27 November, 2007

We Pause to Give Thanks

Dear Friends,

As we pause to give thanks this year for our many blessings, I am keenly aware of the impact you have made on our journey this year. From Transforming Faith, making our presence to be known in Salem, PRIDE celebrations, to singing about Faith and Freedom, you have been there boldly sharing your faith! Your courage, deep conviction and passion for justice has inspired me and our Board of Directors. We are deeply grateful for your partnership.

Yesterday we remembered those across the gender spectrum and the loss that many have known. Our transgender brothers and sisters continue to lead us with their prophetic voice and faithful witness as they challenge us to get real regarding our own social constructs and the institutional bias that accompanies them. We give thanks for the gifts shared with us by our Trans friends.

Some of our lesbian sisters have been in the struggle for voice and equality for many years. Since our nation was founded, strong women have stood up for the voiceless, rooted in deep faith, claiming their power to effect change. Our feminist and womanist sisters have taught us to organize, to speak out, to question authority and to expand the circle until we are all included. For our lesbian sisters, we give thanks.

Our brothers who are gay men, we applaude your witness, your strength and your ability to get things done. You remind us that there are many ways to be a man, and that sensitivity and masquilinity are beautiful things. Your creative spirit helps us to remember that beauty and justice work aren't mutually exclusive. We give thanks for all that you bring to our community.

Our bisexual brothers and sisters are often undervalued. Caught in our own hypocracy, we often shun those who aren't at the extremes of the sexual orientation spectrum. You remind us that sensuality cannot always be confined to one expression and that in the end it's about who you love. For your voices and your openness, we give thanks.

For our allies, our Pflag parents, and our clergy leaders, we are appreciative of your presence, your support and your willingness to stand with us in the heat of the moment. You recognize that discrimination is wrong even if it's not happening to you. You demand that justice come. And you remind us, even when we didn't hear it from our own families, that we are all worthy of love. Thank you for nurturing us, for working so hard for all of us, for this we give thanks.

Working for the full inclusion and equality of those across spectrums of gender and sexual expression is demanding and challenging work. It's work though that brings us closer together. As we share our faith, our gratitude, and our bounty, we are mindful of the contributions you have made that help us to share the truth that we are each loved by our Creator.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Community of Welcoming Congregations, we offer prayers of Thanksgiving for you, your faith community and all those who have touched us. And as we break bread with our loved ones, we pray that all will be nurtured and find spiritual home.

Thank you for the Blessing that you are! Happy Thanksgiving!

In joy and gratitude,

Rev. Tara

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