As we approach Pride, our twin identity of queer and Christian once again becomes very significant. I choose the word “queer” very specifically here. Within our congregation, we have a range of sexual identities. Not everyone is LGBT. However, everyone who defines themselves as part of Northern Lights MCC is “queer”, that is, they sit outside the norms of society in some way or another. No-one worships with us by accident. Most people work hard to find us, usually because they want to find a place where they can be fully themselves. That might be to do with sexuality; it might be because they have felt rejected by other faith communities. It may be that our open way of discussing theology sits better with them. As other Christian churches continue to struggle with issues of identity, MCC stands proudly as an international Christian denomination, giving support and shelter to those who find themselves dancing to a different drum.
We have a wonderful opportunity at Pride to celebrate the healthy intersection of sexuality and spirituality. Our presence there gives other people permission to look at these areas of their own lives. So many of us know what it feels like to try and block out our sexuality or our spirituality, because of what we have been taught. Many of us know the pain of hearing hurtful messages about those in our family that we love. Coming out, whether as a person of faith, as LGBT or as supportive of LGBT folk, can be a challenge and has risks. At Pride, we do it all at once, and in doing so, we have the chance to really change and potentially save lives. There will be people watching the parade, who can’t step forward and join it, for whatever reason. Yet our presence will let them know God loves them. “Jesus loves me, this I know” is a good ringtone to have.