Called to Be Our State of Pride

What an amazing week of celebrating Our State of Pride!

Culminating in yesterday’s “Dancing in the Streets” march and Pridefest, it was a fabulous sunny gathering of happy people (and dogs!) … gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, allies, friends.

IPride Dog loved the participatory nature of this year’s celebration … instead of an organized parade of floats groups, we were a party on the move … dancing, visiting, blowing bubbles, petting dogs, making new friends and reconnecting with old friends. We were groups – the Park Service, Frontrunners, Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Radical Militant Librarians – and we were just a lot of people soaking in the sunshine celebrating being who we are.

It always moves my heart to walk with my Lutheran colleagues and friends at Pride each year, to publicly announce that we are a people who love God and welcome all. And, as Daphne DoAll LaChores frequently reminds us,

“All means ALL!”

AK Lutherans
Alaskan Lutherans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

But what is even more powerful to me is the number of people I don’t know, who come up to me each year, thanking me for my presence as a pastor, and as a female pastor, offering public witness. So many of us have been hurt by the church, and I long, as much as I can be, to be a sign of healing and hope. My Lutheran (and interfaith) colleagues provide that sign for me, that a new day is coming.

I was thinking about the symbolism of the Pride Rainbow Flag – it was first flown at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978, the many colors symbolizing the diversity of our community. The Christian tradition around the rainbow tells us that God placed the rainbow in the sky after bringing Noah and his family and representatives of all the animals through the floods, as a reminder of God’s everlasting covenant with every living creature of the earth. All means all.

Thank you SO much to all those who worked so hard to put together such an incredible week of celebration – parties, films, art, gatherings, worship.

Some of the remarkable people who worked so hard on this year's Pride Festival ... Alex Barros, Phyllis Rhodes, Gayle Schuh, Drew Phoenix, Anne Marie Moylan, Beth Allen and Daphne DoAll LaChores
Some of the remarkable people who worked so hard on this year’s Pride Festival … Alex Barros, Phyllis Rhodes, Gayle Schuh, Drew Phoenix, Anne Marie Moylan, Beth Allen and Daphne DoAll LaChores
The one and only Beth Allen
The one and only Beth Allen

And a special shoutout to my girlfriend, Beth Allen, for her work with such a great team coordinating a fabulous Pride Festival on the Park Strip this year … it was incredible to see so many people having such a good time.

It was especially great to have a place to celebrate in a venue where we could be ourselves… hold hands, share a kiss, bring families and pets, and to truly be community, with the greater community of Anchorage.

I’ve never seen so many allies celebrate with us, and that tells me yet again that the world is changing. Every year I see more and more children in our midst, and that makes my heart happy. We’re raising a new, loving generation.

Pride Entertainment

The party isn’t over … the final celebration of Pride 2013 will take place from 5-7 today, Mad Myrna’s PrideFest Finale BBQ. See you there!

May we continue to grow as a community of diverse people, set apart for our courage to love the people we love, whoever they are, and to boldly be ourselves, whoever that is we’re called to be. We are signs of hope in a world that longs for it.

About me: Susan is a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, serving as a hospital chaplain, and has for many years been the “lesbian poster child” in her church. She finds the Sacred all kinds of places — in the mountains, in church, at a hospital bedside, in the midst of a heartfelt conversation, running along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, in music that makes her cry and stories that make her laugh.

2 thoughts on “Called to Be Our State of Pride

  1. Great Article Susan. i especially like your words regarding your being a female Pastor and the support you have as well as the meaning of your presence and support you give to others. KEEP UP GOD’S GOOD WORK. peace and shalom shalom

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