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Inside this Newsletter
An ILGA for the
St. Louis Chapter
New Video from
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and the Bible
St. Louis Chapter
Other Sheep Fall 1999 Newsletter
Inside this Newsletter
"An ILGA for the Poor?"
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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
Report from Mexico City
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.
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
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:
St. Louis, MO 63 1 O'@
News From St. Louis Metro
Chapter of Other Sheep
by Peg Atkins
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.
- French translation for Africa
- Web site update assistance
- Help with Internet search engine listings
The Ministry in Columbia
by Pastor Timothy Price
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.
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
Unfortunately the political situation is also a bit unsafe now with the armed factions in the
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
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Other Sheep, 319 N. 4th St., Suite 902,
St. Louis, MO 63102, USA
Web Sites: www.othersheep.org (English, Spanish/Academic)
www.otrasovejas.org (Spanish/ pastoral)
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|Other Sheep Fall 1999 Newsletter
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