Soulforce Releases Open Letter from Jay Bakker to Joel Osteen

"As a child growing up, I saw a side of the church that to me did not always reflect God's grace. This experience has led me to be concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ who sometimes may feel rejected and left out of the church." -Jay Bakker

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We remain hopeful that the congregation and staff at Lakewood will extend true Christian hospitality and share a meal and conversation with our families

Houston, TX (PRWEB) April 24, 2008

Today Soulforce released an open letter from Pastor Jay Bakker of Revolution NYC church to Rev. Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Originally mailed in January 2008, the letter invites Osteen and families from the Lakewood congregation to share a meal with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and straight-ally families over Mother's Day weekend.

Bakker is one of the clergy leaders of a nationwide fellowship effort called The American Family Outing. Co-organized by Soulforce, COLAGE, the National Black Justice Coalition, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the project aims to create dialogue between LGBT families and families at six American mega-churches.

Several mega-church congregations, including Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois--ranked the most influential church in America by Church Report magazine--have responded to the invitation with interest and graciousness.

"We remain hopeful that the congregation and staff at Lakewood will extend true Christian hospitality and share a meal and conversation with our families," says Jeff Lutes, Soulforce Executive Director. "Our faith requires us to reach across the aisle, have difficult conversations with those with whom we might disagree, and take a stand for fairness."

Jay Bakker is the son of Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, and the co-founder of Revolution Church. His non-traditional approach to ministry achieved national attention in the Sundance Channel documentary One Punk Under God, which documented his journey to become an LGBT-affirming Christian. Jay is dedicating the Mother's Day visit to Lakewood to the memory of his mother. (Full letter attached.)

Soulforce is a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) is an international fellowship of Christian churches with a special ministry to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The National Black Justice Coalition(NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.

COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parents. We build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.

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Jay Bakker

Jay Bakker Letter to Joel Osteen