Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Change Comes to the North Beach - Rev. Guy A. Lizzi

The Rev. Guy A. Lizzi

Information compiled from: Lizzi, Guy A., “Brief outlines of my Education, Theological Training, Chruches and Missionary field served. Also my Doctrinal conviction and Beliefs,” April 19,1963 (courtesy of the ELCA Region 2 Archive, North Beach Mission, SPS, SF CA, 1964 Founding)

The Rev. Guy A. Lizzi was born in Italy and arrived in San Francisco in 1910. Guy established the Evangelical Missions for Italians in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada for the American Bible Society. While a student in seminary in 1912, Guy was asked to organize St. John Italian Methodist Church in San Francisco. After he graduated, he received a call from the Presbyterian Board of National Missions to become a pioneer missionary in Duluth Presbytery in April of 1915 where he remained for five years. Guy then transferred to Chicago in 1919 and served Indiana, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Then from 1924-34 he spent ten years in Italy as a general missionary. Guy then worked in Des Moines, IA to run the Evangelistic Center, until his wife passed away in 1938 and he returned to San Francisco. In 1940 Guy was called by the Presbyterian Church to be a Missionary in San Francisco, Costal Area and Reno, Nevada. Guy resigned in 1960 when the Board of National Missions asked him to “stress more the preaching of the Social Gospel,” and he refused.

Guy joined the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) after hearing a radio program of “the sound doctrinal bible sermons, broadcasted by the late Dr. Meyer.” Guy then was confirmed and received as a member of St. Paulus Lutheran Church. After corresponding with Concordia Seminary, Guy became commissioned as a Missionary. Guy became a Lutheran because he was convinced that the Lutheran church would not be swayed by tradition or human reason, but that only the Bible is the source of authority. A fan of the Lutheran understanding of justification, the centrality of Jesus and the Lutheran Catechism, Guy expressed his faith in the words of the Apostle’s Creed and found God’s grace bestowed through Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. “The most vital meaning of ‘Church’ is found in the phrase ‘Communion of saints’ – the fellowship of Christian believers whose lives are committed to Jesus Christ.”

Guy established the North Beach Mission (NBM) in 1956 as part of the LCMS. Three years later he lost funding and with the backing of Lewis J. Julienel of the First Baptist Church, the Mission became an Interracial Evangelical Church. When the Lewis’ successor decided not to continue supporting NBM, the mission was then taken over by The Miraloma Reformed Church who subsequently gave it up do to “lack of financial means.” Finally, NBM gets support by the Lutheran Church in America (LCA).


So imagine what happens when the 72 year old Pastor Guy Lizzi meets Pastor Chuck H. Lewis. Guy had resigned previous calls when he was asked to begin preaching the social gospel. So, what would he do when a young pastor came to town charged by the LCA to create an outreach to the homosexual community?

In a letter dated September 23, 1964, Guy describes an inner voice that answered his ten days of prostrated prayers: “WHY QUIT? Remain, continue to work faithfully, as in the past, and I shall give you the victory to overcome the points on those things you disagree with Pastor Lewis.” Guy calls his ten days of discernment the “greatest spiritual crisis I ever faced in my years in the Missionary work,” and asked for forgiveness for the hurt he caused “do to my disagreement.” Guy vows “co-operate 100 percent with Pastor Lewis in all his endeavors. Even use the power of persuasion to bring back into our fold the alienated ones.” Lizzi, Guy A., "Letter to The Rev. Orval C. Hartman," (courtesy of the ELCA Region 2 Archive, North Beach Mission, SPS, SF CA, 1964 Founding).

And so it was, that the pioneer missionary pastor from Italy became a part of an open and affirming congregation in 1964. Guy worked in partnership with Chuck and Joanne "Jo" Chadwick to provide ministry primarily to those living in the Federal Housing Project, gay youth, conscientious objectors and others who signed the NBM covenant.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Urban Specialist Pastors and Their Supporters

Pastors from the Council on Religion and the Homosexual

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Charles "Chuck" Lewis, Board Missionary for the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), and pastor of the North Beach Mission (NBM), Chuck lead youth urban experiences, trainings for pastors and other professionals to learn about the issues of gay people and saw himself as a pastor to the gay social groups. In the late 60's Chuck became the president of the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) in 1968. Learn More - Oral History

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Clay Caldwell from the United Church of Christ

Rev. William “Bill “ Black an Urban Specialist from from LCA and Pastor of Sunset Lutheran, Bill also served on the NBM committee.

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Ted McIlvenna The founder of the Council of Religion and the Homosexual, Ted became the Young Adult Minister at Glide after the National Council of Churches interviewed hitchikers to find out that they were all headed to San Francisco. Ted secured the foundational support to provide the funds for the Vanguard project and other work with young adults in San Francisco. Learn More

Rev. Bill Grace from the Presbyterian Church

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Robert "Bob" Cromey – As an assistant to Bishop Pike, Bob was encouraged to work on civil rights issues. Bishop Pike sent Bob to the first meeting of CRH (which Bob ended up becoming a member of), in return Bob helped Bishop Pike change his mind about homosexuality, so much so that the Bishop actually tracked down the gay pastors he had pushed out of the ministry and found them ministerial jobs. Oral History -- Learn More

Glide Memorial Pastors

Rev. Ed Hansen, was an intern at Glide Memorial from Claremont Seminary. He served as Vanguard's initial contact at Glide. His return to school is lamented in the first issue of Vanguard. He went on to write his thesis on homosexuality and religion.

Rev. Ed Pete organized the older folk in the Tenderloin to protest to help the Tenderloin to become recognized as a poverty district.

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Armed Forces Protest 1966

Rev. Cecil Williams became the pastor of Glide Memorial Church in 1964. He encouraged the gay organizations to use Civil Rights organizing and nonviolence to organize and empower members of the Tenderloin, Bayview, Filmore and Haight Ashbury. Cecil was

Rev. Ted McIlvenna Ted was recruited by the National Council of Churches to serve run the Young Adult Program at Glide. Ted is the founder of CRH.

Rev. John Moore Was the pastor of Glide Church before Cecil Williams.His sermons on Homosexuality appeared on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Lewis "Lewie" Durham worked for Glide Foundation. Lewie was in charge of educating the board of directors so that they would be support the work that the Glide pastors were doing. At one point Lewie even had to respond to angry letters that were sent to Bishop Pike after a story was run about the Vanguard youth. Oral History

Rev. Lawrence "Larry" Mamiya was an intern from Union Theological Seminary in New York from the UCC tradition to Glide to replace the Rev. Ed Hansen. Called to ministry to the youth of San Francisco, Larry worked directly with Vanguard and also spent significant time with the psychedelic community in the Haight Ashbury. Larry helped to open the Haight Asbury clinic, Free Concerts and started both the Vanguard dances and the food programs at Glide.

Members of Vanguard

Mentioned Previously: Ed Hansen, Ted McIlvenna, Lewis Durham, Larry Mamiya

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Ray Broshears Papers, Carton 3

Rev. Ray Broshears Described as the oldest member of Vanguard, Ray writes an article on loneliness for the 4th issue, before moving to Contra Costa County. A pastor in a non-mainline denomination, Ray moves back to the city and becomes famous for being a key part of conspiracy theories about the death of JFK, creating the Lavender Panthers (an armed group to protect gay people from bashers), and for helping to start the San Francisco's Gay Pride Parade (though some people claim he was originally organizing a counter protest in hopes of stopping it).

Rev Keith A member of the Vanguard youth whom also seems to have been ordained in a non-mainline denomination (Universal Life Church).

Rev. Adrian Ravarour A founding member of Vanguard, On December 21, 1966, Bishop Mikhail Itkin ordained Ravarour as a priest in the Holy Catholic Synod of the Syro-Chaldean Rite, and to his Eucharistic Catholic Orders. Bishop Itkin consecrated Ravarour to the episcopate in the winter of 1967 to help with the founding and administration of San Francisco mission ministries.Learn more

Other Gay Friendly Pastors

Episcopal Bishop James Alan Pike (Diocese of California) Bishop Pike sent Bob Cromey to the first meeting of CRH (which Bob ended up becoming a member of), in return Bob helped Bishop Pike change his mind about homosexuality, so much so that the Bishop actually tracked down the gay pastors he had pushed out of the ministry and found them ministerial jobs.Bishop Pike recreated the recipe for oil that was given to Noah. After giving it to a group of conformation students he put it on his own head and discovered that the high it created was similar to marijuana use. Resigned as Bishop in ’68 and died after getting lost in the desert and falling off a cliff. Learn more about Bishop Pike

Methodist Bishop Tippett (as described by Lewis Durham): “I knew the Bishop would back me as long as I kept him informed. He didn’t like to be surprised. He didn’t want somebody calling up with something .. so I’d call him in the middle of the night mainly to let him know, you know, there’s going to be something happening. And he was an old war horse. He’d lost an eye and he lost it picketing in New York when they were shipping scrap iron to Japan and some union people who wanted jobs, you know, they wanted the shipping of scrap iron to Japan, beat him up. He lost an eye. So he was a fighter and he… I remember once. This was after, some guy, some conservative columnist did a story about our … we had Vanguard which was the gay prostitutes and they had a dance (p9) and this guy his four hundred newspapers, you know, with his column, you know, talking bout this awful thing that had happened in Glide where young men were dancing cheek to cheek and all that kind of … he really went into great detail. And by God, here came some telegrams from the Southern bishops, two or three from the Southern bishops and conferences in Texas and Alabama and all, asking Bishop Tippett to defrock us. And he just picked up the telegrams and the letters and said ‘Lewie, you answer them’ (laughs). ‘I haven’t got time.’ So he was a great support."

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Seven Angry Ministers CRH 1965

Rev. Fred Bird: A pastor who served as the chairman of the Central City Citizens Committee and fought for recreational spaces for the youth, seniors and other members of the neighborhood. In this role Fred regularly lobbied San Francisco politicians and created opportunities for members of the Tenderloin to share their concerns directly with their elected officials.

Rev Don Stuart: The first Night Minister, Don spent his time on the streets at night with whomever needed him. Regularly visiting the bars, Don lived the idea that wherever two or more are gathered, there Christ is.

Bishop Michael Francis Itkin was a Bishop of the Holy Catholic Synod of the Syro-Chaldean Rite doing missionary work in the Tenderloin who ordained several of the Vanguard youth as missionaries. Learn More

Rev. Laird Sutton: - A part-time sculptor, poet and film maker, Laird helped to create the sexually explicit movies that were used to help pastors and other professions to become desensitized to homosexuality.

Lay Leaders

Dr. Cliffard "Cliff" Crummey: President of the Northern California Council of Churches and a member of the Glide Foundation Board. Cliff was instrumental in supporting the Urban Specialist Pastors. When people tied to stop their work by withdrawing funding from local or national offices, Cliff would help to replace their donations. At one point when Chevron and several bank ceos threaten to take away their funds from the National Council of Churches unless the stop the pastors of Glide (whom that had no authority over), Crummey was able to replace their donations.

Joanne "Jo" Chadwick: From the Happy Dane tradition, Jo, was a member of the LCA and worked with Chuck at the North Beach Mission. In charge of young adult Christian education and ministry to single young adults, Jo was known among y the other pastors as "whats-her-name." Jo also served as a ghost letter writer for Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon to help them answer all the letters they recieved from across the country.

Mark Forrester: Hired as staff for the poverty program, Mark Forrester was an instrumental part of Vanguard and work to write articles and provide information through Federal Poverty Funds.

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Papers, Box 192, Armed Forces Protest 1966

Del Martin: Founder of the Daughters of Billitis, Del Martin was a member of CRH.

Phyllis Lyon: Founder of the Daughters of Billitis, Phyllis was a member of CRH. Phyllis also served as Ted McIlvenna's secretary at Glide.

Photo Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society, Don Lucas Papers, Box 21-4, Portraits

Don Lucas: Member of the Mattachine Society, Don Lucas was a member of the CRH Board, who also participated in the conversations in the Episcopal Diocese about homosexuality.

*Photos Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive

Thursday, October 15, 2009


"Finally, if the literature regarding homosexuality is to be believed, the inevitable mark of the homosexual is loneliness. It is not without significance that the first great novel on lesbianism was called The Well of Loneliness and it would seem that much of the frantic seeking of companionship in which the homosexual indulges (including the frequent changing of partners) is a recognition of this state... this loneliness seems to be a part of the cross of the homosexual who must, by nature of his inversion, bear. One hopes that the homosexual "societies" help, to some degree, to meet this problem, one tends to doubt it."

Richard Byfiels, "A Pastoral View of Homosexuality," Pacific Coast Theological Group, November 1965, p. 5-6, [courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive, Don Lucas Papers; Diocesan Committee Documents, 1965 folder 19/22].

While this comment is found in the midst of a long essay about how pastors should work with gay people in 1965, it is admittedly a product of the media's portrayal of gay people at the time. The image above is from the article "The Sad 'Gay' Life: The Homosexual Man" [Star, Jack, Look, January 10, 1967 (courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive, Don Lucas Papers; Mattachine Document Clippings folder 19/16)]

While it is surely true that some of the rhetoric about sad lonely gay men was designed to make homosexuality a less desirable lifestyle for youth, it is not completely missing the mark. The nature of the closet and the loss of social and familial support that many gay individuals experienced, would naturally lead to loneliness. It should also be said that the dynamics of urban life also create a sense of loneliness for many (regardless of their sexuality or gender identities).

It is particularly this loneliness that the pastors working with the Vanguard youth sought to address. This article, published in the original Vanguard , written by the Rev. Ray Broshears (picture courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive, Ray Broshears Papers; News Clippings; 96-3 Carton 2) seeks to address the loneliness he witnessed in the Tenderloin.

Volume 1, Number 4, February 1967, p. 7 [courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive, Don Lucas Papers; Vanguard]

The next issue of Vanguard featured comments about loneliness from youth member, Keith St. Clare:

"The more chronically one is lonely, the more selfish he becomes... Read More. ‘I just want someone to love me!’ you cry. Do you? Usually not. Are you waiting for Prince Charming or Snow White to carry on with? Give up, Mary. The secret, the power to overthrow your loneliness, is within. Put self aside and learn to love others! Paradoxically, concern will breed concern and (Sorry ‘bout that) you’ll lose your loneliness. One way to learn concern is through uninhibited enthusiasm. Don’t hide your feelings too well...Applaud and praise at the least honest provocation. True appreciation never alienates anyone. Affectionate companions and amiable friends are rare, but if you become one you will have more than your share.”

Volume 1, Number 5, 1967, p. 7 [courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society Archive, Don Lucas Papers; Vanguard]

Working with many of the individuals in the Tenderloin who are a part of the Vanguard generation and/or who are addicted, homeless, queer, transgender, mentally ill, addicted, etc, I know that loneliness is still one of the biggest issues those living in poverty or on the margins in San Francisco. In fact, I think it is such a pervasive problem in our city that it should be considered emotional poverty.

The more I research the history of the pastors that worked with and around the Vanguard youth, the more I see how my current ministry is a direct result of the advocacy, theology and law breaking of the Urban Specialist Pastors. My work along with that of the Night Ministry, the Faithful Fools and the many programs created by Glide Memorial Church and Foundation continue to work with the lonely souls of the Tenderloin.

Vanguard Revisited will create the opportunity for contemporary individuals to use their own words, art and writings to express how they experience loneliness.