From our Pastor

I write this as Pride events are happening all around us.  I joined in Belchertown’s Pride Flag Raising Ceremony two week’s ago and was impressed by an eleven-year-old speaker who knew who she was.  At eleven-years-old, she has already come out as a lesbian and as an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.  She was clear about who she was and she knew the repercussions for coming out at such a young age.  It was also clear that she had a village surrounding her and supporting her.

I thought about what it would have been like for her even 10 years ago.  That would have been a frightening prospect for a young eleven-year-old to come out to her peers and to her community.  She may not have gotten the same support.  In fact, ten years ago, Belchertown may not have even thought of doing a Pride event.  We have come a long way, and our children and youth are leading us.

Finally, this year the United Methodist Church has gotten it right.  It has taken years and years, but United Methodist clergy can now be self-professing LGBTQIA+, and clergy can perform weddings for anyone – heterosexual as well as homosexual couples.  We are finally an open and inclusive church.  We now truly mean – Open Doors, Open Hearts. 

While Hope UMC was open to our LGBTQIA+ brothers and sisters long before these rulings came down, it is awesome to know that now the whole church is open to everyone.  Unfortunately, this is only the beginning.  We still have much work to do.  We have much healing to do.  This is the beginning, however.

As I listened to that eleven-year-old, I had hope – hope for the future of our town, our country, and our church.  Things have changed in 10 years and things are still changing.  If she can be an advocate at eleven-years-old, then I ask you – what can you do to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights now?  What can you do to make a difference?

After the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony in Belchertown, I decided to make a difference.  I joined the Pride Committee.  I will be working with the Belchertown community on future Pride events and trying to support the LGBTQIA+ folk in our community.  I want to provide a safe community for all eleven-year-olds who want to come out.

Our church is changing.  Our world is changing.  Thank God!!!  Now what will you do to help make this change happen?