New Website for PFLAG of the Big Country!!

7 06 2011

You can now find us at www.pflagbc.weebly.com





Marc Adams returns to Abilene May 16

10 05 2011

Marc Adams, co-founder of HeartStrong, will return to Abilene on Monday, May 16, and will speak at the Natural Food Store at 7 p.m. Marc will discuss the Youth Empowerment Program.

The goal of HeartStrong’s Youth Empowerment Project is to distribute educational kits to every school counselor in both public and religious schools over the next few years. Each kit contains valuable new resources including an educator’s guide and a modern guide for dealing with coming out issues for GLBT youth.

About Marc
Growing up the son of a fundamentalist Baptist minister is tough enough. Growing up gay in an environment where your parents, teachers and peers deem evangelical Christians like Jerry Falwell as leftwing liberals is an entirely different experience.

Marc Adams grew up in such a home. In an effort to save his own life, he decided at age 16 to rebel against his parents and attend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University where he thought he could find a way to change his behavior from homosexual to heterosexual. His experience there changed his life and jump started his journey to self acceptance and personal freedom.

Marc Adams is the author of nine books including The Preacher‘s Son and Do’s & Don‘ts of Dealing with the Religious Right. His newest book, It’s Not About You: Understanding Coming Out & Self Acceptance, deals compassionately with the issue of disclosure reaction. The book includes a foreword by Dr. Shelley Craig, LCSW, a professor at the University of Toronto who is the president of HeartStrong, Inc., and serves on the national PFLAG board of directors.

Marc Adams is a widely respected authority on subjects ranging from fundamentalism, the religious right, gay civil rights as well as his ground breaking work with his own nonprofit, HeartStrong. HeartStrong is a social justice organization providing hope and help to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students who are persecuted in religious educational institutions.

Marc Adams’ presentations cover an often dark side of life. He bridges the serious and dark discussion with humor and all-encompassing human compassion. People from all walks of life who have heard Marc Adams speak find themselves enlightened, uplifted and inspired.

For more information on HeartStrong, visit www.heartstrong.org

For more information on Marc and to view the titles of the books he has written, visit www.meetmarcadams.com





McMurry University’s Gay-Straight Alliance to Give May Presentation

15 03 2011

On Tuesday, May 3, PFLAG of the Big Country will welcome McMurry University’s Gay-Straight Alliance at its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 S. 27th Street.

President and Co-founder Chad Ewing will make the presentation on the GSA. Mr. Ewing will discuss:

Popular campaigns for LGBTQ acceptance or anti-bullying campaigns, such as the:
It Gets Better Campaign - www.itgetsbetter.org
I’m from Driftwood Project – www.imfromdriftwood.com
Think B4 You Speak Project – www.thinkb4youspeak.com

Discuss the formation of the GSA, our organizational goals & future work with McMurry

LGBTQ inclusion work in various churches, with resources for denominational caucus groups, etc.

Chad is currently a senior at McMurry University. He will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English. He is co-founder of McMurry’s Gay-Straight Alliance and currently serves as the GSA’s president. He is also co-coordinator in the United Methodist Church Northwest Texas Annual Conference for Reconciling Ministries Network’s Believe OutLoud Campaign, a five-year campaign working for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the United Methodist Church. After graduating he plans to attend school in theological studies, with research interests focusing primarily on social mores and ethics and their intersection with faith communities. His vocational goals include teaching philosophy or theology at the college level and continued work in LGBTQ advocacy.

For more information on Believe Out Loud (which is a campaign bridging LGBT ministries in the United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), American Baptist, and Evangelical Lutheran denominations in the Christian faith) – www.believeoutloud.com.





Abilene and Wylie Superintendents To Speak on Anti-Bullying at March Meeting

22 02 2011

Superintendents of both the Abilene and Wylie school districts will speak before PFLAG of the Big Country on March 1st concerning anti-bullying policies, which includes measures taken to keep violence in schools from occurring toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.  The meeting will be held at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 South 27th Street at 7 p.m. 

Dr. Heath Burns, Superintendent of the Abilene I.S.D. and Mr. Joey Light, Superintendent of the Wylie I.S.D. will be speaking before PFLAG concerning these policies and will then be taking any questions from the floor. As with all PFLAG meetings, the public is invited to attend. 

Dr. Burns grew up in Mont Belvieu, Texas, and graduated from Barbers Hill High School. He graduated from Lamar University with a bachelor’s degree with certifications in English, Speech, Physical Education, and Special Education. He obtained his master’s degree in mid-management from Lamar University. He then completed his Doctorate in Education (Educational Leadership) at Sam Houston State University. 

Mr. Light grew up in Abilene and is a 1978 graduate of Wylie High School.  In 1981 he graduated from McMurry University with a B.S. in Education.  In 1991 he graduated from Abilene Christian University with a M.Ed. in Education.  He was Assistant Superintendent at Wylie from 2000 to 2008 and has been Superintendent since 2008. 

Experiences with Violence

Negative attitudes toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people put LGBT youth at increased risk for violence compared to other students.  Violence can include behaviors such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors. 

A 2009 survey* of more than 7,000 LGBT middle and high school students (aged 13-21) found that in the past year, because of their sexual orientation–

  • Eight in ten had been verbally harassed at school
  • Four in ten had been physically harassed at school
  • Six in ten felt unsafe at school, and
  • One in five had been the victim of a physical assault at school

*Survey participants were recruited online and through community-based groups and service organizations serving LGBT youth. 

Unfortunately, these types of experiences with violence also occur outside of school and may continue into young adulthood. A study published in 2004 looked at discrimination and violence among young gay and bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 27 and found that 37% had been harassed and 5% had experienced physical violence in the past six months because of their sexual orientation.





McMurry University’s Gay-Straight Alliance to give February Presentation

5 01 2011

On Tuesday, February 1, PFLAG of the Big Country will welcome McMurry University’s Gay-Straight Alliance at its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 S. 27th Street.

President and Co-founder Chad Ewing will make the presentation on the GSA. Mr. Ewing will discuss:

Popular campaigns for LGBTQ acceptance or anti-bullying campaigns, such as the:
It Gets Better Campaign - www.itgetsbetter.org
I’m from Driftwood Project – www.imfromdriftwood.com
Think B4 You Speak Project – www.thinkb4youspeak.com

Discuss the formation of the GSA, our organizational goals & future work with McMurry

LGBTQ inclusion work in various churches, with resources for denominational caucus groups, etc.

Chad is currently a senior at McMurry University. He will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English. He is co-founder of McMurry’s Gay-Straight Alliance and currently serves as the GSA’s president. He is also co-coordinator in the United Methodist Church Northwest Texas Annual Conference for Reconciling Ministries Network’s Believe OutLoud Campaign, a five-year campaign working for full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the United Methodist Church. After graduating he plans to attend school in theological studies, with research interests focusing primarily on social mores and ethics and their intersection with faith communities. His vocational goals include teaching philosophy or theology at the college level and continued work in LGBTQ advocacy.

For more information on Believe Out Loud (which is a campaign bridging LGBT ministries in the United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), American Baptist, and Evangelical Lutheran denominations in the Christian faith) – www.believeoutloud.com.





January Program to Focus on Unhealthy Lifestyles

1 01 2011

On Tuesday, January 4, Tracy Fleet will speak on unhealthy lifestyles and how to overcome them. The meeting takes place at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 S. 27th St. at 7 p.m.

Tracy is a licensed personal counselor and a marriage and family therapist. Currently a Managing Partner with Life Renovations, PLLC , Started Nov. 2009, Partnered with Britni Kinkade, LPC, Currently outpatient counseling. Growing Specialty: Anxiety Related Disorders.





PFLAG’s Holiday Party December 7th

30 11 2010

On Tuesday, December 7, PFLAG of the Big Country will hold its holiday party at 7 p.m. at Exodus Metropolitan Community Church, 1933 S. 27th St.

At the gathering, a new board will be elected. Nominations will be taken at the time of the party. The following board positions are open:

President – shall be an ex-officio member of all committees, serves as chief facilitator, presides over the board, organizes programs/presentations, is chief contact person of Chapter/Board, organizes meetings, assists in maintaining legal records, responsible for steering group in commitments, can appoint committees, delegates and other members of the Board as deemed necessary with the approval of the Board of Directors.
Co-President – shall undertake the Presidents responsibilities in the President’s absence. Assists President in organizing meeting. Other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the Board or President.
Secretary – shall be responsible for keeping records of the Board actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all board meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to each Board member, and assuring that corporate records are maintained.
Treasurer – serves as financial clerk, records and keeps track of monies including (but not limited to) dues, maintains financial institution account(s), types up a financial report and presents to board for approval. Serves as purchaser for goods and items needed for chapter, presents quarterly financial report for approval by Board and for National, keeps track of EIN correspondence and non-taxable paperwork for purchases. Treasurer and any two members in good standing and approval/appointed by the Board shall have signing authority for the accounts with the signatures of any two of the three appearing on any disbursements.
Parliamentarian – Be ready at all times to settle any difficulty arising from a question of parliamentary usage.

The following officer positions are also open:
Membership Chairperson – serves as facilitator for membership requirements, keeps track of membership records, coordinates and makes sure others adhere to bylaws for local chapter, responsible for attendance. Responsible for preparing sign-in sheet, responsible for welcoming attendees as they arrive, directing the attendees to the Welcoming Table where various material will be kept .
Hospitality Chairperson – Responsible for meeting and greeting constituents as they come in. In charge of garnering help with refreshments.
Fundraising Chairperson – supervises and organizes all fundraising ventures.
Public Relations Chairperson – responsible for overseeing ads, advertisements, et al.
Webmaster – oversees the day-to-day running of the chapters website. Maintains all electronic correspondence. Works side by side with Public Relations Chairperson. Provides a monthly report to the Board, of general email and web activity summaries. Facilitator Chairperson – Recruit, organize and train PFLAG members to serve as rap group facilitators for general membership meetings. Ensure that an adequate number of trained facilitator volunteers are on hand at general meetings.
Speakers Bureau Chairperson – recruit, organize and train volunteers to serve on PFLAG Speakers Bureau. Publicize the Speakers Bureau in the greater community and schedule speaking engagements at places such as colleges, police departments, churches, etc.
Educational Material Chairperson – Clip, collect and provide copies of current articles, etc., from newspapers and magazines and make them available to members at general meetings. Order Federation of PFLAG brochures to ensure the chapter always has an adequate supply on hand. Maintain chapter’s library.
Newsletter Editor – Gather information from local and national sources and produce a quarterly or bi-monthly newsletter. Ensure, where possible, timely notification of upcoming events through the newsletter. Recruit other members to help with the publication of the newsletter.
Orientation Chairperson – conduct a separate rap group or orientation at general meetings for parents attending their first meeting to give them an overview of the purpose and mission of PFLAG. Ensure others are trained to perform this function in your absence.
Religious Outreach Chairperson – Provide outreach to religious organizations in the greater community and familiarize these organizations about our purpose. Provide outreach to religious organizations in the gay and lesbian community and familiarize the organizations about our purpose.

Special Tribute to Rudy Pace

This year we will also be honoring The Rev. Rudy Pace for his hard work and efforts in embracing and working with the LGBT community in Abilene, Houston, and South Carolina and his many years of dedication to PFLAG in various cities – especially in Abilene. Rudy is a retired United Methodist minister and has also worked for years for inclusion of LGBT persons in the Methodist church. He has served as ministry staff in several Abilene Methodist churches.

If you are a dues paying member of PFLAG, you can either run or be nominated to serve for one year on the board (and yes, you can be nominated to be on the board again in 2011 if you were on the board in 2010 or previous years). Please note that this is a commitment, that you will be present at all board meetings and work to develop and continue in the moving of equality forward in Abilene and the Big Country. Non-board officer positions will also be open. To learn more about qualifications or to view the bylaws of the chapter, please contact PFLAG of the Big Country at pflag_bc@yahoo.com.

All those attending the December 7 meeting are encouraged to bring their favorite dish to share in a potluck.

See you there!








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