News Briefs: Berkeley seminary to hold 'Souls A'Fire' conference

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday April 5, 2023
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News Briefs: Berkeley seminary to hold 'Souls A'Fire' conference

The Reverend Dr. Roland Stringfellow will be hosting Berkeley's Pacific School of Religion's "Souls A'Fire" conference, which takes place virtually April 22-23, focusing on the intersection between the Christian church, queer identity, and the African American perspective.

Stringfellow, a gay man who is senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church-Detroit, is also the managing director of PSR's Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion for 2023, while the current executive director is on sabbatical, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported.

In the nation's current political climate, with anti-trans laws and Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, "a lot of people feel religion is the main enemy of the LGBTQ community," Stringfellow said.

However, this conference is seeking to "speak to the church and from the church to claim our space and claim our voice," he said.

This year commemorates the 20th anniversary of the conference, Stringfellow said, and will feature the Reverend Terence Mayo, a gay man, and the Reverend Kyndra Frazier, a lesbian, speaking about spiritual trauma. They will be questioned about whether "their ideas are too idealistic and not applicable to the church, or do they stand by their ideas," said Stringfellow.

One of the questioners, the Reverend Dr. Pamela Lightsey, will deliver this spring's Boswell lecture Thursday, April 20, at 4 p.m., which is online, where people can register to attend.

Lightsey, a lesbian, will be speaking on "The Big Lie and Its Old Hatred."

"This lecture focuses on the ways Black queer bodies are used to leverage the aspirations of political candidates, church leaders, and power elites," the Souls A'Fire website states. "It will demonstrate the ways the big lie — propaganda — is damaging the gains made during the civil and LGBTQ rights movements. While its primary focus will be the lives of Black queer women, this lecture will spotlight why all persons who believe in freedom and liberation must see this old hatred as a danger to all humanity."

On April 23, as part of the closing day of Souls A'Fire, Stringfellow will lead a worship service at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco's Tenderloin, which people can also watch via Zoom and Facebook Live.

Signing up for the conference is free and people can do so online.

"This is the school's opportunity to help folks understand the intersection between the church and LGBTQ identity," Stringfellow said.

Tenderloin Tessie's Easter dinner

Tenderloin Tessie will have its free Easter dinner Sunday, April 9, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin Street (at Geary Boulevard) in San Francisco.

Organizers said that all are welcome, but attendees should bring their ID and proof of COVID vaccination.

Volunteer shifts are available for Easter Sunday: 9 a.m. to noon; noon to 4 p.m.; and 3 to 6 p.m. People must show proof of vaccination and ID to volunteer.

Volunteer shifts are available on Saturday, April 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Both of these are for truck workers, who will help load and unload items, stated Michael Gagne, president of the all-volunteer Tenderloin Tessie board.

To volunteer, call Gagne at (415) 584-3252 (landline, no texting).

Castro Easter block party

The Castro Merchants Association will hold its inaugural Easter Eggstravaganza Block Party Saturday, April 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Noe Street at Market Street.

Of special note is a bonnet contest, with a $500 prize, a news release stated.

Activities for kids will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include free photos with the Easter bunny, a petting zoo and Easter egg hunt, and drag queen storytime.

Activities for all ages round out the afternoon and include drag performances, music, and entertainment. The aforementioned bonnet contest starts at 4 p.m., the release stated.

There will also be an Easter holiday art mart throughout the day, along with other fun surprises, according to the release.

The merchants group noted that it is holding the event on Saturday so as not to compete with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Easter event that takes place Sunday, April 9, at Mission Dolores Park.

There also is the "Drag Up! Fight Back!" rally at San Francisco City Hall on April 8, followed by a march to Union Square, as the B.A.R. previously reported.

SF State Central Asian art exhibit

The Associated Students Art Gallery at San Francisco State University has unveiled "Step into Central Asia," which is now on exhibit through April 14 at the gallery on the terrace level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center on campus, 1650 Holloway Avenue. The gallery is open Monday-Friday from noon to 5 p.m.

According to a news release, the exhibit celebrates Central Asian art and culture from the countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. It features the work of current artists displaying traditional themes in modern form, thus showing how Central Asian artists carry their culture with them in everyday life, the release stated.

The exhibit also includes interactive elements, such as people learning to write their names in Kazakh and making a bag with Central Asian designs.

San Diego mayor to headline BAYMEC brunch

Gay San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria will be the keynote speaker at the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee's fundraising brunch Sunday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Signia Hotel, 170 South Market Street in San Jose.

BAYMEC is a political action committee that serves four counties: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

The theme of the brunch is "Progress Never Stops." Gloria is the first elected LGBTQ mayor of California's second largest city and is a former state assemblymember, where he was majority whip.

The event will also feature WooWoo Monroe, an iconic San Jose drag performer.

Tickets are $225 and can be purchased here.

Writers can pitch works to agents or publishers

The San Francisco chapter of the Women's National Book Association will hold its 20th anniversary of "Pitch-O-Rama," where writers can pitch their completed work to up to seven agents or publishers in one day.

The virtual event is scheduled for Saturday, April 29, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Pacific time).

Kathleen Archambeau, an award-winning Bay Area lesbian nonfiction writer and journalist who's a board member of the women's book association, stated in an email that with the current climate of books being banned and drag story hours being attacked, "getting our words out has never been more important."

The cost is $65 for WNBA-SF members and $95 for non-members. To register, click here.

John Ferrannini contributed reporting.

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