Last spring, as we were discussing a few requests that had come into our office asking if we would sponsor local LGBTQ+ Pride events, the bishop had a brilliant idea: “what if we just went out and sponsored every Pride event in our dioceses?”
And we did. Well, the ones that hadn’t passed their deadline yet. And in circumstances where the local congregations were able to show up in person, we gave more, to reach a level that would guarantee them booth space – an opportunity to show up in the world, with the people that we serve, and declare something that they so rarely hear from the Christian church, “you are loved, unconditionally, irrevocably, and just as you are.”
And we’re going to do it again.
June is “Pride Month,” though pride events happen throughout the year. Many communities, especially those in larger cities or county seats, will host Pride Festivals. These celebrations of love and authenticity vary place to place but will often include parades, concerts, lectures, parties, and more as well as space for local organizations to come, set up space, offer solidarity, and connect with attendees seeking affirming companies, nonprofits, communities, and churches.
We are going to continue this year to sponsor every event we can at a basic level, getting the name of The Episcopal Church out in these settings across our state. And – this is where you come in – if you, the local congregation, can commit to showing up in-person–sharing the Good News, the invitation to the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, to share the love we hold for all people, no exceptions–we will give more, leveraging our sponsorship to guarantee you physical space to be present.
Already sponsoring yourselves? Let’s talk about how we can go further in supporting your efforts. Planning your own event? I want to know about it and contribute as we can. Several congregations from the same area at the same festival? Imagine the impact when the Episcopalians show up!!
We’re also working with a queer designer to create stickers and t-shirts for Eastern and Western Michiganders to wear and give away from their booth. Stay tuned for an opportunity to order.
To let me know that your congregation will commit to showing up in-person (or some other planned engagement with secular Pride spaces), please fill out this request form as soon as possible. Please see the list of upcoming festivals on the form and let us know if we’re missing any you’re aware of locally.
Your response deadline varies, depending on the date of your local festival (and we’ve tried to track those deadlines on the form for your awareness).
I look forward to seeing The Episcopal Church in the Mitten showing up to declare God’s love for all creation. Please be in touch with me with any questions or to talk together about possibilities for your engagement.
Yours in Christ,
Canon for Evangelism and Networking
The Episcopal Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan