Clawson in concert at Celebration on the Lake

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Celebration on the Lake Church presents a free, live concert by Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Cynthia Clawson on Saturday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the church’s chapel at 9120 Highway 198 in Payne Springs, near Cedar Creek Lake.

The concert celebrates the church’s sixth anniversary. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP on the church’s website, COTLChurch.org, or by calling the church at 903-451-2302.

Clawson has received a Grammy and five Dove awards for her work as songwriter, vocal artist and musician during a career spanning more than four decades and 22 recordings. She began singing at age 3 when her father, a pastor, asked her to sing in church. She graduated from Howard Payne University with a major in vocal performance, and is perhaps best known for her performance of “Softly and Tenderly” in the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning movie, Trip to Bountiful.

Clawson and her husband, author and playwright Ragan Courtney, live in Houston. Samples of her music are available online at the Celebration on the Lake Church’s website, COTLChurch.org, and on YouTube.

Celebration on the Lake Church was established eight years ago as a satellite church under the direction of Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth, led by the Rev. Carol West. The Celebration on the Lake became independent of the Fort Worth church six years ago and is now led by Pastor Kathy Bowser. The church, which holds services each Sunday at 10 a.m., contributes to a number of programs in the community, including Toys for Tots, Mabank Nursing Home, Meals on Wheels, Family Resource Center, the Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake and others.

Although the church began as a primarily LGBT congregation, all people are welcome, Bowser said.

—  John Wright

LOCAL BRIEFS: COTL Church holding garage sale, ‘Economics of Equality’ panel set

COTL Church holding garage sale

Celebration on the Lake Church Church on Cedar Creek Lake will hold its second annual Mega-Garage Sale fundraiser Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The sale will offer furniture, appliances, clothing, household items, decorative items and more, all donated by the congregation and community.

Under the guidance of Pastor Kathy Bowser, Celebration on the Lake Church offers outreach programs that include contributions to Toys for Tots, Mabank Nursing Home, Meals on Wheels, the Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake and others.

Celebration on the Lake Church holds Sunday services at 10 a.m. each week in the sanctuary at 9120 Highway 198 in Payne Springs. For more information, go online to COTLChurch.org or call 903-451-2302.

‘Economics of Equality’ panel set

The Out & Equal DFW Regional Affiliate and Resource Center of Dallas will present a panel discussion on “The Economics of Equality” on Tuesday, May 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., at the Resource Center, 2701 reagan St.

Panelists are Rebecca Solomon of Bank of America, Roger Poindexter with Lambda Legal and attorney Rebecca Covell. RCD Executive Director Cece Cox will moderate.

Topics will include tax disparities faced by same-sex couples, inheritance and retirement issues and developing inclusive workplace policies.

Admission is free, and a light breakfast will be served.

For information, call 214-528-0144.

TDWCC meeting Monday

The next general meeting of Texas Democratic Women of Collin County will be held Monday, May 23, at 6:45 p.m. at the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin College, 9700 Wade Blvd. in Frisco, in Founders Hall, Shawnee Room F148.

The speaker will be Dr. Richard Adams, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, discussing the topic of children in Texas and their health and well-being.

Adams has researched and published widely on issues related to children with special needs and has chaired the Committee on Children with Disabilities for the Texas Pediatric Society. In 2004, he was the recipient of the “Advocate of the Year” award from the Texas Chapter of the National Association for Nurse Practitioners, and he was recently selected to the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities.

TDWCC meets the fourth Monday of each month at Collin College. For more information, go online to TDWCC.org.

—  John Wright

Hate rears its head on the lake

Anti-gay vandalism is a reminder that hate can hide in even the most accepting communities

David Webb The Rare Reporter

It’s taken a while for the ugly specter of anti-gay hate crime to rise over Cedar Creek Lake, but it was probably inevitable.

With two gay bars and large numbers of gay and lesbian couples living together in full-time residences and weekend homes, the community has become highly visible over the past couple of decades. For the most part the straight community has always seemed tolerant, but it is a conservative religious area.

To the best of everyone’s recollection, no one on the lake had ever reported being harassed, threatened or beat up or having their property vandalized because they were gay —until June 20.

That’s when a gay male couple living in Payne Springs woke up to find extensive damage to their truck.

They found the windshield busted, all four tires slashed, parts ripped off the truck and anti-gay graffiti — including the words “Die Fag” — scrawled all over the truck. The damage was so bad that the vehicle will be unusable for several weeks, and the couple cannot really afford to rent a car in the meantime.

Initially, the couple posted a message on their Facebook page with pictures of the damage. But they later took it down and asked for privacy. They said they just wanted to move on and did not want to become a cause for the community to rally around.

It is likely the men are suffering from psychological trauma. Hate crime researchers point out that victims are often left terrified, fearing retribution and feeling vulnerable to more attacks if there is widespread attention drawn to them.

The possibility exists that there may have been other anti-gay hate crimes committed on the lake, and they were never reported because of those same fears.

According to the FBI’s most recent “Hate Crime Statistics” report, almost 18 percent of all hate crimes occurring in the U.S. are attributed to sexual orientation bias. The crimes occur all across the country in cities and towns of all sizes and demographics.

In addition to the impact on the victims, hate crimes reportedly also have an intimidating effect on the entire community to which the victims belong.

That’s why it is important for the community to rally behind such victims and to band together in speaking out against hate crimes. Usually, there are supportive straight people who want to join the cause, and that is already happening on the lake.

Immediately after hearing about the crime, a straight couple sent an e-mail volunteering to be a part of any activities that might be undertaken to promote tolerance and discourage hate crimes.

That’s what is happening now, too, in Savannah, Ga., where two Marines from a South Carolina military base were arrested recently on charges they allegedly assaulted a gay man because they thought he winked at them. The LGBT community held a rally this week in the square where the gay man was found unconscious.

It’s also a good idea to take steps to combat hate crimes with community events because they rarely are isolated incidents. The perpetrators of hate crimes often begin with lower-level types of crime such as harassment and vandalism and go on to more violent activity when they don’t suffer any repercussions from the earlier crimes.

Just about everyone realizes now that June is celebrated across the country as Gay Pride Month, and that draws more attention to the LGBT community. The national debate about gay rights, such as the proposal to abolish “don’t ask, don’t tell” has the same effect.

If nothing else, everyone needs to be aware of the danger of hate crime activity in an area and to be careful. It can happen to anyone at anytime, almost anywhere.

David Webb is a former staff writer for the Dallas Voice who lives on Cedar Creek Lake now. He is the author of the blog TheRareReporter.blogspot.com. He can be reached at davidwaynewebb@embarqmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 25, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice