The Original 17 Step Journey: Step 17

With the Rev. Dr. Mel White
"The Next Stage of Our Journey Begins…"

When we began this seventeen-step email Journey and the Summer Series of Open Letters to Jerry Falwell, we had no idea where it all would lead. We didn’t dream that Jerry would promise publicly to "soften his antigay rhetoric" nor that he would invite 200 of us to dinner.

So, we end this first phase of our Journey to Lynchburg by saying thanks:
Thanks to our Creator for giving us proof that Soulforce works.
Thanks to Jerry for agreeing to "soften his antigay rhetoric" and to invite 200 of us to share our stories and break bread together during this October weekend in Lynchburg.
Thanks to Jerry’s people for their willingness to meet with us.
Thanks to you our Lynchburg 200 for standing with us on the Journey.
Thanks to everyone on this Journey who has prayed and hoped for this day.

Although Jerry has assured us that he will never change his biblical views about homosexuality, he has agreed that we must cut end the violent rhetoric on both sides. That’s a start.

If you are on the list of the Lynchburg 200, you have already received a schedule for the weekend’s events. If you are not on the list and would like to be, call or email me immediately. There may be openings on the list and we may need you. If you want to attend any of the public events, here’s the weekend’s schedule. YOU ARE WELCOME!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 Travel to Lynchburg by 6PM

4PM – 7PM
Meet at Soulforce Central for Weekend Schedules/ID Badges/Dinner Invitations Housing Instructions (for those not in motels)
First Christian Church, 3109 Rivermont Take Main Street Exit off 29, go through Lynchburg, becomes Rivermont

7:30 PM
Memorial Service for Hate Crime Victims
Downtown Lynchburg, at the base of Monument Terrace,

On Church Street at the bottom of the 139 step staircase.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23
8AM
Continental Breakfast, Soulforce Central
First Christian Church, 3109 Rivermont in Lynchburg

8:30AM – 10:00AM
Advanced Training in Nonviolent Negotiation

10:30AM – 12NOON
Advanced Training in Nonviolent Response

12NOON
Lunch together at Soulforce Central

1:30-4:30
A Soulforce Direct Action
"Winning the Minds and Hearts of the People of Lynchburg"
(Bring work clothes)

*6:00PM – 8:00PM
Dinner with Jerry Falwell and 200 Friends
"Lowering the Rhetoric on Both Sides…" Breaking Bread/Sharing Stories (This is the only event limited to the Lynchburg 200. All other events are public.)

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24
11AM
Worship with Jerry Falwell and His People
Thomas Road Baptist Church

12:30 – 2:00PM
Taking Our Saturday Night Hosts to Sunday Dinner

2:00PM – 3:00PM
An Ecumenical, Interfaith Soulforce Celebration
Soulforce Central (First Christian Church)

*THIS DINNER IS AN INVITATION-ONLY SOULFORCE EVENT

We are still working with Jerry and his staff to plan the Saturday and Sunday shared events. Our 200 delegates will receive by registered mail time/place/details of the dinner. Delegates are responsible for travel, lodging, and out-of-pocket expenses in Lynchburg. Limited complimentary housing will be available in local homes upon request. Taking this 17 email (or print) Journey into Soulforce training is a pre-requisite. Each delegate must sign a pledge to nonviolence before coming to Lynchburg. If you are interested in accepting this invitation contact us in Colorado Springs or at: SOULFORCE, Inc. at (949) 455-0999 or info@soulforce.org.

WILL YOU JOIN (OR SUPPORT) US ON THE NEXT STAGE OF THIS JOURNEY?
I hope you have enjoyed this Journey into Soulforce. Even more, I hope that you will consider going with us all the way.

(Option 1) END THE JOURNEY
If you have no interest in continuing this Journey dialogue, send me DELETE today. If I don’t receive your DELETE, you will automatically be included in the next steps.

(Option 2) TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Join us in Lynchburg. Or volunteer to work with our Soulforce efforts with James Dobson in Colorado Springs or Pat Robertson (in Los Angeles with the Fox Family Channel) and in Virginia Beach or D. James Kennedy in Coral Ridge, Florida, or Gary Bauer in Washington, D.C., or Lou Sheldon in Orange County, California. Or with a primary antigay adversary in your town. There is much to be done and so few folks willing to help do it. Let us know if you are a willing Soulforce volunteer.

Option 3: VOLUNTEER TIME AND TALENT
We need people who will research, write, design, lay out, fold and stuff, video tape, organize, train, recruit, call and email, drive, make sandwiches, provide legal counsel, work with the press, think, plan, and pray. Whatever talents or skills you have, they can be used to change the minds and our hearts of our adversaries.

Option 4: PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Obviously it requires money to carry out Soulforce Direct Actions effectively. Recently, Gary and I and a small group of friends created Soulforce, Inc. (a tax-deductible nonprofit organization) to research, teach, and apply the Soulforce principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual minorities.

This first EMAIL JOURNEY INTO SOULFORCE, our new SOULFORCE.ORG WEB PAGE, and the TAKING TRUTH TO LYNCHBURG CAMPAIGN officially launch our efforts to organize a national Soulforce movement dedicated to ending the tragic rhetoric that ruins lives, destroys families, and divides the nation.

We invite you to be a founding MEMBER of this Ecumenical, Interfaith Network of Soulforce Friends. We are a bare-bones budget operation. Any funds you contribute to launch Soulforce, Inc. are tax-deductible and will be used to change the minds and hearts of our adversaries.

Any amount you donate also makes you a founding MEMBER. As a token of our thanks we will send anyone who contributes $50 or more a complete printed set of the sixteen Journey into Soulforce Files and a complimentary copy of our video The Rhetoric Of Intolerance.

We will also recognize you on our permanent list of FOUNDING MEMBERS in print and on the web page (unless you want to remain anonymous or to give "in memory of" a friend or family member.)

And we will include you in our ACTIVE SOULFORCE NETWORK, learning and applying the principles together to renew our own spirits and to help heal our wounded world.

If you are blessed with financial resources and could assist with larger donations (in a one time gift or a monthly pledge) of $250, $500, $1,000, $5,000, or more, we need serious funding to create video and print materials, to recruit, train, equip and mobilize this Network of Soulforce Friends.

These larger donations make you a CO-FOUNDER of Soulforce, Inc., but any donation, small or large, makes you a FOUNDING MEMBER. Each donation is tax-deductible and before tax-time, you will receive a receipt for your tax records and a Year-end Accounting of the ways your donations to Soulforce, Inc. have been used.

Everyone is welcome on this Journey into Soulforce. No one is turned away for lack of funds. In fact, it is often our most committed activists with little or no money to give who prove to be our most generous supporters. (Remember the ‘Widow’s Mite’?)

But, Jerry and the others raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars (literally) demeaning and dehumanizing gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders. We can’t respond effectively without your support.

[Most of you don’t know that Gary and I did not receive salaries from UFMCC. We’ve supported our justice work these past six years on what we had saved, on my speaking honoraria, and on the faithful donations of a handful of friends. We cannot begin to end this rhetoric without raising serious funds. But we refuse to stoop to high-pressure fundraising techniques. We’re just going to make the need known and leave the rest to you and to the Soulforce at the center of our lives.]

When you are ready, send your tax-deductible check to:
SOULFORCE, Inc. PO Box 4467 Laguna Beach, CA. 92652.
Or donate on the web.

OPTION 5: GET IN TOUCH
Most important, if you have decided to join us in TAKING TRUTH TO LYNCHBURG or if you are seriously considering participating in any of our Soulforce Direct Actions, email me this simple message: COUNT ME IN. Add any INFORMATION ABOUT YOURSELF that would help us know you better. Be sure to include your NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE, FAX, & EMAIL. Your data will be held by us in the strictest confidence, but if you have any special fears about privacy, just instruct us.

I know most of you won’t respond. That’s OK. I understand. Don’t worry. I believe that even a small network of Soulforce friends, working together, guided and strengthened by Soulforce, can accomplish more than we could ever dream.

Remember, Gandhi and King both promise us that even if we "fail" at changing Jerry’s mind and heart this time, we will find our own souls renewed and empowered just by trying. Love and peace to you all,

Mel

Mel White and Gary Nixon, Partners in Soulforce, Inc.
P.O. Box 4467, Laguna Beach, CA. 92652.
Fax: (949) 455-0959
Email: melwhite@soulforce.org

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