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Raleigh LGBTQ Church Supports Those in Need During the Pandemic

Lunch Boxes of Love

SJMCC Food Distribution Pantry

by Chris Rudisill • QNotes • August 7, 2020

Rev. Vance Haywood welcomed congregants during a live streamed service on a Sunday. In a green chasuble, he spoke about the challenges of coming together during a pandemic and welcomed viewers even beyond North Carolina. “We’re in this work together,” he said before sitting quietly, hands crossed at a distance behind Rev. Paully Adams who delivered a sermon about reclaiming the power of prayer.

“Pastor Vance” or just “Vance,” as Haywood prefers, became the fifth pastor of St. John’s MCC in February 2018. He’s never been big on titles. The church, situated in the Southern Gateway of downtown Raleigh, began as a small group in 1976. Across the street, large historically-inspired homes are being built and three bus stops are just a short distance away along Maywood Ave.

As the coronavirus has shuttered shelters throughout Wake County, St. John’s has stepped up their services with their partners at the Love Wins Community Engagement Center. Their mission reads “using a mind, body and spirit approach, we provide day shelter, hot meals and peer support for people experiencing homelessness.” According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 970 people are without a place to sleep on any given night in Wake County. With rising unemployment and limited resources brought on by COVID-19, that number is expected to increase.

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Ending racism and health disparities is nonnegotiable

Ernest Grant, Ph.D., R.NErnest Grant, Ph.D., R.N., is president of the American Nurses Association.

by Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN • June 9, 2020
photo courtesy of the American Nurses Association

The unjust death of George Floyd last month has sparked peaceful protests and heated uprisings across the country. To see a police officer on camera taking the life of someone he was sworn to serve and protect was heartbreaking and senseless. As a black man who has experienced racism and discrimination, it’s deeply disturbing to see such a blatant disregard for human life.

While we are still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest public health crisis on everyone’s mind is the racism being expressed through police brutality — something that we’ve struggled with as a nation for decades — from Rodney King to Philando Castile — and the list goes on.

Nurses, the most trusted professionals in the country, are on the front lines of every major public health crisis, and it’s proven that trust and positive relationships lead to dramatically improved health outcomes. Nurses, everyone in healthcare — all of us — must take a stand against racism, health disparities and social injustices that divide our nation.

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ANA President Condemns Racism, Brutality, and Senseless Violence Against Black Communities

Dr. Ernest J. Grant, ANA PresidentDr. Ernest J. Grant, ANA President

by Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN • June 1, 2020
photo courtesy of the American Nurses Association

“As a nation, we have witnessed yet again an act of incomprehensible racism and police brutality, leading to the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. This follows other recent unjustified killings of black men and women, such as Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to name a few.  

Protests have erupted in cities across the country and the world in response to a persistent pattern of racism in our society that creates an environment where such killings occur. Justice is slow and actions to ensure real change are lacking.

As a black man and registered nurse, I am appalled by senseless acts of violence, injustice, and systemic racism and discrimination. Even I have not been exempt from negative experiences with racism and discrimination. The Code of Ethics obligates nurses to be allies and to advocate and speak up against racism, discrimination and injustice. This is non-negotiable.

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Loving and adapting amid coronavirus: LGBTQ church gives back to community

Trey Foster at St. John's MCC

photos and portraits by Will Melfi

RALEIGH, North Carolina — Vance Haywood was 24 the first time he went to a drag show performance.

Attending with friends, he was excited but nervous. As a gay man who’d grown up with a conservative Christian background, he was still learning how to be fully himself.

Sitting underneath the dimmed neon lights, he was having fun. And then, Taj Mahal, one of the drag queens performing that night at Legends Nightclub, began singing a traditional hymn.

The song stopped him in his tracks — it was one he’d grown up singing. Only a few years before, he’d left the church because of the non-affirming ideas taught there about LGBTQ people.

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