Alert 2 – Transportation and More

Greetings, Soulforce delegates! Exciting things already are happening in Lynchburg.


If you’ve checked the Soulforce website in the last week, you already know about Mel and Gary’s move to Lynchburg. Mel wanted to arrive at least a month before the rest of us did so he could do advance work, speaking at colleges and in churches, teaching the Soulforce principles in the Lynchburg area and getting to know folks at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University.

Then, on a logistics trip to Lynchburg, Bill Carpenter and I noticed a little cottage for lease right across the street from Jerry Falwell’s church. Mel and Gary heard, flew to Lynchburg, signed the lease, returned home and started packing. They drove cross country, arriving in Lynchburg on September 7 and are settling into their new abode. Mel is determined to do everything in his power to achieve another breakthrough with Jerry and his people. He is convinced that something wonderful will happen by the time we join him, October 25-27. So, as Mel says about the move, “Already the direct action has begun.” (Stay tuned to these weekly Alerts and the Soulforce website for updates on their activities and accomplishments.)

It seems a shame to shift to more “everyday” concerns, but a number of you have asked for some guidance on transportation and arrival time. Bill Carpenter, Soulforce logistics coordinator, recently researched rail, bus and air transportation to Lynchburg and prepared the following (with some general examples of travel times).


Amtrak provides service into Lynchburg from several major Eastern gateways. Departs daily from New York at 2:25 p.m. and arrives in Lynchburg at 10:50 p.m. Return to New York departs from Lynchburg at 5:51 a.m. and arrives in New York at 2:12 p.m. You can also board in other cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and many others. Departure from New Orleans is daily at 7:20 a.m. with arrival in Lynchburg at 5:51 a.m., and the return to New Orleans departs from Lynchburg at 10:50 p.m. and arrives New Orleans at 7:50 p.m. Other gateways from the south are Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala.

Fares range from around $175 from New York, $225 from New Orleans and $117 from Atlanta. The weblink is or call 1-800-872-7245.


Lynchburg’s also served by Greyhound Bus Lines with departures from all major cities around the country. Round trip fares vary from New York ($100 with seven-day advance purchase) to Atlanta ($118, with seven-day advance purchase) to Chicago ($118, with seven-day advance purchase). The weblink is or call 1- 800-229-9424.


Lynchburg (LYH) is served directly by Delta Airlines and USAir. As a way of comparison, round trip fare from Tampa, Fla., is approximately $275.

Nearby alternative cities to fly into are:

  • Raleigh-Durham,N.C. (RDU) – served by AirTran, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United and USAir. Round trip from Tampa is $125.
  • Richmond, VA (RIC) – served by American Airlines, Continental, Delta, Northwest Airlines, United and USAir. Round trip from Tampa is $149.
  • Roanoke, VA (ROA) – served by ASA, Comair, Northwest Airlink, United Express and USAIR. Round trip from Tampa is $256.

NOTE: There is direct bus service from Richmond to Lynchburg (about 3-3.5 hours) for about $19 each way.

Several good search engines for airfares are:


Registration will begin at our "Soulforce Central," First Christian Church, 3109 Rivermont Ave, on Fri., Oct. 25 in the mid- to late afternoon and continue until the evening program begins, probably around 6:30 or 7. The generous folks at First Christian have already volunteered to have a hospitality room available with sodas and snacks for those of you who arrive and register early. Stay tuned for more details as they are finalized.


Some of you have said that you were having a difficult time finding the book by John Dear, S.J., The Sacrament of Civil Disobedience. Copies can be ordered through the Fellowship of Reconciliation at


Thanks to Mel and Gary’s inspired and courageous move to Lynchburg — and Laura Montgomery Rutt’s excellent, timely press release — newspapers and TV stations have carried the message across the country that God loves God’s gay, lesbian, bisex ual and transgender children without reservation. Our message already is being heard.

I encourage you to meditate or pray daily for God’s guidance and protection as we get closer to our arrival in Lynchburg and for Mel and Gary as they continue the good work.

God Bless,
Diana G. Westbrook
Co-chair, the Return to Lynchburg

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