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PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU'RE PLANNING ON COMING TO THE RETREAT!
We're excited about our upcoming anniversary retreat at Camp Doniphan over Labor Day weekend 2016! Please join us for a special membership call on July 10 at 7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain, and 4 pm Pacific times. to share updates and information about the retreat, along with an opportunity to ask questions.
Here is the registration form for the retreat - we hope to see you there!
(Would you be willing to donate to help make it possible for others to attend the retreat? If so, please send a check to GALA at PO Box 146, Lapeer MI 48446--and indicate on the memo line: GALA Retreat.)
GALA Statement on Orlando Shooting
Many in the LGBT community woke up to terrifying news on Sunday. The worst mass shooting on American soil had occurred in Orlando. As the news cycle began to catch up to the night's events, it became more and more clear that this shooting that occurred in a gay bar had a very specific target demographic. The investigation had barely begun when another story hit the news cycle—one of a man intercepted by law enforcement on his way to Los Angeles Pride with multiple weapons and makings of bombs. Then came the responses, of all kinds. Some were supportive. Some were denigrating. Some felt sincere, but others felt hypocritical.
It certainly appears at this point that this act of domestic terrorism was completed by a religious extremist, perhaps even one who was so homophobic that he could not accept himself and his own sexual orientation. It is easy to blame one group or another. Unfortunately, blaming is what we do best. Blaming is easy. Blaming means we don't have to take on any responsibility ourselves. Some people are blaming the victims. Some people are blaming the religion. Others still are blaming a nationality, an ethnicity, or a gender.
GALA would like to remind everyone that being LGBT and being religious are not mutually exclusive. Some Christians do not represent ALL Christians, just as some Muslims do not represent ALL Muslims. As an organization that values the worth of ALL persons, it is essential that we mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters who were killed. It is also essential that we mourn the loss of safety and security that has occurred within the LGBT community. But it is not essential for us to blame a religion for the events of this past weekend.
It IS essential that we accept the challenge of representing true Christianity to our communities. It IS essential that we take on the responsibility of reminding our brothers and sisters that God loves everyone. God has created each and every person, and God loves each of us as if there were only one of us on the earth. Christ's example did not include hatred. Jesus loved everyone. That love was countercultural in Jesus' day, and it is countercultural now. If we are to follow Christ, we must follow Christ's example, and love, welcome, and value all of God's children.
When you think about Orlando, think about the victims, the wounded, and their aching families. Think about Christ mourning each one of the dead and each one of the wounded. Remember that God longs to wrap us in the loving arms of the Holy Spirit. We are called, not to condemn or blame, but to make this world better than it is, and to love people into who they are capable of becoming.
The May newsletter is now available. Lots of information about World Conference, the retreat, people...
Were you unable to join us for the conference call discussing GALA's Five-year Strategic Plan? You can listen here!