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June 28, 2015 “Gays and Lesbians in the Early Church”

For our special Pride Day Celebration, Pastor Tracy explored two passages from the Gospels in which  — if you understand the idioms of the era — Jesus explicitly indicates His acceptance of all sexual orientations. (Scripture: Acts 8:26-40 and Matthew 19:1-12)

ONA rainbow fishWe opened the service with a special litany for Pride Day written by member Michael Meehan and Pastor Tracy:

LGBT Pride Litany – June 28, 2015
First Congregational Church of San Rafael
Written by Michael Meehan and Rev. Tracy Barnowe

For those who are now able to be married or have their marriage recognized as a result of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States affirming Gay Marriage, we celebrate with you and wish you a long and happy life together!

For those who are struggling with their sexuality, we remind you that you were made in Gods’ image, perfectly created, an heir to Abraham’s blessing. We walk with you in your struggle. Forgive us when we say foolish things, we don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

For the openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender member of the world who has been rejected by his or her family, we welcome you and acknowledge your pain. Know that you are not alone.

For the Gay and Lesbian people who have chosen to end their lives rather than face the bullying or rejection that they felt, we honor your memory and mourn with your family and friends the isolation and hopelessness that you felt.

For those who are able to openly embrace their sexual orientation and be with those they love with the full support of their friends, families, and faith communities, we rejoice with you.

For the church leaders and congregations who reject and shame members of the LGBT Community, we pray that your hearts will be opened and that the fear and anger you carry will be replaced by the grace and love of God.

For those who have been bullied, ostracized, abused, or harmed emotionally, physically, sexually, or spiritually, we acknowledge your experience and stand with you as you seek sanctuary, help and healing. We pray that we may be that for you as Jesus was for so many.

For the church leaders and congregations who are doing their best to change old attitudes and embrace all people not only in their sanctuaries but also in their hearts, we acknowledge the pain that comes with growth and encourage you.

For the parent struggling with the knowledge that your son or daughter is gay, we pray that God will open your hearts to accept your children exactly the way they are, just as God has accepted you.

For the children of same-gender loving parents, we pray that you feel the love and devotion your parents have for you and understand that loving families come in many shapes and sizes.

Finally, we pray that we may truly be the body of Christ, embodying the radical welcome that Jesus showed to all people. The recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is a landmark victory, but there is still a long way to go. We pray for the ability to see the work that still needs to be done to change hearts and minds in ourselves, in our nation and the world, the courage and stamina to continue working toward peace and justice for all people, and the faith to trust that God can heal what we cannot.

To download a printable PDF of this litany, click here.