During the weekend of October 16-18, 2009, Jeff Lutes joined friends Peggy Campolo and Jay Bakker at the Open Door Community Church Fall Conference in Sherwood, Arkansas. On the invitation of Pastor Randy McCain, Jeff delivered the Saturday morning message and spoke later that evening during a special service honoring Jay Bakker, son of Jimmy and Tammy Faye Bakker.
Jeff shared his experience of seeing Tammy Faye in a Charlotte, North Carolina shopping mall while he was a graduate student in 1985. "Little did I know that 20 years later I would lead Soulforce, befriend Jay, and collaborate with him in an effort to create dialogue between LGBT families and Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, and Rick Warren," Jeff said. Jeff spoke of his love for Jay and his gratitude for Jay’s willingness to take a stand for the LGBT community despite great personal costs and sacrifices. Jeff closed his comments by saying "Sorry Jay, but when I think of you, three letters will always come to mind . . . . PTL!"
Jay was this year’s recipient of the Peggy Campolo Carrier Pigeon Award. Several years ago, Peggy told Pastor McCain that she sees herself as a "carrier pigeon between the misunderstood and the misinformed." Soon thereafter, Open Door began an annual tradition of honoring those who courageously advance love, understanding, and justice for LGBT people. Photos of the weekend can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/revolutionnyc/sets/72157622628371932/. Information about One Punk Under God, a Sundance documentary about Jay Bakker, can be found at http://www.sundancechannel.com/onepunk/.