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Reply to "Al Sharpton Accuses Bush Of Fueling Homophobia Among Blacks"

Black Church Summit
23 Dec 05 12:00 AM EST


Sharpton and Flunder to Headline Black Church Summit on Gay Rights

Focus on Homophobia and Exclusionary Divisiveness

December 20, 2005 - Washington, DC - National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) will convene a major discussion on lesbian and gay rights among black faith leaders. The two day Summit is to be hosted by First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and is scheduled for January 20-21, 2006. For a schedule of events, click here.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton of New York and City of Refuge Ministries' Bishop Dr. Yvette Flunder, Senior Pastor of the United Church of Christ's City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, California will be featured speakers. Rev. Sharpton recently announced an initiative to vigorously challenge homophobia in the Black Church. This will be his first participation in a meeting that will deal directly with that initiative.

The summit will begin with an opening reception at the Atlanta City Hall Auditorium Thursday evening, January 19th. The reception is open to participants and community leaders. Invited dignitaries for the opening reception include Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Ambassador Andrew Young. Conference invitees include Rev. Willie Wilson, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Peter Gomes.

"These high level discussions are about developing specific strategies that will challenge homophobic attitudes in our nation's black religious institutions-from the seminary to the pulpit," said Dr. Sylvia Rhue, NBJC Director of Religious Affairs and Constituency Development. "Through enlivened and educated discussions about the lives of black gay families, we hope to bring love and spiritually infused enlightenment to our communities of faith, to help them grapple with issues of sexual orientation and the bible."

The groundbreaking summit will include two full days of keynote speeches, dialogue, videos, small group discussions and interactive conversations. The Summit is a direct response to anti-marriage proponents pandering to the black church for their own agenda. It is imperative that religious leaders realize and recognize the contributions of the LGBT community and the impact marriage discrimination will have on African American children and families.