Soulforce to Join With Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation at ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee, August 11-17, 2003

Vigils, Leaflettings, and Trainings to Take Place All Week Long

Press Release, July 17, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592

(Lynchburg, VA) – Soulforce will be at Evangelical Church in America Churchwide Assembly, August 11-17, at the request of the Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation. The Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation is made up of 5 member organizations, including Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries, the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, Lutherans Concerned/North America, the Lutheran Network for Inclusive Vision, and Wingspan Ministries.

The request for Soulforce to be at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly was made because it is thought that there may be an attempt to delay the final report of the study on homosexuality scheduled to be released in 2005, thereby postponing the decision on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians into the full ministry of the church.

"Those of us who are sexual minority Lutherans are baptized Christians, not objects to be studied or issues to be decided at some far-off future date," declared Dr. Mari Irvin, Co-Chair of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries. "The ELCA is our spiritual home; we are here to stay as full participants in all aspects of the mission and life of our church."

Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, will be standing with the Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation both inside and outside the meeting leafleting and vigiling.

Trainings in nonviolence will be held each day as well, culminating in a rally and nonviolent civil disobedience training on Thursday evening near the Convention Center at Calvary Presbyterian, 935 West Wisconsin Ave, in Milwaukee. The Churchwide Assembly is being held at the Midwest Express Center, 400 West Wisconsin Avenue.

“For us, the debate is over, homosexuality is not a sickness, and not a sin, and the ELCA needs to get on with the study so gay and lesbians can be ordained in the church while being committed to both their church and their partner,” said Rev. Mel White, Soulforce founder and executive director. “The ELCA, as well as most of the other denominations, need to stop treating us as second class citizens and recognize the incredible gifts we bring to the church.”

For more information, see For media interviews, call 717-278-0592.

Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc

Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.