Saturday, August 30, 6:00 PM CDT
I ask for your prayers for our friends and colleagues in New Orleans, and to let you know that we are canceling Many Stories, One Voice: The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians.
As of this writing, Hurricane Gustav has been upgraded to a Category 4 and is still expected to make landfall near New Orleans. Additionally, the New Orleans airport will be closing at 6 pm tomorrow evening (Sunday) and we don't know when it is expected to re-open.
For these reasons and for the reason that we do not want to add any additional burdens to our already-overtaxed and traumatized colleagues in New Orleans, we do not want any more people going to New Orleans. Your safety and that of the folks in New Orleans is our utmost priority.
At this point, it is simply too early to tell what we will do in terms of another conference. We will be in touch as soon as we've had time to talk with all of our colleagues and confer.
Two items of information:
1. If you were scheduled to fly to New Orleans, check with your airlines about their inclement weather and hurricane clauses.
2. Please call +1 888 236-2427 or go online: http://www.marriott.com/ in order to cancel your hotel reservations. But please do not call the New Orleans Marriott as they are trying to make preparations for the storm.
I am deeply disappointed to have to write this. But, as I've heard from many of you in the last few days, God has called us into this ministry and will make use of all the faithful work that has gone into MSOV's planning. May we continue to pray for our colleagues, friends and family in the Gulf Coast region and may our call to embody God's extravagant welcome continue to embolden and sustain us.
Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force