Deaths • 11.04.11

Studer.JohnSpanke

John "Spanke" Studer

John “Spanke” Studer was born in Beattie, Kansas on April 10, 1955 to Ted and Margaret Studer, and died peacefully at his home on Oct. 31, at the age of 56.

Studer was an active member of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, volunteering his services as a docent as well as in the church’s baking ministry.

He was also well known for his significant contributions to AIDS Services of Dallas.  According ASD’s President and CEO Don Maison, Studer served on the agency’s board for several years and over the past 20 years he catered and hosted  Spanke’s Toilet Paper Parties, collecting thousands and thousands of rolls of toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap and other personal items ASD residents and raising between $2,000 to $5,000 twice each year throughout that time.

Studer also served on the boards of of the Dallas Bears, Texas Bear Association and the Resource Center Dallas. In June, Dallas Bears named him Bear of the Year in recognition of his years of service to the community and his work in this year’s successful Texas Bear Round-Up.

He touched the lives of many friends and all who knew him understood he had a heart as big as the gentle man he was.

A memorial service will be held at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, on Friday Nov. 4 at 10 a.m., followed by a reception at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to AIDS Services of Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Creech advocates for LGBT rights

Pastor lost his ordination in 1999 for performing same-sex wedding

Creech-11-Author-Photo-by-Natalia-Weedy

The Rev. Jimmy Creech (Courtesy of Natalia Weedy)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com
It was in the 1980s that a member of  the Rev. Jimmy Creech’s  church came out to him as gay, it didn’t just turn the Methodist minister into an LGBT equality supporter, it also set him onto a path of advocacy that eventually cost him his ordination

“It changed my perspective and attitude,” Creech, who will be in the Dallas area speaking at several area churches Oct. 31-Nov. 2, said this week of that coming out moment. “It began to challenge my ideas about homosexuality.”

One of Creech’s early triumphs advocating for the LGBT community was lobbying the Raleigh, N.C., City Council to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy in 1988. He said that passage of the ordinance while

Jesse Helms was still the state’s senator made the victory so much sweeter.

But most of Creech’s work has been within the Methodist Church.

“I was concerned the messaging [about homosexuality] was condemnatory,” he said. “Everything you heard a religious leader say was negative.”

So he sponsored conferences about “Homophobia and the Bible,” in an attempt to “educate about the damaging theology in Christian tradition,” he said.

In 1990, Creech performed his first holy union.

“Two men asked if I’d do it,” he said. “I agreed without hesitation. How can you support an individual and deny their relationship?”

He performed more ceremonies over the next few years, and it was no problem since the Methodist Church had no prohibition against doing so — until 1996.

That year, Creech moved to a church in Nebraska where he continued welcoming LGBT people and honoring their relationships. But after he presided over a holy union for a lesbian couple in 1997, charges were brought against him for violating the Order and Discipline of the United Methodist Church.

He was acquitted in a church trial.

Creech said the reason was very technical. The prohibition was added to the social principles rather than to religious law. Social principles guide moral behavior.

“My defense was that it was not law,” he said.

And that defense was successful. However after his trial, the one sentence prohibiting Methodist clergy from performing a same-sex wedding was given the weight of law. Creech said it is the only sentence in the social principles to have that designation, something he called “institutional bigotry.”

After his acquittal, Creech moved back to North Carolina and in 1999 charges were filed against him again after he presided over the wedding of two men in Chapel Hill. This time, a jury found him guilty of “disobedience to the Order and Discipline of The United Methodist Church” and withdrew his credentials of ordination.

Since then, Creech has been writing and speaking about LGBT rights. His recently released book, Adam’s Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor’s Calling to Defy the Church’s Persecution of Lesbians and Gays, deals with his experiences with the church’s struggle to welcome and accept LGBT people.

In his book, Creech explains that he defied church law to do what he thought God would want him to do.

“As a pastor, my mission was to help people overcome whatever damaged them spiritually, whatever diminished their capacity to trust God’s love, to love others and to love themselves,” he wrote.

Although heterosexual, Creech has appeared on Out Magazine’s Out 100 list several times, and he received the HRC Equality Award in 1999.

Northaven United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Eric Folkerth said, “Jimmy Creech stands as a powerful witness to those who have been standing up for social justice.”

Folkerth said 1,000 Methodist clergy have recently signed a pledge that if asked, they would perform a same-sex wedding. Many were in marriage-equality states New York and Connecticut.

And while performing a same-sex wedding remains “absolutely still a chargeable offense,” according to Folkerth, the church courts hearing the charges have differed in their response.

Creech said that each of those pastors could be charged.

“But do you want to spend all of the church’s resources on this?” he asked.

He said each one would have to be tried individually.

“Bishops will find a way to get around it,” he said.

Folkerth called it “open dissent against what is church law.”

He said that although this region is more conservative than some others, gays and lesbians are welcome not only at his church but a number of other Methodist churches in the area.
Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Ave., Fort Worth. Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. Reception follows.
Northaven United Methodist Church, 11211 Preston Road. Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.
Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Guest preacher at contemporary worship service, Nov. 2 at 7:15 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay OKC pioneer Arnold Smith remembered

Arnold “Arna Lee” Smith, who owned a series of gay bars in Oklahoma City dating back to the 1960s, died Oct. 31 at 83, according to the Metro Star:

During the early 1960s America and Oklahoma were quite different, where being gay was officially still a mental illness, sodomy laws were still in the books, and gay rights (let alone marriage) weren’t even discussed. Police raids on gay bars were common, albeit on dubious pretexts and very selective law enforcement, much facilitated when most people victimized by these tactics were either afraid and/or ashamed to fight back. But even in this dark scenario Arnold’s first club, Lee’s Lounge which opened in the mid 1960s in the Paseo District, was a bright spot for the GLBT community that refused to back down. Although the club endured relentless police harassment, the club proudly kept going. On many occasions when he was arrested along with his customers, he would bail himself and his customers out and re-open the bar the same night. His drag persona, Arna Lee, became famous during this time, accompanied by his outrageously fun costumes and tap dancing with a campy wit to match. During this time he became a Drag Mother to many budding female impersonators, a passion that spanned over 40 years.

—  John Wright

Lesbian pop duo Sugarbeach launches RightOutTV stream of LGBT musicians

Marlee Walchuk and Tully Callender of the music duo Sugarbeach are two women after my own heart. As out musicians, Walchuk said that as Sugarbeach was releasing their own videos, there were few sites to put them on save for getting swallowed up on YouTube. “There was nothing on the ‘net I found where people could see videos of queer artists,” Walchuk said. “Plus, I would mention queer artists I knew of, but no one heard of them. We saw a need and decided to fill it.”

And RightOutTV was born. The streaming video site features only videos from out LGBT musicians. The ladies worked on compiling artists and getting the basic site up for the last two months, and on Oct. 31 it went live. As far as Walchuk has found, theirs might be the only site providing the service. “It’s been a great process and we could be the only ones, but I’d hate to say that in case there’s one in Budapest doing the same thing,” she joked.

Now she and Callendar can get people clued in on gay artists and help present them to the rest of the world. Right now, the site features five hours of streaming video from various artists. They are working on putting more up, but that costs money. Right now, the site is all out of pocket. “We wanted to get it rolling and didn’t want anything to stop us, so basically we went with LiveStream, a free channel. Five hours is all we can do right now for free but that’s still a lot,” she said. “We’re going to work on getting a sponsor or some funding and bring it to a totally different level. With advertisers or money coming in, we can have better streaming and more storage capacity.”

Which means right now, they have to put up with Google ads on the page and in the stream. “Yeah. Sometimes we get Billy Graham ads that pop up,” she said.

Yikes — someone get them cash quick!

—  Rich Lopez

Anniversary

PETTIT-KINCAID  |  On Oct. 31, Larry Pettit and Dr. Tim Kincaid celebrate their 20th anniversary of being a couple. They met in 1990 at the Rev. Kay Hunter’s “A Course in Miracles” study group in Dallas. They were legally married in 2003 in Toronto, Canada. Pettit and Kincaid have a home in Keller and are active in the Pathways Unitarian Universalist church in Southlake. Pettit is a 26-year employee of American Airlines and Kincaid retired from AA in 2008 to finish graduate school and start his own consulting and life coaching practice and to teach. (Image by Shawn Northcutt Photography)
PETTIT-KINCAID | On Oct. 31, Larry Pettit and Dr. Tim Kincaid celebrate their 20th anniversary of being a couple. They met in 1990 at the Rev. Kay Hunter’s “A Course in Miracles” study group in Dallas. They were legally married in 2003 in Toronto, Canada. Pettit and Kincaid have a home in Keller and are active in the Pathways Unitarian Universalist church in Southlake. Pettit is a 26-year employee of American Airlines and Kincaid retired from AA in 2008 to finish graduate school and start his own consulting and life coaching practice and to teach. (Image by Shawn Northcutt Photography)

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas CVB raffling off Super Bowl tickets

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Despite the common stereotype that gay men don’t like football, I am willing to bet there are some out there who would be thrilled to get to go to Super Bowl XLV, not to mention the lesbians who are football fans.

And with the NFL’s championship game coming to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington next February, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving even those of us who couldn’t normally afford a Super Bowl ticket a chance to see the big game firsthand by raffling off two Super Bowl XLV tickets,valued at $2,500.

The raffle tickets are $50 each and will be available through midnight on Oct. 31. The random drawing will be held Nov. 1, and the winner will get two tickets to the championship game on Feb. 6, with “premium seats,” according to CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones.

You have to be 18 years or older and reside in the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia to be participate in the raffle. But if you meet those requirements, you can buy as many of the $50 raffle tickets as you want to. Credit cards are accepted, and the raffle prize doesn’t include airfare, lodging or other potential expenses of attending the game.

A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will go to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, which operates The Bridge homeless shelter.

For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, go here.

—  admin