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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
File 009
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Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 009. 2005-04-29. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 16, 2017. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2988.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2005-04-29). Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 009. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2988

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, April 29, 2005 - File 009, 2005-04-29, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 16, 2017, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/3005/show/2988.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, April 29, 2005
Contributor
  • Crain, Chris
  • Fisher, Binnie
Publisher Window Media
Date April 29, 2005
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Rights In Copyright: This item is protected by copyright. Copyright to this resource is held by the creator or current rights holder, and the resource is provided here for educational purposes. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without permission of the copyright owner. Users assume full responsibility for any infringement of copyright or related rights.
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 009
Transcript Local Life HOUSTON VOICE APRIL 29, 2005 PAGE 8 He built a church where his flock could find a Tresh Start' Pastor Jeffrey Campbell said he wanted his congregation to be affirming and 'radically inclusive' By DAWN ROME Every Sunday afternoon, the Houston GLBT Community Center is filled with the sound of rejoicing, singing and music. Wandering through the corridors, following the joyful sound, visitors find a room crowded with a congregation—predominantly gay men—who have come there to worship. Leading the gathering is Pastor Jeffrey Campbell, a man whose goal has been to provide a place where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals can find reconciliation between their sexuality and their spirituality. Born and raised in Cuero, Campbell says he was brought up in a missionary Baptist family that was always active in the church. When he entered into Texas State University to study accounting, he worked as a musician in the campus choir. Campbell's involvement with ministry- work almost seemed inevitable. He already knew that he had the ability to connect with people. While running for student body vice president in high school, he had discovered that he had an amazing gift for public speaking. ft MORE INFO Fresh Start Church Sunday, May 1 11 a.m. service with New Covenant Church I p.m. on other Sundays Houston GLBT Community Center 3400 Montrose Blvd., Suite 227 Punks' screening 7 p.m. Wednesday Bartini 1318 Westheimer Houston Splash Worship Experience II a.m. Sunday, May 8 Brookhollow Sheraton 3000 North Loop 610 West When asked to describe what drew him into ministry work, Campbell smiles and says that it's difficult to explain in a way that can be put down on paper. "It's a call," he explains. "It was something within me as I grew in my relationship with God. There was an urging or a moving in my spirit that said to me that there was more that God wanted from me: there was more that God had given me to do for him." After starting work on a Masters of Divinity at the Houston Graduate School of Theology, Campbell started holding weekly Bible studies in his home. In January of 2003, the small congregation began sharing space with a church in southwest Houston, where they had a worship service every Saturday night. With that, Fresh Start Church was born. Although its services were open to everyone. Fresh Start was not initially an open and gay-affirming church, Campbell admits. In March of 2004. a member of the congregation who was involved with organizing Houston Splash, the annual black gay pride celebration in Galveston, approached Campbell about signing on as the "Splash Pastor" and holding a worship service at the event. "I was somewhat apprehensive, because at that time, there were still members of the church who were not aware of my sexual orientation. I always preached about unconditional love, but 1 hadn't completely come out of the closet," whispers Campbell, grinning sheepishly. Although Campbell's Sunday "Worship Experience" at Houston Splash was met with some resistance from within the gay community, its reception was overwhelmingly positive. The minority that spoke out against the event did not feel that religion belonged at the Splash celebration. Campbell said that some people told him that they did not put the religious aspect of their lives and their sexuality together, and that Splash was not the place to be holding a church service. For others, the experience was an encouraging one. Campbell looked around the room to see "individuals who were just excited to be in a place where if they were with their partner, they could hold their partner's hand and worship God, all at the same time." Others felt relieved to be able to come to Campbell with personal issues such as conflict in their relationships or living with HIV or AIDS. As pastor of Fresh Start Church, Jeffrey Coleman knew he wanted his congregation to be a radically inclusive fellowship. Fresh Start Church is among the sponsors of a showing of the film comdey, 'Punks.' ft JEFFREY COLEMAN Age: 39 Birthplace: Cuero Home: Houston Education: BBA in accounting from Texas State University Occupation: Pastor/HIV activist Marital status: Single Pets: None Hobbies: Traveling and spending time with good friends/good people Radically inclusive fellowship After that experience, Campbell knew that he had found his calling, and Fresh Start Church underwent a transformation. From then on, his church was known as "an affirming and radically inclusive Christian fellowship." That is to say, affirming to people of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender orientation and radically inclusive of all people. In August of 2004, Fresh Start held its first weekly Bible study on "Scripture and Sexuality" at the Houston GLBT community center. Later that year, Campbell began holding Sunday worship services at the community center, as well. Since then, the church has continued to grow. At this time, the congregation is up to about thirty-two members. Personally, Campbell has continued to grow, as well. He is an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and is currently working with the African American Gay and Lesbian Alliance to expand awareness about this serious issue. Campbell has also been planning another Fresh Start program for Houston Splash 2005. Fresh Start, Lambda Legal and Human Rights Campaign Houston will host a screening of Patrik-Ian Polk's comedy, "Punks," on Wednesday. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at Bartini on Westheimer. On Sunday, May 8th, Campbell will hold his second Houston Splash "Worship Experience" at the Brookhollow Sheraton. The event will feature Fresh Start's choir, the Revolution singers, led by music coordinator Leo Radford. Bishop Dr. Yvette Flunder, pastor of the City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, will be the guest preacher. Campbell hopes all those who have felt unwelcome at other churches will open their hearts and attend. He said he believes that it is only through willingness to participate, study, and pray that the reconciliation between spirituality and sexuality can begin.
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