Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the film Love, Simon is when Simon’s mother tells him, after learning that he was gay,“…it’s almost like I could feel you holding your breath … You can finally exhale, Simon. You finally get to be more you than you’ve been in a very long time.”
My father, five days before he passed away, told me a very similar thing: I should be who I am because I am, all of who I am, is loved. Since coming out to myself and then to others, during the season of Pride in June, I am reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that I have been loved, and will always be loved for who I am.
I am ecstatic that this year, I get to share in the celebration of Pride with my church family. And that this is the year that I will get to exhale, in church.
I wish everyone a merry month of Pride!
Pride month is important to me because it’s a time for celebrating the culture of the LGBTQ community. I only came out as bisexual a couple of months ago, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have family and friends who accept me for who I am. There are those who don’t have the same feeling of security that I do and Pride Month is an outlet for them to be more open with their feelings.
As a teacher, I always felt that it was a shame that we needed a month to recognize marginalized people among us. I look forward to a world where all are accepted and equal, a world where there is no need for a mere month to celebrate the importance of any group. In the meantime, I’m so happy to be a part of a congregation that cares for and believes in equality for all people.
I was particularly proud that one week before Sue presided at my daughter’s wedding, our pastors officiated our church’s first same-sex marriage–a beautiful and meaningful confirmation of the importance of Christ’s message that love is the greatest law.
I began my nursing career in the height of the AIDS crisis in the 80’s. It was heartbreaking to me to see the shame and humiliation of the AIDS patients and the lack of support and outright discrimination they faced. Now, as the parent of an LGBTQ child, I can’t even imagine having my child face the same discrimination. Nor can I imagine not supporting my child and loving them unconditionally. It is so important and meaningful to me to be a member of a congregation that supports and loves all its members. Thank you First Pres, for honoring the LGBTQ community at our church and in our community.
I am glad to see there will be a recognition of LGBTQ at 1st Presbyterian Church of HC. My second oldest grandchild who is the most kindhearted and loving child does not identify with any gender. I was once told by one who identified herself as an Evangelical Christian that my grandchild would be going to “hell” and she would pray for the child. I vowed at that time, I would advocate for LGBTQ. My God “Loves All”. The 1st Presbyterian Church of HC recognition of all God’s people, pleases me very much to be a member of this congregation.
When I moved to Baltimore in 1983, I called the Presbytery and asked for the most liberal congregation and was referred to Brown Memorial Park Avenue.
I was ordained an elder at Brown and was on session when we voted to become a “More Light” church in 1992 which meant we ordained gays and lesbians before it was officially allowed in the PCUSA. The pastor at Brown sent me to First Pres when I moved to Columbia. This is an issue of bedrock importance to me in my Christian faith. My Presbyterian missionary maternal grandmother believed in gay rights in the 1930’s. God purposely made each of us in God’s image. Thank goodness the medical science has finally caught up and affirmed that sexual orientation is a matter of biology.
One of the reasons I joined the UCC church 30 years ago was its progressive stance on LGBT rights and marriage equality, issuing its first statement in 1969. I led a church protest in front of another church during their “conversion” workshops, carrying a sign that said “God loves you as God made you.” I switched to Presbyterian only when I knew it would also embrace all members regardless of sexual orientation. To me, the science could not be clearer that this is another part of the wonderful diversity of all of God’s creation. My heart sinks when I hear of young people disowned by their families after coming out, or knowing they have to choose between being supported in college or life, and living a lie. When a young friend let everyone know he was gay, I was so relieved he didn’t have to pretend anymore and just wondered what I could have done to make it easier. I rejoice seeing him on Facebook living his true life. I’m so glad First Presbyterian is a welcoming congregation for everyone created as God made them.