Founded in 1973, PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With over 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed.
In the early 1990s, local community member Cindy Mitzel recognized the need for a PFLAG Chapter in York and organized an initial meeting at the YWCA. Cindy invited other community members, Pat Brandl and Judy Morreels, and asked them if they would consider organizing and running a full chapter. And so the group founded PFLAG York in 1994, joining PFLAG National and slowly building up membership. Initially meeting at the Lutheran Social Services building on Kelly Drive, the Lutheran minister, Rev. Luther Sauers, arranged for PFLAG York to use the facilities on a monthly basis.
When the chapter outgrew this space, Rev. Sauers arranged for PFLAG York to meet in the Board Room of the Main Lutheran Home. Meetings were held on the first Tuesday from 7-9 PM. The evening began with the mission statement, importance of confidentiality, and introductions around the circle - the same as our meeting setup today! Often, meetings included a guest speaker with an educational topic and a question/answer period. Mostly though, meetings focused on the needs of those who came to meetings for help.
In the early years, PFLAG York had a devoted group of individuals whose sustaining interest in the chapter laid the foundation for the much needed support group. These community members included founders Pat and Don Brandl, Judy and Charles Morreels, Elsie and John Parker, Cheryl Hershey, and Charles Kress.
For a few years, PFLAG York created a regular Newsletter with exceptional quality writing and craftsmanship. Cheryl Hershey, Jill Miller, Judy Morreels, and Sean Downs were responsible for it.
In 2003, PFLAG York began meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York on S. George Street. The chapter has remained very grateful to the Lutheran Home for providing meeting space for PFLAG York for so many years, free of charge, as a service to the community.
“A decade of wonderful times with the GLBT community. My life has been enriched through the experience of working with PFLAG. Listening, caring, reaching out to others in pain and crisis is a special challenge. I have learned so much from others that has helped me in my own understandings. The friendships and good times have been a great joy.”
Judy Morreels, one of the Founders of PFLAG York