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PFLAG Westminster – Carroll County, Maryland Chapter

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - Moving Equality Forward
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DIVERSITY AWARENESS WEEKEND was  uplifting and felt hugely successful.

“Loved As We Truly Are: A Festival of Film & Friendship”

 

SATURDAY JUNE 25 & SUNDAY JUNE 26, 2011

17 BOND STREET, WESTMINSTER, MARYLAND

www.stpauls-ucc.org

St. Paul’s U.C.C. of Westminster is the first and only Open and Affirming main line Christian congregation in Carroll County, Maryland. In fulfillment of our church’s Mission, Vision and Open And Affirming Statements we strive to provide loving worship, education and safe space to the LGBTQ community and its allies. To this cause, we  hosted  a “DIVERSITY AWARENESS WEEKEND” on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26, 2011.  The FREE to all, two day, event consisted of Exhibits, Workshops, Films, and Worship & Music. In celebration, our Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Transsexual & Questioning community, together with our Families, Friends, and Allies shared experiences, concerns, information and friendship.

Two exhibits were presented over the weekend. The “SHOWER OF STOLES PROJECT” was displayed in our Sanctuary, Chapel and Lounge. The “LOVES MAKES A FAMILY” photo exhibit was displayed in our Fellowship Hall.

 

 

Pastor Marty

Saturday, June 25th began with Workshop Registration at 9:30 AM. Workshops were held at 10:00 AM & 11:00 AM.  A  Film Festival began at 1:00 PM and ran throughout the day till 9:00 PM with a brief discussion period following each film.

Sunday, June 26th Worship Service was held in the Main Sanctuary with Pastor Marty Kuchma of St. Paul’s preaching  a message of Diversity.  The worship included a Healing Service and special Music.

Both days, St. Paul’s operated  a “CARING & SHARING CAFÉ” in Fellowship Hall.  The food selections were all delicious and most reasonably priced.  Kudos to the Chefs !

 

EXHIBITS

 

LOVE MAKES A FAMILY

Love Makes a Family is a museum-quality traveling exhibit including photographs and interviews with families that have lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members. Through first-person accounts and positive images, this exhibit seeks to challenge and change damaging myths and stereotypes about LGBT people and their families. At the most basic level, Love Makes A Family combats homophobia by breaking silence and making the invisible visible. By encouraging people of all ages – beginning in early childhood – to affirm and appreciate diversity, this traveling rental exhibit contributes to the process of dismantling the destructive power of prejudice and intolerance, thereby making the world a safer place for all families.

 

SHOWER OF STOLES PROJECT

The Shower of Stoles is a collection of over a thousand liturgical stoles and other sacred items representing the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of faith. These religious leaders have served in thirty-two denominations and faith traditions, in six countries, and on three continents. Each stole contains the story of a GLBT person who is active in the life and leadership of their faith community in some way: minister, elder, deacon, teacher, missionary, musician, administrator, or active layperson.

Judy, Niki, & Jana

 

 

WORKSHOPS

 

10:00 AM WORKSHOP SESSION 1

 

WS1a. NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE: led by  Rev. Marty Kuchma, Pastor, St. Paul’s U.C.C.

It is never OK for anyone to be bullied, harassed or otherwise diminished by another. Physical and psychological safety are the necessary foundation for life. During this gathering, we will imagine a world in which all life is nurtured and all people respected for who they are. Along the way, we will draw on the United Church of Christ’s “extravagant welcome” which is summed up in this invitation: “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

 

WS1b. HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE HOLY BIBLE: Led by Thom Ballantine, Deacon, St. Paul’s U.C.C.

A presentation of scripture passages from The Holy Bible that are claimed to condemn homosexuality and the scholar researched evidence which concludes that to quote these passages, as proof that homosexuality is a sin against God, is a misuse of scripture. Then an opportunity to share experiences and discuss how The Holy Bible has been used to teach prejudice and foster unloving relationships by those who claim to be faithful People Of God.

 

11:00 AM WORKSHOP SESSION 2

 

WS2a. AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY –  PARENT’S STORIES: Led by Judy Gaver, PFLAG Member

Parents experience a range of emotion once they learn their child is lesbian, gay and/or transgender. Our panel will share their personal experiences with all the emotions they felt — their fears, anger, sadness, anxiety, confusion, dealing with their religious beliefs, and many others; and how they journeyed toward understanding and acceptance.

Panel of PFLAG Parents

 

WS2b. MARRIAGE = EQUALITY: Led by Charles Butler, Chair of the Board of Directors for EQUALITY MARYLAND. A discussion exploring the state of the marriage equality movement in Maryland and across the nation, the challenges the movement faces, and the reasons we should have marriage equality.

FILM FESTIVAL

 

1:00 PM FILM SESSION 1 : STONEWALL UPRISING

Veteran Filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner explore the dramatic event that launched a world-wide rights movement. Told by those who took part, this American Experience film reveals a time when homosexual acts were illegal and homosexuality was seen as a form of mental illness.

 

3:00 PM FILM SESSION 2 : FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO

A 2007 American documentary film directed by Daniel G. Karslake about homosexuality and its perceived conflict with religion, as well as various interpretations of what the Bible says about same-sex sexuality. An exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community.

 

5:00 PM FILM SESSION 3 : ANYONE AND  EVERYONE

Creating an intimate portrait, Director, Susan Polis Schutz depicts individuals from diverse backgrounds and origins who share intimate accounts of how their children revealed that they are homosexual and discuss their responses and how their children struggled to have to deal with not being accepted by family and friends, as well as, being ostracized by religious congregations.

 

7:00 PM FILM SESSION 4 : INLAWS AND OUTLAWS

As the gay marriage debate rages on, this new film by Drew Emery gets past all the rhetoric to capture the heart of the matter: it’s about love. Inlaws & Outlaws takes a humorous and wide-angled look at real relationships of all shapes and sizes. Whether straight or gay, young or old, coupled or single, by the end, you’ll be rooting for them all … and falling in love with love.

 

Special Thanks to Thom Ballantine  for a fantastic job of organizing, as well as the many willing workers too numerous to mention from St. Paul’s UCC and PFLAG .  This was a wonderfully successful event which will hopefully be repeated in the future.

Thom Balantine

 

 


 

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