This month we celebrate PRIDE, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) festival promoting self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increased LGBT visibility, community building, and celebrating sexual diversity and gender variance. Visit us at Grand Rapids PRIDE 2015 on Calder Plaza, Saturday, June 20.
We display the PRIDE colors in our church as a
- welcome to and affirmation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people participating in the full life and ministry of the St. John's
- proclamation of our study and understanding of What the Bible Says About Gay Christians
- celebration of our standing as Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation #869
- witness to our core value: We accept all people as being created in the image of God, uplifting and celebrating their worth and integrity, and engaging them authentically rather than as categories or classes.
- declaration of our support of marriage equality for all couples regardless of gender
- symbol of solidarity with the more than 1200 UCC congregations with some 250,000 members, 8 colleges/campus ministries, and 8 seminaries who are also Open and Affirming, as well as with the more than 40 denominations that do or are on a trajectory toward welcoming all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression
- testimony to the actions of the United Church of Christ supporting same-gender-loving people dating back to 1969
The PRIDE colors also serve to remind us of the work we still need to do:
- ending discrimination under the guise of religious freedom,
- stopping bullying and suicide of LGBT youth
- caring for the more than 4 million LGBT elders who will be living among us by 2030
- supporting international human rights related to sexual orientation and gender identity
- ministering to people living with HIV/AIDS
- affirming the participation and ministry of transgender people and affirming their civil rights
At St. John's United Church of Christ our affirming relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Christians are intentional. We invite you to be affirming and intentional in your relationships with your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family members and friends.