By Clarence Baney for the Peacemaking and Social Justice Team
Every season of LGBTQIA+ Pride our anthem is the hymn “Let Us Build a House Where Love Can Dwell”, where we jubilantly and whole heartedly sing that “all are welcome in this place!” Truly ours strives to be a house of worship for all, amid the never-ending reports of new state laws designed to target and marginalize LGBTQIA+ youths and adults, particularly members of the transgender community. Lawmakers and elected officials, the very people who swore oaths to uphold Constitutional freedoms including the right to freedom of speech/expression and equality under the law, make very clear their agenda to limit the personal and civil liberties of LGBTQIA+ persons. Recently, the Washington Post put out an article titled “For LGBTQ spaces, being safe takes on new urgency”, in which they reported that LGBTQIA+ Safe Spaces are needed now more than ever. Additionally, members of the LGBTQ community are becoming increasingly aware of the locations where they can congregate, live out their authentic lives, and find community in spaces that are, well, SAFE!
Is First Presbyterian a safe space? Is it an LGBTQIA+ Safe Space? Can it be an LGBTQIA+ Sacred Safe Space? Searching for a spiritual guide to help explore these questions, our team turned to our church’s “Pride” anthem, “Let Us Build a House”. We found that this hymn even gives us a guide that we can follow for making ours a church that openly, willingly, and enthusiastically serves and welcomes all.
This season of Pride, we invite you to participate in the activities that we designed around key phrases from this hymn. We invite you this season of Pride, to be part of creating, imagining, and, yes, building our house so that it truly welcomes all. Here’s our line-up for the 2023 season of Pride:
Week 1, “Let Us Build a House where Prophets Speak”: We are having a Social Justice Book Drive this year. The PSJ team invites you to help us to create a Social Justice section of our church library.
Week 2, “Let Us Build a House of Dreams and Visions”: We welcome back Drag artist, Mama Bella, as she leads us in our second Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH). At First, we intentionally make space for DQSH as a means of grace and reconciliation between the church and the LGBTQ+ community.
Week 3, “Let Us Build a House where Peace and Justice Meet”: The Third Sunday of Pride has become our “Pronoun Sunday” when we put our pronouns on display and invite each other to intentionally share our pronouns.
Week 4, “All our Welcome in this Place”: Our season of Pride culminates in Pride Sunday, the last Sunday in June, in which we assert our commitment to welcome and serve the LGBTQIA+ community.
Join us this season of LGBTQIA+ Pride, and together, our house can “proclaim from floor to rafter, all our welcome in this place!”