Douglass Blvd Christian Church

an open and affirming community of faith

n open and affirming community where faith is questioned and formed, as relationships are made and upheld. 

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A Letter to My Youngest upon Wandering through a Graveyard

By Derek Penwell

Dear Dominic,

I want to tell you about a graveyard I wandered through today. It was rainy and chilly, which seems appropriate if you're going to wander through a place where dead people make their home.

A dry-stone wall rings this patch of land. The stones, which have soft moss colonizing an inhospitable world, are stacked in a way that first appears haphazard, but in reality has its own sense of order and purpose. I suspect that each of those stones has a story to tell about the world that formed them and the hands that laid them.

I'd like you to see what I see and hear what I hear as I wander. The train offers up a plaintive sigh in the distance, while birds perched on a broken branch occasionally provide their own commentary on the landscape we behold.

As you walk down the rows, between the gravestones, you can smell the musky scent of the creek that lies just beyond the far wall. You may also notice that a great deal of time seems telescoped into a very small space, neighbors from different centuries tend their sad homes side by side in this humble stretch of ground.

You may also notice that old people and young people reside next to one another, making their ages unimportant in ways apparently impossible for those of us who tread new paths on top of these old dwellings. But the gravestones, rather than a barrier, form a community whose requirements for membership do not extend to such unspeakably insignificant things as age (or race, or gender, or class, or religion, or sexual orientation, for that matter).

The whisper of the creek carries the muted voices of this particular neighborhood, muted voices anxious to tell a thousand different stories–stories that even the wise stones are not articulate enough to tell.

You cannot quite make out the details of the stories in the language the creek speaks, but you can imagine the tales the whisper wants to tell. And as the creek continues to unfold its watery narrative, you may begin to notice that the stories themselves are alive, that each piece of limestone that stands in the water's way, rather than prevent them, allows the stories to be told again and again–an eternal record of the community gathered.

You may sense the spirit of those buried joining together, an expectant company of those departed but still strangely present, hoping desperately for someone to stop and listen to lives that we often think have slipped quietly into the darkness, but lives that continue to speak nevertheless–even though it's true that most times the only ones there to hear already abide in this sacred community, among the broken stones that surround them and the rippling stream that gives voice to their longing.

I want you to wander through this graveyard with me, my son, so that you may recognize the muted voices of our own lives, which will one day also join this commonwealth and be borne upon the song of the waters. A strange joy to be welcomed home.

Love,

Dad

Movie Club/DBCC Youth: The Wise Kids

In honor of October’s coming Louisville AIDS Walk, and our Youth’s participation in the event, the movie club is having a joint meeting with our DBCC Youth on Sunday, October 28th from 4–6:30. The film we will be viewing/discussing is called The Wise Kids; a film featured in the Louisville LGBT Film Festival.

A vivid, dynamic Southern coming-of-age drama, [The Wise Kids] takes place in the transitional space between high school and college, when life seems to be all questions and no answers, and the future is scarily wide open.[1]

So please, come out and join us in a discussion that is sure to be insightful for all of us, young and old.

Oh. And bring a movie snack!


  1. If you’d like to read the full synopsis, this bit is from IMDb  ↩

Let's go Hunger Walkin'!

The Louisville Hunger Walk sponsored by Dare to Care is this Sunday! 

The Walk/Run begins at 2:15, but we'll have to be there early to get ourselves registered. Registration is $25 for adults, and (at least in years past) you get a pretty sweet t-shirt to commemorate your contribution. 

If you are interested in riding the Church van to the Belvedere, be sure to e-mail Geoff Wallace or Jennifer Vandiver before Sunday so that we can get a relative head count.

For more info, visit http://www.thehungerwalk.org/ 

Come on out for a good time and a noble cause! 

Reflections on PRIDE! (Dennis Blake)

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Louisville’s PRIDE FESTIVAL…my third…as I have only been active in the LGBTQ community for about 4 years. The festival began with the parade on Friday evening. My church, Douglass Blvd. Christian Church, has participated for several years now. I experienced real joy as I marched alongside some of our gay and straight members, carrying our banner of support. I have been involved in church music ministry for 50 years, and experience real joy at being part of a faith community which welcomes and affirms ALL people gathering to worship and fellowship, regardless of gender, age, color, creed or sexual orientation. It brought sheer joy to my heart to witness the smiles of people watching, knowing that many of them were not members of the LGBTQ community, but there to support it. On Saturday, I volunteered, along with some other church members, at our booth…passing out information about DBCC, and engaging in conversation with those who stopped by. I felt great joy in my heart as I heard person after person express thanks that we (representatives of the church) were there with our support. (And lest I forget, there were other churches there as well. Hopefully, next year, there will be even more.)
The balance of the afternoon was spent walking around the festival, meeting old friends, making new ones, and taking in all that the festival had to offer. While there, I could not help but notice the others who had come. As I walked, I saw outfits of every color of the rainbow. People in long pants, short pants, underpants, t-shirts, no shirts, crazy hats, crazy hair, nipple rings, ear gauges, tattoos, lip rings… you name it and it was there. I heard some comments about how the news media only seemed to film and photograph the ones who dressed and behaved in such outlandish manner. I was asked, “Is that the message that we want delivered to the larger Louisville community about the LGBT population?” What about those who choose to be less conspicuous about their “gayness”? After all, the LGBT community contains not only those who blatantly flaunt their homosexuality, but those who dress and act in a more conservative manner. The fact is: we are lawyers, doctors, teachers, servers, sanitation engineers, accountants, students, real estate brokers, managers, construction workers, nurses, bartenders, etc. I would daresay that those in the “straight” Louisville population cannot go anywhere in the area without some contact with a member of the LGBTQ community, and may not even realize it. Some of us are noticed, while others are well-hidden. We are black, white, Asian, Indian, and of mixed descent. We are teenagers, baby boomers, and members of the X and Y generations. Are you getting my point? We represent DIVERSITY, within our own LBGT community.

True Colors Film Screening

Our friends at the True Colors Ministry of Highland Baptist Church are screening the film Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin this Sunday, February 5th.  If the Super Bowl just isn't your cup of tea, or you're simply looking for an interesting and stimulating activity on Sunday, this is definitely the place to be!  For more information, contact Maurice Bojangles-Blanchard at truecolorsministry@gmail.com.