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    Gather at the River returns to the birthplace of the LGBT movement in The United Methodist Church—Travis Park UMC in San Antonio.
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    In 1965 Southwest Texas clergy Gene Leggett resigned a church position quietly rather than be exposed as homosexual. He left his marriage and began a specialized ministry with LGBT and other marginalized persons.
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    Realizing that life in the closet was “neither healthy or Christian” Gene sent a coming out letter to family, friends and colleagues in April, 1971.
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    The question of Gene’s status as an openly gay clergy came before the 1971 session of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference—at Travis Park UMC. A group of gay rights activists came to the session to advocate on Gene’s behalf.
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    After a long and heated debate the clergy session voted to suspend Gene from ministry by a close vote of 144-117.
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    Gene’s unique status as an openly gay and proud Christian leader brought immediate national media exposure—and cries for help from many closeted persons in the church.
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    Gene continued to advocate for his rights, along with other gay and lesbian persons, in the church. At the 1972 General Conference—where he was not allowed to speak—he met Rick Huskey. The two of them began forming the network that became Affirmation.
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    Gene continued a silent protest at the Southwest Texas ordination service—in Travis Park UMC—every year. He came forward to kneel with the other ordinands, his head and mouth gagged with a stole.
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Join us for Gather at the River in San Antonio August 6-9, 2015 --> www.gather2015.org

 

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