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PEOPLE OF FAITH RESPOND TO FRED PHELPS

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Tom Shea 946-3693

A Message to the People of the Greater Grand Traverse Area

As ministers to our respective congregations, we have urged our members and now urge our citizens at large to not engage with picketers from out of town whom we are expecting at some of our congregations next weekend and on Monday at our Government Center. We now ask the members of our community at large to do the same thing: avoid looking, talking or even being present around these picketers.

From the experience of people in other cities, these picketers words and signs have been extremely offensive. The best response is no response. We ask all of you to not even acknowledge their presence by going to see them. If you must necessarily cross their picket line to get to church or work, do not look, talk, or engage them in any way. In the words of the old song just "walk on by."

We are all citizens with the right to exercise free speech. We believe that we are also all children of God deserving of dignity and respect. We ask for your silence before people whose organized exercise of free speech may be extremely offensive to members of our community. Sometimes active nonviolence means to not acknowledge the offense while tolerating the offender. "There is an appointed time for everything....a time to be silent, and a time to talk."

Rev. Dean Baily - Centeral United Methodist
Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher - Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Rev. James Brammer +
Rev. Becky A. Chamberlain - The Presbyterian Church
Rev. Ed Emenheiser - Grace Episcopal Church
Rabbi Stacie Fine - Congregation Ahavat Shalom
Rev. Judith A. Grimes - Unity Church of Traverse City
Rev. William Haggard - Asbury United Methodist +
Pastor Jim Helman - Feast of Victory Lutheran +
Rev. Gary Hogue, Senior Pastor, First Congregational Church
Pastor Joseph Kelly - Friends of Light - Society of Friends
Rev. Louise Kountz - The Light of Life Community
Rev. Pamela Luce - Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Pastor Tom Mansfield - First Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Homer Nye - The Prebyterian Church
Rev. David Ramage - The Presbyterian Church
Rev. Catherine Richardson - Grace Episcopal Church
Rev. Richard Skar - West Bay Convenant Church
Rev. Don Smith - College Terrace Wesleylan Church
Rev. Bradley Wills - Bethlehem Lutheran Church

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