Word Up 211 New Church Family newsletter

WORD UP 211 — April 10, 2013

 

A weekly newsletter from New Church Family, a member of International Christian Community Churches

3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)

Daytona Beach, FL 32124

 

 Interim pastor: Rev. Susan McDaniels

Telephone: 386-527-5952

E-mail: NewChurchFamily@gmail.com

 

THIS SUNDAY – APRIL 14

WORSHIP & HOLY COMMUNION, 10 a.m. – Rabbi Howard Schwartz,  a longtime Army chaplain and now a chaplain for Haven Hospice in DeLand, is our guest preacher. Most of you know Rabbi Howard from our God Gab discussions. He also is a strong ally of the GLBT community — one of his children came out as gay and later transitioned to the opposite sex. Rev. Susan McDaniels will lead Communion. (We are changing our order of service a bit so that Communion will be in the middle of the service instead of at the end.)

GLBT MEMORIAL PLANNING PROGRAM  at 11:30 a.m. — Steve Rader, a counselor from Lohman Funeral Home in Deltona, will be available after service to give a short presentation on final arrangements for gay singles and gay couples. Topics will include:  how to make sure your wishes are respected, options for memorials, drawing up a will, selecting a personal representative, dealing with hospitals, etc. If you have a particular question you’d like to send Steve in advance, e-mail him at steveraderdb@gmail.com

PASTOR NOMINATING COMMITTEE will meet after service in the Boardroom to start in-depth research on approximately a dozen applicants. The application period closed April 1.More than two dozen other applicants have been thanked for applying but their qualifications and experience do not meet our needs. Information: Contact Betty.

SCRIPTURE FOR SUNDAY

Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C)

Acts 9:1–6, (7–20); Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11–14; John 21:1–19

Besides the text in John 21, Rabbi Schwartz also will be preaching from

Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-32, and Luke 10:25-28 .

PRAYERS –

n  Prayers for the soul of the late Alan C., a frequent visitor to our church. (No service is being held.)

n  Prayers for Clarence  at Halifax Hospital, being treated for back pain and pneumonia. Please check with Ron P. before visiting or calling. Clarence is not supposed to be using his voice. 

n  Safe and healthy travel for Russ V.,  who is starting a cross-country RV trip to San Diego.  Russ has been having problems with an accelerated heartbeat, but feels he will be OK if he paces himself carefully.   

n  Continued healing for Jennifer at Coquina Rehab in Ormond with leg injuries suffered in a fall. She is making progress but will be there another month.

n  Healing for Doreen’s cancer,  prayers for Dawn to be able to get to London to see her.   

n  Prayers for  people unable to make it to church  

n  Healing for Linda N.

n  Jerry asks prayers for Richard with respiratory problems

n  Safe travel for Loretta, visiting her brother in Sarasota

n  Continuing prayers for Lila Rose, the 6-year-old with cancer.

n  Healing for Dean in Virginia

n  Thanksgiving for our visitors, Vonshelle, Lisette and Jamie!

 

 

INTERIM PASTOR HIRED – Rev. Susan McDaniels received an  85 percent majority in a congregational vote last Sunday and was called to serve as interim pastor for the next 6 to 9 months. The board set her start date as Monday, April 8.  Congratulations, Susan, and thank you for immediately jumping in with visits to a hospital and a rehab center. She moderated Monday’s board meeting as a non-voting member and attended the Guild dinner on Tuesday.      

SUNDAY SERMON RECAP – What’s love got to do with it, Rev. Vonshelle asked us. Everything! The word “love” has many meanings but they’re all beautifully summed up in 1 Corinthians 13. It is so good to know that when we stumble and fumble with our human efforts to love, we have God’s love always right at hand. Some people can imagine God only as the angry judge. How sad and how blind. Why do we have so much trouble imagining him as the Forgiving Father, welcoming his Prodigal Children home. continue page 2

John & Michael deal with DOMA

By John Becker, Bilerico Project blog

Editor’s Note: This item is an excerpt from a Bilerico Project blog. It gives a case example of how two young men in Vermont are being finnacially penalized by the Defense of Marriage Act, even though same-gender marriage is legal in Vermont.

In 2011, Michael and I moved from our home state of Wisconsin (a non-marriage equality state) to our new home in Vermont (a marriage equality state). Let me tell you, the difference between the two is like night and day. I don’t think I can overstate how much it means to us both to live in a place that values the loving marriages of all couples – gay and straight – or our gratitude to all those Vermonters who worked so hard to make marriage equality possible.

But living in a marriage equality state for the first time did make filing our taxes a little more eventful. Vermont, like most states, uses the figures from a couple’s federal return to compute their state return. Since our legal marriage means we file jointly with the State of Vermont but DOMA forces us to file separately and singly with the United States, Michael and I – well, our amazing tax preparer – were forced to complete four tax returns.

We had to prepare one individual federal return each (which each of us ultimately files), a “dummy” joint federal return (to combine our incomes, adjustments, credits, etc. in order to obtain the necessary numbers for our state return), and our joint state tax return (which we file with the State of Vermont). While the extra step of preparing that “dummy” federal return is a big-time hassle, it also provided us, for the first time, the opportunity to see exactly how much more we paid in taxes because the federal government forces us to file singly, rather than jointly as our straight counterparts are able to do. The difference between those two numbers is referred to as the “Gay Tax.”

For my husband and me, that difference in 2011 amounted to $1566. To some of you that might not seem like much, but trust me: to a young professional couple, one of whom works in the nonprofit sector, $1566 is a good chunk of cash.continue page 2

High price of being a gay couple

 

 

 

Much of the debate over legalizing gay marriage has focused on God and Scripture, the Constitution and equal protection.

But we see the world through the prism of money. And for years, we’ve heard from gay couples about all the extra health, legal and other costs they bear. So we set out to determine what they were and to come up with a round number — a couple’s lifetime cost of being gay.

It was much more complicated than we initially imagined, and that’s probably why we’ve never seen similar efforts. We looked at benefits that routinely go to married heterosexual couples but not to gay couples, like certain Social Security payments. We plotted out the cost of health insurance for couples whose employers don’t offer it to domestic partners. Even tax preparation can cost more, since gay couples have to file two sets of returns. Still, many couples may come out ahead in one area: they owe less in income taxes because they’re not hit with the so-called marriage penalty.

Our goal was to create a hypothetical gay couple whose situation would be similar to a heterosexual couple’s. So we gave the couple two children and assumed that one partner would stay home for five years to take care of them. We also considered the taxes in the three states that have the highest estimated gay populations — New York, California and Florida. We gave our couple an income of $140,000, which is about the average income in those three states for unmarried same-sex partners who are college-educated, 30 to 40 years old and raising children under the age of 18.

 

Here is what we came up with. In our worst case, the couple’s lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562. But the number fell to $41,196 in the best case for a couple with significantly better health insurance, plus lower taxes and other costs.

These numbers will vary, depending on a couple’s income and circumstance. Gay couples earning, say, $80,000, could have health insurance costs similar to our hypothetical higher-earning couple, but they might well owe more in income taxes than their heterosexual counterparts. For wealthy couples with a lot of assets, on the other hand, the cost of being gay could easily spiral into the millions.continue page 2

New Church Family names interim pastor

The congregation of New Church Family voted Sunday (April 7) to name  Rev.  Susan  McDaniels as its interim pastor.

The vote authorizes the church board to hire Rev.  Susan part-time for a period of 6 to 9 months while the church continues its search for a permanent pastor. Terms of the appointment will be discussed at a board meeting Monday (April 8) at 6 p.m. The board also will select a starting date. Rev. Susan, who has returned to the area from Asheville, N.C., is scheduled to preach at the April 21 service.

Rev. Susan received affirmation from 85 percent of voting members in a  forum that followed Sunday service.

Rev. Susan has been a church member for 10 years and served several years as associate pastor when her former partner, Rev. Beau McDaniels, was senior pastor. Rev Beau retired in January and is living out of state.

Located at 3520 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, New Church Family is a diverse Christian congregation with a special outreach to the gay, lesbian and transgender community. It is affiliated with International Christian Community Churches in Asheville. It conducts worship services each Sunday at 10 a.m.

Guest preacher for next Sunday’s service will be Rabbi Stanley Howard Schwartz.

Word Up 210 New Church Family newsletter

 

 

WORD UP 210

 April  3, 2013

A weekly newsletter from New

Church Family, a member of International

Christian Community Churches

3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)

Daytona Beach, FL 32124

 

Telephone: 386-527-5952

E-mail: NewChurchFamily@gmail.com

 

THIS SUNDAY – APRIL 7 – Worship & Holy Communion led by Rev. Vonshelle Beneby, assistant pastor of United Church of Christ, New Smyrna Beach.

 

Worship will be followed by a potluck meal which will include a forum and a congregational  vote on whether to call a particular person as an interim pastor.  Please note: Our pastor search is continuing – the interim  pastor would serve only 6-9 months.

 

  Please try to attend this forum. If you cannot, we can accept e-mail or voice-mail votes in advance,  but not after the meeting. Please contact any board member for details (Bill P., Teresa W., Tom B., or Mike C.)

SCRIPTURE  for  SUNDAY

Rev. Vonshelle will be preaching from 1st  Corinthians 13.

 

Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C): Acts 5:27–32; Psalm 118:14–29 or Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4–8; John 20:19–31

                    

PRAYER REQUESTS –

n  Healing for Russ experiencing an elevated heart rate and feels weak. He is getting more tests. He has had to delay an RV trip to San Diego.

n  Margaret asks further recovery for her brother Pat, injured in a car accident in Virginia. He is making headway.

n  Healing for Jennifer who had a bad fall at her home. She was immobilized for 5 hours before she could dial for help. She suffered broken bones and is now in Coquina Rehab Center in Ormond.

n  The Panera Bread  coffee group asks prayers for Lila Rose, a 6-year-old girl fighting advanced cancer. A relative, Billie, heard our group talking at the restaurant and came over to give us the prayer request for her family.

n  Mike B., also known as PonyTail Mike, asks God’s help in sending odd jobs his way so he can pay overdue bills. (see our classifieds for Mike’s phone no.)

n  Thanksgiving for two wonderful worship services led by Dana Worsham of Atlanta.

n  Teresa gives thanks for  the sale of  her former house.

n  The church is thankful it sold vacant land last week after a 3-year marketing effort.   

n  Healing for Linda N., too unsteady on her feet to  join us for Easter service.

n  Thanksgiving for the live music at our services and our new audiovisual aids. May the Holy Spirit motivate more people to share their talents.

n  Healing for Keith, limping after injuring his foot .  

n  Healing for Clarence, who gamely operated our AV system on Sunday despite severe back pain.

n  Thanksgiving for our first-time visitors – Amy, Lael and  young Elijah 

     

SUNDAY SERMON RECAP —   Easter message from Dana Worsham – Understand the message of Easter as God beckoning us through a new door. Jesus died and rose to a new life, showing us the possibilities. We humans can trust God to forgive and forget our sins if we repent, and help us move ever closer to the Divine Presence. God wants us right there with Him, not cast off to some forsaken prison we label hell.                       

CHURCH & COMMUNITY CALENDAR- -This week & next

continue next page

Post-DOMA nation — marriage hodge-podge?

By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News

If, as many legal experts predict, the Defense of Marriage Act is struck down by the Supreme Court, advocates behind the decades-long movement for gay rights will have won a major victory. But the decision could also create a dense legal maze for gay and lesbian married couples, one that would surely lead to more lawsuits that could make their way back to the Supreme Court.

And striking down DOMA would not just affect same-sex couples, but their employers. Basically, said Jonathan Zasloff, a professor at UCLA School of Law, the result could be a “mess.”

The problem resides in conflicting state gay marriage laws and how the federal government would interpret them. Last week, the court heard arguments about whether Section 3 of DOMA—which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages—is unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, generally the court’s swing vote, seemed inclined to strike down the statute on the grounds that it interferes with states’ rights to define marriage, raising hopes among gay rights groups that thousands of married same-sex couples will be able to access the federal benefits of marriage for the first time.

If DOMA is struck down, then same-sex couples residing in states that allow gay marriage will suddenly be included in the more than 1,100 federal laws that give benefits to married couples. Gay couples, for instance, could file jointly on their tax returns, apply for Social Security survivor benefits if their spouse dies, and take up to 12 weeks off to care for a sick family member without fear of losing their job under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

But what about a gay couple that gets married in New York and then moves back to North Carolina, or any other of the 38 states that have explicitly banned gay marriage?

At first glance, it appears they would have no access to these rights, and that their marriage would not be recognized either by their state or the federal government. During oral arguments, Justice Samuel Alito asked attorney Roberta Kaplan, who was arguing against DOMA, this very question. Alito asked whether a New York gay couple who moved to North Carolina could qualify for the same federal estate tax breaks that heterosexual married couples enjoy if one spouse dies.

“Our position is only with respect to the nine states … that recognize these marriages,” Kaplan responded.

In Kaplan’s version of events, the Supreme Court could strike down DOMA and essentially create two different worlds for gay married couples in the country. In a handful of states, gay couples would enjoy all the benefits of heterosexual couples, but if they moved to the majority of the states in the union, their marriage would effectively disappear—for both federal and state purposes.continue page2

Traveling In Our Fabulous Gay World

Santa Fe is so interesting and exciting. This city was established in1610 and is one of the oldest cities in the country. The elevation is 7000 feet. Everyone is welcome in Santa Fe. You won’t see very many gay flags as they don’t need any. Actually it is the most gay-friendly cities in the country.
We always stay at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear which is owned by Robert Frost and Ralph Bolton. It is the estate of the former Witter Bynner, the famous poet and author who lived there for over 40 years. Actually the Inn is a compound with an adobe wall all around it. It is located just a few blocks of the downtown Plaza. You are really stepping back in time when staying there. Their guest list reads like a who’s who in the arts, entertainment and writers. We have met so many extremely interesting guests over the years staying there. This is just a very grand place to stay when visiting Santa Fe. Their website is www.turquoisebear.com.

There are so many things to see and do when visiting Santa Fe. The “Plaza” which is the business square in down town Santa Fe has been the heart of Santa Fe which everything regarding the city. You will find all kinds of shops in the area selling Indian jewelry, bronze sculptors, an abundance of all kinds of art for sale. The shops on Canyon Road are extremely top of the line. There are many museums in the city including the museum of Fine Arts, with regional art, oil paintings and watercolors and photographs. The Palace of the Governors built in 1610 as the original capitol of New Mexico is located right on the plaza. The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture with exhibits of pottery, basketry, clothing,carpets and jewelry is a must see. The Museum of International Folk Art houses over 130,000 objects from around the world. The Girard Room is truly spectacular.The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has the largest collection of her works in the world.There are several other museums that you would also want to visit.

For those interestedin architecture Santa Fe has some of themost wonderful oldchurches, many dating back several hundred years. The Santa Fe Opera was established in 1959 and is considered the 2nd finest Opera company in the country, second only to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Check them out at www.santafeopera.org. continue to page 2

Partnership registries statewide? Bill advances in Florida Senate

A message from Equality Florida:

Moments ago (on April 1) the Florida Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs passed the “Families First” bill (SB 196). 

By a margin of 5 to 4, the Senate committee voted to move closer to creating a statewide domestic partnership registry (DPR) that would provide essential legal protections for unmarried couples including hospital visitation, correctional facility visitation, end of life decision making and burial arrangements.

A majority of Floridians already live in a local community that has a domestic partnership registry. Places like Volusia County, Orange County, Pinellas County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Key West, Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Tavares, Clearwater and North Miami already have registries. The Families First bill would eliminate the patchwork of policies and allow people to have important legal protections for their family, no matter where they live.

The bill passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans and its success combined with the strong bipartisan sponsorship of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act signals a new day in Florida.

  The country is changing and so is Florida, said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, the chief  gay-rights lobby within Florida.

   “This vote is a reflection of the change in public opinion favoring legal equality for all Florida couples. Our political leaders are finally listening to the pain inflicted on couples who are treated as legal strangers. And they are listening to the growing voice of business leaders who are calling for statewide protections that will help them attract and retain a diverse workforce,”  she said.

Local Domestic Partnership Registries now protect roughly 50% of Florida’s population. The protections are vital especially since the state has a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.

Senator Sobel has championed this bill and told her fellow committee members “Today we made history.” The bill now moves on to the next committee.

Thank you to the thousands of supporters all across the state who have called and emailed the committee urging their support and to the hundreds who have traveled to Tallahassee to testify and speak with your legislators

Word Up 209 March 27 NCF newsletter

WORD UP 209

 

MARCH 27, 2013

 Weekly Newsletter No. 209

 New Church Family

A member of International Christian Community Churches

3520 W. International Speedway Blvd. (US 92)

Daytona Beach, FL 32124

 

Telephone: 386-527-5952

E-mail: NewChurchFamily@gmail.com

 

Office Hours: Wednesdays 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (but unpredictable this week; please call in advance to check before driving to church.)

 

 

                      EASTER WEEKEND

 

                 AS WE COMPLETE OUR LENTEN JOURNEY…..

 

JOIN US FRIDAY, March 29  at 6:30 p.m. for a Good Friday service led by our guest preacher Dana Worsham from Atlanta.  Our service will have special meditation music. (Note: We moved up the service time by 30 minutes for the benefit of church members who also want to attend the 8 p.m. Daytona State GSA fundraiser show at the News-Journal Center.)

 

EASTER CELEBRATION  & Holy Communion is Sunday at 10 a.m. led by Dana. Feel free to bring in a lily or other spring plant to share with us.

 

CHURCH MEMBERS, please note: We will have an important announcement about our  ministry at the start of our Easter service. At the April 7 service, we will have a forum and  a vote by our membership. FYI, be aware our pastor search is continuing, and we are still accepting applications. Potential applicants should contact NCFPNC@gmail.com.

 

MEET DANA – Several of us plan to join Dana on Saturday for a Dutch-treat early-bird dinner at 3 p.m. at Aunt Catfish’s in Port Orange. Contact Betty if you’d like to take part, so we can alert the restaurant.

ABOUT DANA — ICCC member Dana is in her third year of study at the Candler Theological  School of Emory University in Atlanta. At 47, she is entering pastoral ministry at mid-life after serving in the Marines with active duty in the Gulf War, and then several years in the construction industry. She currently is serving an internship with MCC in Augusta, Ga.

 

SCRIPTURE FOR SUNDAY:

 

Lectionary Readings (Revised Common Lectionary, Year C) — Acts 10:34–43 or Isaiah 65:17–25; Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24; 1 Corinthians 15:19–26 or Acts 10:34–43;

John 20:1–18 or Luke 24:1–12.  FYI, our Sunday lesson  will make particular reference to Luke 11 and Luke 24.continue to page 2

High court hears 2 marriage cases

From Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed to be leaning on Wednesday (March 27)toward striking down a law that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples in a move that would reflect a shift in Americans’ attitudes about gay marriage.

In a second day of oral arguments on same-sex marriage, a majority of the court raised serious concerns with the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, enacted in 1996 under President Bill Clinton.

Arguments over the last two days on the DOMA case and a separate one challenging California’s ban on gay marriage marked the high court’s first foray into a delicate and divisive political, religious and social issue in the United States as polls indicate growing public support for same-sex marriage.

In theory, the cases have the potential for the court to take a significant step toward endorsing gay marriage as it gains support in some parts of the country. Based on the arguments, however, a partial victory for gay rights activists seems more likely than the sweeping declaration of same-sex marriage rights they had hoped for.

(Editor’s Note: Both cases appear unlikely  to advance the prospect for gay marriage becoming legal in Florida in the near future. Voters added an anti-gay amendment to the Florida Constitution in the 200 8 election.)

As demonstrators rallied on March 27 outside the Supreme Court building for a second day  , Justice Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing vote, showed a willingness to invalidate DOMA, which denies married same-sex couples access to federal benefits by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

He warned of a “real risk” that the law infringes on the traditional role of the states in defining marriage.

A conservative, Kennedy is viewed as a key vote on this issue in part because he has twice authored decisions in the past that were viewed as favorable to gay rights.

In contrast to the ambivalent approach they displayed on Tuesday in arguments about California’s Proposition 8 gay marriage ban, the nine justices seemed willing to address the substantive issue in the DOMA case, while also eyeing procedural questions.

The court is not expected to rule on the two cases until the end of June. If the justices were to strike down DOMA, legally married gay couples would be winners because they would have improved access to federal benefits, such as tax deductions.

Justices gave a strong indication they might resolve the Proposition 8 case on procedural grounds, but even that would be viewed as a win for gay rights activists as same-sex marriages in California would likely resume.

What appears highly unlikely is a sweeping declaration of a right for gay people to marry, a possible option only in the California case.

Overall, a majority of the justices made it clear that, while they might not impede the recent movement among some states toward gay marriage, they were not willing to pave the way either.continue to page 2