The Quixotic Pastor

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Creating Change, A Prelude

Last night, I attended the first community wide planning meeting for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 20th Creating Change Conference, which will be in Detroit Feb 6-10 in 2008. It was one of the best first organizing meetings I have ever attended, and I am so excited to be a part of this, even in a limited way!

The Creating Change Conference brings together 2000 to 3000 LGBT activists from all over the US as well as other countries who are working together to create a world in which our sexual orientations and gender expressions will be welcomed and celebrated. The conference provides incredible opportunities for skills building and strategic planning for activists and organizers who work in the LGBT movement. I know that Bp. Gene Robinson and NAACP Pres Julian Bond are scheduled as keynote speakers and there will be many others. They'll offer about 130 workshops on everything from fundraising for non-profits to how to effectively lobby your elected officials.

I'm signed up on the Spiritual Needs subcommittee, of course, because at least theoretically I have some expertise in that department. ;) There's a Shabbat service to plan, as well as an interfaith worship opportunity, as well as a kind of memorial naming ritual [that's an understatement ...] There's also the opportunity to set up a kind of spiritual refreshment center, where there might be a labyrinth and various other kinds of meditation and healing stations.

Creating Change is for you if you are:
  • An activist and organizer in your community, campus or workplace;
  • A board member, staff member or leader in a LGBT organization, community center or foundation;
  • An elected or appointed official;
  • An advocate for our communities;
  • A change agent for justice, freedom & equality for all.

But the best part of this event, and other conferences like it, such as the General Conference for my denomination, Metropolitan Community Churches, is that a people who generally find themselves in a kind of exile or bondage, and often experience tremendous isolation, come together and create a safe and empowering space for themselves.

I can still remember how powerful an experience it was for me at the 1999 MCC General Conference in L.A. when the "Queering of the Hotel" began. I had been at a two week long training event prior to the actual conference itself, but when ALL of the attendees started showing up ... in the elevators, on the walking track, in the coffee shops and cafes --WOW! Hey! I'm not alone after all!!!!

For those of you who are LGBT or allied, and who find yourselves in a lonely, lonely, sparse place ... imagine coming together for plenaries and worship with 2000 to 3000 people who have experiences so similar to yours ... imagine how empowering that would be!


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