Overspend, Overspend! For the Love of God, Overspend!
We need your help. We overspent, by a lot. And we’re still spending.
Here’s what happened. In our 2017 Ministry Finance Plan, we budgeted $1,800 on “justice for LGBTQ+ people.” It should have been enough.
But who knew 2017 would be like this? Who knew the Texas State Legislature, in particular, would devote so much energy to stripping the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ people (heavy emphasis on “T”)? Who knew the national environment of acceptance and fairness would melt so quickly under a new administration? (Okay, maybe you knew, but we didn’t.)
So we have spent more money that we planned. Like, a lot more. On things like these:
• January: We took rainbow-frosted donuts to protest (sweetly) the anti-LGBTQ meanness mailed from a nearby church to every household in that town.
• January: We sent two learners to the Gay Christian Network conference in Pittsburgh.
• January: We sent six learners to the Texas Tribune's Race & Public Policy conference in Austin.
• February: We hosted a visit, a seminar, and a sermon from Rev. Allyson Robinson, pastor-preacher-trans-activist.
• February: We sent one learner to ClexaCon in Las Vegas, a conference advocating for queer women in TV and movie storylines. (We're pretty sure she was the only one whose church paid her way...)
• March: We offered free tae kwon do self-defense training for vulnerable LGBTQ+ people.
• March: We showed up for local parade and booth activism in our suburban home base.
• April: We hosted a big screen viewing of Gender Revolution, the National Geographic documentary on gender, in partnership with Transcendence Int’l.
• April: We hosted an anti-racism / intersectionality workshop (and preaching!) by Sandhya Jha, co-sponsored with the Trinity-Brazos Area.
• May: We sent three learners to the Contemporary Relationships Conference in Houston, a weekend with special emphasis on strengthening LGBTQ+ couples.
• June: We hosted Trans Ally Training with Transcendence Int’l., and provided free dinner for all.
• Spring & Summer: We paid for numerous trips – so many! – to Austin to lobby, protest, challenge, enlighten our Texas State legislators concerning discriminatory legislation, including several G-people who testified before the Senate and House Committees concerning the “bathroom bills” that threatened all summer long.
• June: We delivered homemade cookies to our local legislators as they prepared to return to Austin for the special session, asking that our Christian witness to God’s inclusion of all people be allowed to “complicate your vote”.
• September: We set up a booth presence at the UTA at Activities Fair and Rainbow Reception for LGBTQ+ students.
• We supply monthly rental and refreshment costs for It Gets Better, a peer-to-peer conversation group for young adults around LGBTQ+ identity, going on three years now.
• We incurred a few printing costs for the “justice table” in the Big Red Barn, helping people stay aware of current threats to civil liberties for LGBTQ+ persons, with ways to reach out to legislators at every level.
And there’s still more on our calendar for the remaining months of 2017. We’re christening a brand-new float for the Tarrant County Pride Parade in October, laying hands on it to bless its witness during worship the weekend before. (We’ll roll it right through the big garage door into the barn.)
Bottom line: our total spending for the year, against that budget of $1,800, is closer to $5,200 at this point, the treasurer tells me. Almost three times what we planned. 300%. With more to come.
So… don’t these things sound like the kinds of things a church should be overspending on? If we’re gonna blow the budget, isn’t this the way to do it – by announcing loudly, proudly, everywhere we can think of, that God’s love is the only law, the realest thing in the world, the beginning and ending of every conversation about what really matters?
And if you think that’s true, can you help replenish our coffers? We’re not broke, but it’s tight. And frankly, we think there are people out there who would love to fund this kind of ministry, specifically and strategically. We think it’s good work, and exactly the work God has called and equipped us to do. You could help with the “equipping” part by clicking the “donate” button right down there. Thanks for considering. Peace of Christ to you and yours.