Letter to the Editor of the Tampa Bay Times from Lakewood UCC member Mark Gibson

Tolerant Christianity

I was thrilled to read in the Times that Judge Luis Garcia ruled Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. I was dismayed that your reporters chose to quote only one Christian source, Anthony Verdugo of the Christian Family Coalition. Verdugo is a loud voice for a conservative Christianity that is unwelcoming and exclusive.

If your reporters quote a politician, they ask for a response from the other side. I suggest that you take the same approach with Christians. For example, the United Church of Christ passed a resolution in 2005 affirming marriage equality for all. My congregation, Lakewood United Church of Christ, welcomes LGBT Christians into the full life of our congregation and has done so for years.

So please, if your reporters must find Christian sources to quote, then I suggest that they look beyond the loud preacher who makes a sensational story. In short, your reporters should dig deeper; don’t go for the easy quotation. There are plenty of inclusive, loving Christian sources. We just don’t scream as much.

Mark Gibson, St. Petersburg

Family Promise Homeless Ministry

Family Promise is a model for ministry to the homeless which is being used all over the country. There is a meeting at Central Christian Church (6161 22nd Ave. N., St. Petersburg) on Tuesday Feb. 18 at 7:00 p.m. to hear about bringing the Family Promise program to St. Petersburg. Family Promise is a community based approach to offering shelter to those who are homeless. Congregations serve as hosts and volunteers providing space and meals for a week at a time. All who are interested in hearing more about the program are invited to attend. LUCC was part of a past effort to start Family Promise in Pinellas that did not come to fruition. This meeting marks a new start to bring this important ministry to this area.

From former LUCC member, Harry Knox


Please excuse any duplications or cross-postings – this is important!

Below is our invitation to the press, coalition partners, colleague organizations, and friends about our campaign launch on January 29. We’re getting revved up for it and are very excited. If you’re in town, we’d like for you to be there. If you have connections to press or other folks you think you should be there, please let me or Michael (mmitchell@rcrc.org) know.  And if you tweet, blog, Facebook, etc., please mark your calendars to help us push out this good news: It’s Time to Talk…



It’s time to talk about religion and abortion.
It’s time to talk about religion and sexuality.
It’s time to talk about religion and justice.

At the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, we believe that it’s time to have a different conversation about the intersections of religion, abortion, sexuality, and justice, and we’re calling on religious leaders, people of faith, and other folks who believe that we must change the conversation to join us.

For too long, the public debate on these issues has been dominated by strident voices who want a monopoly on religion. It’s time to tell the truth: that most people of faith in this country – like the majority of Americans overall – want families and individuals to have access to contraception, sexuality education, and reproductive healthcare including abortion.

Please join us on Wednesday, January 29 as we launch our new campaign called “It’s Time.”

We want you there with us as we start this important conversation.

January 29, 2014
9:30 AM

National Press Club | 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor | Washington, DC

Speakers (subject to change)

Rev. Harry Knox, RCRC President/CEO
LaTasha D. Mayes, Founder and Executive Director, New Voices Pittsburgh
Willie J. Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, Assoc. Medical Dir., Family Planning Associates Medical Group (Chicago)
Rev. Dr. Alethea Smith-Withers, Chair, RCRC Board of Directors
Aimee Thorne-Thompson, VP for Strategic Partnerships, Advocates for Youth

Space limited! Please RSVP here.

Questions? Arika Kern at akern@rcrc.org or 202.628.7700 can get you sorted out.


Opportunities to help


Operation Attack is an ecumenical ministry located in Lakeview Presbyterian Church helping families with children. Donations needed are posted on the bulletin board. Please place donations in the shopping cart in the hallway.


Your print cartridges, cell phones, and all paper. Many thanks!


Fair trade coffee is available for purchase in the library. Purchasing this coffee helps to directly support the growers.