Tuesday, July 1, 2008

With Pride

I had the honor and the privilege in attending a wonderful worship service on Sunday morning.  Pilgrimage United Church of Christ, an Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ, joined the celebration, the remembrance and the fight of thousands around the country with a Pride Sunday service.  Together, members and visitors of PUCC joined in hearts, voices and prayers as we remembered the strife of the GLBTQ community, celebrating the small victories along the way, and were empowered to continue to be advocates for change and equality.  It was a wonderful service.

Bruce and I had never experienced a service like this before.  At various points throughout the service we looked at each other and kind of mumbled that what was going on would not have gone over very well in our home churches.

I've learned a lot about the UCC since I've been in Atlanta - and what I've learned hasn't come from polity classes or books (that will come eventually).  I've learned from the people that I've worshiped in church with, the members of a relatively young congregation.  Pilgrimage UCC was founded in 1978.  At 30 years "young" it is a much greener congregation than the churches that Bruce and I grew up in, churches whose membership includes people who have been members much longer than Pilgrimage has existed, people who were members before the merger that gave birth to the UCC in the 1950s.  Pilgrimage isn't a congregation that agreed to take part in a merger that was going on in the wider church, they are a congregation that consciously decided to become part of the United Church of Christ and what they stand for.  I think (and I don't know this for sure) that there are more churches in the south who joined the UCC after the merger than in the north.  And that is a different UCC to be apart of.  There is a different kind of pride - pride of who we are and what we stand for.  There is a feeling that we are underrepresented which only means that we need to speak louder, longer and with passion.  It's an incredible community of people.

I don't know if I'll stay in the south after I graduate.  As much as I feel at home at Pilgrimage UCC there is still a strong part of me that feels like I'm a northerner, through and through.  But hopefully with grace and courage I'll be able to bring the pride that I've experienced at PUCC back north with me - or wherever I go - after I graduate.

With Pride,

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