The following Soulforce Alerts were emailed to participants who registered for the action in Phoenix.
Alert #1 – 5/15/03
Hello, Delegates to Soulforce’s Journey to Phoenix. for the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting I’m Doug Donley, co-chair for this Soulforce journey, with the first in a series of Alerts, containing updates, advice and spiritual encouragement. I hope to send these Alerts twice weekly.
You may be interested to know that you’re among nearly 40 delegates who’ve registered, with more signing up every day. Some of you are veteran Soulforcees, and for some of you, this will be your first Soulforce event. Welcome, everyone!
If you visit the Soulforce website regularly, then you already know that information has been posted about the Days Inn near the Phoenix airport where we’ve reserved a block of rooms for $44 a night. Sharing rooms is encouraged to get the price down even further. If you’re interested in help with finding a Soulforce roommate, please send an e-mail to Kara Speltz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Soulforce planning team is hard at work coordinating the plan and activities for our time in Phoenix. The Soulforce website and the Alerts will contain information as it develops, so please check the website regularly.
In closing, I encourage you to meditate or pray daily for success in time together in Phoenix. This is the fourth time we’ve confronted the anti-glbt policies and teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Soulforce is continuing to make a difference, not only in the cities we visit but to the nation, and I appreciate so much your commitment to this important work.
God Bless,Doug Donley
Alert #2 – 5/20/03
Hello, delegates to Soulforce’s Journey to Phoenix
Have you visited the Soulforce website lately? Please make it a part of your preparation for Phoenix, as updates and new information is added regularly. An additional (and new) feature is a link to the current weather in Phoenix. I just checked it, and the temperature is 84 degrees there today with 18 percent humidity. In other words, it’s hot, dry heat, so pack your clothes accordingly. And speaking of clothes …
As you may know, in the last few Soulforce events we’ve tried to conserve funds by encouraging Soulforce veterans to bring their Soulforce T-shirts from previous actions. The planning team recently agreed that we’d do that again for Phoenix, so if you have a "generic" Soulforce T-shirt or one that we’ve used before with the Southern Baptists, please plan to bring it with you.
One of the most exciting recent developments is that No Longer Silent, a group of about 100 clergy of various denominations in the Phoenix area have agreed to work with Soulforce in Phoenix. They’ll hold a press conference at 6pm on Monday night, June 16th and will offer a Bible study for the SBC delegates while we’re there. If you’re not familiar with No Longer Silent, I encourage you to visit www.nolongersilent.org.
It’s a group very dear to the heart of Soulforce. Here’s No Longer Silent’s mission statement: "We are Christian clergy: grounded in the witness of the Bible; convinced of God’s unconditional love for all people; raising a voice against Christian intolerance that promotes condemnation, discrimination, and hatred, and advocating justice for all, especially gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons."
In closing, I encourage you to pray or meditate daily as we focus our eyes toward Phoenix and our hearts toward the Southern Baptists. One thing I do is search for a quotation from Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton or some other person whose faith and commitment to justice I find inspirational. I make a copy of those inspirational words and post them on my computer or refrigerator door where I’m likely to see them daily.
I appreciate so much your commitment to this important work.
God bless,Doug Donley
Alert #3 – 5/27/03
Soulforce in Phoenix, Alert No. 3: LETTER-WRITING
Greetings, Soulforce delegates! I hope this message finds you well and looking forward to being together in Phoenix in less than three weeks.
As many of you know, one of the important ways we try to change the hearts of minds of our adversaries is letting them know about the suffering their policies and teachings have caused.
It’s critical that we do what we can to communicate the truth about homosexuality to SBC leadership before we arrive in Phoenix, and that we do it in a spirit of truth and love. Will you help us do that?
Attached is a list of the members of the SBC executive committee. Will you write a letter to one of them and mail it to him or her within the next 10 days? (Thanks to Roger Longest for updating the list.)
When you write your letter, the most important thing you can do is
simply to "tell your story." Tell:
- who you are
- where you live
- what you do
- something about your faith journey and
- how you or a friend or loved one has been wounded by the church’s teaching about homosexuality.
- perhaps even offer to meet with him or her while you’re in Phoenix
Want to see what other Soulforcees have written in past years to the SBC executive committee? Visit the Soulforce website, click on the "Journey to New Orleans (2001)" and then scroll down to "Letter to the SBC executive committee from Soulforce volunteers." You’ll be amazed … and inspired.
Let’s begin changing the hearts and minds of the Southern Baptists before we arrive in Phoenix!
It’s an honor to do justice with you.
Doug Donley, co-chair
Soulforce Journey to Phoenix
Alert #4 – 06/02/03
Soulforce in Phoenix, Alert No. 4:
ENCOURAGEMENT AND SOME REMINDERS – We are just a little more than two weeks away from our encounter with our Southern Baptist sisters and brothers. As you prepare for the journey, I invite you to be cognizant of the feelings you may have about the people we will encounter.
What prejudices do you hold? What fear invades your mind? What memories do you foresee resurfacing? This is one of the places where your spiritual preparation is most important. Know what "pushes your buttons."
These feelings are a part of who you are. It is important for you to keep your focus on your basic task of bringing the truth in love to our Southern Baptist sisters and brothers. Find a way to connect (or reconnect) with a higher power. You also can draw strength from your Soulforce friends and the prayerful support you may have back at home.
If you are spiritually disciplined now, you will be better able to tap a place of serenity even when someone tests your patience or your resolve.
And, most important, as you prepare for your journey, remember the ones you represent. And remember that you are not alone.
Peace, Doug Donley Co-chair, Journey to Phoenix
SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION
1. If the Journey to Phoenix will be your first Soulforce event, of even if you’re a Soulforce veteran, make time to read over the "Four-Step Journey," which you can find on the Soulforce website, www.soulforce.org. Monday night will include training in the basic Soulforce principles, but the training will go easier if you’re somewhat familiar with the basic principles of nonviolent resistance before you arrive.
2. Earlier this week during one of our weekly conference calls, our local planning team member, Jake Studebaker, said that the temperature in Phoenix that day had been 108 degrees. It’s a dry heat, but that’s still hot by anyone’s standards. Make sure to bring sunscreen and a hat with you and to plan to wear loose clothing in light colors.
3. It’ll also be important to drink LOTS of water.
4. Soulforce Central at the Days Inn is about three miles from the convention center where the Southern Baptists will meet. The Days Inn and the convention center are on a bus line, but if renting a car is within your budget, it would help as we move from one location to the other.
5. Be aware as you make your travel plans that although Phoenix, Arizona is in Mountain time, they never change their clocks for daylight savings. The time is THREE hours earlier than Eastern time.
6. If you have a Soulforce t-shirt, remember to bring it with you. 7. I hope you’re planning on writing a letter to a member of the SBC executive committee. Please do … Tell your story; tell the truth in love. it’s one of the most important ways that we can communicate with the Southern Baptists before we arrive.