Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jason and deMarco to blend sexuality and spirituality at First Congregational Church, Williamstown

If you haven't been to church in a while, you might consider dropping in on the First Congregational Church in Williamstown this Sunday, July 11 for a very special worship service at 9:30 am. Times have changed, and many churches have kept up with the times. The appearance of the openly gay, openly Christian singing duo Jason and deMarco will be a first. They not only make great music, but are a rare model of how two lovers have been able to integrate their sexuality and spirituality into a lasting relationship and successful career.

Jason and deMarco. Jerry Avenaim Photo.

Of course, their openness about their sexuality often pits them against evangelical Christianity, while their faith at times meets with resistance from the gay community. Jason & deMarco may not have chosen an easy path, but it is a heartfelt one. You cn get a good sense of the guys and their unique approach to life in these excerpts from their DVD, We're All Angels. It was first aired on the Logo network this past May.

You can meet and enjoy the MTV-award-winning music duo on Sunday, July 11th when they perform and speak at the 9:30 am worship service at First Congregational Church, Williamstown. The service is free and open to the public.

Robin Lehleitner, head of the church's Education Team gives us a little background: "We voted to become an Open & Affirming church in 1992, and have a number of gay members, but for the most part this aspect of our ministry tends to be a well-kept secret in Berkshire County. Hosting J & D is our way of attempting to publicize it." She also credits Bennington's Dr. Ken Sullivan-Bol for playing a big part in bringing the duo to the Berkshires.

Rev. Carrie Bail, pastor of FCC, Williamstown says "We care about ensuring that everyone receives an equal welcome, no matter what their race, class, or gender identity. Ken has been a big part of that hospitality, not only for the LGBT community, but for anyone who happens to walk through our doors."
Jason & deMarco, rising stars who are gay, spiritual, and in love, have performed at numerous high profile events including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Awards in Los Angeles, the Matthew Shepard Foundation's annual gala in Denver, and the 2006 Human Rights Campaign Gala at the Waldorf Astoria New York.

Jason and deMarco. Van Der Kolk Photography

They have also been a part of the human rights campaign celebrating marriage equality, Love Rocks, alongside artists such as Christina Aguilera, Pink, and The Dixie Chicks. While Jason & deMarco tour internationally in various venues, they also continue sharing their music and message with the community of faith around the world.
Their controversial autobiographical documentary film We're All Angels, from director Robert Nunez, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the public and private lives of these rising pop stars, with a particular focus on their openness about their sexuality. Most recently Jason & deMarco announced the launch of a new non-profit organization called S.A.F.E. (Safe, Affirming, Family Environment) dedicated to establishing "S.A.F.E. Houses" for GLBTQ youth and young adults. Their concert profits go to benefit this cause.
The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, of Williamstown, located at 906 Main Street (Rt. 2), in the center of the Williams College campus, voted to become an “Open and Affirming” church in 1992. This means, in part, that the congregation seeks to extend affirmation and support to the LGBTQ community. Services are Sundays at 9:30 am from July 4 throughout the summer, and 10:30 am beginning September 12. The church is fully handicap accessible and parking is available behind the building off of Chapin Hall Drive.  For more information call the church office 413-458-4273 or e-mail office@firstchurchwilliamstown.org

About Jason Warner

Jason Warner is the oldest son in an entertainment family. He grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland and began singing at an early age, traveling with his mother in music ministry. His grandmother often called him 'lungs' because she could hear him coming down the street as a baby. In 1996, Jason toured with the professional contemporary Christian recording group, Truth, and then in 1997 and 1998, with the group The Sound. On the road and in the studio with these groups, he learned about music management, direction, production and booking. Jason graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, TN in 1997 with a BA degree in Music and Sociology. The following year, he founded his own independent recording label, RJN MUSIC, originally based in Nashville, TN. Says Jason, "although the foundation of my morals, spirituality, and ideals were a result of my strict Pentecostal upbringing, my spiritual beliefs have broadened along with my musical style. I've always pushed myself to break down barriers and cross boundaries in order to reach people from all walks of life, because I believe that music is the universal language of the soul and has the ability to bring people together."

About deMarco DeCiccio

deMarco DeCiccio's earliest memories of music take him back to nursery school where he was taught to sing nursery rhymes by Catholic nuns. He later furthered his love for music and theater by studying at the Etobicoke School for the Performing Arts, and in 1999 he graduated with a B.A. degree in Music and Languages from York University in Canada. deMarco's debut album was a series of love songs, sung in Italian, called "Melodie." Since relocating to Los Angeles in 1999, deMarco has performed in a number of theatrical productions, and has appeared in several national commercials.

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