Fall 1999
Newsletter

on this page...

Inside this Newsletter

An ILGA for the
Poor?

St. Louis Chapter
to Co-Sponsor
Local LGBT
Program

WOW 2000

Report from
Mexico

New Video from
Other Sheep on
Homosexuality
and the Bible

St. Louis Chapter
Update

News From
Columbia


   Other Sheep Fall 1999 Newsletter

Inside this Newsletter

  • An ILGA for the Poor?
  • St. Louis Chapter to Co-Sponsor Local LGBT Program
  • WOW 2000
  • Report from Mexico
  • New Video from Other Sheep on Homosexuality and the Bible
  • St. Louis Chapter Update
  • Help Wanted
  • News From Colombia


"An ILGA for the Poor?"

    Report from Tom Hanks, Buenos Aires, Oct. 8, 1999. From Sept. 19-25, for the first time in its
    21 -year history, the ILGA (International Lesbian and Gay Association) held its international
    conference in Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa was the site chosen to commemorate that
    nation's amazing transformation and its historic role as the first nation to include protection for
    sexual minorities from discrimination in its constitution (now followed by Ecuador in Latin
    America, which eliminated its anti-sodomy law in 1998).

    Given the solid accomplishments and advances for lesbigay rights in
    virtually ever country in Latin America, Africa now commonly is considered
    as the next continent ripe for major advance. As the contact person for the
    ILGA Working Party on Homophobia, Ideology and Religion, I was
    especially concerned with our preconference Sept. 19, which was
    wonderfully organized by a local committeeand attracted some 50 persons,
    about a third of those attending the conference.  

    South Africa already has a number of strong lesbigay organizations, a large archive
    department in the major university, and a new book including chapters by numerous Christian
    leaders (with a foreword by Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu) supporting lesbigay concerns,
    plus a growing number of gay churches (including several MCC'S), one with some 600
    members!

    Given the economic and cultural leadership of the nation and its recent dramatic
    transformation from an apartheid pariah,  the nation's potential for influencing other nations
    obviously is enormous. Humorous evidence of this was recently supplied when the legislature
    of neighboring Namibia voted to adopt South Africa's labor code-- apparently without
    bothering to give it a careful reading--and found they had enacted legal protection for sexual
    minorities against discrimination!

    Not only in the preconference but throughout the conference religion was a major focus. One
    popular South African lesbian leader began her presentation declaring "I'm black, gay and
    Christian! "-a far cry from the more secular, "post-Christian" atmosphere of the conference in
    Cologne, Germany (1997). Other Sheep literature was in great demand and the number of
    our Other Sheep resource centers in Africa at this writing has increased from 5 to 17.
    However, certain challenges common in other areas made clear why much of our literature,
    prepared for North and Latin America, is so in demand in Africa, where churches oriented by
    fundamentalist Missionaries cite the same "clobber texts" against gays and increasingly offer
    to "cure" homosexuality" by ExGay type "therapy." One urgent need, however, is to circulate
    literature in French, the dominant common language in many countries.  

    In Latin America virtually every nation now has lesbigay groups with email
    and access to Intemet, which makes our traditional recourse to mailing
    documents less urgent (and keeping our websites updated more urgent!).
    However, few nations in Africa even have a gay -group, much less one with
    access to computers. So traditional mailings to activists and universities
    will remain important for a few years.

    In a stirring and controversial conclusion, the ILGA plenary voted to move up its next
    international meeting to coincide with Rome 2000, July 1-9 (where IGLHRC already has
    programmed a day on the subject of homosexuality and religion). In a kind of African coup
    d'état, for the post of  Co- Secretary General, the plenary replaced Australia's respected and
    popular Jennifer Wilson with an eloquent and visionary black South African lesbian, Phumi
    Mtetwa, who promised to fulfill the organization's process of regionalization bv making it "an
    ILGA for the poor." The election of London trade union leader Kursad Kahramanoglu (Islamic,
    of Turkish origin) as the male Co-Secretary General guaranteed that the ILGA's future will be
    dramatically different from its European roots and past.

    Most ILGA delegates participated in Johannesburg's 10th Pride March, an unforgettable six-
    mile trek that took us to the apartment of Simon Tseko Nkoli. There we paused to
    commemorate this beloved national leader in the struggle against Apartheid and homophobia,
    who died of AIDS, Nov. 30, 1998. Simon was imprisioned for four years and while in prison
    came out as gay, a decision that had major impact on Nelson Mandela and other black
    leaders and proved crucial in the move to include gay rights in the national constitution.


Other Sheep will co-sponsor a Sunday afternoon program for
    the GLBT community during a conference sponsored by the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute
    and the Committee on Homosexualities of the Eastern Missouri Psychiatric Society for mental
    health professionals, April 7 - 11, 2000 in St. Louis. More Information later.


For the power of (Jesus') Cross in the history
    of the world since He came:  

    For all who have taken up their own crosses and have followed Him:

    For the noble army of martyrs and for all who are willing to die that others may live:

    For all the suffering freely chosen for noble ends, for pain bravely endured, for temporal
    sorrows that have been used for the building up of eterna joys:
    I praise and bless Thy holy name.

    (John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer;
    London: Oxford University, 1936).


WOW 2000

    Witness Our Welcome 2000: God's Promise Is For You (WOW 2000!), an ecumenical,
    international celebration and witness of God's inclusive love will take place at Northern Illinois
    University, DeKalb, IL August 3-6, 2000. Members, friends and allies of welcoming church
    movements will gather to worship, study, play and celebrate God's love for people of all
    sexual orientations. The event is sponsored by welcoming church organizations related to the
    American Baptist Church USA, Church of the Brethren/Mennonite, Christian Church
    (Disciples of Christ), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Church of Canada,
    United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA). - For
    information www.wow2k.org


Report from Mexico City
October 1999

    Our Genesis group continues to grow, with almost 80 now attending each Sunday's
    ecumenical devotional/fellowship time. In September we had to leave the Jesuit Center for
    Human Rights because of difficulties of scheduling activities on weekends. So we now have a
    new home, the Anglican church's social services center in the heart of the city. It is actually a
    more comfortable and more conveniently located space for us.  

    We have started to celebrate a Catholic Eucharist every other Saturday and a Monday
    evening "Life in the Spirit" seminar, and we continue with Tuesday evening prayer, Thursday
    evening Bible study and four cell groups which meet during the week for study, sharing and
    fellowship. In October our theater group will present a human rights play commemorating the
    tragic 1968 demonstration in Tlaltelolco (a large high-rise community in Mexico City) in which
    many university students were killed.  

    Three members of Genesis  - Marilu González, Eduardo
    González (sister and brother only spiritually) and Alvaro
    Olvera contributed personal testimonies for a recent article,
    "Mexico City's Missionaries of the Realm of God," in the
    Spring 1999 issue of Open Hands, a quarterly publication for
    congregations and individuals seeking to be in ministry with
    lesbian, gay and bisexual persons.  

    Our first 36-page booklet, "Existe la homosexualidad en la Biblia?" ("Does Homosexuality Exist
    in the Bible?"), written by Eduardo González (president of Genesis), has now been published.
    In the second booklet Genesis' Alvaro Olvera writes a lengthy letter addressed to lesbians
    concerning their dignity in God's eyes. This pamphlet is being published for us by Catholic
    Charities of the Archdiocese of Mexico. They have asked to add their name to ours on the
    cover, which will be a Catholic community here. The third Pamphlet, a guideline for coming out
    of the closet, will be published soon. A note of pride for us on these booklets is that they are
    being written by Mexicans who work with Otras Ovejas (Other Sheep) and are not simply
    translations of foreign authors. We are trying to foster indigenous talent for the cause. Our
    task now is to develop an international distribution system.  

    Retreat # 19 is scheduled for October 15-17. The purpose of these ecumenical weekend
    retreats is to explore the relationship between our faith and our homosexuality. They are
    jointly led by Father Jerry Cleator and Eduardo Gonzáilez.

    Jerry Cleator has been invited to participate on a committee of Mexican Catholics working for
    a change of attitudes within the Roman Catholic Church. Their first projects will be a
    colloquium in November, and a monthly study seminar.  Our Mexico City Existe, "Gay  
    cristiano? .Si!" has now been in cyberspace for 28 months. (Noun endings in Spanish are
    either "o", masculine, or "a", feminine. Thus, to avoid sexist language, many people are now
    using the @ instead of "a" or "o".) The site address is www.swiftsite.com/otrasovejas
    About 10 requests for counseling and additional materials continue to come to us each
    month, but we want to improve our visibility through search engines.  

    Please pray with us for the continued growth, especially in the spiritual dimension, of Genesis
    and for our other ministries.

    In Christ's service,
    Jerry Cleator, Marco Morales, Eduardo González, Pepe Hernández and John Doner


New Video from Other Sheep --
Homosexuality and the Bible
    Homosexuality and the Bible is a panel discussion with Dr. Robert Goss, Dr. Deirdre Good,
    Dr. Saul Olyan, Dr. Ken Stone, and Dr. Dale Martin. To purchase a copy for $12 please send
    your check or money order payable in US funds to:  
    Other Sheep, 3 19 N. 4th St., Suite 902,  
    St. Louis, MO 63 1 O'@


News From St. Louis Metro
Chapter of Other Sheep
by Peg Atkins   

    Our local chapter provides opportunities for ecumenical fellowship and spiritual enrichment of
    gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons and their allies. The sixth annual Spring
    Event featured Cynthia Winton-Henry (Christian Church) and Phil Porter (United Church of
    Christ), in "Body and Soul: Exploring the Wisdom of the Body," at St. John's Methodist
    Church. In this one and a half day program, participants were invited to rediscover and
    celebrate the wholeness of body, mind, spirit and heart.

    During June Pride Week in St. Louis. we networked and promoted Other Sheep international
    and local ministries in the Pride Parade and from an informational booth shared with
    Lutherans Concerned. The annual Other Sheep Picnic in the Park with Pride late in August
    provided good food, fun and fellowship for many old and new friends. A silent auction added
    to the success of the event.

    Several of us are helping to plan Witness Our Welcome 2000 (WOW 2000), the first major
    national ecumenical welcoming church event.


Help Wanted
- French translation for Africa
- Web site update assistance
- Help with Internet search engine listings


The Ministry in Columbia
by Pastor Timothy Price

    Twice in John's gospel Jesus tells us that He will make our joy complete, and in my life He
    keeps His promise in ways that astound and excite me. He has given me the opportunity to
    work with brothers and sisters of sexual minorities in Bogota, Colombia. 1 was blessed to visit
    Semilla de Amor Iglesia Agape in July. The church is celebrating their second year.  
    Colombians are a very hospitable people, and so I arrived to a most warm welcome. We put
    together printed materials describing the mission of the church and a booklet about "Bible
    Abuse" written by Rev. Tom Hanks. We also worked on organizing the church a bit. Semilla de
    Amor (Seed of Love) has grown now to a size that requires a place of its own.

    The church has been meeting in the apartment of one of the
    members, but has outgrown the space. We searched for a
    location that would be suitable while I was there, but without
    success. The search continues. The economic situation in
    Colombia is difficult, so affording a place for the church is
    unsure. We are, however, certain that the Lord will make it
    possible somehow.

    Unfortunately the political situation is also a bit unsafe now with the armed factions in the
    country-
    side. I was unable to travel by ground and air travel was cost prohibitive. The church had
    plans of visiting Armenia, a town devastated by an earthquake recently to offer material aid.
    But we had to postpone that trip. Two members of the church have been granted US visas, so
    they are planning to visit next year.  

    The Internet has been a blessing for us. On the night before I returned to the States, I
    received an e-mail form a fellow in Cali who is interested in the church's work. Perhaps the
    Lord will open a way for a work of His Gospel there too. After I returned home, a fellow in the
    Philippines also contacted me regarding the work. Please pray that doors continue to open so
    that we will be able to go wherever there is a need to preach the Good News of the love and
    total acceptance of God.


Contact Other Sheep

    Rev. Dr. Tom Hanks, Executive Director
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Phone/Fax: 011-(54-11)-4314-5989
    E-mail: thanks@thanks.wamani.apc.org

    Other Sheep, 319 N. 4th St., Suite 902,
    St. Louis, MO 63102, USA
    Phone: 314/241-2400
    Fax: 314/241-2403
    E-mail: giherzog@,aol.com

    Web Sites: www.othersheep.org (English, Spanish/Academic)
    www.otrasovejas.org (Spanish/ pastoral)
This website was reconstructed in June of 2007
Visits made to this web page since June 2007
"I have other sheep that are not of this
fold.  I must bring them in also."  
John 10:16
Counter
 
Other Sheep Fall 1999 Newsletter
"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.  I must bring them also."  
John 10:16 NRSV
Other Sheep Websites