CAFE CommUNITY Summit EVENT FLYER
Saturday, May 19, 2007, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Coloradoans and friends, families, and allies are invited to a…
CommUNITY Summit Presented by CAFE (Colorado Alliance for Family Equality) including… Speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities
Rev. Benjamin L. Reynolds, MDiv., Program Director, Brothas4Ever
WORKSHOP TOPICS INCLUDE:
-Connecting our Diverse GLBT Community
-Working Together to Create Social Change
-Legislative Action, Legal Rights, and You
-Creating Healthy and Safe Environments for all Ages
-Bridging our Differences among Faith Communities
-Learning from our Past, Moving Forward in new GLBT Directions
LUNCH, COFFEE AND LIGHT SNACKS WILL BE PROVIDED
COST: FREE to participants, donated by several conference sponsors
LOCATION: St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 3350 White Bay Dr., Highlands Ranch, CO 80126 (3 miles south of C-470 on S. University Blvd.)
Please Register by May 11th: CAFESummit@aol.com
For more information or questions call: 303-482-1690
CommUNITY Summit Launches New Effort of Cooperation in Local Gay and Lesbian Activism
Colorado Alliance for Family Equality (CAFÉ) Seeks to Refurbish Old Partnerships and Begin Building New Ones
CAFÉ Media Advisory: April 15, 2007
For Immediate Release
John Ferguson, Steering Committee Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303) 698-0302
Karen Kellen, Summit Planning Committee Co-Chair, email@example.com, (303) 910-0541
Lewis Thompson, Summit Planning Committee Co-Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303) 377-3102
(Denver, CO) – The Colorado Alliance for Family Equality is organizing the inaugural CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit, a groundbreaking day-long conversation of speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities designed to restore, refocus, and revitalize Colorado’s GLBT activist community in order to propel our dreams of equality forward into reality.
Who: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Coloradoans and their friends, families and allies who want to take action to create social transformation.
What: CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit
When: Saturday, May 19, 2007 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. MST
Where: St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 3350 White Bay Dr., (9300 block of S University Blvd.), Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126
Costs: Underwritten by organizing sponsors so that admissions for participants will be free.
The CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit will feature keynote speaker REVEREND BENJAMIN L. REYNOLDS, MDiv, a community leader who stewards a local ministry of “social conscience, peace and human transformation”. Rev. Reynolds describes his message as, “A word of hope for the lost, healing for the sick, comfort for the lowly, restoration for the wounded… Everyone must be welcome in God’s House… Our ministry is not about being straight or gay. It’s about being human.”
Rev. Reynolds’ address will be followed by numerous workshops and facilitated conversations exploring a variety of health and safety, spiritual, cultural, historical and other topics of concern for numerous communities of interest within the GLBT populations of Colorado. At the CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit, participants will discover new opportunities for empowerment by connecting with each other and with organizations that are confronting the spectrum of political, faith-based and social justice issues GLBT people encounter in their lives.
“Change comes in many ways. The work for equality of all people is a long slog. Lately, we in the GLBT communities have been focused on marriage equality legal changes because that is where the attack came from. Now is the time to renew our commitments and efforts to the whole spectrum of issues we are facing, including faith communities, schools, health, youth empowerment, workplace equality, and, yes, family equality too,” said CAFÉ Steering Committee Chairperson John Ferguson.
“This day will be a day for people to connect up their silos of individual action and focus their power by teaming up with each other. Together we can be much more effective to create the changes we all want. We need to work on laws, beliefs and cultural norms to fully realize a world of equality and freedom for everyone.”
Already, the Denver chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG-Denver); PFLAG-Boulder County; Equal Rights Colorado; The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado; First Unitarian Society of Denver; Jefferson Unitarian Church; First Universalist Church of Denver; the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado; Colorado Clergy for Equality in Marriage; GLBT Caucus of the Jefferson County Democratic Party; the ACLU of Colorado; and St. Andrew United Methodist Church have agreed to sponsor the CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit with generous donations which will help underwrite its substantial costs, so that admissions for conference participants will be free. Additional donations of all sizes will be warmly welcomed.
When asked why she agreed to serve as Planning Committee Co-Chair, Karen Kellen responded, “I got involved with CAFÉ and the Summit because I saw a need for the GLBT community to come together after our twin losses at the ballot in 2006. Our community is struggling for full equality in this society. We need to build a strong movement both within this very diverse community and with our allies, if we are to achieve this goal. The Summit is a chance to regroup and refocus our efforts—and maybe make a few new friends in the process.”
CAFÉ was founded in 2003 by a group of 20 local activists for the purpose of working towards the freedom of GLBT Americans to marry the person of their own choosing. An organization of organizations, CAFÉ now claims a membership of 40 businesses, religious, family-based and other groups. CAFÉ seeks to provide a structure through which our member organizations and their allies can integrate and coordinate their education and advocacy efforts on behalf of the GLBT community.
Summit Planning Committee Co-Chair Lewis Thompson said, “When CAFÉ was formed, Massachusetts was the only state that embraced marriage equality; that is still the case today. The pushback powered by the fascist—and I use that word with all due deliberation—rhetoric of the Christian fundamentalists has been relentless. Still, we refuse to lose heart. Freedom is not free nor does it come easily. This summit marks the beginning of the next, new wave of GLBT activism in Colorado—more mature, more sober, more resolute.”
CAFÉ member organizations believe that, because the freedom to marry is a basic human right and an individual choice, anything less than full access to civil marriage for committed, same-gender couples is unequal. In addition to achieving full marriage equality in Colorado and nationally through education and advocacy, CAFÉ members also support incremental efforts toward equality such as civil unions, domestic partner benefits, second-parent adoption rights and related family protections. All of Colorado’s families need and deserve equal access and protection under the law. The State’s laws should protect, not harm, GLBT couples and their families.
To learn more about CAFÉ or the CAFÉ CommUNITY Summit, please contact the event organizers (information included in header) or: CAFE, c/o The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado; 1050 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203-2708 — CAFE-COemail@example.com, CAFESummit@aol.com, or 303-482-1690.
THE REVEREND BENJAMIN L. REYNOLDS, MDiv
The Colorado Springs’ Gazette called him “The People’s Preacher’, but with over 31 years of preaching, Benjamin Reynolds, former pastor of the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church of Colorado Springs recalls the skinny and scared, fourteen year-old young man who stood before the congregation and delivered his first sermon. The young Benjamin Reynolds was no ordinary child. A licensed minister when he was hardly 14 he could often be found at the library while others boys were on the baseball diamond or the basketball court.
Reynolds had lived in Dallas, Texas where he worked in the Court Reporting industry, preaching and leading the Single’s Ministry at a local Baptist church. When the Rev. Moses E. Ford, pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church died in 1991, Benjamin Reynolds returned to the church of his boyhood to become its new pastor.
A graduate of the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and Mass Communication, as well as a Master of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology; during his tenure as pastor of Emmanuel, Reynolds was instrumental in leading the 1,200 member congregation to offer a myriad of ministries including prison outreach, HIV/AIDS ministry and a scholarship program for graduating senior high students. Reynolds himself, who served as president of the local branch of the NAACP during the period of 2003 to 2005, had become one of Colorado Springs’ most visible civil rights champions, while privately wrestling with making the public aware of his sexuality.
Actively involved in an national affairs his credits include: past State president of the Western States Baptist Convention of Colorado and Wyoming; one of the youngest State Presidents and member of the Board of Directors of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.; Regional Director of the NAACP Religious Affairs Committee; Member of The American Baptist Churches USA, The Hampton Minister’s Conference, The Urban League, The Board of The Black Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Colorado Springs and is an active member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, and serves as a member of the Religious Advisory Committee for the National Black Justice Coalition.
His pastoral care has extended beyond the walls of the church and has reached deeply into his local community. He is past President of the El Paso County Ministerial Union (Fellowship), former member of the Colorado Springs Diversity Task Force, the Norwest Bank Focus Group, the Board of the Pikes Peak Hospice, and The Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Committee. He is also past Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zion United Credit Union of Denver, and a former Community Liaison for Black Student Union - University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He has completed an internship with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) of Colorado, and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Southern Colorado AIDS Project. Most recently the First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs honored him with the Micah 6 Award, as he proclaims justice, mercy, and humble communion as a life of faithfulness. He is the immediate past president of the Colorado Springs Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
He became an advocate for the rights of gays and lesbians, officially welcoming them into the life of the church. He taught a series called “The Black Church and Sexuality,” which among other things examined how black congregations often discriminate against gays. His position on homosexuality caused some congregants to leave the church. Reynolds said it was the congregation’s opposition to his advocacy for gays and lesbians – not his own sexual orientation - that convinced him it was time to leave. He knew in order to depart with integrity the congregation needed a face for same-gender love, and that such individuals could be faithful servants of God. The fallout was predictable: some congregants were fully supportive, some downright angry. Most felt his views on sexuality were simply incompatible with those of the church, and he was voted by the congregation to depart sooner than the date his resignation incited.
Reverend Reynolds is in transition preparing to begin a doctorate program, seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ and at the same time he brings a pastoral dimension to financial aid at the Iliff School of Theology; and is the Program Director for Brothas4Ever, a Denver based organization, which is a peer led program of It Takes A Village promoting the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of same-gender loving African American men by building community.
Reverend Reynolds’ long-term goals are to teach and facilitate social justice and preaching on the seminary level to students preparing to go into congregations as leaders. Eventually, he plans to return to the pastorate.
As for the spare time Benjamin Reynolds manages to find, he has a passion for cycling and travel. In reflecting on his over thirty years in ministry, he is struck with the realization that some things have changed very little from the days of his youth when the 14 year old took the pulpit. He still loves reading, Sunday services, singing along with the choir and his abundant excitement over the things of God.
CAFÉ Steering Committee Chair John Ferguson, Ph.D., is a consultant-trainer living in Denver, CO where he works in the community, and especially in the LGBT community, to create change in racism, heterosexism, sexism, and classism/elitism. He identifies as a white man who is gay, and lives with his partner of 20 years, Gary. He is the father of two adult children, and a grandfather. He worked for 19 years in a high-tech multi-national corporate environment as a leader and manager for corporate marketing functions, and as an advocate to create change around multicultural issues. He joined VISIONS, Inc. in 1999, and became a Multiculturalism Consultant in 2004. For the last five years he has been on the Board of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Denver, and for the last two years has served as the Chair of the CAFÉ Steering Committee.
Summit Planning Committee Co-Chair Karen Kellen is an attorney and mediator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, where she has co-chaired her LGBT employee group since its inception. She lives in Lakewood with her partner of 7 years and their 3 cats. Karen is active in her community, serving on Lakewood’s Diversity Commission and the board of her neighborhood association. She is politically active, co-chairing the Jefferson County Democrats LGBT caucus and working to support LGBT friendly candidates at the State and Federal level. Karen has decided to take her political activities up a notch by declaring her candidacy for the Ward 1 seat on Lakewood’s City Council. When not tracking down votes or attending community meetings, Karen enjoys making jewelry and gardening.
Summit Planning Committee Co-Chair Lewis Thompson is a retired quality and systems design engineer for Ford Motor Company. While at Ford, he was president of GLOBE, the diversity advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered hourly and salaried employees, when Ford first granted the same-sex domestic partners of its employees many of the benefits afforded employees’ spouses. He is the father of a thirty-ish daughter and son and the husband of Laurin Foxworth, to whom he was legally married in London, Ontario, Canada in 2003. Lewis is 61 years old and is a native of Hutchinson, Kansas. He enjoys writing letters to the editor and will take advantage of any opportunity to make his somewhat unorthodox views known. Much of his time is taken up by his deep devotion to First Unitarian Society of Denver, where he serves on the Board.
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