The Invitation to a July 4 Picnic in the Park

June 20, 2000

Sisters and Brothers,

For three decades we’ve waited patiently for Protestant and Catholic Church leaders to end their policies against sexual and gender minorities. Those same policies lead to discrimination, suffering, and even death. We cannot wait patiently any longer!

On Tuesday morning, July 4, Bishops and Deputies of the Episcopal Church representing 2.5 million members and 7,500 parishes and missions in the U.S.A. will gather in the Denver Convention Center to begin their 73rd General Convention.

We respect their First Amendment Right to gather and we will not disrupt their meetings in anyway. In fact, many who enter the Center that afternoon will be our friends in the struggle for equal rights.

At a press conference at 1:30 p.m. we will thank those Episcopalians who have led the way to full acceptance. At the same time we will protest the great injustices suffered by sexual and gender minorities at the hands of other Episcopal leaders. And we will remind the media of the tragic consequences of this endless debate. At 1:45 p.m., the police will warn us that we are an unlawful assembly and arrest those who stay to pray.

On May 10, in Cleveland, Ohio, at a similar United Methodist event, 191 Soulforce volunteers were arrested in an act of spiritual resistance. On June 14, 100 Soulforcees held a Pray-In at the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando. Thirty-five were arrested. Sunday, June 25, 200 will join us in a similar protest at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Long Beach. July 4, we’re going to Denver. Spend the summer with Soulforce.

Put your body on the line. Tell the nation’s religious leaders: THIS DEBATE MUST END. THE SUFFERING HAS GONE ON TOO LONG. WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN, TOO!

We are working closely with the Denver Police Department to be sure our July 4 direct action is safe and non-disruptive. At this point it looks like those who are arrested will be given a summons (like a parking ticket) and be released. You may pay your fine by mail. Or you can support us and not be arrested, and even change your mind either way at the last minute. If you sign up, we will keep you posted each step of the way.

But you must be trained. Learn the full details at our training session, 8:30 – 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, July 4, at the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 16th & Ogden. We will provide a Fourth of July Picnic lunch and then move together to the press conference and direct action at the Convention Center at 12:30 p.m.

If you are interested in learning more, sign up today. The training is free and you are not obligated to join us even after being trained. But you must be trained and sign a pledge to nonviolence written by Dr. King in 1963.
Gandhi and King both remind us that we were "created to do justice" and that until we have taken one step in that direction we will never know the real power and purpose of our lives. Join us. Get a civil rights misdemeanor on your record and the joy of doing justice in your heart.

Jimmy Creech, Soulforce Chairman of the Board
Kate Bishop, National Co-Chair for Soulforce Journey to Denver
Carol White and Judith Nelson, Local Co-Chairs, Journey to Denver
Mel White, Co-Founder, Soulforce

Soulforce, P.O. Box 4467, Laguna Beach, CA 92652
Phone: (949) 455-0999