Summer 2000
Newsletter

on this page...

Other Sheep attends
Rome 2000
gatherings:
ILGA
World Pride

...and more

Other Sheep Summer 2000 Newsletter
                          Outreach to Sexual Minorities with the
                           Christian Communities of the World

    Ruth Marner editor – email: marner@compuserve.com

Inside this Newsletter
  • Other Sheep at ILGA and World Pride in Rome, 2000
  • Father Jerry's Eye-Witness Report
  • Welcome to WOW 2000
  • Latin American News from John Doner
  • Other Sheep in Richmond, Indiana, from Barry Cramer
  • Other Sheep Co-Sponsors Conference with Psychiatrists
  • St. Louis Chapter
  • Doug & Peg Atkins Win PFlag Award
  • Good News on Good Books
  • Other Sheep Videos:  "Can Sexual Orientation Be Changed," "Homosexual and the Bible," and
    "Mission Jesus Style" - John & Pepe's 1994 Epic Trip through Latin America

ILGA, Other Sheep, and World Pride, Rome 2000

    Jerry Cleator (Mexico), along with Peter Norman (Anglican, England) and Renato Lings
    (Danish Quaker, residing in Brussels, Belgium) volunteered to represent Other Sheep at the
    International Gay Lesbian Association Conference and the World Pride Rome 2000
    celebration, both events which took place July 1-9 in Rome. There was also a special Pre-
    conference, "The Separation of Faith and Hate: Sexual Diversity, Religious Intolerance and
    Strategies for change," sponsored by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
    Commission.


Father Jerry's Eye-Witness Report:
Jerry Cleator, O.P. (Ecumenical Liaison, Other Sheep, Mexico City)
email: cleator@infosel.net.mx

    The two most important events of the week were the Pre-conference and the Gay Pride
    March. The Preconference brought together about 100 people from around the world. It
    highlighted the oppression which sexual minorities face and showed some places where
    people are working within the churches themselves for change. Other Sheep, happily, is not
    alone. The main point of the conference, however, was to emphasize the need to separate
    church from state so that particular religious confessions could not infringe on the human
    rights of sexual minorities.

    The World Pride celebration was hailed as Stonewall 2000. Sexual minorities in Italy have their
    legal rights established, but suffer a lot of moral oppression. This was their chance to bring the
    large sexual minority population out of the closet and into the public arena. They were highly
    successful. The week's activities were front page news in the papers. There were up to
    700,000 participants and spectators in the parade which took four hours to pass by. We of
    Other Sheep marched in the parade with our banner (in Spanish), "God Loves Us" Four
    people among the thousands, we still got our picture taken a lot and and gave several
    interviews to the press. It was a real celebration.

    The Vatican really helped, playing right into the hands of the Pride organizers. It gave them
    the enemy they needed to rally the troops and also helped prove their point, that while gay
    rights in Italy look great by the books, there is a lot of subtle and not so subtle discrimination
    and repression. So by trying to squelch the whole celebration the Vatican brought out more
    people and more media coverage.


Welcome to WOW 2000

    DEKALB, IL.- In an era of globalization, is it essential for us to learn to "think globally" if we
    want to be really effective as we "act locally"? Do sister movements and organizations in other
    nations constitute a threat--competition for the scarce funding available for our local needs--or
    can a sense of world mission and solidarity in international networking actually bring to our
    local efforts perspectives and resources essential to their health and growth?

    These are the kind of questions that will be explored in a panel and workshop, Friday
    afternoon, August 4, at the WOW conference in De Kalb, IL. Panel members will include:

  • Mary E. Hunt, Roman Catholic theologian, co-director of WATER (Women's Alliance for
    Theology, Ethics and Ritual) and author of Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of
    Friendship, with years of experience in ministry in Latin America;

  • Bernal Esquivel, charismatic director of Costa Rica's gay Christian group, which has
    had significant outreach to Panama, Nicaragua and other Central American countries;

  • The Rev. Gerard B. Cleator, Dominican priest, who established Bolivia's first gay
    Christian group and in recent years has work as Other Sheep's ecumenical liaison in
    Mexico City;

  • Renato Lings, Danish Quaker, working as translator out of Belgium, an Other Sheep
    board member and activist with extensive experience in Latin America and Europe;

    The panel will be chaired by the Rev. Dr. Tom Hanks, Other Sheep Executive Director,
    Presbyterian, who has served in Latin America since 1963, author of "God So Loved the Third
    World: the Biblical Theology of Oppression" (Orbis, 1983).


Latin America News, John Doner - email: jpdoner@acnet.ne
John Doner, Other Sheep coordinator for Latin America, teaches English in Mexico City,
where he lives with his partner of 18 years, José (Pepe) Hernández.

    MEXICO CITY- One principal Other Sheep ministry in Mexico City is with Genesis, an
    ecumenical Christian support group for GLBTTs (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered
    and Transsexual persons) and friends. Two Genesis leaders work with the Other Sheep team:
    Marco Morales (dentist and hotel reservations supervisor and treasurer of Génesis, who will
    be at WOW2000) and Eduardo Gonzáles (former president of Genesis).

    Genesis celebrated its third anniversary in April 2000 with about 120 in attendance in each of
    the two Sunday meetings of the week-long celebration. Our principal ongoing activity is the 5:
    00 pm Sunday celebration, a time of singing, prayer, a talk related to our Christian life as
    gays, frequently including work in small groups, and socializing. Average attendance is about
    70.

    Approximately 30 of us marched with thousands of others down Paseo de la Reforma and
    Juárez Ave. to the Zócalo in Mexico City's 22nd Gay Pride March on June 17th (one week
    early because of the Mexican presidential election), and we gave a clear and strong witness to
    God's love with large vertical banners which were very visible. We also yelled slogans such as
    "If Christ is not dead, then where is he? Christ is in us, demanding freedom!" and "Christ
    understands you, he defends you from hate! Christ is your friend and therefore goes with
    you!" (They rhyme in Spanish!) A friend observing our participation in the march from the
    Independence Angel Monument quoted a lady next to him saying, "Are they homosexuals
    too?" What a tremendous witness to God's inclusive love!

    The Rev. Jerry Cleator, O.P. has formed a group for gay priests and ministers, which meets
    once a month in order to discuss the situation of gays in the Church and to offer mutual
    support. In Mexico the situation is particularly difficult for these men since the churches are so
    homophobic, and they would lose their ministries if it were discovered that they are gay.

    Jerry is also part of a Catholic study group of social activists. The group meets monthly and is
    trying to study in depth the situation of sexual minorities in the Catholic Church, with the idea
    of forming a plan for change. In addition, he is part of a new committee which will concentrate
    on non-violent demonstrations in order to create awareness of the problems of gays within the
    Church. They are adapting Mel White’s Soul Force program to the Mexican scene.

    John and Pepe spent January 2000 on a mission trip to the seven principal cities of Central
    America: Panama City; San José, Costa Rica; Managua, Nicaragua; San Salvador, El
    Salvador; Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and Guatemala City. Their purpose
    was to visit the then existing Christian ministries with lesbians and gays in San José and
    Managua and to search for potential local Christian leadership to develop ministries in the
    other five cities. Groups are now being organized in Panama City (Ricaurte Garrido, leader)
    and San Salvador (Mario Bran, leader, who hopefully will be at WOW2000), and John and
    Pepe are in contact with potential leaders in the other three cities. A trip report is included in
    the Spring 2000 Other Sheep News.

    The 1999 trip was a follow-up to their seven month mission trip by public bus in 1994 to the 17
    continental Latin American countries. In addition, John is in close contact with Tito Salas (who
    also plans to be at WOW2000) and others in Caracas, Venezuela, where they are about to
    begin a spiritual support group they are calling "Otras Ovejas" (Other Sheep). A recent project
    for John was the development of a directory of all Christian ministries with GLBTT in Latin
    America in an attempt to foment contact among the different groups and thus reduce the
    sense of isolation that is so common as a result of the great distances that separate them.
    Periodic distribution of materials to the documentation centers throughout Latin America, now
    60 in number, continues.

    We have just published "Salir del Clóset" ("Coming Out"), the third in a series of booklets on
    homosexuality and Christianity. Included is Jerry Cleator’s testimony of "coming out" to himself
    and others at the age of 40. The first two in the series are "Existe homosexualidad en la
    Biblia?" ("Does Homosexuality Exist in the Bible?") by Eduardo González and "Una carta a mi
    amiga" ("A Letter to my Lesbian Friend") by Alvaro Olvera, both members of Genesis, Other
    Sheep’s Christian support group in Mexico City. Now that we have the "trilogy", our task is to
    get them distributed and sold! Still on the back burner is the translation into Spanish and
    publication of a book on homosexuality and the Bible. However, this hopefully will soon move
    to the front now that Daniel Helminiak’s revision of his best seller, What the Bible Really Says
    about Homosexuality? is available.


USA - Pioneering in Richmond, Indiana - Barry Cramer
Other Sheep, P.O. Box 2448, Richmond, IN 47375;
(765) 966-4458; Email: BarryC44@go.com

    Other Sheep continues in a development mode in Richmond, Indiana. An educational and
    worship program on Ecumenical Welcoming Sunday, January 30, was well received.
    "Extending the Welcome: A Challenge to Congregations," was the first ecumenical program of
    its type in the area and attracted over 60 people. Since then:

    * two people have consented to serve on a permanent steering committee;

    * a younger gay male couple has completed several sessions with my partner and me in
    preparation for their upcoming wedding;

    * a picnic at Glen Miller Park in celebration of Pride Month, which I organized under the
    auspices of PFLAG, was enjoyed by the members and guests who participated;

    * a local seminarian has sought out my spiritual friendship to discuss issues around
    sexual orientation, intimacy needs, and ordained ministry;

    * a local congregation has invited me to participate in an adult forum later this summer
    on the issue of inclusive ministry; and

    * a canoe trip or other social event hopefully will materialize with my help before
    Summer's end.

    * flyers, which I printed and circulated, urged same-sex couples to utilize the "unmarried
    partners" category for the relationship question on the U.S. Census questionnaire.

    In spite of the challenges and frustrations I continue to believe in the importance of this
    ministry and my call to it. Please continue to pray for its vitality and endurance.


Other Sheep Co-Sponsors Conference with Psychiatrists
Alice Kitchen, M.D. – email: alicekitchen@earthlink.net

    ST. LOUIS - Other Sheep co-sponsored an April conference on homosexuality and the
    psychiatric community in St. Louis. Board members Alice Kitchen, M.D., Peg Atkins, and
    Gordon Herzog helped design the half-day program for GLBTs and their allies during the visit
    to St. Louis by two gay psychoanalysts, Ralph Roughton, M.D. and Susan Vaughan, M.D.

    Kitchen, who is also the chair of the Committee on Homosexualities of the Eastern Missouri
    Psychiatric Society, said that over 200 people attended the conference,, which was called
    "GLBTTs, Our Straight Allies and Our Evolving World." Of those 200, Kitchen said that about
    50 were "straight allies." The conference featured representatives from three educational and
    professional organizations, seven gay organizations, and three community organizations. The
    Other Sheep’s workshop focused on GLBTs and spiritual communities. Thirty-two people
    attended the OS workshop. The panel included board members Gordon Herzog and the Rev.
    Dr. Bob Goss (the convener). Also on the panel were a man from a Jewish Reform
    congregation very inclusive of gays, a straight Presbyterian woman minister, a lesbian
    representative of the Episcopal Cathedral, and a gay male Episcopal priest in a committed
    same sex relationship who is the vicar of a suburban mission.

St. Louis Chapter
information:  Dorothy Gannon, email: issiah58@freewww.com
or:  Peg Atkins, email: atkinspegdoug@juno.com

    ST. LOUIS -The St. Louis Chapter decided to forego our annual 2000 Spring Event, and to
    concentrate instead on other activities through the Winter and Spring. We helped plan the
    "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgendered People, Our Straight Allies and Our Evolving
    World," the April Sunday afternoon program co-sponsored by Other Sheep and written of
    elsewhere in this issue. Two of us have served on the Planning Committee for WOW2000, and
    others have worked to publicize the conference in our area.

    The Chapter's experience in ecumenical outreach to affirming congregations and individuals
    has served as the base for a newly formed Committee on Religious Endorsement of Civil
    Rights, a project of the Privacy Rights Education Project (PREP), the statewide educational
    and political action group for GLBT civil rights. With our knowledge of the faith community,
    Other Sheep has played a major part in enlisting the support of leaders in every
    denomination. The leaders have appointed representatives who know best how to approach
    the people within their denomination who want to become informed on equalizing civil rights for
    GLBT. The Committee will advise PREP on materials needed, and will alert religious groups
    when response to issues is needed.

    The sixth annual Other Sheep Fall Picnic in the Park, a time of fellowship and sharing, is in the
    first steps of planning. In this area, where few denominational affirming groups exist, many of
    us still find Other Sheep to be the source of spiritual enrichment that gives GLBT and their
    allies strength to work within our own churches.

Doug and Peg Atkins Win PFLAG Award

    ST. LOUIS - Doug and Peg Atkins have been awarded this year's Art and Marian Wirth Award
    by the St. Louis Metro Chapter of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
    organization. The award was given at the group's June 17 meeting.

    The award is named in honor of the founders of the chapter and is given to a PFLAG member
    or couple who have made significant contributions to the organization over the past year in its
    mission of support, education and advocacy of Lesbian and Gay civil rights.

    The Atkins, board members of Other Sheep, became involved in a myriad of activities after the
    death of their son, Thomas, in 1987. He told them just ten days before his death that he had
    AIDS and was Gay. Since then, the Atkins have worked tirelessly to end discrimination against
    sexual minorities. Among their many activities include working as founding members of the
    National Presbyterian AIDS Network and the St. Louis AIDS Interfaith Funeral Assistance
    Committee. They are active in the Privacy Rights Education Project (PREP) and Other Sheep
    Multicultural Ministries with Sexual Minorities. They are also working to amend the civil rights
    codes of Kirkwood to include sexual orientation and are currently conducting outreach to
    African Americans who might want to join PFLAG.


Resources

GOOD NEWS ABOUT GOOD BOOKS - Can You Pass the Test?

    1 Do you know what book has been the number one Best Seller in gay bookstores in the USA
    most months since its original publication in 1994? From all we have heard and read about
    that scandalous "gay lifestyle" in homophobic media caricatures, you might assume it would be
    something of the erotic/ pornographic genre. To the contrary, it has been the sober, learned
    work of Roman Catholic priest and theologian (and Other Sheep advisory board member),
    Daniel A. Helminiak, What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality (New Mexico: Alamo
    Square, 2000), now out in an updated and expanded "Millennium Edition." . In the Preface to
    the new edition he writes "I am deeply indebted to Thomas Hanks of the international ministry
    Other Sheep…for their generous pointers to recent scholarship that needed to be included in
    this revised edition" (p. 15). After years of emailing between Argentina and the USA, I am
    looking forward to meeting Daniel at the WOW conference, where he will lead a workshop. If
    you liked the first edition, you'll love the second one.

    2 What was the Hot Item at this year's Presbyterian General Assembly? a  bombshell creating
    more "bookophobia" in homophobic circles: Lewis C. Daly's A Moment to Decide: the Crisis in
    Mainstream Presbyterianism (New York: Institute for Democracy Studies, 2000). Daly traces
    efforts throughout the century, reaching back to the political and business empire of J. Howard
    Pew in the 1930’s, to duplicate in the Presbyterian denomination the kind of fundamentalist
    takeovers of that Missouri Synod Lutherans (1972) and Southern Baptists (19XX) have
    suffered. Although focusing on Presbyterians, treatment of forces such as Promise Keepers
    and organizations with parallel entities in other denominations make the book more widely
    relevant for discerning how millionaires produce "populist" lay organizations to carry out their
    bidding. Available ($18 plus shipping) from Presbyterian Pipeline (800-227/2872).

    3 Why, instead of "The dog ate my homework," do we now say "Bill Gates ate my book"?
    Because when Pilgrim Press incorporated the "final editing" on Tom Hanks’ The Subversive
    Gospel: A New Testament Commentary for Liberation (Cleveland: Pilgrim) the computer
    compressed the file and then refused to decompress it. So editing and proofreading began
    again July 1, finished July 15, and the book will not be available until Fall. Someone who knows
    the manuscript well (but not from Pilgrim) recently wrote with suggestions for improving The
    Submissive Gospel (which is hardly the point of the book!). Also scheduled for publication by
    Pilgrim Press this fall is Take Back the Word, a collection of essays on the Bible edited by
    Webster University Professor and Other Sheep board member The Rev. Dr. Bob Goss. By
    December Bob hopes to have finished the manuscript for his new book on gay theology, Jesus
    Came Out, with translation into Spanish projected as soon as the manuscript is completed.
    Bob was awarded the prestigious Templeton Course Prize for his course in religion and
    science on the problem of evil. Email: goss@webster.edu


Other Sheep Videos

    "Can Sexual Orientation Be Changed?"
    A discussion led by Susan Vaughan, M.D., lesbian psychoanalyst, clinician, researcher and
    author from Columbia University, New York with "A" and "K" and their experiences in
    "reparative therapy" and the "Ex-Gay" movement. (2000)

    "Homosexuality and the Bible"
    A discussion by leading theologians – Dr. Robert E. Goss (Webster University), Dr. Dale
    Martin (Duke University), Dr. Saul Olyan (Brown University), Dr. Deidre Good (General
    Theological Seminary), Dr. Ken Stone (Chicago Theological Seminary). (1998).

    "Mission Jesus Style"
    A report of the trip of John Doner and Pepe Hernandez through Latin America bringing the
    Gospel to Gays and Lesbians and establishing Resource Centers in each country. (1994).

    Please send check for Ten Dollars for each video you desire, made out to Other Sheep with
    your address:

    Other Sheep
    319 N. 4th St. #902
    St. Louis, MO 63102-1936


Download more resources from Other Sheep Websites:

    www.othersheep.org (English and Spanish)
    www.otrasovejas.org (Spanish, Mexico)  "Gay y Cristiano? Si!"


How To Reach Other Sheep:

    Other Sheep,  319 N.4th St., Suite 902, St. Louis, MO 63102, USA
    Phone: (1-314) 241-2400 Fax: 241-2403
    E-mail: osworldwide@aol.com

    The Rev. Dr. Tom Hanks, USA Executive Director:
    Lavalle 376-2D, 1047 Buenos Aires, Argentina;
    Phone/Fax 011-(54-11)-4314-5989;
    E-mail: thanks@thanks.wamani.apc.org
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
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Other Sheep Newsletter Summer 2000
Outreach to Sexual Minorities with the
Christian Communities of the World

Ruth Marner editor – email: marner@compuserve.com
"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.  I must bring them also."  
John 10:16 NRSV
Other Sheep Websites