Tonight is the National History Panel here in Philadelphia. It is at 8:30 at the Arts Bank Theatre. This year the History Panel is dedicated to Religion and the GLBT movement. One of the earliest foundations of the organized movement was the founding of Metropolitan Community Church by the Rev. Troy Perry in 1968 even before Stonewall! So it is great that the National Equality Forum this year has made religion the subject of the History Panel.
Moderating the panel will be Philadelphia’s own Rabbi Rebecca Alpert. Rabbi Alpert is an early Jewish LGBT activists herself. She is the author of the book, “Like Bread on The Seder Plate” published by Columbia University press. She is a great thinker and great leader and will have much to add to the discussion.
Joining me as panelists will be an Episcopal priest, Rev. Barry Stopfel. Rev. Barry L. Stopfel is the first out gay man ordained an Episcopal priest. His ordination forged the path for the consecration of the first gay Episcopal bishop.
Also on the panel is Francis DeBernardo. He is Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, a national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation for lesbian and gay Catholics. In 2000, DeBernardo was the keynote speaker at the conference on religion and homosexuality at the World Pride celebration in Rome.
Each of us on the panel and Rabbi Alpert have been toiling for many years in the difficult fields of religion and LGBT issues! I know it will make for a great evening. If you are in the Philadelphia area or even plan to come down for the evening from New York!
I know we will be reflecting on how far many of the denominations have come ;how much work there still is in reconciling spirituality and sexuality and the how to heal the hurts that religious bigots have foisted upon our community. I look forward to the conversation tonight!