Indiana Pastor “Relieved” of His Pastoral Duties After Appearing on HBO’s ‘We’re Here’
An Indiana pastor has been "relieved of pastoral duties" after making an appearance on the popular HBO Docu-Series, We're Here.
Back in July 2021, HBO's 'We're Here' traveled to the Evansville area to film an episode for the second series of the show. If you're unfamiliar with the premise of the show, 'We're Here' follows renowned drag performers, Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O'Hara, and Shangela Laquifa Wadley as they travel to across the country, stopping in small cities and towns where they transform members of the local communities into the fiercest of drag queens.
When the show was filmed in Evansville one of those community members was Rev. Craig Duke, an ordained member of the clergy that was serving as the pastor at the Newburgh United Methodist Church located just outside of Evansville, Indiana in nearby Newburgh.
Hoping to open hearts and minds in Evansville, IN, Bob, Eureka, and Shangela help Methodist Pastor Craig promote LGBTQ equality to his congregants, inspire Tunisian refugee Kaïs to celebrate all facets of his entire identity, and facilitate the long-overdue wedding of civil rights activists Barbara and Yvon.
(On a personal note - I watched the premiere of Season 2, Episode 5 surrounded by members of the LGBTQIA+ community and I was moved to tears by Pastor Craig, the love he has for his daughter, and his kind and open heart. In watching, it was obvious that this man truly loves his fellow man. As a mother, I applaud this man's love for all and his willingness to go to any length to show his love and support for his daughter.)
The story of all three, Pastor Craig, Kaïs, and Barbara and Yvon were both inspiring and heartbreaking. It was incredibly eye-opening to see through the lenses of the reality of all of these people. It was also beautifully moving to see the final drag performances, in all of their magnificence. It was beautiful and so full of love... That's why I was so surprised to see a GoFundMe floating around social media today for Pastor Craig.
It seems that he has been "relieved of pastoral duties," according to the GoFundMe that goes on to describe Pastor Craig as, " a man of faith, a father, a husband, a social justice advocate, and ally for the LGBTQIA+ community." The GoFundMe goes on to say,
Unfortunately, Craig's participation in this show caused much turmoil in the church that he was serving at the time and ultimately lead to him being "relieved of pastoral duties" at that church. With that comes the loss of income as well as housing. Obviously, this poses a major challenge to Craig and his family as they determine their next steps.Please join us in praying for Pastor Craig as he (and his family) navigates this time of transition.
Since the loss of his position within the church also means the loss of housing, the GoFundMe has a financial goal of $30,000. If you would like to donate to Pastor Craig and his wife, Linda, you can do so here.
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