Letter to Derek McCoy of Hope Christian Church
March 20, 2008
Hope Christian Church
PO Box 505
College Park, MD 20741-0505
Hello and greetings from all of us at Soulforce, COLAGE, the National Black Justice Coalition, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
On December 3, 2007, our four organizations sent a letter to Bishop Jackson, Pastor Michele Jackson, and several others on your staff. In that letter, we shared our plans to bring approximately a dozen couples and families to visit Hope Christian on Saturday May 24 and Sunday, May 25, 2008. We also expressed our sincere desire to share a meal with families from your congregation and have heart-to-heart conversations about faith, family, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In the last several weeks, Sylvia Rhue and I have been trying to reach you by phone. We understand that you are very busy, yet hope that we can connect with you soon.
Our families seek first to understand, and then to be understood, as we engage families within your congregation in this important conversation. We are grateful for the inspirational and courageous leadership your church has demonstrated in reaching out to those in need who are so often rejected or forgotten by society. Despite our differences on the issue of homosexuality, we believe Hope Christian Church has the potential to be a positive force in ending the physical and spiritual violence perpetuated by some people against LGBT people and their families. It is our prayer that we can discuss our differences and somehow find a bit of common ground as God guides our time together. This issue has become so divisive in America – especially within our faith communities. We hope our meal and conversation can be one small step in reducing the fear and misunderstanding that so often divides neighbors and families.
In fact, we are aware that some faith groups opposed to us having this conversation have disseminated inflammatory and untrue remarks about us, which appear to be designed to frighten and divide, rather than bring us together. However, while the dialogue may be intense as we seek common ground, we want to assure you that we intend to engage you in the same way we believe you will seek to engage us – with Christ-like love and respect. We believe Hope Christian Church and our families can model the kind of hospitality and concern for others that is mandated by Scripture and our shared faith values.
Within the next few days, we will contact you by telephone to work out the details of our visit. Should you prefer to call me, I can be reached at (private number). Our families will be in Atlanta the whole weekend of May 23-25 and we remain flexible in terms of the day and time of our meeting and meal together. We seek to collaborate with you on deciding these details so that our visit is beneficial and meaningful to all the families who participate. We are also greatly looking forward to attending your worship service on Sunday, May 25, 2008.
Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC
Cc: Bishop Harry Jackson, Pastor Michele Jackson, Brenda Williams, Pastor Rudy DePass, Pastor Dave Parlette