This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, June 11, 2021
This week I clipped and kept an op-ed that I want and need to have close at hand. I’d also love to share it with the world, but for now, your patient and faithful lives are an excellent start.
So, presuming you haven’t seen it already, the piece I’m lifting up is by Helen Bradley and Dixon Challoner. They are, respectively, Chair of the Affirming Committee at New Vision United Church in downtown Hamilton, and Chair of the New Vision UC Council. I don’t think I’ve met either in person, but I’m getting to know their names and their integrity, from pieces they’re sharing through various media platforms. With their congregation in downtown Hamilton, of course it makes sense for them to be included in The Spectator, but they bring a clarity and vision that calls for attention across borders.
Their latest piece, published June 9, speaks of their ‘Standing in solidarity during Pride Week’. It names some of their congregational history and presence within Pride Hamilton’s annual June events; and asks pointed questions about the continued existence of hate against any members of our diverse communities. Even more pointedly, they remind us of the “the depressing history of church-sponsored anti-@SLGBTQ-plus practices.” They challenge any claims and attempts to use “religious freedom” as a weapon against social inclusion, especially by “extremists who clothe their hate in bad theology.”
The fact that this article needs to exist at all should make us all very, very uncomfortable. The fact that, in some circles, it will still be needed for the foreseeable future makes me both uncomfortable and sad. It makes me angry, too, but mostly the continued reality of hate and the actions it drives leave me feeling quite sorry for all that is being missed by its perpetrators: for all the extraordinary people being missed, in relationships that could be fostered and grown; in learning that can change a heart and soul; in daily opportunities to be part of a beautiful, intricate family, with expressions of love that should make us dance in delight, for all and whom God has created.
This Sunday, we’ll be gathering in worship, and thinking and praying together about our church’s role in such a dance of delight. It won’t be sufficient expression for all that can and should be named. It won’t attempt to gather a month’s worth of Pride celebrations in an hour-ish of worship in this one place. It will, I hope, be a reminder and a call, to and for the people we know we’re called to be: as a united and uniting people, standing in solidarity, who gather in the safety of God’s rainbow arch of peace; honouring the holy love that embraces us all and then sends us out to live that peace, with each and every one.
With prayers of peace and love… to, for, and with you all,
“Come shine your rainbow, splash your hues across the sky,
paint the world in colours proud and bold and free.” (David Kai, “We Are a Rainbow”)
p.s. In a slightly different vein, but yet entirely the same space of heart, and not at all a post-script-after-thought kind of way, please see below for an invitation shared by our siblings in the local Muslim community. Please continue to pray for peace, for all peoples of the world, and lift up the names, the lives that know suffering from the scourge of others’ hate… names like Salman Afzaal, his mother Talat, his spouse Madiha Salman, their daughter Yumna, and their young son, Fayez. May we weep with God, in heartbreak for their loss. May we commit to our part in living change.