10 October 2004 -- Members and friends of Presbyterian Promise spent a day with Chris Glaser. In the morning, he preached at First Presbyterian in Hartford. Later, at an informal house party, we viewed and discussed a portion of the Covenant Network video Turning Points: Stories of Life and Change in the Church.

The Turning Points documentary shows Presbyterian families, ministers, and congregations learning to understand and embrace their gay and lesbian members. It shows people changing their minds. Early audiences have laughed, wept, gasped, and shaken their heads. It includes wonderful moments with Walter Brueggemann, Shirley Guthrie, and Beverly Gaventa.

Chris Glaser is an author, retreat leader, and pioneer in the fight for inclusion.  He has written nine books encouraging a life of meditation and compassion.  They include Henri's Mantle: 100 Meditations on Nouwens' Legacy, Come Home! Reclaiming Spirituality and Community as Gay Men and Lesbians, The Word is Out -Daily Reflections on the Bible for Lesbians and Gay Men, and Coming Out as Sacrament. Chris was in Connecticut to receive the Yale Divinity School's alumni award for distinguished lay ministry. 

21 September 2004 -- The Session of First Presbyterian Church, Stamford CT voted to sign on as a sponsor of Presbyterian Promise. Alleluia! This next step in their faithful witness of welcome is great news!

22 July 2004 -- The July issue of Presbyterian Promise News is published.

27 July 2004 -- New York Pride march

Ralph Jones and Dan Blackford
wait our turn to march
Pat Wales

19 June 2004 -- Providence Pride

Co-Moderators Brian Merritt and Pat Wales 
with Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline
Jack Hartwein-Sanchez
Brian Merritt observed:

Our participation was an outstanding success. The half-page advertisement in the event guide highlighted our member churches. Thanks to the brawn of Dan Blackford and the cunning Boy Scout skills of Jack Hartwein-Sanchez, our tent prominently displayed our books and brochures. We found quite a broad audience. Many substantive conversations occurred along with invitations to attend services at one of our inclusive Presbyterian Churches. Many of the conversations highlighted individuals painful experiences with the church. Special thanks go to the Revs. Christine Foster, Carol Howard Merritt and Ms. Pat Wales for lending invaluable outreach to those interested in Presbyterian churches in the Rhode Island area.

5 June 2004 -- New Haven Connecticut Pride Block Party. A verbal picture...
This year, Pride season began with a block party on the New Haven Green, celebrated with Welcoming Congregations of New Haven. For the first time WCNH was able to place four religious speakers on the program to give invitation to welcoming places of worship, and to claim and proclaim the role that many religious groups have played in the struggle for LGBT civil equality. Dick Hasbany reflected:

For me the highlight of the afternoon was the expression on a teenage African-American boy's face. I spied him looking at church logos on our new poster. To break the ice I asked if he attended any of them. He said yes, and then, something dawning in him, I guess, he put his hands to his face and said something along the lines of "you mean they think it's all right." He lingered for a few moments, but then wandered away with his companions, including what seemed to be his close male friend. The rest of that story will probably happen out of our sight, but it may be that we helped this young man know that in his particular church community he can be himself.

12 May 2004 -- Presbyterian Promise begins a series of short Reports on issues and activities.

7 February, Weathersfield CT -- The Presbytery of Southern New England today voted to concur with overtures 04-01 from Western New York and 04-04 from Baltimore. The votes were 70 yes, 53 no with 4 abstentions on Baltimore and 70 yes, 52 no, with 4 abstaining on Western New York.

The Western New York overture would establish "covenanted relationship between two persons where a lifetime commitment is intended" as an ordination standard. Baltimore asks the denomination to strike G-6.0106b from The Book of Order. That is the paragraph generally understood as prohibiting ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The complete texts are available.

Five churches presented the issue of concurrence with Western New York; two with Baltimore. As this presbytery has debated overtures similar to Baltimore before, that debate took about fifteen minutes. The following debate over WNY was only slightly longer.

The process began when Presbyterian Promise (the MLP and TAMFS region in Southern New England) invited several churches and church leaders to think about action in preparation for this year's General Assembly. The seven sessions spent considerable time in study and reflection before their formal actions. The interest in Western New York seemed based in its suggestion to think in new ways about the issues of hospitality and covenantal relations. Baltimore's simple, direct statement spoke to others. Presbyterian Promise encouraged people to support both because of their witness on behalf of GLBT people and to encourage GA to recognize the urgency of the matter.

1 February, Hartford CT -- Presbyterian Promise held its third annual meeting. See the Report.

9 January 2004, New Haven CT -- Our fourteenth newsletter is mailed, inviting people to our third annual meeting as a time of  preparation for voting on concurrence with overtures concerning G-6.0106b.

News from 2000