Monday, February 4, 2013

CCCUCC makes national news

It's been an exciting weekend at my church.  It's not every Sunday that news crews are at your church along with representatives from the national press.

Last week news broke that the Boy Scouts of America will consider at their board meeting this week changing their decades-long ban on gay and bisexual teens participating in scouts and gay and bisexual men serving as scout leaders (and lesbian women helping to lead troops).  The change would allow local troops to make their own decision on the inclusion of gay and bisexual men and youth.  Of course, the religious right was out in force opposing the change, so in response my denomination, the United Church of Christ, issued a call to action asking local congregations to advocate for changing the ban.  The church I serve, Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ, answered the call and had a banner (supplied by the UCC) which read "We Support ALL Boy Scouts" with a rainbow background and stuck it in front of our church.

It turns out we received a lot of media attention:

Thanks to Alicia Myers at KSHB TV, Channel 41, Kansas City's NBC affiliate, came out Saturday and put together a great piece that ran locally on Saturday night.  The next morning a friend of mine in North Carolina e-mailed me and said I was on CNN Headline News--yep, it turns out they picked up the story and ran it in abbreviated form every half hour all morning.  Also, a friend in Chicago e-mailed and told me the local NBC affiliate there ran the story as well.  Another friend in Nashville told me she saw it on her local NBC station, so I guess affiliates across the country are picking it up.  Also, a student in the class I teach said she saw it on MSNBC as well.  Finally, NBC News included the video of the story with an article they ran on their web site (see below).

On Sunday morning during worship, KCTV, Channel 5, Kansas City's CBS affiliate, showed up to film the service and interview folks.  Unfortunately, they aired only a small bit of the story on their news program that aired after the Super Bowl.  A longer version of the story in text-only form written by Nima Shaffe is on their web site.

Finally,Miranda Leitsinger, a national reporter from NBC News called on Saturday about a story she was writing about possible change in the BSA ban on gays.  NBC sent a photographer to church Sunday morning and he took pictures of the service.  In the story put up today on their web site, there's a nice picture of one of the eagle scouts that attends out church holding hands and singing a hymn during our service.  Also, the local NBC story from Saturday is included on the page.

Hopefully, all the attention will help in the larger movement for inclusion of and rights for LGBT people in all parts of our culture, including great organizations like the Boy Scouts.  I'm proud to be a part of the United Church of Christ and to be pastor of a church that will lift its voice in such an effort and already fully accepts and loves LGBT people.

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