I recently attended a Wyoming state wide PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting in Casper. One thing that struck me as I rode home and thought about the meeting was that when I was much younger, PFLAG was mainly a support organization. Started by a proud mother with a gay son, she wanted there to be support for him and his friends. Soon, PFLAG was started, and grew quickly. PFLAG National—the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies, has chapters in Casper, Gillette, Jackson, and Laramie. There is another particular segment of our population that is becoming more visible and that is transgendered folk. Wyoming is not much different than the rest of the country, we have many transgendered folk here. We must support them and work for equality for them. WIN provides a platform of acceptance for LGBTQ+ groups, as well as other marginalized populations.
PFLAG is not just a support organization, but is also an advocacy organization, taking on many issues. Check out the PFLAG national website https://pflag.org/ to see what I mean. As I was thinking about what we had talked about during the meeting, the need for more communication, the need for more working together, the need for more advocacy and work with other groups around the state, it dawned on me that the Wyoming Interfaith Network, WIN, has very similar goals and ideas. My work with WIN, and my help in starting the PFLAG group in Laramie, are driven by the same idea: we need to work together, because we have strength in numbers, and our voices are louder when we speak with one voice.
I was present when we voted to become the Wyoming Interfaith Network, and give voice to all faith communities in Wyoming, to build relationships and to work together in advocacy with other groups around the state. We are about to hire a new executive director, to help WIN move forward with greater direction and focus. WIN is an organization that advocates for justice, just as PFLAG does.
I note that WIN receives much of its operating capital from our judicatories and from individual congregations. But the core group of supporters that we need to encourage and cultivate are our many individual donors. I am a supporter of WIN, and have been for many years. As I asked my congregation to do, please consider, if you are a supporter, of upping your donation this year. If you are not a sustaining member, please become one. The website has membership information, and ways to give online. https://www.wyointerfaith.org/ is our website. It’s been recently refreshed and updated, so if you have not looked at it in a while, take this opportunity to check it out. And while you are there, consider making a donation. There are many advocacy groups you can support, and WIN is one that does work around the entire state.
Peace and Blessings to you all,
Rev. Kenneth Ingram
Rev. Kenneth Ingram is pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Laramie, WY. He is the recording secretary for the executive committee of WIN. He believes that together we can do more than we can do alone.
Contact Carl Carmichael, Chair-Elect for more information