PRIDE: Milwaukee Pride Fest
June is LGBTQ Pride Month, honoring the 1969 Stonewall riots and celebrating the strides toward equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Community of Christ holds the worth of all persons as one of our enduring principles, and several congregations throughout the Headwaters Mission Center actively participated in Pride events in their communities. This is the first of several posts highlighting these events. Stay tuned for more!
The Milwaukee-Wauwatosa Congregation sponsored a booth at the Milwaukee Pride Fest that was held from June 8-10, 2018. The congregation engaged in service, outreach and intentional invitation. It was one of the most uplifting experiences in the recent life of the congregation. A poster was prepared for the stall that said, “Write a Note of Hope to LGBT Teens and We’ll Send Them to Any High School You’d Like”. The message drew many festival goers to the booth. Over and over we heard people walking by say, “Wait, I want to do that.” Nearly 600 notes were written.
We took the initiative to tell many of the attendees that we were a welcoming and affirming congregation and that if they knew anyone who was looking for a church home to consider exploring our church as a safe place to worship God and develop relationships with fellow disciples. We printed labels with the congregation contact information, website address and Facebook page link and affixed them to the back of various pieces of Community of Christ literature which we offered to those who were interested. Numerous people told us they were looking for a church home and many people told us how much they appreciated our presence at the festival. They loved seeing a church booth. One couple asked if we could baptize their child. Another person asked if we needed any help with the choir. And another person asked if they could do volunteer work with us. Several Community of Christ members who grew up in other states, but now lived in the Milwaukee area, stopped by and reconnected with the church through conversation with our volunteers.
In the weekly email message that the pastor sends out each week to the congregation members, Bill Sigfred wrote, “Our presence was welcomed by this community, thanking us for recognizing the worth of all people and expressing to them that God loves them and is proud of them.” The congregation is going to hold a meeting to recap the event activities and discuss ways to build on the experience.
Did your congregation celebrate Pride Month? Contact Tiffany Brian to share it!