- Goldmine: Root
- Oral History Collections
- Charlotte LGBTQ+ oral histories
- Debbie Warren oral history interview 1, 2016 June 21
Debbie Warren oral history interview 1, 2016 June 21
Prior to the 1992 founding of Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN) in Charlotte, North Carolina, Rev. Debbie Warren dedicated her life to service within the Baptist Church. In this first of three interviews, Rev. Warren discusses her early years as an ambitious young Baptist attempting to find her calling within the narrow window of opportunity afforded to women. She explains how she was fortunate to come into contact with progressive Baptist leadership that eventually led to her acquiring her Master's degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and her ordination in Pendleton, South Carolina. While overcoming gender barriers, Rev. Warren also battled with internal conflict regarding her lesbian identity. By the late 1980s, Rev. Warren arrived in Charlotte to take part in a chaplaincy internship at Carolinas Medical Center. She describes how her work at Charlotte's major hospital and her friendship with Henry Finch, a former Baptist minister who was involved in early AIDS work, led her to found RAIN in Charlotte. Rev. Warren details the history of RAIN and describes how the organization worked with faith congregations to support people with AIDS in a mutually beneficial way. She explains what set Charlotte's RAIN organization apart from other RAIN organizations within the United States, and she reflects on the congregations in Charlotte who were early partners.