I am your Interim Pastor, but I am more than that, too. I used to be a member of this congregation before I became an ordained minister. Now that I’ve returned to you, in the role of temporary pastor, I am proud again to be a part of you, one of your community, one who is loved as one of you.
Last Sunday, June 25, in celebration of Pride Month, Jennifer Thomas stood before us and read a statement of support for the full inclusion and rights of the LGBTQ+ community, both among and beyond us. And I was reminded again how proud I am to be counted among the Christians who worship God in Nacoochee Valley by following Jesus in practicing inclusiveness and advocacy for voices long silenced.
Here is the statement Jennifer read:
“This month the nation celebrates Pride month to acknowledge LGBTQ history, rights and love. The observance of pride was born out of resistance, when LGBTQ people rose up in 1969 in the Stonewall riots after years of attacks and oppression. At NPC, we strive to be radically inclusive by being a community that is open and welcome to all people – without regard for nationality, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or socio-economic status. We are committed to the full participation of LGBTQ people in the life ministry, leadership and witness of our church.
In this month of Pride, while nearly 54 years have passed since the Stonewall riots, the LGBTQ+ community finds itself still under attack and targets of hateful rhetoric, false narratives, and harmful policies and legislation. Trans people, and youth especially, bear the brunt of this assault.
As Christians we are called to bear witness to the teachings of the gospel which are based in love, mercy, and justice. And in this month of Pride, we harken back to Pride’s spirit of resistance: to resist hate, to resist fear, and resist the assertion that people who are Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and queer, are not worthy of God’s love. To our siblings of the LGBTQ+ community, we stand with you as allies in your pride and in your resistance and we want you to know we are committed to creating a more just world in which you can thrive. You are welcome at Nacoochee Presbyterian Church, and we pray for your peace, safety, and flourishing. Know that you are loved by us at NPC, and by God. God is for you! Happy Pride.”
Thank you, NPC, for being the open and welcoming church that you are. Thank you for allowing me to wear my rainbow stole as I lead you in the worship of God. And thank you for affirming the rights of all people to be called children of God.