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Diversity Celebration 2009

Saint Mark United Methodist Church has a long and rich history of spreading the true spirit of Jesus Christ to the midtown Atlanta community and well beyond. In the 1950's Saint Mark was one of the first churches in the city to racially integrate, in the 1970's the church became known for its outreach to the disadvantaged, and in 1992 it became one of the first “mainline” churches in Atlanta to fully welcome the LGBT community (for more history see a February 2007 article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

Atlanta Pride 2009

Pride Festival & Parade

The Atlanta Pride Festival is coming up, October 30 - November 1, in Piedmont Park. Saint Mark wants to have a big presence in the parade this year and we need your help! As part of our preparation for Pride, we are recruiting a team of walkers to represent Saint Mark in the parade on Sunday, November 1. We also need volunteers to help with our water stop. To find out more about how to get involved, please contact Beau Wasser.

Harry Knox

Diversity Sunday & Award

This year’s Saint Mark Diversity Award will be presented during Morning Worship, and Harry Knox, Religion and Faith Program Director for the Human Rights Campaign, will be our guest preacher. Harry joined the staff of the Human Rights Campaign in July 2005. Under his leadership the HRC Religion and Faith Program has seen the creation of a national speakers' bureau that reaches over 10 million Americans monthly and a weekly preaching resource that provides scriptural commentary to ministers and lay people interested in an ecumenical gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender perspective on the Bible. He has also been instrumental in creating a national network for 22 progressive state clergy coalitions around the country. He has been featured on the BBC News, PBS, NBC, CBS and national and local newspapers and has co-authored an article on GLBT issues and world religions for Conscience magazine. Under his leadership, Georgia Equality was successful in passing the state’s first GLBT-inclusive legislation, the Georgia Anti-Domestic Terrorism Act, and in obtaining domestic partnership benefits for employees at Coca-Cola, BellSouth, Delta Airlines, Atlanta Gas Light and Cingular Wireless. Harry was the recipient of the 2000 Cordle Award for Promotion of God’s Diversity and Lancaster Theological Seminary’s 2005 Robert V. Moss Medal for Excellence in Ministry.

Julie Arms

Julie Arms Receives the 2009 Diversity Award

Congratulations to Julie Arms, winner of this year’s Saint Mark Diversity Award! The annual Diversity Award was presented during the Worship Service on Sunday, November 1. Julie has been at the forefront of GLBT issues on the national, state and local levels, and her advocacy for the GLBT community has extended from the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to the local church. Thank you, Julie, for your hard work and courage.

Dear Saint Mark,

Thank you for honoring me as the recipient of the 2009 Saint Mark Diversity Award. I am so stunned.

I have spoken for inclusion and full equality for as long as I can remember. When I heard about the Reconciling Ministries Network, a group supporting and working in the United Methodist Church for my own beliefs, I jumped at the chance and joined. The RMN has given me a stronger voice, better skills, and greater opportunity to reach out to others - friend, foe or stranger, face to face, and one by one (but not at microphones, I hate microphones!), to tell people we are all God's beloved children, no matter what sexual orientation or gender identity one claims as their own.

When I first stepped through the red doors here, I found that the church of my head and my heart really existed. I could feel the love and the joy. On my second visit, people remembered me and welcomed me back. You, St. Mark, have given me a larger voice still - you reach out in welcome, you include, you love, and you strengthen people around you, just by who you are. You encourage me to keep on speaking, to believe out loud, that the entire UMC might one day see as we do, be as we are, and that all barriers will be gone.

Thank you again. Julie A. Arms