Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

PFLAG Tri-Cities Nearly Ready for Business

The paperwork is in and we have the go ahead from P-FLAG National to begin meeting. It is very exciting. We have about 18 folks already exchanging e-mails and making plans to get the word out about this new PFLAG chapter for the Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport area. The closest chapter to us is in Knoxville, so our outreach will extend through East Tennessee, to SW Virginia and parts of North Carolina.

As soon as we get the date and time settled for the first meeting, you will know about it on Shuck and Jive and on our PFLAG Tri-Cities weblog. I am hoping word will get out to counselors, faith communities, and other places where folks are looking for a safe, friendly place.

I have a website for you. This is from a family in a small town in Georgia. I met Jeff Ellis via e-mail when I pastored my previous congregation. Jeff and his wife Patti put together this website to help other parents with gay children.

This is the story of a church-going, regular family like any you might find in the south or anywhere in the United States. The website has resources for parents and family members. What is most compelling is their story of how they worked through their son's coming out. For them and for many families, being gay is not about "an issue" that needs debating, but it is about family that learns, grows, and loves.

It is Family Acceptance, check it out.

This reminds me that attending a PFLAG meeting might be frightening. You may worry about being "found out" as unfortunately, having gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender family members is kept secret.

Thankfully, there are many wonderful counselors and ministers in our area that get it, and can keep confidences. You may not be in a position to want to get in on the organizing, but you are looking for a friend.

You can e-mail me at my private e-mail johnashuck@embarqmail.com or pflagtricities@yahoo.com. Soon, we will have other names of trusted people you can contact as we begin to build this chapter.

You won't be outed regardless of whether you are glbt, a family member, or friend.

Follow our progress on PFLAG Tri-Cities. You are not alone.
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