Saturday, March 26, 2011

Exciting week of opportunities for affirming the LGBT community


We are entering an exciting time and just wanted to remind you of the many opportunities starting Saturday to show your support and get support as a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-attractional and transgender community.

Starting 10 am today at The Spirit Space in Saugatuck, three speakers will lead the GLBT Spirituality Symposium during a "day of exploring, educating and encouraging our GLBT community."

For a $10 fee that includes lunch, there will be presentations by guest speakers, breakaway sessions and an open panel discussion from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Spirit Space, 3385 Blue Star Hwy in Saugatuck.
The day will include a viewing of the film, "Seven Passages" a docudrama created by Calvin College Professor Stephanie Sandberg based on more than 100 interviews with gay Christians in West Michigan. The daylong event also includes motivational speakers, inspirational writers, local residents and the parents of a transgender child.

Featured speakers include Mark Anthony Lord, Nancy Plantinga and Salvatore Sapienza.

Mark Lord is founder and director of the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago. His latest book, "Nothin' Broken Here" is a guidebook for healing of gay shame. He offers a fresh perspective on sacred wisdom teachings. His training is in New Thought/Ancient Wisdom philosophies. He was first licensed at Unity School of Christian. As a student of Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, he received his Masters In Religion and Consciousness studies at Agape International Spiritual Center.

Nancy Plantinga is the founder of Natural Harmony Studios. Nancy is an acclaimed artist, massage therapist and musician whose mission is to assist others to "go within" and seek the inner healing of body, mind and spirit. She has exhibited her artwork in several juried shows and has received nationwide recognition for her portrait work. Nancy is also co-director of the Lakeshore Community Chorus.

Salvatore Sapienza is a former monk in the Catholic Church. Salvatore is the author of "Seventy Times Seven" which was nominated for two Lambda Literary awards including Best Spirituality. His latest book, "Gay is a Gift" shares the spiritual wisdom of gay shamans throughout history. He has written several cover stories for the "Gay & Lesbian Times" and has appeared locally on National Public Radio and PBS

Spirit Space is located at 3385 Blue Star Hwy in Saugatuck.....

On Sunday during the 10 a.m. service I will join Pastor Bill Lyons of St. Johns United Church of Christ 1934 Bridge St. NW to share information on GIFT's "Gay Christian? Yes!" campaign as part of their lenten series featuring a community program.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, 4010 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, an exploratory meeting will be held to gauge interest and support for a Grand Rapids PFLAG group. PFLAG is an important cog in the wheel of support for LGBT families,allies and parents

And 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday the monthly GRITS meeting will be held at the Vine in the basement of the First Place Bldg, 207 E. Fulton.
GRITS, which stands for "God Rocks In The Stream, is comprised of gay Christians who choose to stand strong in their faith and their churches, even though their churches, the colleges, their workplace or even their families are not necessarily affirming. Such a decision requires strength of Spirit and purpose to change from within. We find support in one another's stories, presence and purpose.

A little background . . .

Sometimes when you are a pebble in the stream you can feel overwhelmed as the waters rush over you. No single pebble affects the stream very much. But we are rocks of varying colors, substance, weight and depth. We all matter, and we all can make a difference.

Join us as we gather to support one another, learn from one another, hear one another and embrace the gifts we each bring as God Rocks In The Stream. Hence the name GRITS.

GRITS is also a recognition of the inner strength, the true grit if you will, that it takes to be the lone voice in your church, your job, your school, your family.

There are several opportunities to connect with and affirm the LGBT community, find a way this week to say Yes!