Musical Brunch to Benefit New LGBTQ Resource Center

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 9:25 am
Jeanette McWaters

Above: The Reverend Phiwa Langeni.

This Saturday, August 19, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Edgewood United Church in East Lansing will host a Musical Brunch fundraiser to support the Salus Center, a new gathering space in the greater Lansing area for the LGBTQ community, their families, and friends.

The Brunch will feature local musicians and artisans, refreshments donated by local businesses, and a silent auction including art from local galleries, handmade jewelry, theater tickets, and gift certificates to popular restaurants. Tickets for Saturday’s Musical Brunch Fundraiser will be sold at the church door at a cost of $10 per person. Children under ten will be admitted for free. (Edgwood United Church is located at 469 Hagadorn Road in East Lansing.)

The Salus Center is a non-profit operation and relies on allies like Edgewood United Church to donate space and to host fundraisers to cover operating costs. The founder of the center, Reverend Phiwa Langeni, said donations help “to raise funds in a way that lives into one of our values of transformation in/through community.”

According to a press release provided by the Center, Langeni "has a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary, and a Master of Sacred Theology with LGBTQ Concentration from Chicago Theological Seminary. They most recently completed the Auburn Seminary Coach Training in 2017." (Langeni's preferred pronoun is "they.")

“The space I am creating is one in which a person can bring their fullest selves, no matter the combination of their identities,” says Langeni, who goes on to describe the Center as “an oasis from the constant wondering if it’s okay to be who you are.”

Langeni notes that the LGBTQ population faces stigma and discrimination when seeking healthcare, employment opportunities, spiritual communities, and housing. The Center plans to provide training sessions on LGBTQ issues for healthcare providers, human resource professionals, peer support facilitators, schools, churches, and any other interested parties.

The vision for this center began in 2007. Today, what started out as an empty storefront at 624 E. Michigan Avenue in Lansing’s Stadium District is now getting the finishing touches to prepare for a September opening. A short bus ride from Michigan State University and within walking distance from Lansing Community College and Cooley Law School, the Center is designed to be easily accessible to the Lansing/East Lansing LGBTQ community.

“It’s been awesome to watch the space transform over the last few months,” said Langeni.

For the Salus Center’s September 9 open house, hardware is being installed in a main room in the front of the building to display art from a local gallery. An office and a community room make up the rest of the space. Education activities, community gatherings, medical and housing resources, a Sunday afternoon worship service, and on-site access to holistic services are a few of the activities planned for the Center.

A typical day at the Center might offer a locally curated art exhibit, a transgender support group, and one-on-one sessions with a Reiki healer. Plans are for the Center to be open Sunday through Thursday, with hours to be announced. Upcoming events at the Center include:

  • an Open House, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
  • a talent show, Oct. 21, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.;
  • a clothing swap, Nov. 7, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.;
  • a Friendsgiving Celebration, Nov. 18, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.;
  • and a Speed Friending Event, with details to be announced.

The Salus Center is located at 624 E. Michigan Avenue in Lansing and will open in September. For more information about the Center, go to the Center's website or find the Center on Twitter @saluscentermi.
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