Today I am in Madison, WI speaking at a Pastors Summit for the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin. I was asked to tell the story of the "God Speaks Today" sermon series in September 2004 that led to our church being picketed one Sunday by three different Gay Rights groups.
The following links are provided primarily for those attending the summit, but the material will be useful for any church facing a similar situation.
Leadership Journal provided an overview: When Gay Activists Came to Calvary.
It all started with a five-part series called God Speaks Today. Here are the five sermons in the series:
During the summer of 2004 I preached through 1 Peter. Here are links to two sermons that show how I tried to explain things to our congregation:
Here are links to weekly columns I wrote for our church bulletin:
From May-September 2004 I wrote about the issues relating to the "God Speaks Today" series on my Crosswalk weblog. Entries are listed in order of their writing. The importance of the weblog entries is that they were read by people all across the country, thus raising awareness of the series. Note the entry called “God Speaks Today" Postcard. It contains photos of the postcard we mailed out to everyone in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park (over 40,000 addresses).
Every Church Must Take a Stand on Gay Marriage
Can Homosexuals Go to Heaven?
Answering My Mail
Standing for the Truth--What Your Church Can Do
The Wrong Kind of Repentance
Modern-Day Baal Worship
Answering My Mail--Round Two
Is Evangelism a Hate Crime?
God Speaks Today
"God Speaks Today" Postcard
Becky Pippert on Repenting and Rejoicing
"We Are Fervently Praying for You"
Good News for Oak Park
Is God Really Speaking This Sunday?
Bold Truth and Sweet Grace
Notes from Stephen Bennett's Talk
Should We Allow Sinners to Come to Church?
In mid-July Pastor Davis Duggins prepared this summary list of events/proposed budget/to-do list for the Calvary leadership team.
A few days before I preached on same-sex marriage, the Oak Park Lesbian and Gay Association sent this press release to the local papers encouraging all Oak Park residents to come to Calvary to hear my sermon.
Here are some samples of how the local media covered the event:
Jim Bowman, a former Chicago Tribune columnist, noted author, and an Oak Park resident, attended Calvary on the day the picketers showed up. His report appeared in the Wednesday Journal a week later. You can read it here.
The Wednesday Journal printed a long excerpt from my September 26 sermon. That particular issue was distributed to every home in Oak Park.