Jim Bailey is founder of Second Stone, a pioneering national newspaper for LGBT Christians which began publication in 1988. He served as editor and publisher until 1998.
Bailey was born in 1954 in Pulaski, Tennessee, and raised in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, a rural suburb of New Orleans. Early in his career he transformed a high school hobby of photography into a busy commercial studio. After attending Delgado College and Tulane University where he studied business administration, he served as an administrator for Catholic Charities of New Orleans at a residential treatment center for learning disabled/emotionally disturbed youth.
In the mid-80s, Bailey's love for media and graphic arts resurfaced. He worked for a time as a designer, first for Cox Newspapers, then for the corporate advertising department of one of the South's largest retail distributors.
In 1988, three years into his first same-sex relationship, and during a time when AIDS was ravaging the gay community, the idea for Second Stone came into being. After a visit to the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Bailey began putting together thoughts for a spiritual resource for the LGBT community. For a decade, editing and publishing Second Stone was a passionate labor of love.
During his youth he attended a Southern Baptist Convention congregation, where he was baptized at age 12. Later he joined a Baptist Missionary Association (BMA) fellowship and helped develop a congregation in Louisiana. He taught Sunday School at the new church for three years. Then, in 1986 at age 32, Bailey was questioned by his BMA pastor about his male partner of one year. Although encouraged by many in his congregation to continue his work there, Bailey parted ways with the BMA.
After a time of self study and with the encouragement of a friend who was a Lutheran pastor, Bailey joined a congregation of the emerging Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Love Lutheran Church in New Orleans, where he is still a member.
Bailey has served in the ELCA in significant ways. He has been elected numerous times to serve as a voting member to ELCA Churchwide Assemblies and Synod Assemblies of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. He has served on Synod Council and as a corporate officer of the synod.
At the 1997 Churchwide Assembly, Bailey urged nervous voting members to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation. The assembly voted 712-180 to endorse ENDA, the largest margin ever for any vote favorable toward LGBT persons.
In 2001, Bailey was elected to the founding board of directors of the Institute for Welcoming Resources and continues to serve the board as a communications consultant.
When Second Stone ended its run in 1998, Bailey served for a year as Media/Public Relations Director for the City of New Orleans' Healthy Start Project. He now works in church marketing, having written a book on the subject, and works as an editor for the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA. He serves as a Mission Interpreter Coordinator for the 14 ELCA congregations in Southeast Louisiana. He also devotes much of his time to work with adults with disabilities.
Bailey resides with his partner, Paul, and his cat, Nikita, in the City Park area of New Orleans, on the banks of Bayou St. John.
(This biographical statement provided by Jim Bailey.)
Biography Date: October, 2004
Baptist | Author/editor | Gay Liberation Movement