Sunday, June 27, 2010

Gay Pride Day and Gas Drilling

I'm posting this from our cottage at Heart Lake. I had to make a choice (as I do most years) between being here and being in New York for the LGBT Pride march the last weekend in June. On the last Saturday of June every year, there is an opening brunch followed by an informational meeting of the Heart Lake Association. It's an important time both to greet our neighbors and to get some news.

The big thing that's happening around here is gas drilling -- to extract lots of natural gas from the Marcellus shale that underlies this area. In orderto extract the gas, it is necessary to use a process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking for short. Fracking involves the injection of a large amount of water and chemicals into the ground. The chemicals used are toxic and if there is a spill they can ruin streams. Even if there isn't a spill they can contaminate groundwater and ruin wells.

In Dimock township, less than 15 miles from here (shorter as the crow flies), there have been a number of accidents -- both wells and streams have been ruined. This afternoon, Liz is going on a tour of some sites organized by a progressive neighbor (they're rare here) and conducted by an environmental research organization.

I'm sorry not to be in New York for the Pride March, but I'm not sorry to be here. This morning we went to the Heart Lake United Methodist Church, our summer church. They are in the process of deciding what to do about their future -- I may write a little about that at another time. As part of the sermon, the pastor asked members of the congregation to say something about the meaning of "church." There were several thoughtful comments, mostly focusing on church as a place for worship, fellowship and taking a holy time away from daily concerns. Then Judy mentioned seeing a story on the news about a church that removed the cross on its steeple in order to be open to "people of other religions, gay people, and what not." The pastor commented that to his mind then its not a church. I would agree that it's not a Christian church any longer, but that's not what caught my attention. It was Judy's mention of gay people. Maybe she picked it up from the news program, but there's no mention of gay people in either of the stories turned up by Google News -- and one is on an avowedly conservative website. In case you're interested, the church was Christ Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan and is now the C# Exchange. The pastor, Ian Lawton, is a former Anglican priest from the diocese of Sidney in Australia. If you google him you'll find out more.

That's all for now. Happy Gay Day.


Brian R said...

Another person to have fled the homophobes of SYdney. St Matthew's Auckland is a well known inclusive church which blesses same-sex unions. As a gay man in the Sydney diocese I was taken off the lesson reading roster. Yesterday I attended Eucharist in the Cathedral here in Dunedin and the preacher and celebrant was an openly gay partnered priest.

Brian R said...

Sorry I should have made it clearer, Ian Lawton went to the USA via St Matthew's Auckland after finding he did not fit the Sydney mould.