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and the church
An address delivered at a National Gay Task Force forum on Gays
and the Religious Community in March in New York.

I'VE DONE A lot of thinking "queers" with passion, making us homosexuals - equating passion
about what it is I want to say. I've
thought about feminism, homo-
scapegoats; virtually the bearers of
the passion of the Church. This
I with sex, and "broads" and
passion in ourselves and have
sexuality, lesbianism; about help- has been especially true, in recent nowhere to project it; so we
ing build a foundation for years as well as long ago, of swallow it; and like all fear that is
"Theology of sexuality"; about feminist women and of self- swallowed whole, it contributes to
levelling an indictment against acknowledged, self-celebrating our psychological indigestion,
the Church and the Judaic tra- homosexuals; those who are "gay which for women has been clas-
dition, in which the Church is and proud." sically labeled "neurotic depres-
rooted, for what is at best gross Passion is deep-quality living - sion" and for gays "inversion."
irresponsibility in dominant ec- like diving in and swimming And people gawk at us and name
clesiastical attitudes toward sex- instead of wading. Passion is in or us names not of our choosing -
uality, sex, and homosexuuality. out of bed. It's in homosexuals, names like "chick" and "doll" and
I've attemted to sift through heterosexuals, and bisexuals. It's "broad" and "fag" and "femme"
my own reflections in order to in celibates and genitally active and "butch" and "queer." They
focus on, and share with you, that women and men. name us names for so long that we
which is for me most basic to a That we who are female begin to answer when we are
discusssion of "feminism, homo- and/or gay have come to symbol- called, to jump when the finger
sexuality, and the church" (the ize passion is in its own way a snaps, believing these names to be
topic suggested to me). tribute to us. It is, in fact, a our own.
I want to speak of passion, tribute that many of us do not We women and gays have
and of how passion is, historically, merit, for there are of course become a terrifying "other ,"a
so terribly feared, yearned for, many women (gay and straight) passionate "not me" to many
hated, and admired by the eccles- and many gay men who are not practicing heterosexual men and
iastical authority of the Church. passionate people. But in the mind women; to many self-denying,
The Church, which has over the of the Church - Roman Catholic, self-denigrating gay people who
years come to manifest itself as a Protestant, Episcopal - we are cannot celebrate themselves be-
passionless institution - a body viewed as the archetypal carrier cause they have learned well to
without depth; without intensity of passion. We are seen col- despise themselves; to many
of experience, involvement, rel- lectively as the character for people writhing in the tension
ationship, life, and death; an whom Equus is God and lover: between active genitals and celi-
institution without passion. The The boy who relates orgiastically bates psyches; and conversely to
Church, that which has tradit- people caught in conflict between
ionally fed itself on fear of pas- I -andwith sweat, panting, screams,
semen - to the created celibate genitals and sexually
sion; that which has consisteritly world around him. We are blown active psyches.
and predictably disclaimed its own up into child-devouring monster The Passion of Jesus - a term
hidden passion; that which has proportions: She/He who lives to that has traditionally marked the
located and sought out its own lure, seduce, destroy whatever is period of time between, and
passion elsewhere, and denounced pure, hence good. including, the Last Supper and the
And all around us, those who Crucifixion, was exactly that: A
fear passion in themselves project time during which Jesus bore the
Carter Heyward was among the
it onto us - us women and gays, passion of his time, his culture, his
irst eleven women ordained to
the priesthood of the Episcopal who in many cases also fear religious heritage: Jesus, one
Churcn in July, 1974. She is a the one, or ones, on whom its through whose passion his friends
member of the faculty at Episco- passion has been projected. The began to recognize their own;
pal Divinity School, Cambridge, Church has, historically, projected Jesus, for whom being human
_lass. its passion onto women and involved immersion in choices of

_b 1'\ U ITY / May 1976 TCC: 2

real life and real death; Jesus, the stand up and be count~d -:-whe~ it
passionate - lover of brothers and THE PASSION OF JESUS ... counts; spilling over with mtegnty
sisters man of many moods, WAS EXACTLY THAT: A TIME in relationship, with awaren~ss
perso~ for whom all relationships DURING WHICH JESUS BORE and spirit that we really can t
was a challenge, hence a threat, to THE PASSION OF HIS TIME ... understand. As Chris Williamson
those around him who were shares her passion, "Filling up.and
willing to settle for less than spilling over" - with the. passIO~
experience - the same dem<.m-
passion. less than living life and of Jesus. Religion of paSSIOn.ThIS
against which holy men believed
dying death (and the two do and is where we are going, I hope, and
they had to contend f~>rthe sake I believe -within or without the
must go together), less than being of an antiseptic God, m whose
full, abundant, electric with con- religious institutitions we have
pure image they were said to be
templative and relational energy, known.
and whose Fatherly work they I bring this to a close on a
less than becoming impassioned strove to do - namely, the indict-
about matters of justice and rather personal note. A fair
ment and salvation of passionate number of my ecclesiastical
dignity. Jesus, the compelling and souls. Our sophistication not-
terrifying Christ, to whom people brothers "accuse" me of being a
withstanding, things are today not
are often drawn and from whom "radical feminist," a "lesbian," a
all that different. "witch," an "anarchist," and
we simultaneously step back.
What does this mean for us, sometimes a "revolutionary."
Because our guts assure us that
now in the Church? It means, I These angry brothers do not
people of passion are people who
beli~ve, that the ordination of realize what compliments they
are in the words of my dad, "just
askin, for a lickin'!" Passion is women and homosexuals; the pay me! They do not realize (nor
ERA. equal pay, equal employ- do they care to realize) to what
hard to take, and so passionate
ment opportunity, and equal a long, strong line of passionate
people get clobbered. Like Jesus.
rights for homosexu~s and wo- women they allude when they toss
Taking cues from the culture
men - within and without the
crucified Jesus, the Church Church - are worthy goals. It also
means that while these goals for.
basic rights' are good ones, it is
imperative that those of us MUST BE ABOUT, I AM CON·
involved in these struggles keep VINCED, IS A RETURN TO
clearly in mind that the attain- RELIGION OF PASSION - A
ment of such goals (in small and WAY OF BEING IN WHICH
large ways; in the short- and ANYTHING LESS THAN
long-run) is, in itself, not enough. SPILLING·OVER WITH THE
Ordaining women is not enough. SPIRIT OF GOD IS NOT
Blessing gay relationships is not ENOUGH ...
enough. Open housing for homo-
sexuals and qual employment for
ionless people -
accurate y. people who must women are, in themselves, not
these epithets at my sisters and
eir passion - their full enough. For women priests and
me. They do not know (nor do
caJ:JaC'ItH~ for . e and death - in
gay relationships have been; every
they care to know) the strength
be acceptable as priests, bit as devoid of depth, humor,
and sensitivity of women who
ministers. mo ers, fathers, sons, pain, joy, fullness of life and
have cared more about honesty
ters, people. period - in the fullness of death. We want more
than seduction, and who have
~.- .•. and in e rest of society. than this. known that love without justice is
e Church has hailed the dispas- What we in' the Church must no love at all. Those who curse at
Date Logos, \\ ord of the be about, I am convince~, is a us do not see (nor do they open
atriarchal Lord governing His return to religion of paSSIOn:- a their eyes to see) the creative
earthly l anor. whose st-erile and way of being in which a~.ythmg caring of women who have loved
rather pallid Son was born less than spilling-over with the themselves not as shadowed,
essly by an untouched Virgin, Spirit of God is not enough; half-relfections of so-called "male
at which is divine. That which spilling over with tender toughness egos" but as a human being
o -God - not the One in whose in our daily work and play, ~Ith created in the image of God of
e are created; that which is, for 'righteous and active indig~atIOn at POWER, of WHOLENESS, and of
_. "not-me" - has been injustice, with careful carmg for PASSION - HOLY God. The men
ed ~ Satanic, demonic, evil. others and self, with courage to who fear us have not felt (nor
. nate. You may recall that have they dared to feel) the wise
Church Fathers believed that ... JESUS, FOR WHOM caring of women who love
woman. and sex were virtual- BEING HUMAN INVOLVED women and men not as sex
same passionate pheno- objects, but as sister and brothers
n. In other words, "evil," sojourners along a common way.
man ' "sex," and "passion" No those who call me names,
di erent names for the same thinkin'g they do me harm, do not

GC May 1976/ IN UNITY 17

- ow of whom, or to whom, they women - as sisters. My frightened I them - and then have had to stand
really speak. They do not know brothers do not hear (nor do they there and listen to men tell them
me. and they shall not know me try to hear) what Gertrude Stein that they are unfit, too weak, or
cheaply. They do not know and Alice B. Toklas were saying to too emotional to be taken ser-
_Iary , the mother of Jesus, woman each other. They do not hear the iously this time.
: strong will, who stood in passion. Of the Pankhursts, Vir- Those who say these things to
efiance of Jewish custom, Mary ginia Woolf, Amelia Earhardt, us and behind our backs may, one
,',e trong mother of Jesus; they Mother Jones, the One and the day, any day, today, open their
o not know Sappho, eloquent Many who have cooked the meals, eyes and see that we move on. We
Sappo , who empowered those sewn the gardens and the clothes; are sojourning. We are not held
conceived and cultivated specif- who have borne the children, back. And when the frightened
ically to be powerless. They do contemplated in convents, worked people see that this is so, they will
.0 know Sojourner Truth, wise in factories, fought in wars (alas); either shrivel up and die on the
o d Sojourner whose truth cut made love to sisters and to bro- spot, or they will journey with us,
through the crap of the ecclesias- thers in spirit and sometimes in rejoicing so, into the unknown,
tical and educational elitism that body too; who have read and further into conscousness - faith -
oooed her, and issued forth in written and learned and taught whose soul in Passion. Blessed be
relationship between black and and cared and paid and cried and Passion, the daughter and son of
white, poor and rich, women and held on and held up those around God.

Truisms of Androgyny as a scholarly forum for MCC? So MCC very much needs a scholarly
maybe he figures he'll give his writing journal in which a real MCC theology
THE ARTICLE ON androgynous the tone of an armchair interview and can be developed through scholarly
sexuality by Paul Barstow in the March end up talking down to the reader. This discussion and articulated for the "lay"
-6 issue of The Gay Christian was of approach is unnecessary. Howard Wells' membership and the straight churches at
interest to me if only for the fact that perfectly good scholarly piece appears a large. The world is watching us, and
I'm currently preparing an article on the few pages further on. There is no hint of being the cynical kind of place it is, it is
same topic for another journal. I wanted embarassment in Wells' paper, no need watching to see where we will trip up.
o see whether Dr. Barstow had any new to justify its academic tone. In order to establish credibility and
angle on the subject. He did not. The respect for our position as gay Christ-
Dr. Barstow's pompous chit-chat ians, we have to see to it that our
article is swollen with prosaic state-
was annoying to me because I sincerely standard are high - not impossibly
ments in the passive voice.
wanted to be interested in what he had exalted, but at least demanding a
As an out-front gay person I have to say, but found he was frustrating my
always harbored a sneaking suspicion generally accepted norm of scholarly
interest at every turn. If he had stuck to parlance. Articles written for TGC
bout defenses of the so-called "bi-
the usual format of a scholarly paper should not expect our indulgence. They
sexual" lifestyle clothed as defenses of a
this would not have happened. should toe the line in the same way that
theoretical androgyny. Such arguments
onjure up an image in the back of my First, there's the name-dropping articles submitted to any other scholarly
mind of a professional person - a without footnotes. On p. 18 he drops church journal should.
zould-be gay tied down perhaps to a the names Marcuse and Brown. A That said, I can now compliment
marriage he half believes in - who is reasonably intelligent reader will assume Dr. Barstow on his taste in literature.
'orking out on paper his problem he means Herbert Marcuse for the The lines from Shelley I thoroughly
of conscience. What bothers his con- former, but what about the latter? Most appreciated. Many church people have
science is that he could really be free to likely it's Norman O. Brown. But, no feel for good poetry: look at all
lead a wholly gay life for himself but is who knows? those thousands of godawful tacky
fraid to go the risk. might make the article seem hymn lyrics they produced in the
Dr. Barstow's article is an andro- a little more formal to include foot- nineteenth century alone! For me the
=_ nou hybrid in itself. He writes as notes. But I for one am interested in poetry almost makes up for the faults of
though he can't make up his mind exactly what sources are being drawn this article as a whole. It pulls together a
rhether he wants to compose a formal upon. Then the error is compounded on great many turisms that would certainly
, holarly paper or an informal piece of p. 19 when Dr. Barstow quotes a certain help to educate the sort of person who
speculative journalism. The result is a Marc Fasteau. I have never heard of has never stopped to think seriously
self-conscious compromise that Fasteau and would like to know where about androgyny before. But truisms
attempts forcibly to join the two genres this quotation comes from. It intrigues are just not true enough.
together. The author may feel he does me' Once again my interest is foiled. I
or want to bore the reader with could not even find Fasteau listed in the
demic fJapdoodle, but then what is "partial bibliography" at the end of the Keith Brown
r e Gay Christian for if it does not act article. Hartford

TGC: 4
I.' NITY / May 1976
By What Authority?
THE QUESTION of authority is
central to the Christian faith. It is
a Biblical-theological-historical
NAf\CY WILD\J nize that we live in an age where
respect for secular and religious
authority has been severly eroded.
and practical dilemma for the will never be able to put them The very word "authority" is
Church. The issue of authority down, and you risk finding your- distasteful to many people. Every
pervades and underlies all discus- selves at war with God." institution and source of authority
ion of scripture, theology, ethics Acts 5:35,38-39 is being questioned and challenged
and church polity. It is central It is a shame that the Christian and even threatened. We live in a
because it is one point at which Church has never learned to secular age, where the authority
theological and practical concern follow that advice. Crusades and of God is not assumed - where
converge. I am concerned with Inquisitions have marred the not even lip-service is paid to that
1) How do we understand the Church and filled it with hypo- idea. Many reject the concept of
concept of authority in the crisy about its understanding of its authority altogether. Intrinsic to
Christian sense: 2 Wha are authority in relationship to a this is the fact that authority is
sources of authority for the loving God. often equated with leadership,
Church: 3 and how does St. Paul was often challenged particularly institutional leader-
ply to _ICC as a c urch? about the authenticity of his ship; and, there is good reason for·
The· e of a ori _ - a apostleship, even from within the mistrust of political and religious
mjnen fea 0 Israel's his- early Church; and concern about leaders in our society.
_ as recorded - e 0 d true and false prophets was an A lot of these feelings come
e God of important factor. from misunderstanding about
and I believe that it is also possible what authority is, where it comes
o his to look at the entire history of the from, how it functions, what its
5pI~'~S for Christian Church from the per- nature and purpose is. Although it
relarionsl hip 0 f spective of the question of author- is possible and sometimes neces-
e author- ity. Certainly the development of sary to reject a specific mode of
nan and a canon of scripture involved authority, or a particular author-
e Church making decisions as to what ity figure, it is not possible, in my
writings were authoritative and opinion, to get rid of the concept.
estament, one of what writings were not. The I believe that authority is a social,
_ 0 en asked of Reformation grew out of a theo- political, psychological and spiri-
=.<1l.J usnmen t religious logical debate over the authority tual reality among human beings.
- 'By what authority of the Pope and the Roman Before going any further, the
t ese hings?" Jesus Catholic Church. The questioning word "authority" must be de-
ch~:!'~~ed e religious authorities of the Church's authority paral- fined. Perhaps it is best to begin
a_ . and reminded them of leled the questioning of the entire with the basic, literal, dictionary
source of true authority. The medieval feudal order. 1 As the definitions: The root of the word
_ Church see particularly the Reformation grew as a movement, "authority" is the Latin "auctor"
of Acts) was also confronted the authority of scripture was which means "originator," "be-
the question of authority: lifted up, as over against the ginner," "creator." There are
'E, uihat power, or by what name authority of Church tradition and at least six basic definitions of
o you do these things?" It is law. Almost every religious refor- "authority: "
Gamaliel, a very wise and respect- mation has its roots in a ques- 1. The right to determine,
ed Pharisee who gives the most tioning of accepted sources and adjudicate, or otherwise settle
articulate answer to proof of symbols of authority. issues or disputes, the right to
authority: What are the sources of control, command or determine.
"Men of Israel, be cautious in authority for the Christian faith? 2. An accepted source of
deciding what to do with these Church law and tradition? Scrip- information, advice, etc.
men ... I tell you, leave them alone. 3. Expert
ture? The individual conscience?
F or if this idea of theirs or its 4. Commanding influence
The Spirit?
execution is of human origin, it will
What gives us in MCC the 5. A warrant for action;
collapse, but if it is from God, you
authority to be and become the justification
church? What gave Troy Perry 6. Testimony; witness
_ -ancy Wilson is copastor at the right, or authority to call Basically, these are all secular
_letropotitan Community Church, into being a church with a special interpretations of the word.
Detroit. She is a former Northeast ministry to gay people? These Often, theologians and church
District Coordinator and a grad-
are all questions we must take bureacrats accept the purely secu-
uate of Boston University School
of Theology. seriously. lar definitions, and just apply
Furthermore, we must recog- those to the Church, assuming

TGC: 5 May 1976/ IN UNITY 29

"Let your bearing towards one
at God is the "originator" of is authoritative; and no earthly
another arise out of your life in
that kind of authority. Robert power can either enforce that, or
Christ Jesus. For the divine nature
Bryant, in The Bible's Authority was his from the first; yet he did take it away. It is the truth itself
Today, defines authority in terms not think to snatch at equality with that must be compelling, and not
of "Lordship" or "over-against- God, but made himself nothing, our institutionalization of it. The
ne "- God is the final power we assuming the nature of a slave. way we (the universal Church)
come up against, who demands Bearing the human likeness, reo have structured, over-structured
our obedience. God is our author- vealed in human shape, he humbled and institutionalized our doctrine,
_ in the sense that "whatever himself, and in obedience accepted ethics, and church organization,
one acknowledges as rightfully even death - death on a cross. one would think that we thought
and worthily commanding one's Therefore God raised him to the
that the truth of the gospel is so
heights and bestowed on him the
obedience and loyalty" is true unconvincing that we have to
name above all names ... "
authority.f Philippians 2:5-9 continually prop it up!
. In a sense, Bryant is right. As Christians, we understand It is obvious to me that so few
Ho-wever, I agree with John ourselves to be the Body of Christ. people really understand what it
_IcKenzie (author of Authority in Says McKenzie, "The Church means to be the Church. At one of
the Church), that the concept of must be Christ and she (sic.) must our recent District Conferences,
authority has a very different and know what Christ is.?" Jesus one man started making an
specific meaning in the context of Christ became for us the "dia- analogy between our national
our Christian faith. konos" (more than "servant," government and how we should
The nature of authority in the it means "lackey," "menial," or govern ourselves. He had a hard
Christian sense is dependent on "slave") of our salvation.P Power time understanding the difference
the nature of our God. Our God is and authority, in a Christian sense, between a secular government and
self-giving and self-revealing 10 ue. means the power to love, to how we should govern ourselves as
Therefore, in a very basic sense, sacrifice, to serve one another. the Church of Jesus Christ. Many
Christian authority must be a Those in authority are commis- Church governments resemble
function of that love. sioned as servants to the rest medieval feudalism, or autocratic
Truly, God's ways are often of the Church. And, furthermore, monarchies. But the Church
not our ways. Secular under- everyone who is in a position of should be even more democratic
standing of authority is filled with authority in the Church is respon- than any secular government. And
all sorts of assumptions. There is sible to the whole Church, to there must be an underlying trust
- e a sumption that authority has the whole Body of Christ. It that we share the same God and
a endency to become absolute - means colleagiality, not coercion the same mission.
ab olutely powerful, and uncon- or control. One woman in our pre-mem-
cerned with those in its charge. We Finally, according to McKen- bership class finally understood.
, a 'e inherited, in our culture, a zie, "The ultimate authority (for She said, "All those years I
patriarchal understanding of the Church) is always the living, thought they (the clergy and
authority (which the Church, risen Christ, identified with the church hierarchy) were the
unfortunately, has adopted) which whole Church.i'f I would like to Church and we were the people
iivides those in authority from interject at this point that John -' often just spectators. But now
- ose under authority; which sees McKenzie is a Jesuit scholar, and see - we are the Church, all of
life in terms of dominance and it becomes obvious that his very us together."
submission, coercion and control. Biblical understanding of author- If we are truly to proclaim the
T e problem is that, too often the ity is very much at odds with the gospel, we must begin to see
C urch has not seen Christian history of authority in the Roman authority as a function of the
a hority as a function of love Catholic Church. In a time when good news of God's love. In order
among equals, but has sold out to the authority of the Pope and the to do that, we need to understand
the secular model of authority and hierarchy of the Roman Catholic who God is, we need to trust each
power. :\IcKenzie points out that: Church is being challenged, he has other, communicate, and be ac-
"One can conceive of two dangers tried to provide a Biblical basis countable to one another; and
to the unity and the integrity of the for change. we need to become each others'
Church: anarchy and the seculariza-
C. H. Dodd, in his book, The servants.
rion of power. Of the two, Jesus
spoke very little about the dangers
Authority of the Bible, says that, Perhaps no question plagues
of anarchy; he spoke frequently "The ultimate authority is truth fractured Christendom as much as
and earnestly about the dangers of itself" J The last dictionary defi- "What is the source of our know-
the secularization of powert-' nition of authority is "testimo- ledge of God? Who or what
'Ye must always remember, ny," or "witness." For Christians, is authoritative in terms of our
-- _'- _IcKenzie, that Jesus Christ authority comes from our testi- understanding of God and the
as. is and always will be the only mony or witness to the truth mission of the gospel?"
Head of the Church; and Jesus that sets us free - the truth of Our God is one God, but all of
Chris demonstrated to us a God's revelation to us in Jesus us who believe in God know that
_ '0 ution in the concept of Christ. It is this revelation and the God can be experienced in a
power and authority: way of life it commends to us that variety of ways. Some of those

1.:' C-"ITY I May 1976 TGC: 6

ways are very personal and myste- , Christians. That is why it is part of God's love for us, that God
rious, and others are corporate important for us to understand allows Him/Herself to be revealed
and dynamic. The point is, there is the nature and purpose and proper at all - and that the Eternal can
not just one way of learning use of scripture. As gay Christians, be revealed in human words and
about, or knowing God, or feeling we have all become painfully human beings does not undermine
God's presence. aware that proof-texting (quoting God's authority, but exposes it for
Some people rely on one scripture out of context) can be what it is: a function of love.
method of knowing God, almost the instrument of the Devil, and I believe that scripture was
to the exclusion of others. One can be used as much in hate and inspired by God, and written by
cry of the Reformation became ignorance as in love. Nevertheless, persons who loved God. However,
"sola scriptura", or, "only many persons, even in our I cannot believe that every word
through scripture can we know churches, continue to use scrip- in scripture is equally inspired, nor
God." Many fundamentalist ture in an uninformed way. And I that every word is literally true or
groups rely solely on scripture. mean use - because, unfortu- worthy of acceptance. There are
The Roman Catholic Church at nately, people can quote scripture Psalms which ask God to trample
one time said that outside of the only to support their own unex- our enemies; and that is not
tradition and sacraments of the amined prejudices, and will not let acceptable in terms of the gospel.
Catholic Church there is no scripture speak to them. The Certainly, the authors of scripture
salvation. The Quakers emphasize temptation, when scripture is did not intend to write, for
the "inner light" of God-con- thrown at us, is to throw some instance, a scientific account of
ciousness; and Pentecostals em- back; but I feel that that can be Creation - nor should we expect
phasize the gift of the Holy Spirit. ultimately self-defeating. What them to. Although we can learn
To an open-minded Christian, it happens to us when we become from everything in scripture, not
might look like this: like those who throw scripture at all parts are equally well written,
us (as if it were a sword or a brick, or profound or inspired as other
and not the instrument of God's parts. The belief that every word
love)? Rather than engage in that of scripture must be literally true
kind of game, should we not be a to contain truth is actually a 19th
witness to the basic message Century understanding of truth.
of the gospel? What is necessary That kind of rigid fundamentalism
for us to do is to understand the (or, unreconstructed fundamen-
basic, essential and profound talism, as I have heard it called),
truths of scripture, which can be "is the product of an age which
overlooked when we just quote assumes that there is only one
scripture out of context. kind of truth, and only one
vehicle of truth."! 0
Some people see scripture in a When Old Testament or New
semi-magical way. In fact, some Testament writers speak of homo-
people come close to worshipping sexuality, for instance, they
scripture instead of God. A obviously did not always know
professor of mine used to call this what they were talking about.
"Bibliolatry." (I am finding that They did not experience the love
not all persons who label them- of God that can be experienced
Fine, you might say. Isn't it selves "fundamentalists" feel in a deep, loving relationship
'wonderful to have so many this way.) Says C. F. Evans, "The between two gay persons.
authoritative sources for our faith desire for infallibility, short of Obviously, in the minds of Biblical
and way of life. It is fine, except the infallibility of God, be it writers, all homosexuality was
that what does one do when two of Church or Bible, is an idol- merely lust, and not love. Our
or more of these sources appar- atrous lust."8 experience, as gay people, has
ently conflict? I think it is important to taught us differently.
First, I would like to deal with clarify some basic issues. For the
each of these sources separately: most part, I agree with C. H. Dodd One of my Biblical professors
when he says: "God is the Author said, "truly, the Holy Spirit spoke
not of the Bible, but of the life in through St. Paul. But sometimes
which the authors of the Bible the Holy Spirit stopped speaking
partake, and of which they tell in and Paul kept writing.t'l !
such imperfect human words as Certainly, scripture, and an
they cornmandJ'f The mystery, understanding of the essential
ScrIpture says Dodd, is that Almighty God
would use imperfect words and
truth it contains, is a vital and
irreplacable factor in our faith as
people to convey eternal truth. It Christians. However, unless we
Obviously, scripture is, and is that same mystery that we believe that revelation ceased as of
has always been one of the most celebrate in the incarnation of the the first Century, there are other
important sources of our faith as Word of God in Jesus Christ. It is sources of God's authority that

TGC: 7 MayI976/INUNITY 31
God, Jesus and the Spirit, deals
extensively with the Holy Spirit
and Church authority. He gives
some information and insight into
the early Church, and how, as the
Church grew older, it relied less on
the Spirit and more on Church Church
structure and hierarchy. Whenever
a church has been in conflict (as tradition.
often function as correctives to
churches are, today, over many
issues), one can sense the stirring
e limitations and inadequacies of that Spirit again. And the Spirit
of cripture. I remember, in always moves in the direction of This source of knowledge of
college, sitting in on a discussion. the Kingdom vision. The Spirit is God and God's authority is most
One person piously pointed to the God's presence and power (the clearly important to the Roman
Bible and said, "It's all here, it's power of love) among us, revealing Catholic and Anglican commun-
a 1 here!" And another person to us more of the truth. In the ions. However, every church
quietly responded, "N 0, it's not hymn, "Once to Every Man and values its own tradition and
all there, it's also in here," point- Nation" there is a stanza that understanding of the sacraments.
in to herself and to the gathered goes: New occasions teach new Through my readings, and my
community. duties, Time makes ancient good interaction with Catholics and
uncouth; They must upward still Anglicans, I am gaining a better
and onward Who would keep understanding and appreciation of
abreast of truth. The Kingdom of the extent to which Church tradi-
tion and canon law and the
The floly God is yet to be fulfilled! There is
work, and growing and change to sacraments is authoritative for
many Christians. I am beginning
/pint be done, and that is the work of
the Holy Spirit. to understand that if the Church
The Spirit is God's creative is, indeed, the Body of Christ,
Truthfully, not until I became power among us, it is the source then it must take its traditions and
involved in MCC did I have any of our visions and dreams, and of corporate identity serously. The
idea of what the meaning of this the strength to turn those dreams, fallacy is the belief that because
"third person of the Trinity" into realities. McKenzie says that the Church is the Body of Christ it
was. It was never mentioned in my the Spirit is the "vital element in can, therefore, never err. The
former church. I was not taught to the authority of the Church." Church's unwillingness to admit
be open to the movement of and that "the Spirit always its follies, its mistakes, its betrayal
God's Spirit in my life: I had speaks to the whole Church."14 of Christ, has hindered its growth
o learn that on my own, and, The Spirit is unpredictable - it as the Body of Christ.
eventually, through MCC. The does not only speak to church In terms of the sacraments, I
Holy Spirit is the same Spirit officials and clergy, but to any believe there has been some
which moved in Creation, and Christian who opens up to God's confusion. I have often heard it
which re-creates the image of God presence. The gift of the Spirit is said that, particularly through the
in each of us, and in us corpo- the affirmation of the church's sacraments, the Church is the
rately as the Body of Christ. The openness to God's presence and mediator between God and the
problem (which is also a gift) is God's will. people. But scripture says that
hat the Spirit involves our feeling The Spirit cuts through the Jesus Christ is our only mediator,
as well as our intellect, and secularization of power, and reaf- that the Church is the people, and
feelings are often harder to define firms the power of God's love that, through the sacraments we
and analyze than words. among us. The Spirit is both an become the living Body of Christ
William Barclay, author of The equalizer and an energizer for the on earth. Through the sacraments
Promise of the Spirit, describes Body of Christ. we are all reconciled to God, and
God.' Spirit in this way: "It is the Some churches have at- God becomes present to us.
- irit who reveals God's truth to tempted to live by the Spirit In any case, the sacraments
men ( ic.), it is the Spirit who alone, without taking seriously (whether you recognize seven or
rin s men into the presence of either scriptural foundations or two) are important. They are
e truth; it is the Spirit who the historical tradition and witness another very important way that
enable men to recognize the of the Church. This can result in we corporately experience God's
th when they see it." 12 anarchy, of the "everybody does presence and love for us. One
_IcKenzie says that, "In common their own thing" variety, and in thing I disliked about my church
ou ht and language authority corporate irresponsibility. But as of origin (Methodist) was the
mean power. In the Church, the McKenzie points out, the danger extreme individualism of Holy
power of authority is identified of this happening is less than the Communion. One sat in the pew,
.. h the Spirit."13
David McGuire, in Callahan's j constant trend towards secular-
ization of power and authority.
ate the bread and drank the grape
juice, and there was nothing

I. . t; ITY / May 1976 TGC: 8

corporate about it, other than the eventually become like all other personal expenences, through our
fact that we were doing it churches in terms of its institu- perseption of the Universe, of
simultaneously. I deeply appre- tionalization? Is it already be- nature, of the world around us. I
ciate and treasure the corporate coming that way? Is institutional- think it is probably true that, to
way in which we communicate ization a necessity? Will there see God through these things
at communion in MCC. It is someday be a church that comes requires openness to faith as a
not possible for an individual into being and challenges the prerequisite. Jesus told us to
alone to be transformed into the oppressiveness of MCC? Can we be "Love the Lord your God with all
Body of Christ. It is our sharing open enough to the Spirit so that your heart, soul, mind and
that enables the transformation. we can change as history char. res? strength." Some theologians have
To Roman Catholics, the Can we deal with and be open to called this approach to theology,
canon law of the Church is as visionaries and dissenters in our "Natural theology." Process theo-
authoritative as scripture. I sup- midst, so that the Spirit never logians also put emphasis on the
pose that as long as it is never abandons us? That is my hope. intellect and personal experience,
absolutized, and if it is always And yet, if we know that the and reflection on that experience.
understood that grace precedes Church is not in anyone church, Some churches have chosen to lift
law, I can appreciate human perhaps we need not be so uptight up these sources of knowledge of
attempts to interpret the will of about the survival of a oarticular God as the ultimate and most
God. Obviously, the danger is that church, as long as the Church, the reliable sources (to some degreee
the formulation of law tends to Body of Christ, is alive and this is true of the Quakers, the
degenerate into legalism, where growing. I certainly think we need Anabaptists, and the Unitarians).
law is not a means to an end, but to be concerned about survival, Sometimes, as with the Quakers,
becomes the end itself. When but we must always ask, "survival personal experience, and the Holy
canon law supercedes both scrip- for what?" I have heard people Spirit are linked very closely
ture and the movement of the say that MCC is destined to bring together.
pirit, it can become a millstone the Church back to God. That
around our necks, and impedes always sounds a little smug On the other hand, some
the coming of the Kingdom. to me. We are not the only "real" churches have chosen to disregard
Christians in the world, nor are we personal experiences as unreliable
the only true church. If God or unimportant. I think that these
wishes to use us, and I pray that factors are important, but that
Church hi/tory. God will, that is wonderful. But
we are still just learning, and we
without the other correctives
(scripture, Spirit, Church tradition
salvation have so much work to do to build
strong, self-consciously Christian
and history) they may be hard to
sort out and understand.
hiJtory local churches. Before we lead the
rest of the Church back to God,
we need to find out what that I know that God is present to
A central theme of the Judeo- really means. me in the world of nature, and in
Christian faith is that God moves Particular churches, or indi- the incredible expanses of the
and is revealed in history. Just as vidual Christians, can betray the Universe. But I also know that one
much as there is a worldly history, gospel; but whenever that hap- has to have a certain prior level of
here is a holy history (Heilsge- pens, the Church, the Body of awareness to appreciate that. It
schictes which moves through Christ, always emerges, em- was Elizabeth Barrett Browning
worldly history. We can learn powered by the Holy Spirit, to who said: "Every bush is afire
from history, from the Church's confront the institutional Church with God, but only he who sees
history; and we can try to perceive and redeem it. Thank God, no takes off his shoes. The rest sit
where God has moved and is now single church institution can around and pluck blackberries."
moving in our corporate and contain or supress the Church Many of us are so out of touch
individual lives. We can also take a universal, the Church triumphant. with both inner and outer my s-
critical view of Church history, Wherever the gospel is preached teries, that the world holds no
and discover certain patterns and lived, there is the Church; and wonder, no awe for us.
which teach us about being history teaches us that.
human. One obvious pattern is the
endency of ideas and movements I also know that God has
o become institutionalized, and touched me personally, many
'0 seek secualrization of power. Personal times in my life. And any such
This usually is accompanied by an
increasing dependence on law, and experience. experience is "self-authenticating"
in that only I know, fully, what it
e s dependence on the Spirit. This means to me. The testimony, love
.- a very familiar pattern in
Church history. The question
intelliGence and concern of many people has
profoundly influenced my life and
remains: is it an inevitable pat- Another way in which we can my faith.
'ern? Will, MCC for instance, know God is through our own When I cam out as a gay

TGC: 9 May 1976/IN UNITY 33

person, I felt free for the first time clearly condemns homosexual whether physical, economic,
in my life. I felt that God was behavior, scripture also affirms political or social. There are times
wi h me, and God affirmed and self-giving love. We can also see, when strong leadership is neces-
elighted in my freedom - which even in terms of heterosexuality, sary, when decisions must be
as a freedom to be truthful, to that scripture does not provide us made. But always these things
10\"e, and to express that love with with a totally adequate under- must be done in love - and I
my heart and mind and soul and standing of sexuality. We know don't mean to make that sound
body which God had given me. more today about sexuality than easy. Love has its own power -
Coming out was a gift. But to any did the Biblical writers. We can and it is the only power which
individual, self-authenticating see, in relationship to many issues, does not tend towards corruption.
experience such as that needs to that Biblical writers often re- All who are in authority must be
go one step further. Somehow, I flected the prejudices of their accessible, and open to feedback
ad to be able to relate that to a culture. Another corrective is that from the people. No earthly
community of people. I think the the Spirit is really moving in our authority can be absolutized. It is
emergence of a community of gay church; and I think that we have sad when those in authority
Christians was the most dynamic enabled the awakening of such believe that only force and control
thins that could have happened to movement in other churches. will enable the Church to survive
me. I came together with people Church tradition on this matter is or reach its goals. Nothing could
who were experiencing the same being seriously questioned; and be more self-defeating.
thing - we were coming out of the history of the Chirch confirms As the Body of Christ, we all
our closets of shame and loneli- our outrage and teaches us that we bear the burden of authority. The
ne s. and discovering each other. can be and become the church. final authority in the Church is
Paul Minear describes it very well: Finally, our personal experiences the whole Body of Christ insofar
"The church was (is) most really have led us to believe that nothing as it is open to the will of God.
the church when it experienced so basic in us as our sexuality can Through earnest prayer, com-
in dying the transition from be alien to God - in fact, that munication and accountability;
exi tence as "no people" to God loves us very much indeed. through study of the scriptures,
exi ence as the "People of We can apply the method of theology, ethics, church history
God."15 analysis to other issues, such as and tradition, and the world
\re have come from "no the role of women in the church, around us, we will be able to
people" and are becoming the issues of racism, of violence and proclaim the gospel to the whole
People of God. And that exper- non-violence, of the relationship world with the authority of God's
ience has been authoritative, real, of the Church to the state. In love.
for u . Lives have been changed. terms of the women's issue,
_ iracles have happened, trans- scripture is obviously pre- NOTES
formation and resurrection! We dominantly patriarchal, and
- ave emerged from hopelessness emerged from a patriarchal Bainton, Roland, Here I Stand, A
and lovelessness and have learned, culture, and yet, scripture also Life of Martin Luther (th is
gives us a vision of a non-patri- book helped me to understand
together, how to hope and love.
archal "Kingdom" of God, where, the relationship of the religious
_-\.:1 thi is happening as our people movements to the political
come to know the good news of "There is neither Jew nor Greek,
changes) .
God' love in a very personal way. slave nor free, male nor female;" 2 Bryant, The Bible's Authority
Back to one of the original but where, "we are all one in
Today, p. 156.
questions: what do we do when Christ Jesus." 3 McKenzie, Authority in the
rwo or more of these authoritative There is no one, final, earthly Church, p. 3.
4 Ibid. p. 23.
source of knowledge of God authority by which we. can easily
5 Ibid. p. 28.
conflict? determine God's will. God alone is
6 Ibid. p. 69.
Fir t of all, I think that God's the final authority about God; and 7 C. H. Dodd, The Authority of
will i neuer in conflict; but, as God is always revealed to us the Bible, p. 131. .
uman beings, with human re- through human sources. As St 8 C. F. Evans, "The Inspiration
:: urces. we are often in conflict Paul says, "Now we see only of the Bible," (Interpreters'
- ou God's will. It seems to me puzzling reflections in a mirror, Bible). p. 32.
:_ a- nothing basic in scripture butthen we shall see face to face. 9 C. H. Dodd, p. 18.
could be in conflict with the My knowledge now is partial; then 10 From a lecture in Old Testament
ovement of the Spirit, the it will be whole, like God's know- Theology, given by Dr. Harrell
. -en ion of the sacraments, the ledge of me." (1 Cor 13:12). Beck, Boston University
_<:>::5On- of history, or authentic School of Theology, Sept.
Furthermore, if we believe that
rsonal experience. Problems Christian authority must be a
11 C. F. Evans, p. 31.
aris when we absolutize one of function of God's love, then it 12 Barclay, Promise of the Spirit,
::.e- . and refuse to see potential follows that it cannot imitate p. 22.
:01' human error and misunder- secular models. Authority in the 13 McKenzie, p. 55.
star ding in each of these. Church must be shared, must be a 14 Ibid. p. 53.
For in tance, even though in a matter of collegiality. It must not 15 Minear, Images of the Church in the
_ ,,- isolated places, scripture stoop to threats or use of force - New Testament, p. 260.

. C:\ITY I May 1976 Tee: 10

LAST JANUARY 15, Dr. over, King has been a personal strations to make our point
Martin Luther King, Jr., would inspiration for many. known, using rallies, marches, civil
have been 47 years old. He was The struggle for liberation disobedience, fasts, etc. King did
only 39 when he was killed. I among Blacks, which started to not invent these methods and
would like for us in MCC to move in the '50s, included a push strategies, to be sure, but he
consider this man as an example for equal rights as citizens and for showed that they could be
for us: a champion for the liber- an end to discrimination in successful in the United States.
ation of oppressed people, a employment and society. The We owe King another debt.
pioneer in using non-violence to Black civil rights movement really More than any other contempo-
achieve justice. a Christian bombarded our whole society. We rary figure, he linked the Christian
minister. and a modern-day saint. were forced to pay attention to it. faith with all of this. He reminded
Kin has been considered by some Other racial minority groups woke us that the work of the Church is
to be a skillful politician, a clever up and wanted their rights. the work of liberation, the drive
opportunist. an agitator for Spanish-speaking people and toward justice and freedom. All of
trouble, and a "dirty old man," American Indians have begun to these struggles for liberation going
but whatever you may think of demand what is their's by right. on today are exactly what should
him, he has had a profound effect Different age groups have decided be going on. This is what God
on our world. He got the ball that they want to be heard, wants to be happening. We should
rolling. He brought the struggles namely young people and elderly be joining in rather than standing
of people to be free from people. Sex has also been getting to the side or worse, standing in
oppression right into the forefront into the act. Women are turning the way. King reminded us of this,
of American life, and things have our society's norms and patterns and I will always remember him
not been the same since. upside down. Gay men, Lesbians, for that. King called Christians
King did what he did because and other erotic minorities are back to the Biblical vision of
he felt called by God to act. If he demanding full acceptance into deliverance, justice, and whole-
had not responded to this call, it is economic, social, political, and ness. One of King's favorite
open to question whether there religious arenas and an end to passages from Scripture was from
would be any movement for Gay harassment. the Book of the prophet Amos
liberation today. If it had not We owe Dr. Martin Luther (5:21-24). Amos said that God
been for King, MCC might not King, Jr., a huge debt for stimu- despises the show and pretence of
even exist. Why is this? I am not lating all of this. We are also many religious feasts, assemblies,
suggesting that King was a offerings and songs. What God
proponent of Gay rights, although GOD HAS IMPLANTED A wants to see is "a mighty flood of
with his sensitivity and ever- VISION IN OUR CHURCH OF justice - a torrent of doing
expanding vision he probably good" (Jerusalem Bible) or (as the
AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY Revised Standard Version puts it)
would have come to support our
cause if he had lived. I am saying, OF ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE ... "Let justice roll down like waters,
however, that the Black civil rights and righteousness like an ever-
movement which King led has indebted to him for many of the flowing stream." Amos and several
stimulated all subsequent freedom tactics and strategies we now use of the other Old Testament
struggles here in America. More- as we press for liberation. prophets spoke out repeatedly for
I Following the pattern he set up, an end to oppression and for
Jeffrey Pulling is Registrar and a we are still trying to ensure the recognizing the reign of God's
Trustee of Samaritan Theological civil rights of all American people justice (Isaiah 1:16-17; Micha
institute, Los Angeles. He is a through passing laws and through 6:6-8; Jeremiah 7:1-11; etc.).
graduate of Andover-Newton the legal-judicial process. We still Trito-Isaiah said that the Lord
J Theological School, Mass. rely on non-violent demon- does not want the people to

'Ice: II May 1976/ IN UNITY 35

perform rituals and to fast while life and work of Martin Luther enumerate all the feelings and
they keep on oppressing or King, Jr. By his dedicated work attitudes that block our vision,
neglecting their neighbors. The and heroic example, King helped but I do want to stress that we
fast that God wants from them is the rest of us to see what God have to start to get along with
for them to break the bonds of wants happening in our world. each other and to stop putting
inju tice, to undo the thongs of Remembering King on one each other down. It is very
the yoke, to let the oppressed go day a year, however, is not unfortunate that we minorities
free to smash every yoke, to share enough. God has implanted a often fight each other, and it is
their bread with the hungry, to vision in our church and in each unproductive too. Every group,
ake the homeless poor into their one of us individually. This vision whether it be Blacks, Spanish-
own homes, to clothe the persons is of an inclusive community of all speaking people, Lesbians,
they see to be naked, and to not types of people: Black, White, feminists, Gay men, or whatever,
hide from their relatives who need Gay, heterosexual, female, male, has their own particular struggles
help (Isaiah 58). old, young, poor, wealthy, and to win and their own priorities. It
Jesus himself, who was the everything in between. In the seems to me, however, that
very embodiment of God speaking community of our vision, every- racism, sexism, and homophobia
and acting in our world, quoted one would be in communion with are related.
another passage from Trito-Isaiah God and with each other. Every- MCC must press for the
to describe his own ministry one would be giving of themselves liberation of all people and
(Isaiah 61: 1-2 = Luke 4: 16-19). and receiving what others had to groups, for their cause is our
Jesus saw his ministry to be this: give to them. This is the vision of cause. We must be sure not
o preach good news to the poor, the shalom-community which to oppress other persons in our
to proclaim liberty to captives, to ancient Israel had and which the actions and inaction. I still see a
proclaim new sight for the blind, early Church had. This is the lot of racism and sexism at work
o set free those who are vision that inspires us today and in MCC. We must be rid of them!
oppressed, and to announce that keeps us working. Every time we It is no accident that only a few
this was the time when God was build or accomplish anything that MCC churches have more than one
ready to act and to give blessings. approximates this vision we show or two Blacks in the congregation.
Je us knew he would be killed if other people what God's will is, It is no accident that in a majority
he carried out such a ministry, and we are pointing ahead to the time of our churches still, women do
so he was (just as King knew when this vision will become a not participate as fully as men.
he would be cut down if he reality when God's reign is fully The inclusive community that we
continued in his work). Jesus established and recognized. envision for ourselves will not
athered around him a group of There are several things stand- come about by our dreaming
disciples and he trained them. He ing in the way of our realizing this about it and talking about it. We
old them to go out and tell others vision. There are several factors must be willing to commit our
about himself and to carryon his within our church and outside of lives and our resources to do this
work. Jesus Christ tells us, his our church that are hindering us work of God.
followers in this day, to do these and holding us back. I will not
same things.
King was a servant of God
and he called his fellow Blacks ~nd
all White persons of good "viIIto
likewise become servants of God. ~Id
King saw the work of liberation as 11~~icol
being the work of the Church. re Hm
When there was a vacuum in the
leadership of the emerging Black
civil rights movement, he stepped
I ~
forward. I look upon him as a THE GA Y CHRISTIAN is the theological journal of the Universal Fellowship of
saint, that is one set apart by God, Metropolitan Community Churches. Individual articles reflect the thoughts and
one dedicated to God, and one opinions of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the doctrinal position or
used by God. I would like to official policy of the UFMCC.
-u e t to all MCC churches that
hey celebrate King's birthday this Material in this magazine is original unless otherwise credited. Please credit THE
January. Many of our churches GA Y CHRISTIAN when reproducing or quoting from us.
have been doing this for a number
The appearance of any name in this magazine does not indicate the sexual/
of years. I suggest this not because affectional preference of the person.
i a good White liberal thing to
do or because it is a way to attract F. Jay Deacon, editor and layout
Black into our churches. Rather I
::ug e t it for the sake of King Editorial address: POBox 514, Hartford, CT 06101
him elf and what he means
.0 u . I think we all should set Subscription and advertising address: POBox 36277, Los Angeles, CA 90036
aside a time to thank God for the

6 I~U ITY/May1976 TGC: 12

TilE Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

April/May 1976 CILLIIIATI

Norm Pastor Heather Anderson Meets
Flowers With Department of Corrections
joins The Rev. Heather Anderson,
Chaplain of Michigan State Prison at
MCC However, they learned that the real
reasons for the delay and hesitation are
National Jackson, met with Mr. Perry Johnson,
State Director of Corrections, and the
two (not uncommon ones). 1) They feel
they just don't know what it would
Prison entire Board of Corrections on April 15,
mean to have 50 or 60 "homosexuals"
in one place. [And it might be asked
lnlst y The Rev. Nancy Wilson was with
her. . ancy and Heather, copastors of
"what does that mean?"]
nize MCC ministry
2) To recog-
is somehow to
Staff -,teC Detroit, obtained the appointment
in order to request authorization to
know how to deal with this
and they

hold worship services at the Jackson [politically complicated] factor. [And

institution. it seems no amount of explaining can
The request was not immediately change their misconceptions.]
granted. The Department politely heard Meanwhile Heather and sometimes
Rev. Anderson and Rev. Wilson's Nancy, along with other volunteers,
presentation and explanation of MGC continue to visit the prisoners on a one
ministry. to one basis once or twice a week. Brian
"But we already have an interde- McNaught, the national chairperson of
eoordmared the
nominational Protestant service," one Dignity's Social Action program, went
e Grear
~ e c:all from official said. with them before his recent move to
"But homosexuals are openly con- Boston.
err March
demned and made to feel unwelcome," Chaplain Anderson has been in-
mated bv the
answered Rev. Anderson. The MCC formed by a reliable source that the
ce. and Gilbert
o - of Institutional ministers went on to explain the unique- warden of the Jackson prison is im-
commendation was ness and centrality of the Holy Com- pressed by her work. Both Nancy and
munion worship service in the Metropol- Heather have been recognized as Chap-
E ers bv Rev. Elder
o i Iiaison Elder for itan Community Church. -lains and admitted to the inner counsel-
also necessary for The Director of Corrections indi- ing rooms of the institution. But some
e arransements for his cated that the matter would be referred of the prison staff are still singling out
arole to be transferri!d to California to the A ttorney General of the State of the leaders of the "congregation" for
and he has also 'requesred a transfer of Michigan and that there would be an harassment and special punishments.
membership from Good Shepherd answer by June. A Detroit attorney is now preparing
Parish/~fCC Chicago to MCC of Los Revs. Anderson and Wilson agreed the necessary legal papers to file suit if a
Angeles. that the attitude of the Department was favorable decision is not obtained from
not negative. They were informed that the Attorney General and the Depart-
He will be filling a gap in the
officials were impressed by their sincer- ment of Corrections in June.
administrative work of the Board of
ity and credentials and by their work in The Director of Corrections is
Institutional Ministry, assisting on the
the institution. aware of the favorable decision by a
197 6 edition of the Prisoners Yellow
Pages and a new and revised edition of three judge federal Court in California
the MCC Prison Ministry Handbook, which stated that MCC is a bonafide
coordination of the pen pal program, Church and denial of prisoners' requests
and communication with Area Repre- for MCC worship services is a serious
sentatives. infringement of their constitutional
In 1969 he graduated from Frank- rights. The Department is aware that a
lin Center High School, Franklin Grove, similar suit will be filed in Michigan in
IL, with his major area of study in this identical situation. •
Agriculture and Business Adminis-
tration. After high school, Norm
worked on high line construction for
nearly a year before entering the army
as a draftee. In his basic training, Norm
served as a Squad Leader and as Platoon
Leader in Advanced Individual Training.
His experience and insights as a
former inmate of the Illinois State
Penitentiary system are valuable assets
Continued on next page
Norm Flowers

May 1976/ IN UNITY 37

Continued from previous page
I Am
to the national outreach of MCC Prison
_ inistry.
Carl G. Lee is the new Area Repre-
sentative for Chicago and Rev. Heather
Anderson has been appointed as District
tional Ministry
of the Board of Institu-
in the Great Lakes
District. by Rev. Tere Ann Roderick
"Norm has outlined some good
projects for Prison Ministry", said Rev. There is a small group of men
Mickley, National Administrator, "but sitting in the Protestant Chapel at 2:00
right now he says he is striving to make p.m. on a Monday afternoon. Of those
the present program operate at its full few people, several are not even aware
potential. We observed the effective of the special outreach of MCC to gay
work Nonn was doing and we are people. They are not gay, and they
confident that the national prison really don't know why they are here,
ministry will benefit from his enthu- except that they wandered in once
siasm, talent, and dedication to the before and came face to face with a
Lord's work. We are pleased that he has loving God.
come to Los Angeles to work closely The place is the Correctional
with the Board. Many projects of the Medical Facility, Vacaville, California,
Board have been moving slowly. I'm during the MCC service.
sore we'll see progress now." • How do I know about their feel-
ings? I am their MCC chaplain. Time S-1 MUST DIE!
and time again, I have heard strangers
who wandered in state that this service NO COMPROMISE
meant more to them than any other
they had attended. Time after time, I In its present form S-l cannot pass
see the "straight" men return to sit because of public opposition, but some
among the gay brothers they once Senators are still pushing for compro-
mocked. I don't try to understand it. mise that would keep 90% of it.
This is between them and God, but I The massive rewrite of the U.S.
know it is real.
Criminal Code by the Nixon - Mitchell
Yes, real. It is real, in that they are
Justice Department has repression of
Christian hearing acceptance from God, for that is
what we try to preach. Real, in that freedom hidden on everyone of its 700
Social they see the love the MCC group has,
one for the other. Real, in that they are It must die. Compromise will not
Action: welcome, no matter who they are, no
matter what they are, no matter where
erase the total disregard for civil liber-
ties displayed in this longest single piece
Prison they have been. This is the Christ
message unspoken, the one the men of
of legislation which the Congress has
ever faced.
Ministry Vacaville show rather than talk about.
We are few in number, and not the
The Board of Elders in its March
meeting in Denver passed a resolution
same faces each week. One week some
MCC has from the beginning been people might get out of work to drop urging the districts and member
interested and involved in Prison Minis- in, then the next service be unable to churches of the Universal Fellowship to
trv. Since 1972 there has been a nation- attend. It really doesn't matter. They oppose this repressive bill. •
al- prison ministry established by the are with us in spirit always.
General Conference.
"Prison Ministry is clearly a Chris-
tian social action mandated by Scrip-
It never ceases to amaze me that
whether our regulars are with us or not, Warden's
ture," said the Rev. Bud Bunce, Nation-
al Chief of Chaplains. He serves on the
we still seem to have the same number
in attendance. Forum
Board of Institutional
lI.-ith Rev. Joseph
Ministry along
Gilbert, National
Even more amazing to me, is the
scope of the ministry we share at CMF. Endorses
and Rev. Richard
Rev. Elder
Last week, a brother I had never seen
came to service. After the service, he
came over to me to thank me, not for
Richard Vincent is the Elder appointed my words alone, but for the Christmas In a letter to Mr. Perry Johnson,
as liaison with the Board of Elders. card I had sent him last December. It Director of the Michigan Department of
Along with the National Council of really made me realize the importance Corrections, the Chairperson of the
Churches, "MCC will continue to be of our work here. Jackson Prison Warden's Forum has
committed to working for change in the The Lord is moving here, yes, even reported the findings of that group.
criminal justice system and to finding here in CMF, and numbers don't matter. ''The Forum members read and
ways to join with others in common I believe that this work wll grow and studied the UFMCC material made
efforts in this critical area of our nation- prosper for the glory of God and the available to them. It is the general
al life. We feel the membership of MCC fulfillment of the scriptures. • consensus that this religious group is
in the Interreligious Task Force on honest and sincere. They are God fear-
Criminal Justice of the Joint Strategy ing people who are concerned about
and Action Committee (JSAC) is very providing Christian fellowship for both
important to our Christian social action gays and non-gays. This group is inter-
mission and is complementary to our ested in bridging the gap in all Christian
direct ministry of word and sacrament areas, especially here in prison since it is
to the women and men in the state and vitally important for people in this place
federal prisons of America," said Rev. to find meaningful directives in their
. iekley. • lives. " •

I~ U ITY / May 1976

I do want you to know I appreciate
the many prayers that have been said Representatives
for me. I am glad to report I have

the wisdom another chance to see the parole board

soon. I don't know what I would have
of God's plan done with Jim Lewey's help. Thanks to
him and what he said in my behalf to
Carl Lee is continuing the work
the parole board, I will have a new start.
Thank you, MCC. I won't let you down begun by No~m Flowers in Chicago in
It's sometimes very difficult for us behalf of prisoners and ex-prisoners.
to understand ,if given the chance to come be with
you. Pen Pal classes, begun by Norm
The wisdom and the love behind the were continued by Carl and the group
Terry McLain
things that God has planned decided to continue meeting monthly to
discuss problems and hear speakers that
But we wouldn't have the rainbow would help them with their ministry.
if we didn't have the rain The Chicago prison ministry team is
Ire wouldn't know of pleasure if we'd now working with more than fifty
never tasted pain prisoners and ex-offenders. •
We wouldn't love the sunrise if
u:e hadn't felt the night
A.nd we wouldn't know of weakness if
u:e hadn't sensed God's might
Sheldon Haight, Area Representa-
So God's given us a balance -- tive of the Board of Institutional
Enough joys to keep us glad Ministry in Seattle, WA, reports writing
Enough tears to keep us humble nearly fifty letters a month and making
Enough good to balance bad several visits to the Washington State
Reformatory .
And if you'll trust in God • 1 t is great to be on the streets again.
He writes that he was particularly
ou'll see- I am now attending MCC Los Angeles
and working in Beve rly.Htll s, I enjoyed
pleased because "one of the guys I
TfWugh yesterday brought sorrow corresponded with recently made a trip
_ e clouds will part and dawn will being a part of MCC at Atascadero and
appreciate the friend sh ip of all my
to Seattle to personally thank me for
. ring a better tomorrow writing to him while he was in prison .
friend s there.
That was cool since many of the guys
Mike Turpin are never heard from again unless
Arizona State Prison Dan Jentzen
P.O. Box 1900
there are difficulties."
Santa Monica, Ca 90405 Sheldon reports, gleefully, that he
himself has been dismissed from state
probation and is now a free citizen.
He has run into some prejudice
.1 have just transferred from Cal i-
from the administration of McNeil
fornia Medical Facility at Vacaville to
Island Federal Penitentiary in Steila-
California Men's Colony at San Luis
coom, WA, where they "strongly
Obispo. disapprove of these faggot church
~ RICHARD PAYNE At Vacaville it was my pleasure to
services. "
share in the love of Jesus Christ under
FNSHINGTIME our very inspiring and devoted chaplain,
Sheldon, a deacon at MCC Seattle,
is one of the longest-serving MCC
AT LO~1POCPRISON Rev. Tere Ann Roderick.
members in the national prison ministry
At Vacaville I had the pleasure of
programs. In Seattle he and Rev. Warren
directing the congregation in song. I
Richard Payne, a friend and Wagner collaborate on many projects in
remember well wonderful Willie Smith.
correspondent of many in MCC has service to the many prisoners who have
Please give him my love in Christ, and
been transferred to the prison in turned to them. .•
also Revs. James Sandmire, June Norris,
Lompoc, CA, to serve the last four and Troy Perry, whom I have known
months of his time. since 1968.
"I read about Samaratian Bible In closing I want to express my BOB ARTHUR
School in the Januaryln Unity. Is there gratitude to Rev. Roderick who is
a chance I could attend? I sure hope helping so many in the prison ministry. The Rev. Bob Arthur, Pastor of
things will be different this time. I have I pray the Lord will continue to bless MCC Omaha, and Area Representative
zrown a lot. I think now I can face my her and the work she does. in that area, continues his regular visits
problems instead of running from them. to prisoners, as well as counseling
I send my love to all my friends in Jack Lee Norman prisoners released.
ACC. " Bob was saddened recently by the
"My release date is not until return to prison, for a violation of
September 11, not August 1, as I was parole rules, of one of his counselees.
originally told. So, there goes General He still maintains a steady stream
Conference for me. But there will be of letters back and forth from prisoners.
next year, won't there?" His correspondence load is increasing
"I am working in nursing here and because his correspondents are getting
learning quite a bit. I have to be in the their friends to write him also. He
closet here, but I would like to hear preached on Prison Ministry at the
from my friends." Omaha Church recently and several
Richard Payne church members volunteered to be pen
36396 - 115 pals. •
P.O.B. W
Lompoc, CA 93436

May 1976 / IN UNITY 39

Terry Lee Napier, Area Representa-
tive in Cincinnati, has been visiting
prisoners in the Labanon Correctional TO TO
In titution near Cincinnati every Satur-
day and every other Tuesday. WOMEN MEN
Terry and John Good are also
corresponding with about 20 prisoners By Dee Jackson, MCC New York By Rev. Jay Neely, MCC New York
in other institutions. It
It was over two years ago at District
It took six months of visiting Conference in Providence that the
rehabilitation centers, dealing with congregations of the Northeast District
ex-offenders, and meeting and briefing made a commitment to do programs for
Steven Quesnel of MCC Albuquer- their Directors on what MCC is and our prison outreach to the men and women
que. M, has been corresponding with purpose in the community before a of the gay community. A year ago,
Mike Turpin in the Arizona State dream finally became a reality. MCC/NY began plans for a prison
Prison. Mike is appearing before the The constant refusals from the outreach. Those plans became a reality
parole board soon and asks prayers for administrative staff were disappointing on the second Sunday of November,
patience. for three of those months. When I 1975, when the first Fellowship service
Steven sent a collection of Mike's made my first visit behind the walls of was conducted in the Day Room of the
poems for consideration for future
Rikers Island Facility for Women, I was "Queen's Tank" at Rikers Island.
issues of Cellmate.
• only allowed to see Bo bbi Sanchez, and Rikers Island is a detention center
only because she is a member of MCC. I for the New York City Department of
was invited to lunch with the staff there Corrections. Like most penal institu-
:\ICK CUPO and was given a chance to discuss our tions, it is crowded, understaffed and
program with the superintendent. I was strife-ridden. There are three main
Nick Cupo, Area Representative in asked to participate on a panel the detention areas: for men, women, and
Philadelphia, reports that three MCC inmates had prepared on homo- adolescents. In the men's facility, the
Philadelphia people are working as sexuality. "homo" is segregated for the purpose of
volunteers with the Department of As a result of this meeting, women protective custody; this is not necessary
Probation. They are working on a one
began to express their desire to be in the women's facility. If being in
(0 one basis with probationers assigned
to them regardless of their affectional counselled. Letters arrived at our office prison is dehumanizing, being in prison
orientation. every week asking for me to visit. and gay is the lowest rung on the ladder.
Two additional volunteers who are Some women were able to discuss The male gay inmate is the object of
trained tutors in basic reading and their sexuality openly, and we always ridicule, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
writing skills are also giving their time ended in prayer. They were deeply There are many in the Department
and skills. moved and demanded more time and of Corrections who can discern the
In addition two MCC people are religious services. This behavior became special problem of the gay inmate; some
working with Volunteers in Prison in are so deeply imbedded with prejudices
so threatening and overwhelming for the
various capacities, such as caseworker
staff that I was limited to visiting only that they probably can never be
aides, tutors, counselors.
Two MCC members are trained Bobbi. changed. For most, there is an intense
Thresholds Counselors. Thresholds is a There are many gay professionals need for educa tion. Our mission to
program that teaches decision-making to working in the system who have helped Rikers Island has not only enabled us to
prisoners who are about to be released us gain access to the facility. There are bring the message of love and salvation
or paroled. Nick Cupo has been asked other avenues opening up. It's been to our incarcerated gay brothers and
by state authorities to draw up a pro- hard work, but my greatest support has sisters, to share and to give as weare
posal to bring Thresholds into the state been the many prayers for this ministry. commanded by Christ; it has also
prisons. enabled us to carry out a low profile
Seven pen pals are wr'iting prisoners educational process. For our "gay
on their mailing list.
Christians" are the "queerest" bunch!
Nick Cupo, a member of the
Governor's Task Force on Criminal Our work has just begun. It is a big
Justice, has been counseling a prisoner project. It is a great need. The volunteer
at the state prison who appears to be INTO THE JAILS response has been unlike any other
receiving unjust and unfair treatment. project we have undertaken. The
He has referred the matter to the Task Jail ministry is the theme of the commitment of all involved is deeply
Force which now is studying the matter. highly impressive March issue of the spiritual. We conduct services in the
MCC New York Mustard Seed. main chapel now. As we gather there,
Rev. Jay Neely tells about his the atmosphere isjust like any MCC. We
ministry to the men at Rikers Island, join hands with out new gay friends at
the detention center of the New York
the conclusion of the service and sing
City Department of Corrections.
Dee Jackson tells of her ministry with real conviction "blessed be the tie
and the administrative stumbling blocks that binds."
to her ministry to the women's division
at Rikers Island.
Bobbi Sanchez tells it like it is from
inside Rikers Island.
Bill Smith skillfully summarizes the
national prison ministry of the Universal
All in all, an impressive testimony
of what one congregation is doing "for
the least of these." •

.to IN UNITY / May 1976