Creating Caring Communities: The 2009 Lutheran AIDS Network Biennial Conference will be held May 4-5 in Chicago, Illinois at the Holiday Inn, Chicago O'Hare.
The conference theme is Creating Caring Communities and featured speakers include keynote speaker Alicia Bunton, Director of Care and Quality Improvement at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Emily Davila, Assistant to the Director of the Lutheran Office for World Community (LOWC), Kristine M. Gebbie, Dean of the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, City University of New York, Rev. Doris Green, Director of Community Affairs, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Kari Hartwig, International AIDS researcher, Loretta Horton, Director for Poverty Ministries Networking (ELCA), Kimberly C. Stietz, Director of International Public Policy, (ELCA), Pastor Judith Van Osdol, Iglesia Evangelica Luterana El Milagro in South Minneapolis, and Adele Webb, Executive Director Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC).

Montpelier and Bismarck: On April 7, Vermont became the 4th state in the union (joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa) to protect the marriage rights of same-sex couples. The Vermont legislature passed An Act to Protect Religious Freedom and Recognize Equality in Civil Marriage on Monday, April 6. That same day the measure was vetoed by Governor James H. Douglas and on Tuesday, April 7, the legislature voted to override the veto. The measure will take effect on September 1, 2009.
A few days earlier and 1370 miles to the west, the North Dakota House of Representatives voted down S.B. 2278, a bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and employment.
Andy Birkey reporting on the vote for the Minnesota Independent quoted legislators on both sides of the issue.
Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield remarked for the Dickinson Press:


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Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:

    Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.

    Thereís a big difference between a behavior and a lifestyle and something you donít have a choice in.
    Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo is said to have responded:
    It has been said that this is a choice. Religion is also a choice but yet thatís protected.

    Easter Chocolate: We don't usually like to reveal sources, but it was none other than ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson who told us about Pr. Nadia Bolz-Weber and House for All Sinners & Saints (HFASS) in Denver, and we're glad he did.
    House for All Sinners and Saints is a group of folks figuring out how to be a liturgical, Christo-centric, social justice oriented, queer inclusive, incarnational, contemplative, irreverent, ancient - future church with a progressive but deeply rooted theological imagination.
    The Easter Vigil is our favorite liturgical event, and we're sorry to have missed the vigil at HFASS this year. All the familiar rites were there: Lighting the new fire, singing the Exultet, telling the great stories of faith, chanting the Litany of Saints, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and the Eucharist. And following all that, a "post-vigil dance party complete with a chocolate fountain in the baptismal font." Our sympathies to the sacristan.
    The HFASS web site also has the most refreshingly honest pitch for donations we've heard from any church, ever.

    Easter Saltie: At 10:30AM on Easter Sunday (April 12), the Medemborg entered the Twin Ports harbor in Duluth and became the first ocean-going ship ("saltie") to make a full transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 2009 shipping season. Bishop Thorvald "Wally" Noe-Effingway of the Central Great Lakes Synod was on hand to offer a blessing. The Medemborg will load a cargo of beet pulp pellets bound for Morocco.

    Tweeting the Bible:
    Kirchentag, the biennial convention for Protestants in Germany, will be held May 20-24 in Bremen. This year's Kirchentag will feature an attempt to publish the entire Bible (in shortened form) 140 characters at a time on Twitter.
    Writing for Ecumenical News International (ENI), Anli Serfontein described the project:
    Theologians are busy dividing the Bible into 3000 sections that will need to be summarised as tweets. Volunteers will then distribute flyers to the expected tens of thousands of Kirchentag visitors listing the Bible verses to be tweeted...
    The action will start at 6 p.m. on 20 May, the first day of the Kirchentag and end with the closing service. People interested in "tweeting" the Bible are already invited to register on evangelisch.de.

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