Soulforce Recognizes Service of Jeff Lutes

Soulforce Board Chair Chuck Phelan and Interim Executive Director Bill Carpenter presented retired Executive Director Jeff Lutes with a recognition award on January 10 at Metropolitan Community Church-Austin, where Jeff is a member. The award recognized Jeff’s leadership over the past four years and his program achievements, including:

  • Nonviolent Direct Actions at Focus on the Family, 2005 and 2006.
  • The Ex-Gay Survivors Conference, 2007.
  • Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, 2007 and 2008.
  • The American Family Outing, 2008.
  • The Anti-Heterosexism Conference, 2009
  • Writing “What the Science Says-And Doesn’t Say-About Homosexuality”
  • Helping birth Soulforce Q and their first three Equality Rides

Chuck also pointed out that "behind every great man in our community is a great man" and recognized Jeff’s husband, Gary Stein, and their three children, who were also in attendance. The presentation took place during the training for the 2010 Equality Riders and Soulforce staffers Andi Gentile, Caitlin MacIntyre, and a number of Equality Riders were present as Jeff was honored.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Soulforce Executive Director Search

Soulforce, Inc. is an 11-year old national civil rights organization. Our mission is to end religionbased discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people. Our method is persistent, non-violent resistance, with a commitment to the strategies and principles employed by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. (for more details please visit our web site at: www.soulforce.org)

Our core values are strong and we are welcoming to people of all colors, faiths, orientations and identities. The organization has just completed a process of identifying its Strategic Plan Objectives. Programs implementing the objectives are underway. The most prominent of which is the Equality Ride, led by a strong group of young adult staff members. The ride will take off for the fourth time in March 2010.

The organization was founded by the Rev. Dr. Mel White in 1998. The organization grew under his leadership until 2006, when Mel retired from fulltime leadership and moved into a role as “founder”. A new, part-time Executive Director position was approved. Jeff Lutes was hired for that role and served Soulforce well for nearly four years. In June 2009 the Board of Directors authorized the Executive Director position to expand to full time. Jeff has stepped back to have more time to pursue his private counseling practice and to spend more time with his family. In the interim, Bill Carpenter, the Soulforce Director of National Actions, has agreed to lead the organization. Bill remains heavily involved in the Equality Ride as well.

The Interim Executive Director will serve until May 2010. The full-time Executive Director position will be officially posted and applications accepted by the Board of Directors on the schedule shown below. Please watch for more details and share this announcement with people who may have a sincere interest in serving as Soulforce’s Executive Director.

ANTICIPATED SCHEDULE:

  • Formal request for submission of Executive Director Applications will be posted January 2010
  • Applications will be accepted through mid-February 2010
  • Reviews, interviews, vetting and selection throughout March 2010
  • New Executive Director to begin April 15, 2010

McCormack & Associates, well-known diversity search consultants, have been selected to manage the recruitment process for the new Soulforce Executive Director. McCormack is the nation’s first gay-owned retained search practice, and is a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The firm is based in Los Angeles, California. Since 1993, McCormack has filled over 200 CEO, COO and board level searches for LGBT, HIV/AIDS, health care, education and social justice organizations nationally. The firm was named one of the Top 50 executive recruiting firms by independent industry publication Executive Recruiter News.

All correspondence about this position should be addressed to search@mccormackassociates.com.

 


Soulforce is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.

Jeff Lutes resigns as Soulforce Executive Director

Soulforce Regrets to Announce the Resignation of Our Executive Director

Brief Video of Jeff Lutes

A Message from Soulforce Co-Founder Mel White:
Soulforce regrets to announce the resignation of our Executive Director, Jeff Lutes, after nearly four years of dedicated service. Jeff has chosen at this time to return to his family counseling practice in Austin, Texas, and to spend more quality time with his husband, Gary Stein, and their three young children, Niko, Trei, and Jole’. You may stay in touch with Jeff at www.jefflutespsychotherapy.com.

The Soulforce board of directors has appointed Bill Carpenter, who has served as Director of National Actions for many years, as Interim Executive Director. Bill will work with Soulforce staff to continue operations of the organization, including the upcoming Equality Ride in early 2010. Bill has a long history of service to Soulforce, since our very first action in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1999, and I’m grateful to him for taking this role at an important time in Soulforce history. I believe he is uniquely qualified to serve as Interim Executive Director while we undertake a nationwide search for the next Executive Director of Soulforce.

In January 2006, Jeff succeeded me as Executive Director of Soulforce. We are grateful for all he has accomplished in his time as Soulforce Executive Director. Here are a few examples:

  • Organized nonviolent direct actions in 2005 and 2006 outside the world headquarters of Focus on the Family. Those protests clearly demonstrated the tragic consequences of James Dobson and his antigay rhetoric and are featured in the films For The Bible Tells Me So and SoleJourney, both distributed by First Run Features.
  • Originated the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference in 2007 which exposed the misinformation campaign of Exodus International and spoke clearly to the damage being done by its ex-gay ministries across the country. The conference brought 200 survivors of ex-gay ministries together from all around the world for healing and empowerment. This much needed event received coverage on NPR and media outlets across the country, including CNN’s Paula Zahn.
  • Created The American Family Outing in 2008 which took dozens of LGBT couples and their children to dialogue with mega-church leaders Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Bishop Eddie Long.
  • Originated Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights which created rallies and vigils in 2007 and 2008 by heterosexual allies in 38 cities in 28 different states across the country.
  • Wrote the popular Soulforce booklets What the Science Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality, and A False Focus on My Family.
  • Produced Dear Dr. Dobson: An Open Letter Video , the DVD that challenges the antigay rhetoric of James Dobson and warns of its tragic consequences in the lives of LGBT people, their friends and families.
  • Managed Soulforce during the birth of our young adults program, Soulforce Q, and the first three Equality Rides.
  • Strengthened the reputation of Soulforce through countless print, radio and television interviews and by speaking at dozens of churches, universities and rallies around the country.

Jeff Lutes has led Soulforce through challenging times and we are grateful. Jeff will continue to write and speak powerfully about the role of relentless nonviolent resistance in our struggle against religion-based oppression. Again, we thank Jeff for his role in strengthening Soulforce and for modeling in his own life what it means to be a man of faith committed to doing justice on behalf of all those who suffer religion-based oppression.

– Mel White, Soulforce Co-Founder

                                                                                         

 

Soulforce Holds an Interactive Workshop in Nonviolent Resistance during National Equality March Weekend

Oct 10, 2009, 2:30-5:30PM
HRC, 1640 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC

This workshop will be led by Bill Carpenter, Director of National Actions, and Chris Hubble, an LGBT activist with Soulforce-Colorado.  Participants in this workshop will join a dynamic conversation that will introduce them to an understanding of the incredible power and potential that lies in the principles of nonviolent resistance and the history of nonviolent movements. Participants will also be empowered to apply this knowledge in their communities in the struggle for social and economic justice for all people.

An introduction to the Tool Kit contained in the new website www.nonviolence4equality.org will further enable participants to return to their respective communities and immediately begin grassroots organizing for nonviolent social transformation. Participants in this workshop will engage with the subject matter utilizing a variety of experiential learning methods.

Bill Carpenter and Chris Hubble Train National Equality March Activists in the Philosophy and Practice of Nonviolent Strategies. Jeff Lutes, Bruce Bastian, and Rev. Dr. Mel White at the National Equality March

                                                                                         

The American Family Outing: Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Hope Christian Church

The American Family Outing

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. and Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland

Friday, May 23 – Sunday, May 25, 2008 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Clergy Leader for Our Families:

Troy Sanders Rev. Troy Sanders
The Fellowship

Lead Families:

Learn more about the following families leading the visit to Bishop Harry Jackson and Hope Christian Church. Find out how your family can join them!

Parelli-Ortiz Family Parelli-Ortiz Family
Steve and Jose
Freeman-Chambers Family Freeman-Chambers Family
Michelle and Georgia
Johnson-Willoughby Family Johnson-Willoughby Family
Le’ Tonia, Carrie, and daughter Zandria (15)
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter
Director of National Actions
Soulforce
Sylvia Rhue Dr. Sylvia Rhue
Director of Religious Affairs
National Black Justice Coalition

 

Back to the American Family Outing

Soulforce Board of Directors and Executive Director’s Round Table

Board of Directors

In accordance with Soulforce Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, the Board of Directors has full oversight authority and insures that the organization remains focused on its mission, prepares annual budgetary projections, and assists in fundraising to help reach program goals.

Round Table

The Executive Director’s Round Table is a diverse group of distinguished individuals that provide counsel, professional knowledge, and public relations to supplement the skills of the Soulforce management team and Board of Directors.

Chuck Phelan, Board ChairChuck Phelan, Board Chair Dr. Sylvia RhueDr. Sylvia Rhue
Dr. Julie NemecekDr. Julie Nemecek Dan KarslakeDan Karslake
Dr. Rodney PowellDr. Rodney Powell
Bill CarpenterBill Carpenter Dr. Judith StaceyDr. Judith Stacey
Karen BallKaren Ball Rev. Phil LawsonRev. Phil Lawson
Rev. Paul EgertsonRev. Paul Egertson Judy OsborneJudy Osborne
Phil ReitanPhil Reitan Rev. Jimmy CreechRev. Jimmy Creech
Jay BakkerRev. Jay Bakker
Rev. Gil CaldwellRev. Gil Caldwell

Soulforce Board of Directors and Advisory Board

Board of Directors

In accordance with Soulforce Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, the Board of Directors has full oversight authority and insures that the organization remains focused on its mission, prepares annual budgetary projections, and assists in fundraising to help reach program goals.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is a diverse group of distinguished individuals that provide counsel, professional knowledge, and public relations to supplement the skills of the Soulforce management team and Board of Directors.

Chuck Phelan, Board ChairChuck Phelan, Board Chair Dr. Sylvia RhueDr. Sylvia Rhue
Dr. Julie NemecekDr. Julie Nemecek Dan KarslakeDan Karslake
Karen BallKaren Ball Dr. Rodney PowellDr. Rodney Powell
Carol BoltzCarol Boltz Rev. Gil CaldwellRev. Gil Caldwell
Bill CarpenterBill Carpenter Dr. Judith StaceyDr. Judith Stacey
Rev. Phil LawsonRev. Phil Lawson
Judy OsborneJudy Osborne
  Rev. Jimmy CreechRev. Jimmy Creech
 
  Jay BakkerJay Bakker

Bill Carpenter

Bill CarpenterBill grew up in Memphis, TN where in his early teens, he witnessed much of the civil rights movement, including nonviolent demonstrations and marches led by Dr. King, Rev. James Lawson and his brother Phil and other of his present day heroes. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in business and marketing in retailing and real estate. Coming out as a 40 year old, he shifted his attention from a traditional business career to a life of service. Presently, Bill is an active student of Truth principles, active at his Unity church and as a trainer in welcoming diversity and in principles of nonviolence. Bill says one of his greatest Soulforce experiences was early in Soulforce history at the UMC convention in Cleveland, OH in 2000 hearing two of his s/heroes Bob and Jeanie Graetz tell about the "second time their house was firebombed" while living in Montgomery, Alabama.

Soulforce Staff

 
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
Executive Director

Dr. Cindi Love brings a wide range of leadership, management and organizational experience to her new role as Soulforce’s Executive Director. From January 2005 until April 2009, she served as the Executive Director of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). Prior to MCC, she served as an Executive Dean in the third largest community college system in the United States, as a Senior Executive of The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC) and CEO and Founder of several award winning corporations, including one named to the INC 500 in 1990. In 1990, Dr. Love was named one of the "Top 50 Entrepreneurs" in North America by Inc. Magazine, the Young Entrepreneur’s Organization, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Love is the creator of the Would Jesus Discriminate? campaign and author of a book by the same name.

 
Bill Carpenter
Director of National Actions

Bill grew up in Memphis, TN where in his early teens, he witnessed much of the civil rights movement, including nonviolent demonstrations and marches led by Dr. King, Rev. James Lawson and his brother Phil and other of his present day heroes. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in business and marketing in retailing and real estate. Coming out as a 40 year old, he shifted his attention from a traditional business career to a life of service. Presently, Bill is an active student of Truth principles, active at his Unity church and as a trainer in welcoming diversity and in principles of nonviolence. Bill says one of his greatest Soulforce experiences was early in Soulforce history at the UMC convention in Cleveland, OH in 2000 hearing two of his s/heroes Bob and Jeanie Graetz tell about the "second time their house was firebombed" while living in Montgomery, Alabama.

Today, I call upon every LGBT person to reach deep within and connect with the joyous truth of who you are and declare, once and for all, I will not accept being treated as a 2nd class person or citizen of my country. Today, I stand with all oppressed peoples of the earth and declare: I am whole and worthy and loved – just as I am!

 

Gary Nixon

Director of Business

Gary is Co-Founder of Soulforce and has been with the organization before conception doing what has been needed from behind the scenes. He spends many hours each day managing donations and expenses, and filling orders for those who have requested one of Soulforce’s print or video resources. Working as a team, he and Mel have celebrated 28 years of life together and are looking forward to the next 28.

"My wish for Soulforce is that eventually we are no longer needed, that we will have been accepted into the human family like the rest of the population and now we can get down to business to do what really needs to be done."


Kara Speltz
Administrative Coordinator

Kara has been involved with Soulforce since 1999, prior to the first action in Lynchburg. Coming out of a Catholic Worker background she has been a peace and justice activist for over forty years. Her activities have ranged from participation in the Catholic left draft board and corporation actions of the late 60’s and early 70s, staffing Catholic Worker houses of hospitality, anti-racist work, prison work, and union organizing.

In March, 2002, she traveled to Iraq just days after the war started reaching Baghdad before the American occupation of that city and then returning two years later to witness the disastrous results of that occupation. As Administrative Coordinator her responsibilities involve being a "jill-of-all trades," so to speak; from assisting in research for Mel’s books and articles, writing and/or editing pieces for publication, to ensuring people who write to Soulforce get responses.


Haven Herrin Haven Herrin
Director of Development

I am a teacher, artist, activist and aspiring yogi and DJ.  I use "they" and "them" as my gender pronouns because I prefer words that locate me within the gender system with as little stability as possible.  Some days I am high femme, some days more trans. This flexibility and self-recreation is part of my queer existence.  The small things, like asking the busker not to sing songs that are anti-woman, and the big things, like helping to launch busfulls of activists, are all part of a life lived as an activist.  I think a lot about racism, international solidarity, and the myriad ways that the gendermonster is iterated in our lives.  I am happy to work with Soulforce as it grows into its intersectional justice skin and remains a place of infinite possibility. I also serve as a represntative of North America to the board for the International Lesbian and Gay Association.



Haven Herrin Jason Conner
Director of Programs

Jason Conner comes to Soulforce after completing the 2010 Equality Ride. Though he is from West Virginia, he has lived in various parts of the country, including Utah, California, and Florida. Jason was raised LDS (Mormon) and served a two year mission in the Florida – Orlando Mission. He left the church upon coming out joining the Equality Ride. Jason has worked with and for various non-profits over the past ten years – including United Way, The Red Cross, Utah Family Partners, The Central Florida Compassion Outreach Center, and the BSA. He was part of the successful campaign to elect Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia (2004). In the 2002 interim election, Jason was the youngest person on the ballot in the state of West Virginia, where he ran for the Democratic Executive Comittee. He served one term. Jason resides in Philadelphia and works full time as the Director of Programs for Soulforce.