June is Pride Month, a time for LGBTQIA+ people to celebrate their identities and their rights as citizens. It commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots when patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against police brutality. Many groups host public events and parades and invite those who affirm them to join in the celebration.

Pride Month is also a great opportunity for your church to show its love and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Not every good intention is automatically a great idea, though. Here are some ways to celebrate Pride that uphold its ideals.

Make Sure Your Church Is Actively Affirming

The first step in celebrating Pride is to confirm that your church is living out similar values throughout the year. It is not enough to put the words "All are welcome" on your website. LGBTQIA+ folks are often treated horribly by religious people, even those who claim to welcome them. Therefore, before you show up at a Pride event, you should make sure your church meets a few requirements:

  • Post a statement explicitly affirming people of all sexualities and gender expressions on your website, bulletins, and other materials made available to the public.
  • Offer regular educational opportunities for members to learn more about how to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Review your church bylaws and, if necessary, amend them to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people are not prohibited from employment, volunteer engagement, marriage, or any other function of the church.

Pride is not about a religious agenda. It is not about the desire of certain believers to argue or add their two cents to the conversation or invite people to their services. In fact, it's not about any particular faith group at all.  Pride events are designed for and thus should be fully centered around supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. If that is not your church's true intention, it is better for you to abstain from attending them as a group.

Identify Improvements Your Church Can Make

If your church is not currently affirming, take the initiative to start the conversation. There are many resources specifically created to help faith communities through the transition to becoming places where LGBTQIA+ people are welcome and loved just as they are.

Even if you're already having these conversations, there are probably still some improvements you can make. Pride Month is a great time to come up with fresh ideas about how to show love to this community. For example, if you use nametags at church, perhaps you could give everyone the option of including their pronouns on them. Make sure you are including members who identify as LGBTQIA+ in all discussions, as their input is crucial for making good decisions.

Make Your Presence Unobtrusive

When your affirming church attends Pride events in your city, make sure all attendees keep in mind why they are there. Your role at these events is one of solidarity and support. If you notice that discussions about attending start to lean toward what your church can get out of the event or how you can use it to invite people to your own services, remind each other that this is not why you are going.

One way to ensure that you are not overstepping any boundaries is to reach out to the groups sponsoring the events ahead of time. They probably have volunteer opportunities, and this is a great way to serve. Follow their lead and fulfill your duties to the best of your ability. This shows not only support but respect for the space they've created.

Your church's desire to celebrate your LGBTQIA+ siblings likely comes from a place of love. By remaining mindful of the purpose of Pride Month and diligently ensuring that your actions align with it, you show that love to those you affirm.

Category: Equal Rights

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.

Log in Using: