Jim Becker, Speaker
About his talk this morning, Jim writes: "I can't help but go back to my religious roots on this one! When the decision was handed down, a good friend from Birmingham, AL, texted me "We did it." Amazing Grace, HallelUUjah!, and the HUGE Blessed Be! My first thoughts in those first few moments went back to memories-all those who had gone before us. My arrival in Mississippi in 1989 and since then-the deaths, the illicit weddings we performed anyhow, the ways we hid, the terrible AIDS crisis we faced. I will walk you through those years and the lives we changed over the years here with a message of hope, renewal, acceptance, and salvation."
Jim Becker is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, where he has served terms as president, programs director, communications director, director of religious education, and now, serves on the ministerial council, and the minister relations committee. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at The Mountain as their recording secretary.
Prior to becoming a Unitarian Universalist, Jim was a 15-year minister for Metropolitan Community Churches and, in 1992, was the first openly gay minister publicly ordained in Mississippi. He is the founding pastor and now pastor emeritus of Jackson's Safe Harbor Family Church (United Church of Christ). Throughout his life, Jim has been an activist for LGBT concerns, street ministries, nursing home ministries, white people healing racism encounter groups, and prison ministries.
Jim is retired from the Mississippi Department of Education, where, under his watch, the first ever LGBT resources were added to the job description materials for all school counselors. In addition, he introduced encounter sessions between the Mississippi Counselors Association and the LGBT community at state conventions.
Jim's life-mate of 24 years, Freeman, is a life-long resident of Mississippi. Their Chi-children, Chihuahuas Mikey and JayLo, will soon have legally married daddies -- in December 2015! Jim's daughter (Kathryn) and grandson (Hayden) live in Ohio.