Last Saturday I marched in the pride parade and it was thrilling for me.
Two years ago Marnie and I went to the parade for the first time and I noticed that there were - at that time - 17 churches that marched in the parade. And I thought there were people in our church who might be interested in walking in the parade in the future and I was right. Last year we had a team of 5 that marched in the parade holding our church banner. I was on sabbatical and missed it.
So, this year I was part of our group of 11 (more than doubled!) We had special T Shirts made and a great camaraderie among us. The walkers included my daughter Marnie, Reagan, Addie and Marnie's sister Eileen and brother Christopher. In many ways we march in solidarity to Audrey - my daughter, their sister, who lives in Lynchburg Va. But we also march as part of a church that is accepting of people who are non-heterosexual. I am happy to serve that church.
What was thrilling was the sense of joy and celebration in the walk itself. I have been in parades before and people often are just waiting for the bands or the candy to be thrown. But this one had a sense of freedom as people were allowed to be themselves - in every way. As Seth Stout aptly said - some people made poor clothing choices - but even that was fun in its own way.
There were some protesters who were Christians whose interpretation of the Bible essentially exclude LGBTQ community from the kingdom of God. Their signs sometimes quoted scripture as their authority. So, for us to be an alternate Christian representation in the parade was important. We had been instructed to ignore them, and so we did. Unfortunately the press concentrated on the protesters without mentioning tha other Christians who supported gay rights.
But mostly it was just a blessing to walk with family and church members in support of not only my daughter but others whose lives have so challenged because of their sexual orientation. I could not help but think of my uncle - who is transgender and 89 years old. He has had a life of living "in the shadows" and he might have really appreciated the freedom found in a festival like this.
Anyway, it was a wonderful day for me and I look forward to walking again next year.