Transgender and LGBA Queer Organization engaged from the margins embraced in love, Rainbow Community Cares. A 501(c)(3) working with you for community health and wellbeing.

Report Violence: If you or someone you know is threatened or hurt because of their gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation, we can help. Click here for more.


Celebrate in untraditional ways with ceremonies crafted to meet your individual expression of life passages and transitions.

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Dear RCCares Friends

In this moment we have what we need to realize the value of life. We have what we need as we gather together with our skills and our wisdom to support life. We can stay firm in our belief that we can live into our humanity, our true nature as people with compassion and with the ability to care about ourselves and each other. 

  • Lean into friends to share companionship, lovingkindness and understanding for healing.
  • Recommit to staying engaged acting to help others who are vulnerable.
  • Remember what it is that you appreciate about life in your community, state and the country and be more involved.  

We must never give up on caring. My deepest desire is that together we realize through our actions how important we are to building the hope for a better way with and for those around us. Holding you close in my heart in love,    

Looking forward, J

[No pronouns, simply J]

J Zirbel, ED/Rev 


Our ministry work

Gathering in support of the wellbeing and health of all in our community has an evolving nature in response to life experiences. The purpose and role of gathering may be to provide a place of exploration moving beyond contemporary ideas of traditional spiritual practices. The key elements of gathering as community to support and to serve with love and hope remain, while offering the opportunity of disrupting the fantasy of security in uniformity. The painful cycle of exclusion and rejection “churches” and other faith communities have too often enacted for the sake of conformity can be overridden, creating chaos so that new ways of gathering will take shape.

As our ministry development work area for Church Within A Church Movement met in Nashville, we realized that our connection for all of our ministries was that we act to be in service in response to common desires to love, to be happy and to feel valued. How we do that moves outside the mold or the model of ‘conventional’ church.

Rainbow Community Cares folks are working on living in the vision of community in care of each other. We are not waiting to see who will transform our neighborhoods and our world; instead we are co creating connections in sharing common ground of association and support, listening to people and acting to help make opportunities for gathering. We share in common the need to participate as compassionate people who desire to interact in relationships with others who can count on us and who we can count on, companionship we depend upon.

As we are involved in community we change and evolve, and that naturally affects others with whom we are in relationship, be they close friends, family members, co workers, classmates, neighbors, all the folks we encounter and with whom we socialize in many different ways.

We all are connected in simple and in profound ways, through social justice actions, community organizing to hear and amplify voices from the margins, providing basic living supports we need to flourish, celebrating emerging acts of self determination, providing hospitable spaces for discussions from diverse perspectives, offering support in developing talents, and co hosting safe spaces for healing and community reconciliation. It is all done by our acting in the intention of being in care and compassion for neighbor as self. In this creative relatedness communal needs are met and individuals discover hope to live.


Engaging Communities of Faith to End Deadly Silence on Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault

This post is in direct response to the deaths of four transwomen of color reported in the month of June, Pride Month 2014, and those that go unreported throughout our country. It is way past time to hold the major influences in our society, which affect all of us, accountable for the deadly discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities. Religious organizations and faith communities are one of the major legs that support and reinforce cultural norms and common understanding, along with political leaders, the media, and educational institutions.

Read more here.


A Litany of Life and Death in Pride Season June 2014

Four vibrant and beloved transgender women of color whose lives were ended in violence join the sadly tumultuous legacy from which we live. Even so, this reinforces our determination to continue the struggle for life. I read about their tragic deaths, one after the other, in the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program (NCAVP) hate violence press releases, during the month of June, with growing anxiety and with the feeling of devastation that takes hold and doesn’t let go. In the midst of the Pride parades and celebrations of June we bury our dead.

Read more here.


“Faith, Sexuality & HIV”

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day providing an excellent chance to talk about issues related to love, sexuality, spirituality, health, wellbeing and HIV; how the care for ourselves and the support we offer others impact the wellbeing of the LGBTQ community. Community leaders active in advocating for health and wellness will participate in the forum. Believe that we can help the community at large to flourish. Let’s “Talk HIV” to break down the barrier silence erects in fear and isolation. Click here for more information.

Our goal is to act on the call to community healing and reconciliation. Participants will join community leaders, to reflect on considerations and options for getting and staying connected with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues while discussing the issues. 

You are invited to a gathering of the: Affirming Faith Forum

Friday, June 27, 2014

6:30 to 8:30 pm

At the LGBT Center of Raleigh

We believe that the call to be a loving and just community is significant to life in our community. This scriptural imperative is especially significant now when anti LGBTQ hate based religious rhetoric threatens our lives and well being. We meet in the strength and love of community, attesting to how shame and guilt are disarmed.

Welcome to a safe place of radical hospitality.

Co Facilitators: Luke Keeler, Jim Manchester, & J Zirbel


Welcome to our work! The vision of Rainbow Community Cares is lived out in the everyday life of its board and members. “Participation in communities celebrating the creative spirit from within each heart and honoring the blessings of diversity in gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race.”  

The board and the director are nine folks who reflect the diverse community with whom we serve. We are transgender, gender non conforming, questioning, bisexual, lesbian, gay, people of color, white, old, young, differently abled, atheist, agnostic, and followers of many spiritual traditions. What binds us together is the common passion of love and equality for all.  

We spend our time to co create safe spaces where people gather and are encouraged to speak and to hear the stories of struggles, triumphs and barriers that remain. Places where intentional celebrations are organized and activities planned that recognize the support of each individual, and the gift of community. To speak expressions of self out loud, and to listen to others with respect and affirmation. And to discover in the speaking and in the listening the points of connection and divergence in our collaborative work for communal health and well being. In collaborative actions we support each other in our struggles, sharing what has worked, where we have fallen short, and adjust our plans in the movement to flourish.


Definition for “Gender Equality” and short narrative for why we do this work

Gender describes the way you see yourself and how you identify in terms of “male”/”female”/”gender variant”. Gender also describes the way you see others, and then identify them. One’s perception of another’s gender isn’t always correct. Has this ever happened to you? Embarrassment over this misunderstanding can be uncomfortable. Fear, anger and violence are too often the response to people who do not fit another’s gender expectations.*

Gender equality is about recognizing the diversity of ways people identify their gender and express their gender, and all people’s right to respect and self expression.

We have a deep desire to love and care for neighbor as self. Exploring with folks on the multitude experiences of people based on their gender identity [be it “gender variant”, “female”, and/or “male”] broadens our understanding of our own gender identity, and that of our neighbors. Embracing the diversity of human expressions needs to replace judgments based on fear and anger about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in the gender expression of another for our desire to live in loving kindness to prevail.

* See: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ (NCAVP) “2012 Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence” available at:


Rainbow Community Cares is celebrating two years of support and advocacy with Transgender, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Questioning and Allies (LGBTQA). RCCares continues to work, ever striving to be present in the moments at the places where caring can meet the needs of the community. Read MORE.


Spring, Passover, Easter, . . . however you celebrate a new dawn, a fresh start, and the movement into a full way of living begins today. In a timeless pattern, plants push up from the soil toward warmth and sunlight. Heart, soul and body follow similar, ancient rhythms recognized and renewed in a multitude of celebrations. Play, and perhaps prayer, encourages creativity and joy deep within us. Join the creative play of community sharing a meal, encouraging a neighbor, and enjoying the company of someone you love. Honor your knowledge of the possibilities. Envision creative collage with images that can be cut out from old pages and taped back together in new arrangements, queer visioning with glue and scissors. Figuratively or literally, join the recreation celebration at the LGBT Center of Raleigh.


As part of the Campaign for Southern Equality’s We Do! campaign demonstrations across the South, Rainbow Community Cares supports inclusion and affirmation of the LGBTQ community in full legal recognition and equality in all public laws and policies.  In these actions we are articulating what marriage means. We witness to and wish to celebrate what all people in love share in common. See us in action.

Read Jenna's thoughts from the road as she travels with the Campaign.


A statement of Appreciation for All That You Do


'A place in this world to go to remember' those transgender folk, Beloved Children, whom we have needlessly and painfully lost, and pray that we will learn to love all of God's children.   

Cherishing Transgender - a Blessing and a Liturgy.


lesbian couple“As a minister on the edge to me queer theology is all about honoring the tremendous gift in the diversity of human expression. Our community needs to creatively celebrate what touches the deepest meaning in our lives.”                 - Rev Jenna Zirbel  


"Anger - a passion of displeasure that may be excessive or misplaced but not necessarily harmful. Hatred - an emotional habit or attitude of mind in which aversion is coupled with ill-will. Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does." - Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, p. 152


The times have changed.  

The way we’ve always done it does not get the results it once got.

What is Love calling us to be in this new time and place?

Is it time to re-examine our practices to see if there are possibilities as yet untapped?

We wish to join with you in this exciting time in ministry.



"And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.” Audre Lorde, “Uses of the Erotic”, Sister Outsider, p.57