schrader at sschrader@cathedralofhope.com, or Brian Parman at bparman@cathedralofhope.com.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Cathedral of Hope, Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, Illinois, Lesbian women, military, Military Chaplaincy, Missouri, Remembrances, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Unfinished Lives Book Signings, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Unfinished Lives Book Debuts in DC and Dallas

Sharon Groves Named HRC Religion and Faith Director

Dr. Sharon Groves

Washington, D.C. – The Unfinished Lives Project Team is happy to announce the appointment of Dr. Sharon Groves as Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Religion and Faith Program, effective immediately.

The following is from Betsy Pursell, Vice President for Public Education and Outreach at HRC:

“I am very pleased to announce that Sharon Groves has been named as the next Director of the Religion and Faith Program at HRC.

“Sharon’s appointment comes following a several month, national search that garnished well over 80 well-qualified candidates.  Sharon was hired five years ago by Harry Knox and together they have built one of the strongest and most respected platforms in the country to mobilize and empower progressive clergy and lay leaders to work for LGBT equality. In her five years at HRC, Sharon has been instrumental in creating key resources such as Out In ScriptureGender Identity in Our Faith Communities, Putting Faith into Action: Building Marriage Equality One Day at a Time and LaFamilia, a Spanish-language resource to engage the Latina/o community in LGBT equality efforts. Sharon created the vision and implemented the plans for HRC’s highly successful Clergy Call program and was key in bringing together religious leaders in DC to support marriage equality.

“In addition, Sharon has become a respected and well-loved coalition builder as evidenced by the many unsolicited letters of support on her behalf with comments such as, ‘Sharon has been unfailing warm, supportive, gracious, efficient and prompt in every single dealing;’ ‘a consummate networker for justice;’ ‘great public face for the religious community;’ and ‘really understands the power and potential of religion in America.’  Those of us at HRC who have worked closely with Sharon couldn’t agree more, and I know that you will join me in congratulating Sharon on her well-earned and highly deserved promotion.”

Signed:// Betsy Pursell

Vice President, Public Education and Outreach

Human Rights Campaign

1640 Rhode Island Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20036

www.hrc.org

Office: 202-216-1512

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Bisexual persons, gay men, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, Lesbian women, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments, transgender persons, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sharon Groves Named HRC Religion and Faith Director

   

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