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When the check bounces, run it through again, and again, and ...



I just called 800-903-5544:

PS:  This is Parish Services. May I help you?

LC:  I'd like your materials on safe spaces.

PS:  [pause] Can you tell me what you mean?  I can't find 'safe spaces' in
     our data base.

LC:  It's the material the church made available to help parishes
     to declare themselves safe to hear the stories of gays and
     lesbians.

PS:  Let me check that.... [pause] Sorry.  I still can't find anything
     on that.  Let me check with someone else.  Please hold....
     Sir, I am sorry.  I checked with someone else and we don't have
     anything on that subject in our data base.  You might want to
     check with NEAC and with...  [NEAC is the National Episcopal AIDS
     Coalition]

LC:  What does NEAC have to do with safe spaces?

PS:  We just thought they might be able to have some information for
     you and you might also call our New York office.  Do you need
     the number?  It's 1800-334-7626...

I called the Church Center:

LC: I'd like some material on safe spaces.

CC: Materials on what?

LC:  Safe spaces.

CC:  Is it a pamphlet or a book?

LC:  It is material about how to make the church safe for lesbians and
     gays

CC:  One moment please.....  Hello sir.  Let me give you  the Information
     Desk.

LC:  Fine.  Thank you.

InfoD: May I help you?

LC:  I'd like to have some materials on Safe Spaces.

Info: Safe spaces?

LC:  Yes

Info: What's is it?

LC:  It's materials prepared in response to a General Convention
     resolution for helping parishes to declare themselves safe to hear
     the stories of lesbians and gays.

Info:  Let me transfer you to to the Office of Pastoral Development,
       Bishop Hopkins Office [Bishop Hopkins retired from that
       office in 1998.]

LC:  Fine.

...

Office of Pastoral Development [OPD]:  Bishop Matthews' office.  May
    I help you?

LC:  Yes, I'd like some material on 'safe spaces.'

OPD:  Fine.  We have that.  May I send you the materials?

LC:  Can you describe them for me?

OPD:  Uhh...  What exactly is it that you wanted?

LC:  General Convention called on the Church to help parishes declare
     themselves safe places for lesbians and gays to tell our stories.

OPD:  Oh, I don't have that.  I can refer you to ... Let me think...   I
     know, let me have your name and number; I will find out and
     get back to you.

I had already found out all that I need to know.

Lutibelle/Louie

                                  Background

Resolution A009, passed by General Convention in 2000:

  Resolved that The Executive Council establish a formal process for
  congregations to identify themselves as "safe spaces" for lesbians
  and gays and others who understand themselves to be part of a sexual
  minority, tell their stories and be heard with love, care, and
  assurance of appropriate confidentiality; and be it further

  Resolved, That the Presiding Bishop's staff work with counterparts
  within the Anglican Communion to encourage similar "safe spaces"
  within the Communion.

Executive Council took two years to respond to this mandate, at our June
2002.  Executive Council ducked the second resolve by sending the work in
the Anglican Communion to ECUSA's elected members of the Anglican
Consultative Council.

Regarding the first 'Resolve', Executive Council put most of the burden of
the process back on lesbians and gays to collect and publicize the names
of parishes that declare themselves "safe."  But Council did promise that
material be made available:

  RESOLVED, that parishes wishing to express a public welcome of
  sexual minorities be encouraged to do so and encouraged to prepare
  for such welcoming by engaging in the study and use of one of the
  following programs, or their equivalent:

     "Room for Grace Dialogue," (specially prepared for this purpose [by
          Eric Law])
     "All Love Is of God," [a program of the Oasis] and
     "Claiming the Promise," [an ecumenical Bible study]

      and be it further

   RESOLVED that Episcopal Parish Services make the above named
   curricula available to the Church.

ENS did not report the action of Council, even after I called the omission
to the attention of the director.  Dan England oversees the director of
ENS.  Dan England also oversees Parish Services.

On July 20th, I wrote Dan England;

> I would appreciate copies of any announcements you make of materials
> available from you for this purpose, so that I can make others aware of
> them.
>
> Do you anticipate promoting them at
> http://www.episcopalparishservices.org/default.asp?
>
> Do you anticipate describing them in mailings that you routinely send to
> parishes promoting your products?
>
> Best wishes.

He responded on July 25

> My understanding is that they will be available on the Web site catalog.
> I am not sure if there will be a special promotion about them, but I'll
> look into it.

On October 6, a friend whose parish is interested in help in becoming a
safe space, sent me Dan England's response to his query:

> Apparently, there is some material available -- I've seen a single copy
> of it, but I haven't been able to track down the source. I'll keep
> working on it. Please remind me about this if you don't hear from me
> soon. Thanks.
>
> Dan England

I understand that Dan England apologized to the Congregations in Ministry
Committee of Council when Council met earlier this month. He has also sent
a copy of Eric Law's excellent materials to the person who had asked for
it, as I learned when I met with a group at that parish on October 20th.

L.








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