Shuck and Jive

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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy Birthday PFLAG Tri-Cities!

Tonight friends in the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee will celebrate the tenth anniversary of PFLAG Tri-Cities. I am honored to be a part of its founding when I was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton.

Here is the news story upon its founding ten years ago.

Going through this blog by searching PFLAG brought back emotional memories. Working for LGBTQ+ justice was one of the most rewarding aspects of my ministry. I wish I could be there tonight for their celebration, so I will be in spirit! Here is a note I wrote for the occasion.
Dear PFLAG TRI-CITIES, 
Congratulations on ten years! I am pleased that the Presbyterian House at ETSU is hosting the meetings. I have so many fond memories of the people I met through PFLAG Tri-Cities and the groups that PFLAG Tri-Cities befriended on their own journey like LGBTieS and the Tennessee Equality Project Tri-Cities. The weddings and holy unions (before they were legally weddings), the parties, the vigils, the laughter, the anger, the tears, all shared.   
My motivation to begin working on a chapter was when the cops busted the guys in the park and put photos and addresses of these men on the front page of the paper. It was the last straw. We knew change needed to happen and that we needed to advocate and let people know in the words of one of our members, "These are our mountains too."  In January 2008 I put the word out on my blog if there might be anyone interested in starting a PFLAG chapter for the Tri-Cities, I would organize it. I was pleasantly surprised that many others were thinking along the same lines. I was introduced to Kerry Holland, John Moshier, Melanie Teegarden, and Pat Robertson at ETSU, who all shared my interest. The rest is history.

I would say one of the most meaningful ministries of my career has been with PFLAG Tri-Cities and I am so grateful you are still providing advocacy, education, and support. You have done your part to make it safe for my daughter, her wife, and their daughter to be thriving residents in Johnson City.  
Blessed Be,
John Shuck