Today is Giving Tuesday! All around the world people are generously supporting organizations near and dear to their hearts. Organizations like GALA rely on generous donations by people just like you! Help further the mission of GALA by donating today.💲
Wondering how you can donate? There are 3 ways!
Thank you for your continuing generosity! We love our supporters!
Questions? Contact your treasurer, John Billings.
Over Labor Day weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the GALA retreat held at Camp Red Cliffe in Utah. My experience there was one like no other. It was a wonderful weekend filled with the love and spirit of Christ, laughter, new and old friends, and the grace of fellowship I wouldn’t trade for anything.
One thing that I enjoyed most this weekend was the ample opportunity for sharing in story. Many indulged in sharing deep and heartfelt stories of struggles faced for simply being true to themselves. There is a certain vulnerability that comes with opening oneself up to a group. I am grateful to have been a part of that vulnerability and to hear and understand the challenges that are faced by many in this community. Even during times that were not specifically dedicated to sharing there seemed to be a raw unfiltered sense of sharing not only of our stories but of ourselves. Talking about being vulnerable, the whole weekend was a chance to be your most authentic self and to be accepted for exactly who you are.
I have attended many church camps and events in my life, growing up in Community of Christ. Each one of those has been special in its own way, I’ve always known a deep sense of community and acceptance in those experiences. However, GALA embodied something completely new. It seems to me that most people have what I would call a “church self” - a side of them that they show in a church setting, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We all have versions of ourselves for every part of our lives. Our home life, school and work, family and friends etc. GALA for me was a blending of my church self and my outside self. It was simply permission to be vulnerable in showing my most authentic self and a true genuine acceptance of that self.
Attending this retreat was phenomenal. I was able to meet lots of new friends and share in love, laughter, and acceptance. I am proud to now be a part of this wonderful community working towards a goal of acceptance for all. I wouldn’t change this experience for anything.
Sometimes I think it’s a good thing we don’t know the trajectory our lives are going to take. If we did, we might not be open to following where we sense God calling us!
My life has certainly taken some twists and turns I never expected when I was younger. They have brought me new friendships, new challenges, and a spiritual journey that I might have run screaming from if I had known it was coming.
While I grew up “churched” and very active (since my father was a full-time minister), in some ways it never seeped down into my bones. Attending church was expected. Behaving “properly” was expected. But what did it really all mean in my interactions with other people?
At one point in my life, I felt a calling to take training in hospital chaplaincy. To understand how crazy that was, I don’t like hospitals…I don’t like blood…I don’t like needles. And yet the call was there. I ultimately took two semesters in an inner city hospital, where I began to see how important it is to be present with people. In times of crisis, what people need is to know that someone cares, that someone can represent the love of God to them.
I also became active in community theatre—because I was a good pianist and could play for many of the musicals. Obviously that meant becoming involved with yet another community, because many of the actors were members of the LGBTQ+ communities—and because many of them had been hurt by “church.” I found myself sometimes walking with them, being friends…simply being present.
Then my youngest brother came out. He called to tell me—and I found out later than he had braced himself for the possible loss of family relationships. That didn’t even occur to me; after all, he was my brother!
But out of that experience, I began to become more involved with GALA, trying to understand more about this community that my brother and so many of my friends were part of. That need expanded when my husband finally had the courage to tell me that he is bisexual.
Wow! There was a lot of learning to do!
As our family became more involved in the GALA community, I found myself taking on more responsibilities—the website and the newsletters. As I pulled together the information to be shared, I realized again the great need there is for people to “walk with” others, to let them know that they are of worth, to be “God with flesh on” for them.
I have not experienced the kind of pain that so many in the LGBTQ+ communities have, and for that I am deeply grateful. But I have gone through my own dark night, and during that time I grew to appreciate, from a different perspective, the care and friendship of those who did not judge but who were simply present.
And now I find myself taking an unexpected turn on the path. I had been sensing that it was time to leave the GALA board to move on to something else, but I wasn’t sure what that something else was. Then I saw the invitation to the new cohort for the spiritual companioning program sponsored by Community of Christ. I applied—and was accepted.
I don’t know yet where this part of my journey will take me. But what I do know is that this call to be a spiritual companion is a call to an incredibly important ministry in this time when so many wonder about God’s love for them.
All I can say is “Yes, God loves you! You are a person of worth, of great value.” Each and every one of you.
Now through Nov. 2, AmazonSmile is donating 5% (ten times the usual amount) to your charity of choice when you shop at smile.amazon.com. This is a great opportunity to give back to GALA while doing everyday shopping.
Please consider this in your giving strategy to support the mission and vision of GALA.
Click here to get started!
Following the announcement concerning the merger of GALA and WCN (Welcoming Community Network), the GALA Board of Directors has put together a Request for Proposals (RFP) concerning the re-branding of a new, merged organization. This would follow feedback, surveys, and direct input from you, the membership.
Please see the file below for details, including contact information, deliverables, and deadline. Feel free to help us spread the word by sharing this announcement.
GALA Board of Directors
Two important documents emerged from the 2018 GALA Retreat, including GALA's 2018 Annual Report and the organization's newly approved bylaws.
Please review both documents (linked above) at your earliest convenience as several changes have been made to support the organization into the future and to accommodate upcoming changes regarding the GALA-WCN merger.
Note: our Bylaws page has been updated to reflect this update, and can be easily located by hovering over 'Home' and then selecting 'Bylaws.'
Thank you for your ongoing support.
GALA Board of Directors
Jerry M. Dale, Jr.
For the last 30+ years members of Community of Christ have been working toward full acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals through an organization called GALA, Gay and Lesbian Acceptance. A separate organization from the church, GALA has been an advocacy organization and a place of retreat and community for members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. The work of GALA has helped move the church forward, sometimes kicking and screaming, into a bold new future.
The question often comes up, with national conferences requesting changes to the policy regarding marriage and ordination of LGBTQIA+ people, does the church still need GALA? I say YES, emphatically, YES!
What we often see in organizations is that a change in policy does not change the culture of the organization. Continued conversation, education, growth, understanding and courageous leadership is what helps change culture. Community of Christ has a long way to go, and it will take anyone associated with GALA to continue to speak out for justice.
What can we do?
At the World Church level:
At the local level:
The need for GALA will exist until the entire Community of Christ around the globe is truly a safe place for all.
The GALA and WCN Boards have provided updated documentation on the pending merger. All members should receive a ballot via email on August 20, 2018. If not, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please review the following documents, and then respond to the ballot by Monday, August 27, 2018.
Download bylaws by clicking the link below.
Bylaws: Summary of Changes
Download summary of changes by clicking the link below.
Merger Process Explainer
Enjoy this quick little video to better understand the merger process.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com.