Dear Friends and Fellow Spiritual Travelers,
For many years, Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns has provided spiritual sustenance, grounding, community, energy, and support to those who attend our gatherings. Getting together in person only twice a year, we somehow sustain an ongoing experience of blessed community. At gatherings, we soak in validation that too many of us don’t receive at home. We experience deep spiritual renewal, the witness and the challenge of knowing so many among us whose lives are truly spirit-led, and the emergence of lifelong spiritual friendships. In turn, those who participate in the FLGBTQC community build their ability to give back to the Religious Society of Friends and wider world, often providing spiritual grounding, powerful ministry, and leadership within their home communities. Over and over again, we return to the touchstone of “radical love and inclusion” to learn more about what it truly requires of us. Recently, we have been led to broaden our outreach, explore opportunities to increase our collaborations with Young Friends, Young Adult Friends, and the Friends of Color Center, and engage with several LGBT Friends from Africa.
Guided by our principle of radical love and inclusion, FLGBTQC has lately been called to further extend the opportunity for Friends and fellow spiritual travelers to participate in this beloved community regardless of their financial resources. But doing so often requires funds beyond those that are raised through registration fees and our annual silent auctions, which are already well-used in providing start-up funds for our midwinter gatherings, making our newsletter freely available, providing programming for our younger Friends, and adding to our Fund for Sufferings, which helps Friends who are suffering health or other challenges. With this in mind, we ask for your help in removing the financial barriers that prevent some F/friends from coming to our gatherings. Admittedly, as co-clerks we are responsible for dispersing the available travel assistance funds, so we ask in part for selfish reasons: it is heart-breaking to tell someone who is led to be with us that that we don’t have sufficient funds to help them come.
In Kathy’s upcoming Friends Journal article about FLGBTQC and her spiritual journey (January 2014), she shares “I love people I have met through FLGBTQC more than I can justify given the limited time we have spent together.” Ted similarly expresses, “I find more depth in my experience of Quaker community in this group than anywhere else.” The two of us share with so many other FLGBTQC community members a feeling of being mystified by the important role this organization has come to play in our spiritual lives.
Friends, as you consider the organizations you would like to support financially, we request that you consider whether you can strengthen Friends for LGBTQ Concerns travel assistance and other funds for Fiscal Year 2014. Checks may be mailed to our treasurer (FLGBTQC c/o Su Penn 2206 Iroquois Rd. Okemos, MI 48864) or donations may be made on-line: http://flgbtqc.quaker.org/donations.
We are enormously grateful for donations of any size from individual Friends, and their meetings, churches, and yearly meetings.
Blessings and Love,
Kathy Beth and Ted Heck,
Co-clerks of FLGBTQC