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Meet Marvin Ellison



Our partner profiles highlight the broad range of individuals and organizations we work with to advance and protect the rights of all people in Maine.

It’s an appropriately warm day in April and I’m at Omi’s Coffee Shop to meet Marvin Ellison. Ellison is a founder of the Religious Coalition Against Discrimination (RCAD) and current president of the RCAD’s Board. I am curious about his role in creating and working with a network of faith leaders from 18 different religious traditions with the purpose of standing up for human rights and civil rights. I ask about his connection to the American Civil Liberties Union and he responds, “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know of or work with the ACLU.” Most recently, Ellison’s organization has cooperated with the ACLU of Maine on fighting LD 1428, a religious exemption bill. 


See entire article at:


LETTER: One Pastor Comes Out For Marriage Equality

Pride Source

By Rev. Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors

Senior Pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church, Detroit

March, 4, 2014

In looking at the rapidly changing terra firma around me, I must offer a confession that I am deeply embarrassed to say, has been far too long in coming. On Feb. 24 a seismic event took place in the City of Detroit, where I have served as a pastor for 16 years. Over 50 of my fellow clergy gathered together at First Baptist World Changers Church to state their unalterable opposition to same-sex marriage and their desire to convince Gov. Snyder and the Michigan legislature to keep the ban on same-sex marriage in our state.

The gathering received local, state and national news. Yet the fervor that caused my fellow clergy to become public advocates against same-sex marriage is the same fervor that certainly serves presently as "first shut up in my bones."

Their understanding of scripture is the foundation upon which they state their case. My understanding of scripture is the foundation upon which I state my case. They have a belief in what "God's will" is regarding homosexuality. I also have a belief in what "God's will" is regarding homosexuality.

To read entire article, please click on this link:


Gay marriage ban ending in England and Wales on Saturday

LONDON — Partners for nearly a decade, Sarah Keith and Emma Powell are moving next month from their native England to New York. But first, they have an important piece of business to take care of: their wedding.

With the stroke of midnight, same-sex couples were, for the first time, permitted to marry in England and Wales, and many did in middle-of-the-night celebrations. The weddings united same-sex partners who have for a decade been allowed to form civil partnerships, but until now have been prohibited from tying the knot.

The change is largely being taken in stride, with little rancor from opponents and a sense from supporters that same-sex marriage was long overdue. Britain had already allowed gay couples to adopt children, and gay service members are permitted to serve openly in the military.

Entire article found here:


Equality Maine celebrates three decades with awards dinner

The Portland Daily Sun

Published Date Thursday, 20 March 2014 20:04
Written by Timothy Gillis


Event Details:
Equality Maine 30th annual Awards Dinner
"Realizing Our Dreams: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"
5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22
Holiday Inn by the Bay, Spring Street in Portland

Equality Maine is celebrating three decades of fighting for equal rights for the state's LGBT population, with an awards dinner Saturday night.3-21-14-equality-me-gay-marriage
Elise Johansen, executive director of Equality Maine since the beginning of the year, said the group is honoring several locals for four major awards: the Partners for Equality Award; the Young Leader Award; the Out Front Volunteer Leadership awards; and the Pioneer Award.

Read entire article here:


A message from HopeGateWay's pastors | 03-14-2014

Immigration Reform

A message from

HopeGateWay's pastors

March 14, 2014

Dear Friends:

This week The United Methodist Church has been in the news again. 
On Monday, the New York Annual Conference held a press conference to announce that a just resolution had been negotiated, settling the case of Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree (United Methodist pastor and former dean of Yale Divinity School), who officiated at the wedding of his son, Thomas Rimbey Ogletree, to Nicholas Haddad in October 2012.

Bishop Cliff Ives — who, with his spouse, Jane, is part of HopeGateWay community — had previously been appointed as the presiding elder of the court. Had there been a trial, Bishop Ives would have presided, but in January, Bishop Ives announced that there would not be a trial; that instead, he would assist in efforts toward seeking a just resolution.

During the press conference on MondayBishop Ives and Bishop Martin McLee (formerly pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Boston, elected as a Bishop from the New England Annual Conference, and now serving the New York Conference) shared that a just resolution has been reached. You can read the official statement, including the terms of the just resolution,here.

This case differs greatly from the case of Rev. Frank Schaeferwho just a few months ago was found guilty of the same offense, having officiated at his son Tim’s wedding back in 2007, and who was subsequently "defrocked" — stripped of his ministerial credentials — when he refused to vow that he would never again officiate at a same-sex wedding.  

Significantly, Bishop Martin McLee stated, "As the Bishop of the New York Annual Conference, in consideration of my responsibility to provide spiritual, pastoral and temporal oversight for those committed to my care, I call for and commit to a cessation of church trials for conducting ceremonies which celebrate homosexual unions or performing same-gender wedding ceremonies, and instead offer a process of theological, spiritual and ecclesiastical conversation."

Conversation rather than trials: We think this is progress. We celebrate the news coming from New York this week, and we hope this signals a better path forward for The United Methodist Church, and for all who believe that love is a gift from God.

You can watch a video recording of Monday's press conference 
here. In particular, you may want to listen to Bishop Ives' presentation, starting at about 3:25.

Here are links to some of the press coverage from Monday's gathering:
As well, there are two outstanding blog posts that we recommend:
This week we saw an important shift, signaling that there are other ways to address complaints when pastors are faithful to their understanding of Scripture and God's call, by officiating at marriage ceremonies. This week we witnessed an important step — but the matter is not resolved. The concern remains. The journey continues.

We believe that our United Methodist policies are discriminatory, unjust, and wrong.Until the language of our Book of Discipline is changed, complaints against pastors will continue to be filed, charges will be brought against pastors, and most likely some will go to trial. In this process, harm is done to those whom God loves.
At our core, we believe the Church of Jesus Christ is called to be in ministry with all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We believe the church cannot truly follow Jesus unless we fully include all God’s children. To be anything less than fully inclusive is to stand as an obstacle to God’s grace.

As a community, HopeGateWay will continue to witness and work toward full inclusion of all God's children. Inspired by the words of the prophet Micah, our mission is to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God. One of our core values as a community is Inclusivity, expressed this way: “No one is outside the bounds of God’s grace.  We strive to practice generous hospitality, welcoming and embracing everyone with the same love we have received from God.  We affirm the sacred worth of every human being – no exceptions.” 
In 2009, our church unanimously voted to become a Reconciling Church – that is, an open and affirming church that fully welcomes all. At that time, we adopted this statement, which continues to express who we are called to be: 
We worship an inclusive and loving God,
who calls all persons into relationship,
both with God and with neighbor. In response to this love,
demonstrated most perfectly in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves as an open and affirming community,
welcoming all people regardless of race, gender identity,
sexual orientation, disability, economic situation, or social status.
Following the example of Jesus, we are called to share the good news of God’s redemptive love, to extend the table of God’s grace, to draw the circle wide. 
As we have shared previously, we are part of a growing movement of United Methodist clergy – 200 in New England and more than 1,200 nationwide – who have indicated that we will “offer the grace of the church’s blessing to any prepared couple desiring Christian marriage.” We will continue to practice what we call “Biblical obedience,” answering God’s call provide pastoral care to all persons. 
HopeGateWay is a stronger community and the United Methodist Church is a stronger denomination because of the gift of our LGBT sisters and brothers. In the coming months and years, we will do all that we can to continue to witness and work toward a more inclusive denomination that embraces all God’s children, to call for an end to church trials and an end to unjust discrimination that elevates the current language of the United Methodist Book of Discipline above the Bible’s message of love.
If you are feeling called to join us in this movement of love and justice, we would encourage you to read and sign a newly written Covenant of Conscience, developed by a group of concerned United Methodists in New England, using the name New Wineskins. You can check out that covenant and sign electronically, here.

In this Season of Lent, we remember that Christ invites us to take up our cross and follow. We remember that Jesus' ministry was so often focused on reaching out to those who were marginalized by his society.  We remember how his inclusive love invited to the center those whom the religious authorities excluded and pushed to the margins. We acknowledge that there is much brokenness in our world, and that as followers of Jesus, we are called to bring our faith and action to places of injustice and conflict.

Please join us in prayer: with gratitude for Rev. Dr. Ogletree, Bishop Cliff Ives, Bishop Martin McLee, Rev. Scott Campbell, Rev. Timothy Riss, and all who were involved in the development of this just resolution; and with concern for all who continue to be harmed by the church's discriminatory policies. Above all, let's continue to lean into the future that God places before us, filled with hope for the healing, redemptive, transformative work of the Holy Spirit, breathing new life and resurrection and stirring us to action.

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Let's keep bending, friends. Let's keep bending.

In Christ's love,

Revs. Allen & Sara Ewing, Merrill, pastors
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