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Our LGBT + allies blog is enriched with multi-media content that offers you updated stories, features, and life pieces in print, audio and video. Enjoy.

Rev. Lindsay Butler’s Shift in Practice that Changed her Faith – and Others’ Lives – Forever

January 29, 2018 - articles

by Jamilyn Cole | photos courtesy of Lindsay Butler   (Caption, photo above: Butler with Terry, the homeless man who she took in off the side of the road on Thanksgiving Day in 2005. Butler describes her relationship with him as inspiring and the greatest gift…

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500 Years of Reformation, Still Reforming

December 15, 2017 - articles

by Rev. Monica Weber, Epiphany Lutheran Church, ELCA   A Medieval pope dreamed up the sale of indulgences so that Christians could ‘buy’ their way into heaven, and the pope could build ornate palaces and cathedrals. By 1517, friar Martin Luther and his colleagues, known as…

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Pastor Robert Van Ess

June 21, 2017 - articles

by Mark Benton | photos by Greg Campbell   Like a priest hearing confession, former hair stylist Robert Van Ess’s listening skills helped him become an ordained, able minister, ready to guide his congregants’ life journeys.   At the age of 32, Robert Van Ess…

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Protecting All the Colors of the Rainbow: Matthew Hollon & Keshet

May 29, 2017 - articles

story and photo by Melinda Lejman   In the last issue of Focus, we learned about Temple Israel synagogue becoming a certified safe space for LGBTQ Jews through the organization Keshet (meaning ‘rainbow’ in Hebrew). Now, meet the conversion student who spearheaded the project as…

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Epiphany Community Garden: Pastor Monica Web Helps a Congregation Grow

May 22, 2017 - articles, Uncategorized

story by Jamilyn Cole | photos by Greg Campbell     Focus: I’m thrilled that we’re getting a chance to chat and to introduce you to the readers of Focus Magazine! Pastor Monica: Thank you so very much for profiling Epiphany Lutheran Church! Hello to…

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Rabbi Bess Wohlner – Thrilled To Help Lead The Reform

March 27, 2017 - articles

story by Melinda Lejman  |  photo courtesy Bess Wohlner Temple Israel is opening space in Crosstown Concourse, embracing LGBTQ Jews, and is now Keshet certified as a safe space for LGBTQ persons. Rabbi Bess Wohlner isn’t a native Memphian, though you’d be hard pressed to…

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Broderick Greer

March 21, 2017 - articles

story by Melinda Lejman  |  photo by Justin Fox Burks Reverend Broderick Greer knew he was gay when he was five years old. “I really enjoy helping people imagine what it looks like” Greer says, “for God to take an active role in creating LGBT…

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Jewish LGBTQs find acceptance in Conservative Judaism

December 16, 2016 - articles

by Melinda Lejman photo above: Rabbi Ilan Glazer, Beth Sholom Synagogue, Memphis It isn’t news that Judaism and homosexuality have historically been at odds. In recent times, however, the Conservative Jewish Movement has taken steps to confront the disparity between what Torah commands and what humanity…

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December Dilemma

December 5, 2016 - articles

by Gila Golder, Jewish Community Partners Come holiday season, Jewish families all across America face what is known as the “December Dilemma.” Christmas lights and decorations start popping up on lawns; Santa Claus grants wishes in malls; radio stations alternate between Christmas carols and ads…

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Gabriel & Jacob

November 28, 2016 - articles

by Melinda Lejman Two weeks after converting to Judaism in Athens, Georgia, Gabriel and Jacob moved to Memphis to start residency programs. Over coffee, I learned about their experience converting to Judaism and being gay and Jewish in the South. What motivated you to convert…

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