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Reclaiming our faith

Foundry United Methodist Church, churches, gay news, Washington Blade, Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday at Foundry United Methodist Church. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Many churches in the D.C. area are LGBT-affirming. Here are a few that are having Holy Week services.

Saturday, April 12

Dignity Washington, an LGBT-affirming Catholic group, meets for weekly Mass on Saturday evenings and will have a special Stations of the Cross service today at 11 a.m. at the Franciscan Monastery (14th and Quincy streets, N.E.). Visit dignitywashington.org for details on all its Holy Week events.

Sunday, April 13 (Palm Sunday)

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) is having a Palm Sunday service today at 8 a.m. Details at nationalcathedral.org.

Metropolitan Community Church of D.C. (474 Ridge St., N.W.) holds Sunday worship services today at 9 and 11 a.m. Details at mccdc.com.

The United Church (1920 G St., N.W.) has a Palm Sunday service today at 11 a.m. Details at theunitedchurch.org.

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) holds Palm Sunday services at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Details at foundryumc.org.

Unity Fellowship D.C. under the leadership of founding pastor Rev. Abena McCray has a Palm Sunday and pastoral anniversary service today at its new location at the Howard Thurman Chapel (1400 Shepherd St., N.E.) at 10:30 a.m. Visit ufcdc.com for details on this and other Holy Week services.

Friday, April 18 (Good Friday)

The 6th and I Historic Synagogue (600 I St., N.W.) hosts a Passover Shabbat tonight at 6:40 p.m. for those in their 20s and 30s. Admission is $8 in advance and $10 day of service. Details at sixthandi.org.

Bet Mishpachah holds Shabbat service at the Washington Jewish Community Center (1529 16th St., N.W.) tonight at 8 p.m. Visit betmish.org for details.

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) holds a Good Friday organ meditation service at 12:15 p.m. and a Good Friday service at 7:30 p.m. Details at nationalcitycc.org.

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) holds Good Friday services at noon and 7 p.m. Details at foundryumc.org.

Saturday, April 19

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) holds the Great Vigil of Easter tonight at 8 p.m. Details at nationalcathedral.org.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1830 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) celebrates the Great Vigil of Easter tonight at 6:30 p.m.  Details at stmargaretsdc.org.

Sunday, April 20 (Easter)

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) will have its Easter Sunday Festival Holy Eucharist today at 8 and 11 a.m. Admission is free but tickets are required. Visit nationalcathedral.org for more information. Details at nationalcathedral.org.

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) has its Sunday worship services today at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Details at foundryumc.org.

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) holds Easter worship in a gospel service at 8:30 a.m. and traditional service at 11 a.m. Details at nationalcitycc.org.

Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1830 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) celebrates the Festival of the Holy Eucharist at 9 and 11:15 a.m. Details at stmargaretsdc.org.

Metropolitan Community Church of D.C. (474 Ridge St., N.W.) has its Easter Sunday services at 9 and 11 a.m. Details at mccdc.com.

The United Church (1920 G St., N.W.) has a bilingual Easter service today at 11 a.m. Details at theunitedchurch.org.

11
Apr
2014

A milestone of faith

Cameron Partridge, gay news, Washington Blade

Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge in his Boston office. (Photo courtesy Partridge)

Transgender visibility may be at an all-time high, but most agree there’s a long way to go.

Another chip of the proverbial glass ceiling is slated to be knocked out this weekend when Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge becomes the first openly transgender priest to preach from the historic Canterbury Pulpit at Washington National Cathedral.

“Cameron Partridge is a priest of great intellect, pastoral presence and possesses a deep passion for the gospel,” said Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral, in a statement.

Partridge, during a phone interview from Boston where he serves as Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, says he’s excited about the strides being made for transgender visibility.

Actress and activist Laverne Cox is “phenomenal,” he says.

“And [transgender activist] Janet Mock, the two of them, they are so incisive and insightful and smart and they speak incredibly well. I’m very proud of the things they have to say,” he says.

But there’s at least one part of being a transgender person that Partridge, a lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, argues has not earned enough media attention: “I don’t think the intersection of trans people and religion has received a whole lot of conversation yet.”

“I’m really honored and grateful for the invitation,” he says.

Through his sermon at the National Cathedral and other work in the church, he hopes to “open people’s eyes” about how “gender is more complicated than male or female. I experience it that way.”

“I think creation is much richer and more diverse and dynamic than we understand and trans folks are part of that,” he says. “There is much more ambiguity in the world than we tend to want to acknowledge.”

The story of a transgender person who is also a religious leader likely raises eyebrows for many, but these two parts of his identity don’t conflict, he says. In fact, pushing traditional boundaries within the church is part of what he says is his calling.

“Difference is real. We have human differences, and they are not simply impediments to get over,” he says. “They are part of what we need to engage in order to realize our full humanity. That can be something that trans people can be called to.”

For Partridge, 40, the church has been one of his few constants. He grew up Episcopalian, a denomination he says has “progressive traditions.”

“It’s a church that has a big tent, with a lot of people from different perspectives in it. That’s important to me.”

In 2003, the church elected its first gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson. He’ll preside over this weekend’s service.

Partridge came out twice: first as a lesbian as an undergraduate at all-women Bryn Mawr College, and again in 2001 as a transgender man a few years after he obtained his master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School.

While he doesn’t have any horror stories to tell — he never faced rejection from friends, family or even religious leaders — he did struggle with one thing as a newly ordained priest: the sense that he was alone.

Early on, Partridge didn’t know of any other transgender members of the Episcopal clergy. That quickly changed, however, when he learned about TransEpiscopal, an online group exclusively for transgender Episcopalians and their friends and families to share stories.

“Even though I personally felt supported by the non trans people in my life and the trans people I knew who were not in the church, I did still feel kind of alone,” he says. “The wonderful thing was discovering that in fact, I wasn’t.”

Over time, the ever-growing TransEpiscopal has “brought trans people into the foreground of the church’s national conversation” and “driven the passage of pro-transgender legislation,” according to the group’s website.

Fighting for increasing visibility for transgender clergy has been one of Partridge’s goals. In 2012, the Episcopal Church added gender identity and expression to its non-discrimination laws after advocacy from Partridge, among others.

And while he doesn’t interject his personal life into every single class he teaches at Harvard, he says dialogues about his own identity come up in class just as often as that of any other professor.

“I’ve had a sense that being openly trans and being willing to say that at the start of a class gives people permission to bring who they are into the classroom,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re gonna talk about it, but [students] don’t have to bracket themselves off or compartmentalize themselves. That’s true whether the people in the classroom are trans or not.”

The inclusive environment he’s fostered in his classroom is slowly becoming a norm in the Episcopal church, Partridge says, but he acknowledges there are still more steps to take.

“I’d love to see more different traditions of Christianity engage gender identity in ways that they have not yet.”

There’s work to be done in the political sphere, too. He points out that without Congressional passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), transgender people are denied many legal protections, not to mention the persistently high rates of homelessness and violence within and against transgender communities.

He finds himself heartened, though, by glimmers of hope. Take, for example, when conservative television host Pat Robertson said last summer that going through gender realignment surgery was not a sin after being prompted by a caller.

Partridge acknowledges that for many religious leaders — especially evangelical ones — conversations about transgender people are still new.

“That someone doesn’t have a knee-jerk negative reaction, I think that’s important,” Partridge says, even though Robertson’s comments later on weren’t as inclusive. “We’re at an important moment and we need to dig deeper.”

The trajectory of the movement is going in a “great direction,” Partridge says. “But there’s a lot to do.”

17
Jun
2014

Not forgotten

Michele Jouse, Matthew Shepard, gay news, Washington Blade

Filmmaker Michele Jouse with the late Matthew Shepard around the time they met in high school. (Photo courtesy Jouse)

The 15th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, a college student who was tied to a fence and tortured for being gay, is being commemorated with the East Coast premiere of Michele Jouse’s documentary “Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine” at the Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and a month-long run of “The Laramie Project” at Ford’s Theatre (511 10th St., N.W.) beginning Sept. 27.

“Matthew Shepard Is A Friend of Mine” explores who Shepard was as a person, rather than the sensationalized LGBT rights icon he eventually became, through interviews with his family and close friends. Jouse, who met Shepard at boarding school, explains that making the documentary was therapeutic for her.

“It feels like yesterday sometimes,” she says. “I hadn’t really allowed myself to talk about it so much because it was so painful but its really helped with the healing process to talk about something that was so difficult.”

The film delves into personal moments between Shepard and his family and friends but also shows Jouse go through her own journey to better understand Shepard and the depression he dealt with before his death. Jouse visits Shepard’s home, the boarding school in Switzerland where they met and became friends and the University of Wyoming where Shepard was a student at the time of his death.

“The Laramie Project” begins its month-long run at Ford’s Theater today and goes through Oct. 27. Every Monday night at 7 p.m., a free panel discussion is scheduled with special guests Judy Shepard, Shepard’s mother, in conversation with Cokie Roberts Sept. 30 and former Laramie sheriff Dave O’Malley on Oct. 7. Ford’s hosts a special “Pay What You Can” preview performance Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, Dennis Shepard, Shepard’s father, will join leaders of the D.C. faith community in a candlelight vigil on Oct 11. There is also a world premiere exhibition showing through Nov. 3 of “Not Alone: The Power of Response” in which artist Jeff Sheng’s photograph “Where Matthew Lay Dying” is paired with a selection of letters sent to the Shepard family. Ford’s Theatre’s decision to participate in the anniversary is an important one for them.

“Matthew Shepard’s death in 1998 ignited a debate about the definition of hate crimes and strengthened the resolve of many to advocate for social justice,” says Paul Tetreault, Ford’s Theatre director.

Among these celebrations of Shepard’s life, the controversial new book “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard” by journalist Stephen Jimenez has been released. The book claims the reason for Shepard’s murder was not because he was gay, but because he was a part of the “drug underworld” in Laramie, Wyo., the place of Shepard’s death. Jouse refutes the claim and says she has no plans to read the book because the sources are “anonymous and unreliable.”

“If people would really like to learn more about Matt as a real person and what happened to him, I would hope they watch our film and hear about it through the point of view of people who actually knew him and loved him,” Jouse says.

Since his death Shepard has become a symbol for LGBT rights and major LGBT equality efforts with The Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Matthew Shepard Act. Shepard’s death sparked an outcry for change from the public despite the large number of hate crimes that have occurred since. The documentary states that 33 hate crimes were committed during the year Shepard died alone. Jouse believes the reason for the interest in Shepard is a personal connection.

“I think people saw Matt and recognized him as someone they could have been friends with or saw something in Matt that reminded them of themselves,” Jouse says. “The idea of a hate crime can become an abstraction that you hear about in the news, but Matt made that personal and showed how hate can encroach in their lives and in their circles of friends.”

Tickets for “Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine” are $16. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit nationalcathedral.org or matthewshepardisafriendofmine.com. For more information on “The Laramie Project” and to purchase tickets, visit fords.org.

25
Sep
2013

Calendar: Oct. 4-10

calendar, the Privilege Series, Pests, Anthony Dortch, art, gay news, Washington Blade

‘The Privilege Series: Pests’ by Anthony Dortch demonstrates what it means to be socially and financially advantaged. The work is on display now at Touchstone Gallery (Image courtesy Touchstone)

Friday, Oct. 4

Local gay singer/songwriter Stewart Lewis performs this evening at 6 p.m. at Sky Bar at Beacon Hotel (1615 Rhode Island Ave. N.W.). Visit stewartlewis.com for details.

Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., N.W.) opens three new exhibitions tonight from 6-8:30 p.m. “Falling for Art,” “The Privileged Series: Pests” and “Blessings of This Life,” feature different artists in a variety of mediums from mixed media to oil painting on canvas. For more information, visit touchstonegallery.com.

Temple Emmanuel (10101 Connecticut Ave., Kensington, Md.,) hosts “Jewish Values and Transgender Equality” tonight at 7:30 p.m. Guest speaker Dana Beyer discusses transgender equality in Maryland. Admission is free. For more details, email fishbackpflag@gmail.com.

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) hosts the East Coast premiere of “Matthew Shepard Is A Friend of Mine” tonight at 7:30 p.m. The documentary explores Shepard’s life through interviews with family and friends. Tickets are $16. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit nationalcathedral.org.

Gay District, a community-based organization focused on building understanding of gay culture and personal identity for gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and intersexed men, hosts a facilitated group discussion tonight at the D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) from 8:30-9:30 p.m. The group will go for dinner in the neighborhood after the meeting. For more details, visit gaydistrict.org.

Green Lantern (1335 Green Ct., N.W.) hosts “SIREN: The BRITNEY BASH 2.0” tonight from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. Celebrate Britney’s new single “Work Bitch.” DJs MAJR and DELLA  VOLLA spin a playlist featuring Britney’s greatest hits along with other artists. There is also a performances by Pu$$y Noir. $5 Smirnoff specials until 3 a.m. For more details, visit greenlanterndc.com.

Saturday, Oct. 5

Men Against Breast Cancer (MABC) host its “5K & Fun Run/Walk” near the Bethesda Row complex (4950 Elm St., Bethesda, Md.,) today from 8:30 a.m.-noon. Wear pink and blue to support women in their fight against breast cancer. There will be music by DJ Whitham. Tickets for the 5K are $30 and $25 for the Fun Run. For more information and to register visit menagainstbreastcancer.org.

Natalia Kills performs at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) tonight. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. Drag show begins at 10:30 p.m. Admission is 21 and over. For more details, visit towndc.com.

Sunday, Oct. 6

Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) hosts “Tula’s Drag Cabaret show,” a lip-synching drag performance, from 8-11 p.m. tonight. No cover charge. For more information, visit blackfoxlounge.com or call 202-482-1723.

Creative Cauldron (410 S Maple Ave., Falls Church, Va.,) hosts “LGBT Night” with “Marry Me a Little: Songs by Stephen Sondheim” at 7 p.m. tonight. A special reception for the LGBT community follows. Nicholas Benton will also be signing copies of his book “Extraordinary Hearts: Reclaiming Gay Sensibility’s Central Role in the Progress of Civilization.” Tickets are $25 general admission and $22 for students and seniors. For more information, visit creativecauldron.org.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Monday, Oct. 7

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) hosts free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours from 3-5 p.m. today. For more details, visit smyal.org.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts “Poker Night” at 8 p.m. tonight. Free to play and winners receive prizes. For details, visit nellissportsbar.com.

Hope Operas begins its month-long serialized run tonight at 8 p.m. at Comedy Spot on the third floor of Ballston Mall (4238 Wilson Blvd.) in Arlington. This year’s theme is “Cartoons for Adults.” Shows run each week through Oct. 28 at the same time and place. Each of the five new shows are presented in 10-15-minute segments each week and promise to take viewers from “one hilarious cliffhanger to the next.” Founder Chris Griffin is gay, two of the shows have gay themes and several of the actors are gay as well. Tickets are $15 per show or $40 for all four weeks. For details, visit hopeoperas.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 8

The Arlington Employment Center of Arlington County Government hosts its “Arlington Employment Center Fall Career Fair” at the Founders Hall-Arlington Campus of George Mason University (3351 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Va.,) today from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be 50 employers and hundreds of jobs for jobseekers throughout the DMV area. Free admission but must register at aecjobfair2013.eventbrite.com. For more details, email pegner@arlingtonva.us.

D.C. Bi Women hosts its monthly meeting in the upstairs room of Dupont Italian Kitchen (1637 17th St., N.W.) from 7-9 p.m. tonight. For more details, visit thedccenter.org.

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) hosts its meeting at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.) in the Hearing Room tonight at 7 p.m. GLAA’s October schedule is “Implementing Our Successful Accomplishments.”  There is no charge and the meeting is open to everyone. For more details, email pkuntzler@gmail.com.

Wednesday, Oct. 9

Lambda Bridge Club hosts duplicate bridge at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., S.E.) at 7:30 p.m. tonight. No reservations needed and new comers welcome. If you need a partner, call 703-407-6540.

Rainbow Response holds its monthly meeting from 6-7 p.m. today in the third floor conference room at 5 Thomas Circle N.W. The meeting is for individuals and agencies to collaborate and address intimate partner violence in the LGBT community in the D.C. area. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Thursday, Oct. 10

Anne Arundel Community College (101 College Pkwy., Arnold, Md.,) screens “Small Town Gay Bar” as part of its Fall Film Series “LGBT-Themes and Issues” today at 12:30 p.m. in the Florestano Building Room 122. The documentary tells the story of two gay bars in the rural south and the oppression they face. Admission is free. For more details, visit aacc.edu/events.

Women’s Leadership Institute hosts its weekly meeting for LGBT women and their allies tonight at SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) from 5-7 p.m. The meeting is for those ages 13-21 to discuss female sexuality, relationships and women’s rights. For more information, visit smyal.org.

Brightest Young Things hosts “The Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival” opening at the 9:30 Club (815 V St., N.W.) tonight at 7 p.m. Comedians performing include Doug Benson, Tig Notaro, Wyatt Cenac and more. The festival continues through Oct. 13. Tickets are $25. For more details and to purchase tickets visit 930.com.

Rude Boi Entertainment hosts “Tempted 2 Touch,” a ladies dance party, at the Fab Lounge (2022 Florida Ave., N.W.). Doors open at 10 p.m. Drink specials $5 and vodka shots $3 all night. No cover charge. Admission limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit rudeboientertainment.wordpress.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Ripped-Hot Body Contest” tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Win up to $200 in prizes. $2 rail drinks from 9-11 p.m. Admission is 18 and up and is free.

03
Oct
2013

Calendar: Dec. 20

Wynonna Judd, music, gay news, Washington Blade

Wynonna will be in the D.C. region Monday for a Christmas peformance at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. (Photo by Kristin Barlowe)

Friday, Dec. 20

Gay District, a facilitated group discussion focused on building understanding of gay culture and personal identity for men ages 18 through 35, meets at the D.C. Center (2000 14th St., N.W.) tonight from 8:30-9:30 p.m. For details, visit thedccenter.org.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. There is no cover charge and admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit towndc.com.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) holds a happy hour from 5-7:30 p.m. tonight with all drinks half price. Music begins at 11 p.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is $5 after 9 p.m. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts free vodka Friday tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Free rail vodka 11 p.m.-midnight. Two DJs on two floors. Cover is $10. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more information, visit cobaltdc.com.

SMYAL (410 7th St., S.E.) provides free and confidential HIV testing drop-in hours today from 1-3 p.m. For more information, visit smyal.org.

A “holiday tango concert” with the Roberto Pomili Orchestra featuring Latin Grammy winner Raul Jaurena is tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda). Tickets are $35. Visit bethesdabluesjazz.com or call 240-330-4500 for tickets.

Saturday, Dec. 21

Some Souls Church, a variety show, presents “The Church Night Holiday Spectacular” tonight at Black Cat (1811 14th St., N.W.) at 9 p.m. There will be music by Jonny Grave, a burlesque performance by Pria Puss and children’s comedy by Sara Armour. There is a dance party with music by rock group The North Country at the end of the performance. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit blackcatdc.com.

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation at the Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) at 11:45 a.m. Those volunteering will be paired with a dog on a leash to walk around and play with. Wear casual clothes. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) presents “Chord’s MTHR FCKN Pop Off,” a dance party countdown for top pop song of the year, at 10 p.m. tonight. The cover is $8 from 10-11 p.m. and $12 after 11 p.m. Drinks are $3 before 11 p.m. The drag show starts at 10:30 p.m. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For more details, visit towndc.com.

DC9 (1940 9th St., N.W.) hosts “Peach Pit: 90s Dance Party” tonight from 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Mixtape’s DJ Matt Bailer spins ‘90s music. Cover is $5. Admission is limited to guests 21 and over. For details, visit dcnine.com.

Sunday, Dec. 22

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors club, hosts a “Winter Solstice Poetry Hike” this morning at 10 a.m. to Maryland’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Meet at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Station (10300 Rockville Pike., Bethesda, Md.) at 10 a.m. The hike is about seven miles and 1700 elevation gain. At the top of the mountain there will be a lunch and sharing of favorite poems in honor of the passing of another year. Bring a bag lunch, water, sturdy shoes, cash and a favorite poem to share. For details, visit adventuring.org.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Rd., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Sunday Drag Brunch” today from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The cost is $24.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. For more details, visit perrysadamsmorgan.com.

Adventuring, an LGBT outdoors club, hosts a holiday party at 6338 Beryl Rd., Alexandria, Va. today from 4-8 p.m. Adventuring will provide a holiday ham and all non-food items. Guests are asked to bring a beverage to share plus one of the following: an appetizer, salad, hot dish or dessert. There will be a $5 collection at the door to support the Team D.C. Scholarship Fund. For more information, visit adventuring.org.

Monday, Dec. 23

The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) hosts coffee drop-in hours this morning from 10 a.m.-noon for the senior LGBT community. Older LGBT adults can come and enjoy complimentary coffee and conversation with other community members. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.

Us Helping Us  (3636 Georgia Ave., N.W.) holds a support group for gay black men to discuss topics that affect them today, share perspectives and have meaningful conversations. For details, visit uhupil.org.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts poker night tonight at 8 p.m. Win prizes. Free to play. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

Country legend Wynonna and The Big Noise bring their show “A Simpler Christmas” to Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda) tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets ($60-90) are available at bethesdabluesjazz.com or 240-330-4500.

Tuesday, Dec. 24

Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers for the Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital holiday party (1100 Alabama Ave., S.E.) today from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Volunteers will decorate, serve the buffet, carol and socialize with patients. Visitor orientation is at 9:30 a.m. and party starts at 10 a.m. There is a buffet lunch at noon. Wear something red and bring photo ID. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.

The Mansion on O Street (2020 O St., N.W.) holds a Christmas Eve dessert buffet and annual Christmas Eve sale tonight from 7-10 p.m. Bring your own shopping bags. Tickets are $30. Reservations are required. For details, visit omansion.com/xmasdesserts.

Bachelor’s Mill (1104 8th St., S.E.) offers all drinks half price tonight until 2 a.m. Enjoy pool, video games and cards. Admission is free. Must be 21 and over. For more details, visit bachelorsmill.com.

Wednesday, Dec. 25

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) holds Festival Holy Eucharist this morning at 11 a.m. There is a Christmas Day Service of Lessons and Carols today at 4 p.m. followed by an organ recital featuring organists Christopher Betts and Benjamin Straley at 5:15 p.m.

The Christ Church on Capitol Hill (620 G St., S.E.) has its Christmas Day breakfast and service this morning from 7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m. For more information visit washingtonparish.org.

Thursday, Dec. 26

Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Ripped-Hot Body Contest” tonight from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Win up to $200 in prizes. $2 rail drinks from 9-11 p.m. Admission is 18 and up and is free.

Nellie’s Sports Bar (900 U St., N.W.) hosts its weekly “Beat the Clock Happy Hour” tonight from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Drink specials start at $2 and increase by a dollar each hour. For more information, visit nelliessportsbar.com.

19
Dec
2013

LGBT-affirming Christmas services

MCC DC, Metropolitan Community Church, gay news, Washington Blade, Christmas

Metropolitan Community Church of D.C. (Washington Blade file photo by Callie Marie)

Many houses of worship in the Washington region are LGBT-affirming. Here are a few that are having holiday services.

Christmas Eve

Foundry United Methodist Church (16th and P streets, N.W.) holds a kid-friendly Christmas Eve service from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with interactive storytelling and glowsticks. At 8 p.m., the church will also hold a Christmas Eve service with scripture readings, music and a homily. For more information, visit foundryumc.org.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) holds a Christmas Eve worship service tonight at 8 p.m. Visit mccdc.com for details.

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) has carols by candlelight with Rev. Mariann Budde. At 10 p.m., there’s Festival Holy Eucharist with Budde and Rev. Gary Hall. For more information, visit nationalcathedral.org.

Dumbarton United Methodist Church (3133 Dumbarton St., N.W.) offers two Christmas Eve services today at 5 and 9 p.m. The first service is geared toward children while the later service is more formal and will feature Advent worship themes. Visit dumbartonumc.org for details.

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) has a service tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a musical prelude starting at 7 p.m. For more information, visit nationalcitycc.org.

The Christ Church on Capitol Hill (620 G St., S.E.) holds a festival service at 10:30 p.m. with a choral prelude starting at 10. For details, visit washingtonparish.org.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church (3240 O St., N.W.) presents its Christmas Pageant today at 4 p.m. Later in the evening, there’s a Holy Eucharist service with choral prelude beginning at 8:30 p.m. Visit stjohnsgeorgetown.org for more information.

Seekers Church (276 Carroll St., N.W.) holds a Christmas Eve dinner and service beginning at 6 p.m. For more information, visit seekerschurch.org.

Church of the Pilgrims (2201 P St., N.W.) holds a Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service with performances by a choir, soloists and instrumentalists. Visit churchofthepilgrims.org for details.

Christmas Day

Washington National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) holds Festival Holy Eucharist this morning at 11 a.m. There is a Christmas Day service of lessons and carols today at 4 p.m. followed by an organ recital featuring organists Christopher Betts and Benjamin Straley at 5:15 p.m.

The Christ Church on Capitol Hill (620 G St., S.E.) has its Christmas Day breakfast and service this morning from 7:30-8:30 a.m. For more information, visit washingtonparish.org.

Saint John’s Episcopal Church (3240 O St., N.W.) has a Christmas Day and Eucharist service at 5:30 p.m. For details, visit stjohnsgeorgetown.org.

19
Dec
2013

Anti-gay group targets National Cathedral over gay marriage

Washington National Cathedral, gay news, Washington Blade

Washington National Cathedral (Public domain photo by Carol M. Highsmith)

An organization started by religious right figure Ralph Reed is circulating an online petition demanding that the federal government halt all “current or future” funds for the Washington National Cathedral because of its recent decision to perform same-sex weddings.

In a statement released on Friday, the Faith and Freedom Coalition noted that in recent years the National Cathedral has received a $700,000 grant from the National Park Service’s “Save America’s Treasure’s” program, which funds efforts to preserve and maintain historic buildings.

“With this policy change, taxpayers are being asked to subsidize gay marriage ceremonies for a church that can readily access millions of their own,” the group said in its statement.

“We believe the definition of ‘marriage’ to be the union of one man to one woman,” the statement says. “If the National Cathedral wants to continue to receive taxpayer funding from Congress, they should respect Congressional action like the Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, prohibits the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages and providing federal benefits to married same-sex couples. But the law doesn’t prohibit the government from providing historic preservation funds for churches that support or perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The National Cathedral, an Episcopal church, announced on Jan. 8 that it would welcome same-sex weddings on its premises effective immediately.

The action is considered significant because the National Cathedral is the second largest church in the United States and often hosts religious ceremonies of national significance such as presidential inaugural prayer services and state funerals for U.S. presidents and members of Congress.

“Our response would be that we certainly are not going to be deterred by the petition,” said Richard Weinberg, a spokesperson for the National Cathedral, in commenting on the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s call for denying the Cathedral federal funds

He said the Cathedral views as “totally separate” the issue of receiving a one-time federal grant for historic preservation of the Cathedral’s building and its position on same-sex marriage.

“The issue of marriage equality at least within the Episcopal Church is more or less is a settled issue,” Weinberg said. “So we’re actually exercising our First Amendment rights to function from a pastoral-sacramental standpoint and to perform the same-sex ceremonies that we plan to perform.”

He said the $700,000 grant from the National Park Service was awarded in May 2011. The cathedral continues to raise private funds from members and supporters for building maintenance and preservation work, including ongoing efforts to repair damage caused by the August 2011 earthquake that hit the D.C. area, Weinberg said.

People for the American Way, a liberal political advocacy group that supports LGBT rights, issued a statement saying Faith and Freedom Coalition’s call for cutting off federal funds for a church appears to contradict its longstanding calls for the government to support religious institutions.

“[T]he same FFC which believes Obama is waging a ‘war on religion’ and trampling on ‘religious liberty’ wants the government to cut off its grants to a church due to its opposition to marriagae equality,” said People for the American Way spokesperson Brian Tashman.

“For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples,” said Rev. Gary Hall, the cathedral’s dean, or director, in a statement last month.

“It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit,” he said. “We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God – and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”

Reed served from 1984 to 1997 as executive director of the Christian Coalition, a conservative Christian political organization created by Virginia televangelist Rev. Pat Robertson. The Christian Coalition emerged as one of the nation’s most outspoken groups opposing LGBT rights. Reed left the organization under a cloud after the Federal Election Commission began an investigation of alleged campaign funding irregularities.

He founded Faith and Freedom Coalition in 2006 after working as a political consultant in Georgia.

In arguing for a ban on federal funds for the National Cathedral, FFC says the cathedral should be able to obtain all the money it needs from the Episcopal Church, which the group describes as “one of the richest denominations in the United States.”

“Why is a church with untold billions in assets asking American taxpayers to fund their church?” the group asks in its statement promoting its petition. “We demand an immediate suspension of any current or future federal funds to this institution until such time that it ceases the practice of homosexual ‘marriage’ certification.”

Weinberg said the National Cathedral operates as a privately owned, independent entity.

“The Episcopal Church does not own it,” he said. “So it was built entirely through the support of generous donors across the country, and that’s how it has been maintained for its 107 year history now.”

11
Feb
2013

Safe spaces for worship

Foundry United Methodist Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Foundry United Methodist Church (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Good Friday, March 29

The National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) provides the Liturgy of Good Friday, providing opportunity for deep contemplation of the crucifixion starting at noon. Later, the church will be providing a meditation for Good Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. For details, visit nationalcathedral.org.

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue (600 I St., N.W.) hosts a Passover Shabbat Dinner this evening at 7 p.m. The synagogue will provide a full kosher meal. For more information, visit sixthandi.org.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington (474 Ridge St., N.W.) provides a Good Friday observance this evening at 7:30 p.m. For details, visit mccdc.com.

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.) provides a Good Friday service this evening at 7:30 p.m. Visit nationalcitycc.org for more information.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) has a Good Friday worship service beginning at noon. For more information, visit stmargaretsdc.org.

Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ (3845 South Capitol St.) has a Good Friday service starting at noon. For details, visit covenantbaptistucc.org.

All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church (2300 Cathedral Ave., N.W.) hosts a Solemn Mass for Good Friday at noon. For more information, visit allsoulsdc.org.

Bethesda United Church of Christ (10010 Fernwood Rd.) provides a Good Friday Service at St. Mark’s Presbyterian (1021 Palm Springs Dr.). Visit bethesdaaucc.org for more details.

Temple Sinai (3100 Military Rd., N.W.) hosts a Shabbat Service this evening at 6:30 p.m. For details, visit templesinaidc.org.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (3rd and A streets, S.E.) holds a Good Friday Service at noon. For more information, visit stmarks.net.

Bet Mishpachah provides a Erev Shabbat Service (Chol Hamoed Pesach) with service leader Allan Armus tonight at 8 p.m. at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center (16th and Q St., N.W.). For details, visit betmish.org.

Western Presbyterian Church (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) hosts a Good Friday service at noon. Visit westernpresbyterian.org for more details.

Saturday, March 30

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.)  provides an Easter Egg Roll and Tea Set-Up today at 11 a.m. Visit nationalcitycc.org for more information.

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) hosts an Easter egg hunt from 10:15 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit foundryumc.org.

All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church (2300 Cathedral Ave., N.W.) provides an Easter Vigil tonight at 8 p.m. For details, visit allsoulsdc.org.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) has an Easter Vigil this evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. For details, visit stmargaretsdc.org.

Sunday, March 31

National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, N.W.)  hosts an Easter Sunrise Service at 7:30 a.m. For more details, visit nationalcitycc.org.

The National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) gives a Festival of the Holy Eucharist today at 8 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. For more information, visit nationalcathedral.org.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church (1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) provides Holy Eucharist this morning at 9 a.m. For more information, visit stmargaretsdc.org.

Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ (3845 South Capitol St.) holds a sunrise service at 6 a.m. with a breakfast immediately following. They also have regular service at 10 a.m. For details, visit covenantbaptistucc.org.

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th St., N.W.) has a worship service at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit foundryumc.org.

All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church (2300 Cathedral Ave., N.W.) holds Low Mass with Easter Hymns at 8:30 a.m., Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m., and High Mass with Festival Music at 11 a.m. Visit allsoulsdc.org for more details.

Bethesda United Church of Christ (10010 Fernwood Rd.) hosts an Easter Sunday Celebration Service at 10:30 a.m.

Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church (3401 Nebraska Ave., N.W.) provides a Easter Brunch at 7 a.m. and traditional worship service at 11:15 a.m. For more details, visit nationalchurch.org.

Asbury United Methodist Church (926 11th St.) holds worship services at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Visit asburyumcdc.org for more information.

Western Presbyterian Church (2401 Virginia Ave., N.W.) provides an Easter Sunday worship service at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and an Easter Egg Hunt at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit westernpresbyterian.org.

Monday, April 1

The White House Easter Egg Roll takes place today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event is open to the public. Details are at whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll.

The National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) celebrates the African-American Family Tradition every Easter Monday. The day includes family activities, Easter egg hunt, animal demonstrations, live entertainment throughout the day, field and relay-style games and visits from the Easter Panda. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. For more information, visit nationalzoo.si.edu.

22
Mar
2013

Sights and smells of spring

spring, flowers, gay news, Washington Blade

The region is jam-packed with great outdoor festivals in the coming months. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Now that spring is here, several celebrations and festivities are blooming up around the entire District. Here are a few selections for those who wish to celebrate the warmer weather and a new gardening season.

April

Brookside Gardens (1800 Glenallen Ave., Wheaton, Md.) holds its Earth Day Festival on Sunday starting at noon. The festivities will include a Green Craft and Vendor Fair, activities for children and families and a community art project. The vendors include local crafters selling items made of reused, recycled, organic and sustainable products. From 12:30-3:30 p.m., there are walks and tours of the gardens, which include an Aquatic Garden, Azalea Garden, Butterfly Garden, Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Style garden, Trial Garden, Rain Garden and a Woodland Walk. This event is free. For details, visit montgomeryparks.org/brookside.

The Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown holds its 10th annual French Market today and Saturday at 10 a.m. About 35 Georgetown boutique and antique shops, restaurants and galleries participate in the event offering savings up to 75 percent. Strolling musicians, mimes, arts and crafts with Alliance Francais and live art demos by Art Soiree are included in the festivities. For more information, visit georgetowndc.com.

Ladew Gardens (3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Md.) offers its own Earth Day celebration with “Storytime in the Gardens: Earth Day Birthday” today at 10:30 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $5-$10. Advance registration is required. To continue the festival, the garden hosts “Compost Critters” on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. and invites families to search for critters in compost piles while learning about recycling. Attendees will be able to create their own mini composter. Admission is $2-$10 and advance registration is requested. Visit ladewgardens.com for more information.

Green Spring Gardens (4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria Va.) holds a “Basic Gardening: Easy Makeover Tips” workshop on April 26 at 1:30 p.m. This class will help people who want to redo their gardens and landscapes. Cost is $10. For more information, visit fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring.

The U.S. Botanic Garden (100 Maryland Ave., SW) offers several different celebrations and tours for the spring season. Here are a few:

  • The garden starts spring right with the Earth Day Festival today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cooking demonstrations with seasonal produce will be available and attendees can mingle with representatives of environmental groups. The celebration will take place on the Conservatory Terrace and this event is free.
  • The Painting Orchids in Pencil and Watercolor workshop with artist Carol Beach is Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. The class will create a large painting of the anatomy of the orchid. Cost is $150-$175. For more information, visit usbg.gov.
  • Enjoy jazz and blues at the ninth annual Big Band Jam with Harry Schnipper and the Blues Alley Jazz Society from April 23-26, starting at noon. This event is free and will take place in the National Garden Amphitheater.
  • The garden hosts the tour “Exploring Culinary and Medicinal African Plants” on Thursday at noon. The tour explores the several different foods and crop grown in Africa, such as cocoa and other foods used for medicine or even sweet foods. This tour is free and will meet in the Conservatory Garden Court.
  • The garden hosts the lecture “Medicinal Plants of Central Asia: Mountains, Deserts, the Silk Road and Soviet Astronauts” on April 26 at noon in the Conservatory classroom. Lecturer Sasha Eiserman, professor at Temple University, will talk about the history of the medicinal plants in this region. This event is free but pre-registration is required.
  • Writer Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of  “City of Trees,” gives a workshop about identifying trees in the evening on April 26 at 6:30 p.m. and again the following morning at 10 a.m. Cost is $15-$20.

For more information about any of these events, visit usbg.gov.

May

The National Cathedral (3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW) holds its annual Flower Mart on May 3-4 at 10 a.m. The festival features annuals, perennials, landscape exhibits, Olmsted Woods and garden tours, musical entertainment, gourmet food, a book sale and activities for children. The festival also includes at least 50 booths with gardening items, handbags and jewelry. Floral designers and embassies will design beautiful floral arrangements. For more information, visit cathedral.org.

Ladew Gardens ( 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Md.) presents its Garden Festival on May 4 beginning at 8 a.m. with priority preview and lecture with Allan Armitage, a famous horticulturalist. This includes chances to shop first at the different venders and a continental breakfast. Tickets to these particular event costs $75-$100. At 10 a.m. general admission sales begins which includes admission to the festival as well as different tours. Admission to this is $15-$45. Visit ladewgardens.com for more information.

The Green Spring Garden (4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria Va.) hosts its Spring Garden Day on May 18 at 9 a.m. The even features 40 vendors of rare and unusual plants. For more information, visit fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring.

18
Apr
2013

Washington National Cathedral to allow same-sex weddings

Washington National Cathedral, Episcopal Church, gay news, Washington Blade

Washington National Cathedral (Photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/Camila Santos Ferreira via wikimedia commons)

The Washington National Cathedral — an Episcopal church — will welcome same-sex weddings effective immediately, according to Dean Gary Hall, who made the announcement Tuesday. The news comes on the heels of legislative victories at the ballot for same-sex marriage in Maine, Washington and Maryland.

“For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples,” Hall said. “It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit. We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God—and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”

The Washington National Cathedral, for which construction began in 1907 and was completed in 1990, is the second-largest church in the United States and often hosts important religious ceremonies for the country. Just last month, the cathedral hosted a funeral service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, which was attended by President Obama.

The Cathedral is allowed to permit same-sex weddings because of new policy adopted by Episcopalian Church leadership in August during the General Convention. At that time, church leadership said it would allow bishops who oversee each diocese to determine whether or not to allow clergy to permit marriages for same-sex couples. Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland, Bishop Mariann Budde declared her diocese would allow this expansion of the rite, leading to the new policy at the Washington National Cathedral.

“In my 35 years of ordained ministry, some of the most personally inspiring work I have witnessed has been among gay and lesbian communities where I have served,” Hall contunued. “I consider it a great honor to lead this Cathedral as it takes another historic step toward greater equality—and I am pleased that this step follows the results made clear in this past November’s election, when three states voted to allow same-sex marriage.”

According to the Cathedral, because the weddings are conducted as Christian marriages, same-sex couples must commit “to lifelong faithfulness, love, forbearance, and mutual comfort” and one person in the couple must have been baptized. Additionally, only couples who are directly affiliated with the life of the Cathedral — as active, contributing members of the congregation; as alumni of the Cathedral schools; as individuals who have made significant volunteer or donor contributions over a period of time; or those judged to have played an exceptional role in the life of the nation — may be eligible to marry there.

Rev. MacArthur Flournoy, deputy director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program, praised the move from the cathedral, calling it “another milestone in the Episcopal Church’s embrace of all God’s children, including LGBT people.”

“The Episcopal Church is one of a growing number of denominations to see a new day in the intersection of faith and sexual orientation and gender identity,” Flournoy said. “This is not only good LGBT people, it is good for the soul of the church.”

09
Jan
2013