BACH for the holidays …. and beyond

Volunteer Wanda Brown helps get ready for the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope on Chirstmas Eve

I have been out of the office, on vacation, since Dec. 22, and when I got back to work today and started wading through the thousands of emails in my inbox, I found one from Hank Henley, asking if we could include some information in Dallas Voice about BACH, the weekly Breakfast At Cathedral of Hope program in which church volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to the homeless.

So I am including Hank’s write-up about BACH’s Christmas Eve event here on Instant Tea, just as he sent it to me:

Use the words “Bach” and “cathedral” in a sentence this time of year, and most people will picture the “Christmas Cantata” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” But at a certain church in Dallas, BACH stands for “Breakfast at the Cathedral of Hope,” a program that just celebrated its four-year anniversary in November. On Christmas Eve morning, while most of Dallas was nestled all snug in their beds, a small army of volunteers was in the kitchen at the Cathedral of Hope whipping up a hot and hearty breakfast for the homeless and needy that would be coming through their doors by 7:30 a.m. Under the direction of Rev. William Baldridge, Associate Pastor for Community Outreach, this weekly breakfast has grown from serving just 11 guests at the first meal to an average of 200 guests each Saturday morning.

And guests they are: receiving a hot meal served on china plates and with silverware and glasses. The guests may also receive a haircut after they eat, if they so chose.

This week, in addition to the usual food and drink, each guest received a bag with a blanket, hat, gloves, toiletries, water and food coupons. The gift bags were the result of the generous work of Jan Okerlund and Leslie Frye.

Leslie Frye, one of the volunteer coordinators, when asked how the volunteers feel about the work they do, said, “The real blessing is in the cooking for and serving those less fortunate, not only during this Season, but all year long.”

This Saturday’s volunteers included members of the church community of the Cathedral of Hope, members of the Turtle Creek Chorale and a group of 14 students from “I-CERV,” the “Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering.” They are here once a month, all year long. Kenneth Campbell, the Interfaith Services Director Volunteer Coordinator of the Memnosyne Foundation, brought these energetic and focused youth.

The Memnosyne Foundation is a wonderful organization whose mission is “to help a diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution of themselves and for future generations by providing the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration.” The diverse crowd of leaders, volunteers and guests were certainly doing that on this morning.

And one guest, who guest shared his story quietly and privately with tears streaming down his face, personifies the spirit of sharing and giving. This time last year, he was on the street, living under a bridge and depending on the generosity of others to survive. He told me he could always count on a hot meal and being treated with respect when he came to BACH. This year, he is able to draw social security and is donating $25 a month to BACH. “They always fed me and helped me get through. Now I want to give back whatever I can. God blessed me and it’s what I want to do.”

Across the room, his hands deep in a bucket of soapy water, volunteer Jamie Rawson, spent the morning scraping plates and glasses, getting them ready for the dishwashers.

“There a few things a person can do which so clearly put Christmastime in perspective as doing something to help others. It is has been said so often as to become a cliché — but it is no less true for being a cliché. It is heart-warming to see so many people gathered to help provide for those in need. It is especially affirming to see so many young people from such a diversity of backgrounds. This has been the most fitting and rewarding way to truly start my Christmas.”

When the guests were finished with breakfast, finished visiting with friends and volunteers, finished with their haircut, and picked up their bag of supplies for warmth and comfort, they left the cathedral and headed back into the rain and the street.

As they left, Richard Boule greeted each of them and wished them a Merry Christmas.

“As I watched those people leaving the Cathedral after breakfast this morning, I could not help wondering where they were going and what each one of them had to look forward to this Christmas time. But I had the feeling that they were grateful for the humanity they were shown, so many left with a smile. May they be blessed.”

If you would like to help with BACH, please call Rev. Baldridge at the Cathedral of Hope at 214-351-1901.

You can see more photos from the Christmas Eve Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope after the jump.

—  admin

Tarrant Country Pride Picnic today at Trinity Park

The more the merrier

Head to Trinity Park Arts Pavilion today for a good ol’ fashion picnic, but with gay people. Live entertainment, games, family and pet friendly events and even food and drink make up the annual Tarrant County Pride Picnic. Yeah, this is what a picnic should be. All that’s missing is a shirtless William Holden.

DEETS: Trinity Park Arts Pavilion at Crestline Road. Noon. TCGPWA.org

—  Rich Lopez

News: William Daley, Turkey, Andromeda, Joe Biden, Halifax

Road First elected transgender trial judge Vicky Kolakowski sworn in.

RoadHeritage Foundation and Media Research Center join boycott of CPAC over GOProud.

Daley RoadIs Obama's new Chief of Staff William Daley bad for gay rights?

RoadGuess who Yoko Ono has given her blessing to play John Lennon and sing his songs?

RoadMinnesota Family Council to hold marriage amendment course for lawmakers: "When state legislators checked their office mailboxes Wednesday, they found an invitation to attend a Minnesota Family and Marriage Summit featuring a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as a hate group. The summit, to be held next week, is organized by the Minnesota Family Council and the Family Research Council and will teach legislators how to pass a constitutional amendment banning rights for same-sex couples."

RoadThe Social Network getting January 11 re-release.

RoadJoe Biden to little girls: "No dates until you're 30."

RoadIf DJ Pauly D says that Britney Spears' new album is amazing, then it must be, right?

Argentina RoadTrans man rocks Big Brother Argentina with confession.

RoadTurkish court orders LGBT organization to close.

RoadTwo Republicans violated the constitution the day it was read: "The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in because they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised."

RoadNew Andrew Christian underwear comes with 'penis' included.

RoadRobbers targeting gay men in chat rooms in Halifax, Nova Scotia: "The first case involved a 35-year-old man who picked up another man he met online. Officers say the men drove to Point Pleasant Park on Sunday and were surrounded by two others, who threatened the victim and demanded money. The second robbery occurred Thursday when a 29-year-old man picked up a man on Spring Garden Road whom he had met online and drove to the south end of Halifax."

RoadMen's Health should put shirtless Sean Faris on its cover more often.

Andromeda RoadAmateur astronomer photographs Andromeda Galaxy from his own backyard.

RoadBill O'Reilly lands pre-SuperBowl interview with Obama: "This will mark only the second time that Obama has sat down with Fox News — his first was last year with Bret Baier. But its the first time that Obama will participate with Mr O’Reilly as a sitting president (though O’Reilly did interview Obama in the later stages of his presidential candidacy.)"

RoadFernando Verdasco for Head and Shoulders.

RoadMaryland on the verge of marriage equality: "…the debate at this point boils down to whether lawmakers want gay Maryland residents to spend their wedding budgets at home or in the District."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s Overreaction Only Proves His Gay Sex Scandal Is True

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Barbara Ellen, for guardian.co.uk on Saturday 4th September 2010 23.07 UTC

What a shame that William Hague decided to handle the internet rumours in such a pompous, heavy-handed manner. It doesn't matter that the rumours have been following him since Oxford University: who, these days, would be so silly and thin-skinned as to be genuinely upset by a gay smear? Or so naive as to admit they are?

Making the underqualified Christopher Myers his aide is one thing, but the pair sharing a hotel room could have been handled easily and lightly – Hague joking that he's a Yorkshireman, too tight to pay for two rooms. As for the "True Bromance" pictures of them walking along the street in sunglasses, Hague in a baseball cap and tucked-in top, Alastair Campbell observed drily: "Most politicians are poor at casual clothes." An understatement, but there was no real harm in the photo. It was just so hilariously camp.

Dining with a friend, I was told how she'd once spotted Andy Bell, the fabulous singer from Erasure, on New York's Gay Street, wearing a bum-bag. She mentally filed it away as the campest thing she'd ever seen. "But the Hague photo is camper!" Crucially, neither of us thought any of this (funny photos, ill-judged room sharing) had anything to do with Hague being homosexual. Why, then, did Hague feel compelled to react in such a po-faced, dramatic way?

Hague should have laughed it off. Sure, there's the whiff of gay Salem around Westminster at times. Right now, we seem to be tripping over politicians coming out or having dramas about their sexuality. However, these people are gay. Merely being accused of being gay isn't the same thing. In fact, it appears to be practically a blooding for a certain stripe of workaholic politician, part of the Westminster territory.

For Hague suddenly to barge around, making public statements, dragging his wife Ffion's miscarriages into it, hints at a worrying dearth of emotional intelligence. Miscarriages are incredibly sad, but they aren't proof of a man's sexuality. Nor is having children, nor is even a 20-year marriage, as Crispin Blunt recently demonstrated.

However, that's beside the point. Hague seems to be a decent man and an experienced international statesman. Why, then, would he embark on a course of action that sends out the toxic message that, if it is not actually shameful to be gay, it is an outright insult to be accused of it?

This is what Hague has done and, in a way, that presumes politicians are uniquely targeted. Far from it. Even at my low level, I regularly receive missives from people asking charmingly, and sometimes not so charmingly, whether I might secretly be one for the ladies. It's inaccurate; I sometimes feel that I should be checking my desk diary in case I did black out and spend a month or so dating Ellen DeGeneres. However, it's not remotely distressing or insulting.

Irrelevant? I've not been splashed all over the papers, nor whispered about for years. No, but others have. Take That's new video for "Shame" features Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow parodying the gay movie Brokeback Mountain, making light of the homosexual rumours that have followed the band since the start of their career. Surely if fluffy boyband members can cope with elegance and humour with this kind of thing, a foreign secretary should have breezed it.

This is the point. If Hague can't cope with bromance rumours, however incessant and irritating, then how can we trust him with issues that really matter, such as Afghanistan or Iran? Arguably, all this pouting and stropping has made Hague seem a million times camper. However, none of us has any right to care a damn whether William Hague is gay or straight. What is significant, and troubling, is that our foreign secretary dealt with gay rumours markedly less maturely than a boyband.

The last word isn't always worth it

The case of Californian GP Jacquelyn Kotarac is tragic. Trying to get into her on-off boyfriend's bungalow to confront him over relationship issues, Kotarac didn't realise he had slipped out of the back door to go on a business trip. She climbed on to the roof and into the chimney, getting stuck and suffocating, with her body being discovered several days later. That must have been some conversation Kotarac was determined to have and I, for one, can empathise.

I've been known to go to startling lengths to have my say or get the last word. These have included the "Follow man into street ranting" manoeuvre, the "Stand outside locked bathroom door, repeating yourself" tactic and the "Maximum embarrassment public ambush" gambit. More recently, experts in the field have had great results with the "And another thing" email blitz (with text option).

Men do this, too, but women are better at it. A friend once left gouge marks on a door frame, so determined was she to stand her ground and "unburden herself".

In my youth, when I had what might be termed a lively personality, I once thought it reasonable to run beside a moving train, half-hanging on to a window, "pointing something out".

Admittedly, this could be a fault line of mine, which some may say has contributed to me ending up in a job which could be unkindly yet accurately described as being gobby.

Still, extreme as Kotarac's case was, how human was the compulsion that led to her death. "The last word" is one of the holy grails of relationships, oft sought, but rarely found.

I'm devastated that this poor woman ended up clambering down a chimney because of her desperation to make a point, but a part of me understands.

Will it be Chiles play for these cereal seducers?

So GMTV is no more. Goodbye sweet, strange sofa-people and your touching interest in amusing pet photos, the health of the prostate, and five-year-olds with A-levels. From tomorrow, we have Daybreak, with main presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, and their much-vaunted "chemistry", which is telly-speak for: "Do they fancy the pants off each other?" Or in this case: "Does that poor sod still fancy her?" It's a chance to munch cornflakes and wonder if more than affection flutters in Chiles's tortured breast for Frank Lampard's girlfriend. Or not.

I couldn't care less about their chemistry. Nor do I have any animosity towards Chiles or Bleakley, though one can see why some might have become irritated. What a huge smarmy luvvie fuss they made of all of this. Conjoined twins could have been successfully separated with less drama than these two, um, leaving one television channel for another.

Certainly, they have played a blinder, going from quite-liked screen couple to greedy, overpaid, overrated idiots everyone hates, within just a few short months. Jonathan Ross will be furious – it took him years to achieve that.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

EARLIER:
How William Hague's Totally-Not-Gay Sex Scandal Is Ruining Cronyism For All Of Britain


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—  John Wright

How William Hague’s Totally-Not-Gay Sex Scandal Is Ruining Cronyism For All Of Britain

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Polly Curtis, Whitehall correspondent, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 2nd September 2010 18.37 UTC

The coalition has quietly appointed a string of party employees to civil service roles – including one aide to the foreign secretary, William Hague – in a move that has raised concerns among senior Whitehall figures, the Guardian has learned.

Hague today said he felt forced to give yesterday's unprecedented personal statement about his marriage to "put the record straight" after intense speculation about his relationship with a special adviser in a row that has cast light on the propriety of political appointments.

Separately, several Conservative party and MP employees have been given civil service roles in the Cabinet Office, Department for Education, Foreign Office and Downing Street, stretching the rules regarding appointments. While special advisers are political appointees who can be hired at the will of ministers, civil servants are supposed to be politically impartial and in the majority of cases go through competitive processes to get a job.

Chloe Dalton, an adviser to Hague in opposition, has been drafted into the Foreign Office as a civil servant. Two speechwriters to David Cameron before the election, Ameetpal Gill and Clare Foges, have paid civil service jobs in Downing Street.

Sam Freedman, who helped devise the Tories' free schools policy in opposition, has been made an adviser on the civil service pay roll in the DfE.

Rishi Saha, an internet expert who is close to Cameron's inner circle and was head of digital strategy for the Conservatives, has been appointed the deputy director of digital communications at the Cabinet Office. The Guardian understands that in at least two, unnamed cases the Cabinet Office conduct and ethics department was asked to vet the appointments and passed them.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said that all civil service appointees must abide by a code dictating that they perform all functions impartially. He added: "Departmental recruitment policies allow individuals to be appointed without open competition on a fixed-term contract where positions need to be filled at short notice. It would be misleading to suggest that there is one particular reason for such appointments. There are a range of specialist skills that may be needed urgently, particularly when a new government is bringing forward a whole new set of policies."

Jonathan Baume, head of the FDA union of senior civil servants, said: "Where we start to have concerns is where you get people with political backgrounds being appointed to civil servant roles. That's when I start to get nervous."

A Downing Street source insisted that Labour made similar appointments when it came to power and said the coalition government was more transparent than its predecessors.

It emerged today that Downing Street failed to include the aide at the centre of the row over Hague's private life in an official list of special advisers published in June. It raises questions about whether Christopher Myers's appointment was official and whether the list, designed to demonstrate how the coalition was cutting back on political appointments, was complete.

Hague's office confirmed the appointment of Myers, who quit yesterday citing the pressure of speculation surrounding his relationship with the foreign secretary, was approved on 24 May. The official list naming all so-called "Spads" and their wage brackets did not include Myers when it was revealed on 10 June. The Cabinet Office said Myers was not included because he had not taken up the post by 10 June 10 despite the appointment being confirmed. Liam Fox became the second secretary of state to appoint a third spad in August.

Hague spoke out as Cameron's office confirmed the prime minister has "100% confidence" in his foreign secretary. Hague said he had made the "very personal statement", in which he denied allegations that he was gay, that his marriage was in trouble and that he had an improper relationship with Myers, to end speculation. The statement revealed that he and his wife Ffion had suffered a series of miscarriages. His admission that he and Myers had shared twin bedrooms during the election campaign drew criticisms from Tory colleagues who questioned his judgment.

Hague told a Foreign Office press conference today: "Yesterday, I made a very personal statement, which was not an easy thing to do. I am not going to expand on that today. My wife and I really felt we had had enough of the circulation of untrue allegations, particularly on the internet, and at some point you have to speak out about that and put the record straight."

Asked about his colleague John Redwood's suggestion that Hague himself now acknowledged he had exercised "poor judgment" in sharing a room with his assistant, Hague said his work "has not missed a beat, and will not miss a beat, at any stage. I have not spent many minutes away from all duties of the foreign secretary."

The Tory peer Lord Tebbit said Hague had been "naive at best, foolish at worst". Redwood wrote on his blog: "Let us hope this is now an end to the matter. Mr Hague himself now seems to believe that it was poor judgment to share a hotel room with an assistant."

Hague was forced to issue the extraordinarily personal and detailed statement under mounting pressure from reports in political blogs and investigations by newspapers over the past few weeks speculating about the appointment of the 25-year old Durham university graduate. Downing Street denied reports Hague was prepared to quit over the furore.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

EARLIER:
British Foreign Secretary William Hague: I Did Not Have a Love Affair With That Cutie On My Staff


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—  John Wright