by Rev. Steve Parelli
Bronx, New York
Photo Below: Moses of Uganda with paper bag to hide identidy with Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director;
The American Prayer Hour press conference, The National Press Club, Washington, DC, February 2, 1010
Yesterday, at the press conference at The National Press Club in
Washington, DC where key religious leaders announced the
formation of The American Payer Hour, Moses of Uganda, in his
What is the link between Moses and Other Sheep? Moses is an
example of Other Sheep's motto at work: "...connecting people
with people and people with resources..."
Last fall (2009), Moses was sponsored to come to the USA for a
conference related to his work. That trip became his opportunity
to seek asylum in America as a gay Ugandan.
When he arrived in the USA he phoned me, and told me his story
and his desire to not return to Uganda.
Steve put Moses in touch with Emmanuel Kamau who is Other
Sheep co-Coordinator for Africa. Emmanuel is from Nairobi,
Kenya. Not too long ago, Emmanuel received asylum in the USA. He is now working full time, earning a living in Texas where he
resides. Emmanuel housed Moses and put him in touch with
organizations that could help Moses with asylum.
Yesterday, listening to Moses speak, I was transported back to
our (Jose and me) two summers in East Africa (2007 and 2008).
Hearing Moses' voice was like hearing the many, many stories of LGBT East Africans during our travels. His narrative was the familiar for me. I was at home listening to him. Following the press conference he greeted me with a tight embrace, his arms wrapping tightly around me. I felt his thankfulness in that hug, a kind of "I've-been-rescued-thank-you-for-your-part" hug.
At lunch, I asked Moses how he first heard of Other Sheep. He said he was doing a search for Metropolitan Community Church on the Internet while still in Uganda and came across Other Sheep.
After lunch, Moses, Mike Nichols (a friend of Moses who drove Moses to and from the press conference, a two/three day trip) and I drove around DC visiting some of the sites.
They dropped me off at Union Station around 6:30 PM. I took the 188 NE back to New York City, returning the way I came earlier that day. It had been a long, wonderful, memorable day, meeting
at last, in person, Moses, a Ugandan whom Other Sheep had a small part in helping. I say a small part, but to Moses, that phone call he received from Other Sheep in response to his urgent email to me was, at the time, his life line.