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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Evangelical Pastor Raises $6,500 for LGBT Kids—With Theater!

Posted by on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

It even starred "openly gay actors"! (Their words, not mine.) From the Royal Oak Daily Tribune:

ROYAL OAK — A check for at least $6,500 will be in the mail this week and it could be the first of its kind sent from an Evangelical church to a LGBT suicide-prevention agency called The Trevor Project.

Royal Oak Missionary Church is donating 80 percent of its proceeds from this month’s debut of “Masks,” a play written by its pastor, the Rev. Bill Barnwell of Warren, to tackle issues like compassion towards the gay community, suicide, infidelity, religious faith’s destructive power, and redemption. About 600 people attended three performances of the two-hour play that featured straight and openly gay actors.

Most of the money from ticket and advertising sales will be donated to The Trevor Project, which offers crisis counseling, in part through a 24-hour hotline and an instant-messaging chat service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.

It's always nice to see Christians acting like Christians.


Comments (11) RSS

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I posted about this story in a thread the other day. I live in the Detroit area. I think this is pretty cool.
Posted by WhatsThat on June 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
@1 This isn't "pretty cool"; this is crazy, outlandish, way cool.
Posted by Clayton on June 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM · Report this
"It's always nice to see Christians acting like Christians."

If only they did it more often. I would like to see the script, but any donation to the Trevor Project deserves praise.
Posted by TechBear on June 12, 2012 at 4:43 PM · Report this
He looks rather smashing in his purple, top-button undone, shirt. That's worth the ticket price right there.
Posted by Ooo la la on June 12, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
maybe the congregation will chip in to get that guy a new haircut (yes I know this is the most petty gay comment imaginable)
Posted by fsb on June 12, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
I appreciate this plug from the Slog. I've been a longtime reader of this blog and a big fan of Savage's work, as well as Christopher Ryan and Andrew Sullivan, all of whom have stretched my thinking over the years.

This has gotten a decent amount of press coverage. My goal is that this play can get more exposure. Once I get it formally published I'd be more than happy to make it available to any community, school, or faith based group, or anybody in the arts who would like to make their own production of it. While the show has some spiritual themes, they are not over the top and I tried to make it very accessible to a mainstream audience. A lot of good things have come from the show so far, even despite some of the outside criticism from reactionaries that didn't bother going to see it.

With their being no shortage of nutty things being said around the county from various pulpits, I really feel like we did something positive and potentially unprecedented with The Trevor Project, and my congregation deserves most of the credit for allowing it to happen and really stretching their comfort zones. I didn't think when I wrote it that it would have a chance of going forward. I want this story to get out, because I think there's others in my boat who would do similar things but are scared to, and if they see a precedent they may be more willing to do their own thing.

The average person sees preventing children from hurting themselves as something to be proud of, not something to be ashamed of. I don't think myself or the church are a bunch of heroes, but I think it's a wholly Christian thing to do to stand up and give a voice to those who don't have a voice and stand up for the helpless and harassed. This isn't a matter of liberal or conservative, it's a matter of just doing the right thing and reaching out a hand of friendship towards a community that all to often has been shunned in my circles. And I've met some great people in the process.

PS--fsb, the hair got cut awhile go.
Posted by Bill Barnwell on June 12, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this
Thank you for your work and donation.
Posted by fsb on June 12, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
I grew up near Royal Oak. It's one of the most gay-friendly communities in Michigan. Great to see them doing this.
Posted by Smartypants on June 12, 2012 at 9:37 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 9
@ 6 thank you. pride ( the best kind ) has many faces. i'm grateful that yours is among them. thanks
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on June 12, 2012 at 10:09 PM · Report this
Evangelism by itself, divorced from Fundamentalism, is not necessarily anti-gay. After all at its core the message of Evangelism is that God's Grace is available to all who open their hearts and minds to what in Jesus's own words are the greatest of God's commandments.

To love thy neighbor as thyself and to love the lord thy God with all your heart.

It's nice to see an Evangelical Church coming home.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on June 13, 2012 at 2:45 AM · Report this
If any artists reading this would like a copy of the script and would consider doing the show and their own type of fundraiser in the future email me at Wbarnwell1 at and once I get this formally published and all the legalities taken care of, I'd be more than happy to make the script available to other interested groups. As an FYI, the folks over at Trevor read the script before we entered into a partnership with them.
Posted by Bill Barnwell on June 13, 2012 at 7:54 AM · Report this

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