Home Forums Noticings… 190605 – Rainbow Crosswalk

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    June 5, 2019

    One year ago, on June 10th, Faith United officially became an “affirming” congregation. We have always been open and welcoming, but by becoming affirming we added that we would be public, intentional, and explicit about it. It’s more than just being LGBTQ+ positive; it’s also about being radically inclusive, whatever a person’s ability/disability, age, ethnicity, exceptionality, gender identity, sexual orientation, or social or economic circumstance (as per our mission statement). Some of our members have always wondered why we needed to go that extra step. I’d like to tell you why.

    A couple of weeks ago in Bowmanville a rainbow crosswalk was installed. It’s a simple and harmless gesture of support for those who have been marginalized because they identify as LGBTQ+. Almost immediately it was defaced. Quickly after that it was vandalized again, this time with hateful and derogatory graffiti. This kind of overt and intentional discrimination, devaluing, and hatred must be met with even more overt and intentional acceptance, valuing, and love. A few days after the graffiti appeared a group of United Church folks organized a counter-graffiti party and a large group of people gathered to write messages of love and acceptance in chalk all around the defaced rainbow crosswalk. Public, intentional, and explicit love. That’s what it takes to counter hatred.

    You may have noticed that two new signs have been affixed to the electronic sign at the front of Faith United. One is an accessibility sign, showing that we are welcoming for persons with disabilities. The other is an affirming sign – a cross with a rainbow swirl – showing that we are welcoming of LGBTQ+ persons. Why do we have to be so public, intentional, and explicit about it? Take a look at that rainbow crosswalk in Bowmanville. That’s why! The point of becoming affirming wasn’t so much to change us (although, we all have much room to grow); the point was, and is, to communicate to those who have been excluded and rejected that we are striving to be different – that when we say we love everyone we really mean everyone. It’s going to take a long time, and much more than just a sign – but that’s a great start! It’s Pride month – and I’m proud of Faith United for becoming and living into being an affirming congregation!

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