Nonviolence Direct Actions Take Place this Week in Milwaukee to Support Gay and Lesbian Lutherans

Soulforce and Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation to conduct Vigils, Leafleting, and Nonviolence Trainings during the ELCA Churchwide Assembly, August 11-17 in Milwaukee

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Press Release: August 11, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:Laura@soulforce.org
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(Lynchburg, VA) – Soulforce is in Milwaukee this week at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly (August 11-17) at the request of the Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation, to be a visible presence at the Assembly. The Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation includes Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries, the Extraordinary Candidacy Project, the Lutheran Network for Inclusive Vision, Lutherans Concerned/North America, and Wingspan Ministries.

The request for Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, to be a visible presence 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. A delay will postpone the decision on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians into the full ministry of the church.

"Delaying the final report in an attempt to avoid conflict and decision-making for fear of ‘splitting the church’ denies the promise that God will be with us in all that we do," declared Dr. Mari Irvin, Co-Chair of Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministries, and Soulforce Co-Chair for this event.

Soulforce is known for nonviolent direct actions during the denominational meetings of many of America’s mainstream denominations, such as the Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Roman Catholic, and more.

WHO: Soulforce and Lutheran Alliance for Full Participation

WHAT: Vigils, Leafleting, and Nonviolence training

WHEN and WHERE:

* Leafleting and Vigils are taking place throughout the week at the Midwest Express Center, 400 West Wisconsin Avenue.

* Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training will take place Thursday, August 14, at 7pm at Calvary Presbyterian, 935 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee.

WHY: 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.

“For us, the debate is over. We know God loves GLBT people just the way they are,” said Rev. Mel White, Founder and Executive Director of Soulforce, Inc. “Delaying even one more day is not acceptable to us. We believe it is time the ELCA recognizes that gay and lesbian Lutherans bring awesome gifts and talents to the church and deserve the capability to share their gifts and participate fully in the life of the church.”

Media are encouraged to attend the Civil Disobedience Training, please RVSP to 717-278-0592

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

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Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc
Laura@soulforce.org
www.soulforce.org

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.

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