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MLP National Conference 2013

MLP National Conference 2013

“For you were once strangers yourselves…”

September 27-29
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
Tucson, AZ

 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not oppress the stranger. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:33-34

Join More Light Presbyterians for our 2013 National Conference at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona, September 27-29.  With a dynamic and diverse group of preachers and workshop leaders, we will gather to sing, pray, learn, and organize to act for justice in the PC(USA) and in civil society.

Conference Welcome Packet:

Welcome Letters
Schedule
Special Events
Conference Biographies

LGBTQ people have long known what it was like to be treated like strangers in their own church. As we move forward into a PC(USA) that has removed restrictions on our people’s qualifications for ordination, and as we seek full marriage equality in the church and society, we gather in a city with congregations who are working on behalf of the immigrant in the context of Arizona’s draconian immigration laws. In addition to being the only More Light church in Presbytery de Cristo, our host church, St. Mark’s Presbyterian, has a long history of justice work on sanctuary, border, and immigration issues.  St. Mark’s provides an office for “No More Deaths” as well as housing and services for a variety of border-related projects. We will hear and experience the ministries of Southside Worker Center housed at Southside Presbyterian Church,  and Borderlinks, both  of which are PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer sites, as well as Corazón de Tucson. One of the housing options offered invites conferees to stay in the dormitory housing of Borderlinks.

On-site conference check-in/registration will begin Friday, September 27 at 1 p.m. at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church. The first official conference event will be dinner on Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. The conference will conclude on Sunday, September 29 at approximately Noon, following the morning worship service.

Prior to the beginning of the conference on Friday, September 27, we will offer a dynamic Building an Inclusive Church training from 9am to 5pm. This curriculum was developed in partnership with our ecumenical sister organizations and the Institute for Welcoming Resources. It teaches conversational models that have been effective in growing the Welcoming Church movement, and that were the basis for the successful campaign to defeat the anti-gay marriage amendment in Minnesota last November.

MLP is offering a one-day version of this training as a pre-conference workshop. There is no extra fee, but please note your participation on your registration form.

Register

Explore the Conference:

Conference Preachers, Worship and Concerts

Friday, September 27:

John Russell Stanger

John StrangerJohn Russell Stanger is the Organizer of Mission and Advocacy at Presbyterian Welcome in NYC. He was raised on a cattle ranch in Texas but went all the way to India as a Young Adult Volunteer to discover that studying theology was the only way he could understand the brokenness of the world. While coming out as gay during seminary he realized his place was not in the hallowed halls of the academy, but in communities helping youth find their voices to advocate for themselves and work for a more just world. Since completing his Master of Divinity at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, John has served with Presbyterian Welcome, where he preaches, teaches, and facilitates discussions about faith, gender, and sexuality with youth and adults. You can read some of his writing at PluckyPresby.com.

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Saturday, September 28:

Nicole Garcia

Nicole GarciaNicole Garcia began her transition, male-to-female, in 2003 while employed as a law enforcement officer for the state of Colorado. Nicole successfully completed her transition in 2005 and currently earns a living as a state parole officer. Nicole is the co-chair of the board of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation, an international organization that works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Lutherans. Nicole is also on the boards of the Interfaith Working Group and One Colorado.

Nicole is currently a graduate student in counseling at the University of Colorado Denver. Nicole is scheduled to earn a M.A. in counseling in May 2014. Nicole has been accepted to a specialized M. Div. Distance Learning program at Luther Seminary. She will begin her journey toward ordained ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in September 2013.

Saturday Concert

Saturday Concert by Desert Voices and Reveille Men’s Chorus.

Desert Voices

Founded in 1988, Desert Voices is Arizona’s premier LGBTQ chorus. We are a not-for-profit corporation committed to promoting the ongoing and positive gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender presence in our community. We advocate understanding, cooperation, and peaceful coexistence. Our chorus is a unique and diverse mix of LGBTQ people and straight allies all singing together with one voice. We perform at a wide variety of venues, including GALA events, and we hold regular rehearsals which anyone may attend.

Reville

Reveille Men’s Chorus, Tucson’s internationally recognized men’s chorus, is in its 17th year of changing lives through music. What began in 1995 as a gay men’s community chorus with an array of singers has grown, transitioned and taken flight into a community institution of seasoned performers with an added public health focus on HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention.

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Sunday, September 29:

Alex McNeil

Alex McNeillAlex Patchin McNeill’s driving passion is working for queer and transgender inclusion in sacred spaces and serves as MLP’s new Executive Director. He is the first openly transgender ministry candidate in his conservative Presbyterian region in Western North Carolina. He currently serves as the lead trainer for the Institute for Welcoming Resources “Building an Inclusive Church” program, a national ecumenical effort to equip progressive Christians with the tools to help their churches become more welcoming to LGBTQ congregants. He is also the Communications and Development Director at Equality Maryland, a state-based organization working to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ Marylanders.

Alex earned his Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School with scholarship on the intersection of religion, gender and sexuality. He is one of the subjects of Out of Order, a documentary film being made about queer clergy in the PC(USA). Recently, he launched Queer Sunday School, a project of two future Presbyterian ministers to reclaim the bible as a source of liberation. He will continue to speak, organize, and fundraise for queer religious issues until all faithful LGBT individuals can call a church home.

Read more of Alex’s writing at Presbyqueerian.

Rev. Mike Smith, Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deuerzen

Jazz MusiciansMusic for Sunday worship will be a jazz service led by our own Rev. Mike Smith (former MLP board member), and featuring Lisa Otey and Diane Van Deuerzen.

Diane Van Deurzen and Lisa Otey are a dynamic duo, a perfect blend of hot jazz, blues and cabaret. They take their act all over the world, performing at festivals, clubs and theatres.

“Whenever these two artists perform together, people comment on their easy rapport and emotional connection. Otey’s piano and vocals are hot and steamy. Van Deurzen sings sweetly. Together they blend like a musical cappuccino with extra foam on top.” -Chuck Graham

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Workshop Opportunities

  • Rev. Debra Peevey on organizing for marriage equality in state campaigns and in the PC(USA).
  • George Kerr of the Presbyterian AIDS Network, on HIV/AIDS criminality.
  • Barbara Satin, of the Institute for Welcoming Resources on aging in the LGBTQ community.
  • Nicole Garcia of ReconcilingWorks (ELCA) on the fluidity of gender identity over a lifetime.
  • Panel discussion of  leaders from the Southside Worker Center and Borderlinks on immigration, border culture and LGBTQ lives.

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Pre-Conference Training Opportunity

We will offer, as a pre-conference opportunity, the Building an Inclusive Church Training, a curriculum which was developed in partnership with our ecumenical sister organizations and the Institute for Welcoming Resources. It teaches conversational models that have been effective in growing the Welcoming Church movement, and that were the basis for the successful campaign to defeat the anti-gay marriage amendment in Minnesota last November.

MLP is offering a one-day version of this training as a pre-conference workshop on Friday, September 27 from 9 am to 5 pm. There is no extra fee, but please note your participation on your registration form.

Rev. Debra Peevey

Debra PeveeyRev. Debra Peevey was ordained in 1981 as the first open lesbian in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She served as Pastor of Findlay Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1982-1992. She then served as Chaplain to Hospice of Seattle for four years. Debra has over 30 years experience working for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the life and work of the church. She was one of two State wide faith-field organizers working against the passage of Prop 8 in California. In addition she served as More Light Presbyterian’s Outreach Director for the ratification of Amendment 08B and Amendment 10A. Amendment 10A was the successful campaign that removed all barriers to the ordination of LGBT persons in the PCUSA. Most recently, she was the Faith Director for Washington United for Marriage, one of three state campaigns that made history by winning marriage equality for committed loving same sex couples at the ballot box in 2012.

Debra and her partner, Candy Cox have been together for 28 years and were legally married on June 28, 2008, 21 years and a day after their original covenant June 27, 1987.

Alex McNeil

Alex McNeillAlex Patchin McNeill’s driving passion is working for queer and transgender inclusion in sacred spaces and serves as MLP’s new Executive Director. He is the first openly transgender ministry candidate in his conservative Presbyterian region in Western North Carolina. He currently serves as the lead trainer for the Institute for Welcoming Resources “Building an Inclusive Church” program, a national ecumenical effort to equip progressive Christians with the tools to help their churches become more welcoming to LGBTQ congregants. He is also the Communications and Development Director at Equality Maryland, a state-based organization working to eliminate prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ Marylanders.

Alex earned his Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School with scholarship on the intersection of religion, gender and sexuality. He is one of the subjects of Out of Order, a documentary film being made about queer clergy in the PC(USA). Recently, he launched Queer Sunday School, a project of two future Presbyterian ministers to reclaim the bible as a source of liberation. He will continue to speak, organize, and fundraise for queer religious issues until all faithful LGBT individuals can call a church home.

Read more of Alex’s writing at Presbyqueerian.

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Transportation Information

If you are arriving into Phoenix, the best shuttle service to Tucson is Arizona Shuttle. It costs $39 one way or $78 for a round trip (If there are 2 or more in a party, the one way fare goes down to $29.25). The service runs once an hour and it is a 2 hour and 15 minute trip between the airport and Tucson. You may book the stop at 5350 E. Speedway. St. Mark’s will have people available to pick you up and transport you to the conference or hotel.

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Conference Site

St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
3809 E. Third St.
Tucson, AZ  85716
(520) 325-1001

See the blue marker on the Conference Lodging Map below.

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Conference Lodging

You are responsible for making your own lodging reservations at the hotels below. Host housing is also available and you can make that request during the registration process in the Special Needs section.

Conference Lodging Map

The conference site is marked in blue. The lodging options are marked in pink. You may move the map around with your computer mouse.


View MLP National Conference 2013 in a larger map

Conference Lodging List

The listings at the top are closer to the conference site at St. Marks Presbyterian Church.

Tucson Varsity Club Hotel and Suites
3855 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85716
(480) 515-5669
Website

Important: Tucson Varsity Club Hotel and Suites is offering MLP a special rate of $59.50 plus tax for a 1 bedroom ( kitchen, king size bed, comfortable sofa bed in another room). They will honor the special rate on a space-available basis until day the conference begins. To obtain this rate, use this link or contact John Ginter at 480-515-5669 or  john.ginter@diamondresorts.com. Be sure to mention that you are with More Light Presbyterians.

1 bedroom ( kitchen, king size bed, comfortable sofa bed in another room) – $59.50 plus tax (until August 27th.)
2 bedroom ( kitchen, 2 king size beds in different rooms, plus sofa bed ) – $125 plus tax
Studio ( kitchen, 1 king size bed, plus sofa bed – all in the same room ) – $69 plus tax

Lodge on the Desert
306 North Alvernon Way
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 320-2000
Website

King or Double Queen rooms
Single or Double Rate $99 (New rate!)Book here
Triple rate $129
Quad rate $139

Rate includes an expanded continental breakfast.

Doubletree By Hilton
Reid Park
445 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson, Arizona, 85711
520-881-4200
Website

Conference rate at $99 plus tax

Arizona Casitas
3232 East 1st  St., Tucson, Arizona, 85716
520-289-1123
Website

Includes continental breakfast. 1 suite in Main house with king bed, $109, and a casita that sleeps up to 4, $ 129.

Adobe Rose
940 N. Olsen, Tucson, Arizona, 85719
Website
520-318-4644

6 rooms, special price of $125 for 2 in room if you mention MLP conference. Extra persons in larger rooms an extra $25.00 each. Includes full breakfast, wireless internet, parking, free laundry.

Aloft Tucson University
1900 East Speedway, Tucson, Arizona, 85719
520-908-6800
Website

$129  and up

Borderlinks
620 S. 6th Ave., Tucson, Arizona 85701
520-628-8263
Website

Borderlinks is a PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer site which works on issues of immigration and the border.   They are offering housing in a shared dorm with communal bathrooms and kitchen space for $30 per night. There is a gated parking lot, and easy access to the SunTran public bus system.  If you would like to sign up for this housing option, please email Alison Moore at alison.michal@gmail.com.  This housing is limited, and the deadline for signing up is August 1.  It may likely fill up well before then.

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Meals

Dinner on Friday, September 27, lunch & dinner on Saturday, September 28 are included. Please indicate any specific dietary needs/requests in “Special Requests” on the registration form.

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Costs/Deadlines

The cost of the conference is $50 ($75 after September 1) for college/seminary students, youth and Tucson locals, and $75 ($100 after September 1) for all others. The conference registration deadline is September 10. Local commuter conference attendance for Saturday, September 28 is $20 (can be paid in advance or at the registration desk).

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Scholarships/Discounts

Conference scholarships are available for college/seminary students and youth and those with limited income. You may apply for a scholarship using MLP’s Scholarship Application form. There is also a group discount, five for the price of four.

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Media Policy

We encourage media coverage of More Light Presbyterians’ events. We seek to maintain a balance between legitimate media access in the interest of accurate reporting, while also respecting the privacy and confidentiality of the participants at More Light Presbyterian events.

All media representatives are required to agree to be bound by this policy, register, receive, and display media badges. More Light Presbyterians reserve the right to verify the credentials of all proposed media representatives, and to deny or revoke access in its sole discretion, at any time. All media must wear their media badge so that it is clearly visible at all times. In addition, all media must verbally identify themselves as media when entering conversation with event participants or leaders.

Subject to this policy, media representatives are welcome to participate in plenary sessions. Small group workshops, question and answer sessions, and covenant groups, are not opportunities for media reporting or participation. Permission from MLP is required for photography, videotaping or audio recording More Light Presbyterian events or the participants of MLP events. Media representatives wishing to schedule interviews or clarify this media policy should contact Patrick Evans, Interim Executive Director at (203) 901-3688 or patrick@mlp.org.

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Explore Tucson

If you would like to discover Tucson beyond the conference, be sure to explore the following sites:

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MLP National Conference 2013 Flyer (pdf)

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