Editor’s note: Thanks to my friend Liz Schiller, a Pasadena Pride Center board member, for telling me about the organization. And thank you to “Pastor Rick” Einsenlord for inviting me to attend the recent President’s Dinner. Eisenlord, a former Lutheran minister who parted ways with the denomination after he came out about 30 years ago, is the founder and minister of the non-denominational Good Shepherd Church, which he describes as a “safe haven” for the LGBT community. – Stevie
The way Rev. Rick Eisenlord (known to many as “Pastor Rick”) sees things, there are two ways you can respond to a problem: by complaining or by taking action. He prefers to take action.
That’s why Eisenlord, who describes himself as “a simple parish pastor—an ordinary guy with an extraordinary dream,” is so committed to the new Pasadena Pride Center. When he moved to the San Gabriel Valley, Eisenlord noticed a dearth of Pasadena-based services to meet the needs of the area’s LGBT community.
Eisenlord founded the Pride Center to address that gap, and he envisions the organization growing to offer a wide array of programs including: support for youth coming out of the closet; recovery services for those battling drug and alcohol addiction; transgender community services; social activities; and support for HIV-positive men.
Already the Pride Center has hosted some successful “drag bingo” events, filled Good Shepherd’s pews for a World AIDS Day concert and launched a men’s social group. (The Pride Center is seeking a facilitator to lead its Gay Women’s Professional Network.)
The organization ended 2012, which Einsenlord thinks of as its “year of getting started,” with a significant milestone: achieving 501(c)(3) status. That paves the way for 2013 to be “a time to build,” Einsenlord told guests at the Pride Center’s annual President’s dinner at El Portal.
Rick Eisenlord speaks at the President’s Dinner.
Now that the Pride Center is an officially recognized nonprofit organization, it can seek the grant funding needed to establish the programs and services Eisenlord envisions.
“We can do things that we only dreamed about. We can do that and it will happen – and all of you can be part of it!” he told guests at the Jan. 29 dinner.
For more information about the Pasadena Pride Center, visit www.pasadenapridecenter.org.