Standing in Unity, Marching in Solidarity

As many of you are likely aware, over the last few weeks there has been a fundamental breakdown of communication and promises have been broken between the leadership of Pride STL and our local Trans community. If you are not aware of the background, this statement from James Croft at the Ethical Society of St. Louis does a great job of explaining that background.

Today, I met with Trans members of our congregation along with members of our Pride Team, and I am grateful for their vulnerable input, loving hearts, and sage guidance. I want to share with you what our MCC response will be this weekend in light of the recent events.

1.) I will be marching in Friday's Trans and Gender Free Pride March that is sponsored by MTUG (Metro Trans Umbrella Group). I invite any of you who would like to join me to do so. It is important that we stand in solidarity with MTUG and show MCC's inclusive love of God. It is deeply disappointing that MTUG could not lead us in the parade downtown as our Grand Marshall. We want to let them know we see them, we hear them, and we lovingly stand with and behind them.

2.) We will keep our booth open all weekend at both Tower Grove and Downtown Pride as we want to be able to engage with members of the community to continue sharing the Good News of God's love for LGBTQIA+ people. Given the rejections of LGBTQIA+ people that have happened in other Christian Churches this year, our loving, affirming voice is as important this year as ever.

3.) We will still co-lead our Interfaith Pride Service in the park (at 10am!), for nothing about God's love or the importance of having healthy spiritual lives has changed. God still meets us all exactly where we are, and that is the richest place to be!

4.) In response to recent events, rather than have our normal, very colorful, "glitter and rainbow explosion" Pride Float, we will be driving an un-decorated truck and trailer in the parade. We will have a very large white sign on the trailer with one simple statement in black letters. It will read, "Still Marching for Equality..." We will play calm, hopeful worship music (instead of things like the song "Happy") to draw attention to our intentional, prayerful belief in the ongoing need for true equality for everyone. Our marches will be invited to make simple, one-color signs with messages of love, unity, and prayer to display as we march.

This change to our float shows our willingness to listen and hear the testimonies of the most marginalized among us and hold all the tensions and disagreements that are found across our rainbow people. Even 50 years since Stonewall and after many strides forward in the pursuit of equality, we can all agree that there is more marching and more work to do for full equality to be realized.

I hope you will participate in these Pride events this weekend. This is a poignant moment in which we are invited to share the wisdom and guidance that we find in and through our faith. Let your light and love shine.

With Loving Solidarity and Unrelenting Hope,

Pastor Wes