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UM Church Becomes Highlight Of Gay Pride Celebrations In Chicago


Civil Rights Leader, Activist Speaking at Broadway United Methodist Church for Reconciling/Pride
Sunday, June 30

Chicago, Ill.-- Civil rights activist and United Methodist Church leader Dr. Gilbert H. Caldwell will be speaking at Broadway United Methodist Church, 3344 N. Broadway, Chicago, on Sunday, June 30, at 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Broadway has designated June 30 as Pride/Reconciling Sunday to coincide with Chicago's annual Pride Parade festivities. In addition to hosting Dr. Caldwell, the church will present a special liturgy that celebrates diversity and recognizes the value of struggles for justice, mercy and equality.

Broadway's Pastor Greg Dell states that this will be a significant opportunity for the church and community to hear words of challenge and encouragement from a leader such as Dr. Caldwell. "Gil Caldwell is one of the giants of our church and time. As an African-American, straight, man, his commitment to challenging injustice and bigotry in any and all of their forms -- race, gender, sexual orientation, and more -- has made him a mentor for many of us. Gil's articulate writings and presentations; his sensitivity, passion, humor, gentleness, humility, and deep faith are the qualities that make it an honor to be in his presence. I count it as a deep privilege to know him as colleague and friend." Gilbert H. Caldwell has been active in the Civil Rights Movement since the 1960's. He has participated in the Mississippi "Freedom Summer," Selma to Montgomery March, March on Washington, March on Boston led by Dr. King and the Million Man March. He has traveled to Africa extensively to aid in abolishing apartheid. Dr. Caldwell has written two books on civil rights: Race, Racism & Reconciliation and Just the Right Word. He has also written articles that have appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Washington Times, The Christian Century and Circuit Rider newspapers.

He has been arrested four times for his activism: the first time in 1971 with Jesse Jackson and others blocking the entrance to A&P Grocery Stores national headquarters in New York City; the second time in 1985 while picketing in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. protesting apartheid; and twice at the 2000 United Methodist Church General Conference protesting gay/lesbian rights within the church.

Dr. Caldwell served as a United Methodist pastor in Massachusetts, Connecticut, N.Y. (Brooklyn & Harlem), Pennsylvania and Colorado. In addition, he has been Associate General Secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race and District Superintendent twice for the United Methodist Church as well as 3rd World Campus Minister at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has been active historically in the Black Methodists for Church Renewal organization and currently serves on the board of directors of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church.

Dr Caldwell quotes the words of Frederick Douglass for encouragement, meaning and direction in life, "If there is no struggle, there is not progress."

Dr. Caldwell believes a sense of humor has seen him through much of his life. "Humor, laughter, smiles, are gifts of God. Laughing at myself, with others and at the foolishness of an oppressive church and nation helps me maintain my sanity," says Caldwell.

ABOUT BROADWAY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Broadway is a Christian faith community embracing the diversity of its Chicago neighborhood and larger community. We welcome all persons celebrating the human family's God-given diversity of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and physical or mental capability. Broadway also welcomes persons regardless of social and economic class and faith background.

For More Information Contact: Kathy Martin, Communications Committee Co-Chair, Broadway United Methodist Church Tel: 708/660-0744; e-mail: katmartin67@yahoo.com

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