Sunday, April 27, 2014

June 13-15, 2014 - LGBTI Solidarity in Africa Weekend

Below is a schedule of events currently under development for LGBTI Africa Solidarity Weekend in Chicago - June 13-15, 2014.

Please promote these events and email to find our how your organization can provide additional support.
UPDATE JUNE 12 - On Wednesday, June 11, John Adewoye and Victor Awekewere featured on Jerome McDonnell's Worldview program on WBEZ: Gay Nigerians fight for rights against anti-gay law. They introduced the issues and gave a preview of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday events.

Friday, June 13


2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Symposium: Theological Resources for LGBTI Liberation
Broadway United Methodist Church - 3338 N Broadway St, Chicago

Judith Kotzé and Ingrid Schoonraad from Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM) South Africa will join in conversation and reflection on the theological resources for the work of LGBTI liberation in Africa. We will consider the intersections of North American liberation theology and South African post-apartheid theology, as they inspire, encourage, and challenge the work of solidarity and liberation for LGBTI people. Join us for the conversation!

UPDATE JUNE 14 -About 30 people participated in Friday afternoon's liberation theology discussion. There was moving testimony from numerous participants, including several people from Nigeria now living in Chicago. (Photo at right: John Adewoye. Photo courtesy Pastor Lois McCullen Parr, Broadway United Methodist.)


6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. GLN-TV on LGBTI Solidarity in Africa
Chicago Access Network TV - cable channel 21 in Chicago

Rev Judith Kotzé joins the Gay Liberation Network's Brent Holman-Gomez to discuss issues of LGBTI solidarity in Africa, and preview the Saturday and Sunday events in Chicago (see below).

Saturday, June 14


2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Chicago Forum on LGBTI Solidarity in Africa 2014
Episcopal Church Center - 65 E. Huron, Chicago

Connect with the current situation of LGBTI people in African and discover ways to provide advocacy, support, and accompaniment.

Africans from Inclusive & Affirming Ministries (IAM) South Africa and CLASP (Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program) will lead us. Breakout roundtables will allow everyone to get involved in efforts for US Policy, worldwide/church advocacy, pathways to safe haven, and Chicago re-settlement. Come participate in making a better day for all of us as Chicago connects with Africa!

UPDATE JUNE 15 -About 50 people participated in Saturday's event. There was moving testimony from numerous participants, including several people from Nigeria now living in Chicago. (READ FULL EVENT DESCRIPTION.) (Photo courtesy Andy Thayer.)


5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. -- FUNDRAISER: Reception and Film screening: Call Me Kuchu

Suggested donation: $25.  Donations benefit Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) in South Africa and CLASP (Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program .

Wine and cheese reception at 5:00 p.m., followed by 6:00 screening of the film, Call Me Kuchu:
David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, is one of the few who dare to publicly protest state-sanctioned homophobia. Working with an idiosyncratic clan of fellow activists, David fights Uganda’s government and tabloids in the courts, on television, and at the United Nations. Because, he insists, “if we keep on hiding, they will say we’re not here.” With unprecedented access, CALL ME KUCHU depicts the last year in the life of a courageous, quick-witted and steadfast man whose wisdom and achievements were not fully recognized until after his death, and whose memory has inspired a new generation of human rights advocates. (More at )
There will be time for audience discussion following the film.

Special thanks to Truth Wins Out for providing for the costs of this event.

DONATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED - click here to help support this important work.

Sunday, June 15


 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon Worship Service of Solidarity and Welcome for LGBTI Activists from Africa
St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square - 2649 N. Francisco, Chicago

(l to r) John Adewoye, Ingrid Schoonraad, Rev. Erik Christensen,
Rev. Judith Kotzé, Joe Scarry (Photo courtesy Robert Castillo.)


2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Introducing: the Global Interfaith Network for People of all Sexes, Sexual Orientations, Gender Identities and Expressions (GIN-SSOGIE)
St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square - 2649 N. Francisco, Chicago

Friday, April 25, 2014

Resolution of the Metro Chicago Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) for solidarity with those experiencing and resisting harsh anti-LGBTI legislation across Africa

UPDATE June 1, 2014: The following is the amended text of the resolution that was PASSED at the 2014 synod assembly of the Metro Chicago Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, on May 30-31, 2014. (The theme of the 2014 assembly is "Into All the World.")


WHEREAS, in “witnessing as an institution” the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has committed to:  “speak out on timely, urgent issues on which the voice of the church should be heard,” and “defend human dignity” (ELCA social statement, Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective, 1991, p. 1, 7); and

WHEREAS, “in the area of international peace we strive to strengthen our global perspective as individual Christians and as a church body, in spite of strong currents that push us to turn in on ourselves” and in taking up the task to “promote respect for human rights” and commit to “teach about human rights... and protest their violation” with priorities to “defend the human rights of groups most susceptive to violations, especially all minorities, women and children; and “in our own country to support a generous policy of welcome for refugees” (ELCA social statement, For Peace in God’s World, 1995, p. 1, 14, 20); and

WHEREAS, thirty-eight countries in Africa as well as other areas of the world are experiencing rising levels of state-sanctioned homophobia and violence through the imposition of harsh and even brutal  laws criminalizing homosexuality with sentences including lifelong imprisonment to the death penalty for lgbti persons1; and in some cases jail time for those associating with, found in the company with, advocating for or accused of supporting organizations connected with such human rights -- including religious leaders;2 and,

WHEREAS, in 2011 the United Nations Human Rights Council passed Resolution 17/19 as the first United Nations resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity, presented by South Africa and expressing “grave concern at violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” and establishing human rights for lgbti persons as an international norm (A/HRC/RES/17/19); and, 

WHEREAS, the detrimental effects of these discriminatory laws includes targeted violence toward persons; scapegoating; the spread of HIV/Aids through such violence, through fear, intimidation and limiting access to service and other human rights; limiting the ability and scope of vital NGO aid; and deliberately drawing attention from other human rights issues;3 and,

WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America “acknowledges that consensus does not exist on how to regard same-gender committed relationships” while confessing “hate crimes and violence against those who are regarded as sexually different sometimes have been perpetrated publicly in the name of Christ” and that despite our differences this church unequivocally “oppos(es) all forms of verbal or physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation” and denounces the behavior leading to the violence against those regarded as sexually different (ELCA social statement Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, 1993 pg. 19, 24); and,

WHEREAS, Metropolitan Chicago Synod has a companion relationship with the Central Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA), a relationship that “opens our eyes to the global challenge that Christ offers us today” through the lens of accompaniment, “an endeavor shared by mutual participation in the body of Christ” (MCS website, Companion Synod); and, 

WHEREAS, while South Africa currently extends same gender marriage and other rights to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual transgendered and intersex individuals yet is susceptible to the effects of harsh anti-gay sentiment and lgbti South Africans continue to face considerable challenges, including social stigma, homophobic violence (particularly “corrective rape”), and high rates of HIV/AIDS infection;4 and, 

WHEREAS, our companion synod is a participant in the Speak Out Campaign Against Sexual Violence in relation to the Diakonia AIDS Ministry it supports with ecumenical partners, recognizing that “violence against people of different sexual orientations is one of the causes that contributes to the continuous spread of HIV” and thus encouraging ministries to speak out and work to end sexual violence (Diakonia AIDS Ministry Newsletter December 2012 - February 2013); therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Metropolitan Chicago Synod stand in solidarity with those in our companion synod and throughout Africa who are experiencing and resisting the rising tide of hatred and harsh anti-lbgti legislation in many African countries, and be it further 

RESOLVED, that the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, through its companion synod working group and in partnership with Central Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (ELCSA), continue to call the synod to prayer as well as inform this synod and its congregations of other ways we can be in active solidarity, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, through its companion synod relationship in South Africa and appropriate other partners (e.g. such as the global mission unit of the ELCA, LIRS/RefugeeOne and the ecumenical community), facilitate further conversation to explore the global accompaniment we can offer and responses we can make to violations of human dignity and human rights in this developing crisis.

1lgbti is the initialism most commonly used across Africa for this human rights movement. Lgbti stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex.
4See also Violent Hate Crime in South Africa a report submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the thirteenth Universal Periodic Review May 12 – June 1, 2012.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

About Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP)

Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program (CLASP) was established in early 2014, in partnership with the Broadway United Methodist Church and Centre for Integration and Courageous Living, following the LGBT-FAN inaugural retreat. CLASP aims to provide direct living support and welcoming environments to asylum seekers, as works closely with the Center for Integrated and Courageous Living (CICLiv) to this end. The group is currently seeking to connect with local human service providers and develop fund-raising and service provision strategies.

Download the full CLASP flyer. 

More about CLASP . . . 

" At the end of January, a coalition of faith leaders and advocates launched CLASP. The organization works to provide a network of support for people who have left their home countries and found their way to Chicago and are applying for asylum. Due to anti-LGBT laws in countries including Africa, Russia and India, the lives and well-being of LGBT people are threatened. They are forced to escape their home countries, CLASP said. In more than 80 countries, there are laws against being LGBT and in more than 75 countries, a person could be imprisoned, while in seven of those countries, the punishment for being LGBT is the death penalty." (See "CLASP group forms for LGBT asylum seekers," March 6, 2014, in the Windy City Times)