June 2019 WATERritual: Pride and Equality Month: Grateful, Proud, and Connected

June 2019 WATERritual 

Pride and Equality Month: Grateful, Proud, and Connected 

By Diann L. Neu and the WATER Staff

June is Pride and Equality Month, and most major cities in the United States and throughout the world celebrate Pride Day. LGBTQIA+ people have a powerful impact on local, national, and international history. 

This liturgy celebrates the rights and achievements of same-sex loving people. LGBTQIA+ communities are working on and bringing together many struggles for justice —especially for immigrants’ rights; against racism, sexism, and classism; in support of Muslims; to protect the environment, and many more.

Preparation 

Gather rainbow flags and ribbons or yarn, rainbow cupcakes, M & M’s, tea, and put them on an altar/table covered with a rainbow cloth.

Call to Gather

Welcome to our Pride and Equality Day Liturgy: Grateful, Proud, and Connected!

This day and this month we recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual people, and allies have on local, national, and international history. Remember the White House, along with many other prominent buildings and monuments, lit up in rainbow colors in 2015 to celebrate marriage equality!

We gather not simply to celebrate the rights and achievements of same-sex loving people, and especially not to capitulate to corporate interests that simply see our rights as a way to expand their markets.

We gather to rejoice that LGBTQIA+ people and allies are working on and bringing together many struggles for justice—especially for immigrants’ rights; against racism,  classism, sexism, all isms; advocating for reproductive justice, protecting Earth from climate change, reclaiming democracy, and many more. While we will focus tonight on the same-sex love aspect this month honors, it is also important to be grateful, proud, and connected.

Naming the Circle

Let us share our names and mention in a word or phrase one way we have been inspired by an LGBTQIA+ person.

Song: “Singing for Our Lives” Holly Near, Singer in the Storm, ©1990.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johabhyURIw

We are gentle angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)

We are a land of many colors…

We are gay and straight together…

We are a peaceful, loving people…

Litany of Pride

Let us name LGBTQIA+ people who have been working for change.

Our response: Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Sappho, poet from the Isle of Lesbo whose words inspire us.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Ruth and Naomi whose love models women’s commitment to one another.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Gertrude Stein, author and poet whose writings influence generations.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Audre Lorde, womanist poet who challenges us to expand justice struggles.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, and Edie Windsor who started the ball rolling for marriage equality.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Janelle Monáe, musical artist who inspires us to redefine gender roles.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Roxane Gay, feminist author who offers readers empathy and intelligence on feminist social issues.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, civil rights advocate who coined the term “intersectionality.”

Proudly, we claim you.

What other LGBTQIA+ people do we celebrate? Speak their names out loud.

Proudly, we claim you.

We celebrate all LGBTQIA+ sisters, brothers, friends, and allies, named and unnamed, known and unknown, who put their lives on the line for justice.

Proudly, we claim you.

 

Song: “Singing for Our Lives”

We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives. (2x)

 

A Call for Solidarity

Listen to LGBTQIA+ people who call for our solidarity. Think of the ones you know.

I am your friend. For a very long time I have been reaching out to you, listening to your dreams, talking with you about my life. I work for Black Lives Matter. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your co-worker. I work next to you in so many places. I am the doctor who comforted your dying mother. I teach your children. I am your therapist. I am your waitress and bus driver. I am your pastor, rabbi, cardinal, priest. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your colleague. I stand beside you in so many places. I am the campus minister who marched next to you as we advocated for LGBTQIA+ rights and reproductive justice. I am the nun by your side at the community garden where you plant and grow sustainable food. I am the social worker who supports your sister at the mental health center. I am the immigrant worker who meets you at the food pantry. I am right here with you.

Response: You are not alone. We are with you too.

I am your family member. I am your sibling, parent, grandparent, relative. As you support my coming out journey, you give me courage. As you support LGBTQIA+ people and inter-connected issues, you give me strength to say I am right here with you.

Response:  You are not alone. We are with you too.

 

Song: “I Am with You” by Kathy Sherman CSJ, from Always with You © 1992.

https://music.apple.com/us/album/always-with-you/1020292514

I am with you on the journey, and I will never leave you.

I am with you on the journey, always with you.

 

The Beatitudes of Pride © DignityUSA 2003

Two people pray alternately. 

Blessed are you, lesbian, gay, queer, bi, trans, straight sister, brother, friend, ally – you are made in the image of Divine love!

Blessed are you when you dare to bring the truth of who you are into loving relationship with others—you heal and strengthen the global community!

Blessed are you who challenge stereotypes and caricatures—you bring light to the world!

Blessed are you who speak out against religious hypocrisy—you help to birth justice and peace!

Blessed are you when you work for full equality and inclusion—you honor the sacredness of all people!

Blessed are you when you create new kinds of families formed by love rather than by law—you live the truth that all God’s people are one family!  

Blessed are you who seek to worship in spirit and in truth, whose prayer arises from humble hearts—the Spirit of holiness will inspire and guide you!

Blessed are you who offer comfort to the dying, healing to the sick, food to the hungry, housing to the homeless, presence to the lonely, hope to the hopeless—you are the religious message our aching world so desperately needs to know!

Blessed are you, reviled and persecuted, yet persistent in faith, hope, and love! Rejoice and be proud for in you God’s love is revealed!

Reflection | Sharing

Think about what you heard in the litany, stories, and Beatitudes.

What are you thinking and feeling this Pride Month?

After a quiet time, let us share our words of wisdom with this community. Sharing.

Prayer of Gratitude for Human Diversity

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, we praise you for creating LGBTQIA+ people and our friends. Our response is: Gratitude!

For creating all people with dignity and worth, Gratitude!

For honoring the many ways people live and love, Gratitude!

For living with authenticity and integrity, Gratitude!

For working to overcome cruelty and bullying toward LGBTQIA+ children and teens in schools and communities, Gratitude!

For building a world where all people are celebrated and loved, Gratitude!

For celebrating sexual and gender diversity as a blessing that enriches all, Gratitude!

For supporting people who come out of their closets and into the full life of religious groups, society, families, and the military, Gratitude!

For helping us break through the heterosexism, homo-hatred, and transphobia in ourselves, our families and friends, our communities and cultures, Gratitude!

For embracing us with your love and care, Gratitude!

For inspiring us with dreams and holy impatience, Gratitude!

For challenging us to believe out loud, Gratitude!

Gracious and Loving God of Many Names, thank you for creating LGBTQIA+ people and our friends. Holy Creator, breathe new energies of kindness and love into the world. Wondrous Wisdom, renew our commitment to work for justice for all.

Sharing Rainbow Food and Drink

Pick up the food and drink. Let us extend our hands, palms up, and bless this food and drink together.

Blessed are you, Divine Love, for giving us this rainbow food and drink,

            this Pride sustenance.

            As we take, bless, eat, and drink, may we manifest divine love in the world.

Let us eat and drink in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Take Action

 Let us put our prayers into action and act with pride. Here are some possible ways to act in solidarity.

~ Participate in Pride events.

~ Wear a rainbow ribbon in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community.

~ Remember a friend or colleague who has died from a hate crime or HIV/AIDS.

~ Advocate to end discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people everywhere, particularly in the workplace, by calling on your legislators to pass the Equality Act).

~ Promote safe places for trans and gender-nonconforming individuals. Start by  working for safe bathrooms https://ohr.dc.gov/page/safe-bathrooms-dc

~ Donate to a group that works toward LGBTQIA+ equality.

~ Give your religious leader a book that will enrich hers/his/their understanding of diversity.

~ Read the complete guide to Queer pride flags. https://www.pride.com/pride/2018/6/13/complete-guide-queer-pride-flags-0#media-gallery-media-0

~ Vote.

Sending Forth

Let us go forth to act with pride.

May we be grateful, proud, and connected.

May we not rest until all stones of injustice have been rolled away.

May we believe out loud!

 

Song: “Believe Out Loud” by David Lohman © 2010 Welcome Song Music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQq0FIOukaA

It’s time to believe out loud no more staying silent!

It’s time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It’s time to reach out to the rejected. It’s time to stand up and say, “No more!”

It’s time to declare a world of welcome, bring everyone through the open doors.

It’s time to believe out loud, it’s time to be strong and proud.

It’s time to believe, believe out loud.

 

Our God remains unchanging yet in so many ways

The holy one’s still speaking, for this we offer praise.

Yet God’s all-loving guidance too often goes unheard.

But there is yet more wisdom to break forth from God’s Word!

 

It’s time to believe out loud no more staying silent!

It’s time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It’s time to reach out to the rejected. It’s time to stand up and say, “No more!”

It’s time to declare a world of welcome, bring everyone through the open doors.

It’s time to believe out loud, it’s time to be strong and proud.

It’s time to believe, believe out loud.

 

If thoughts like love and justice are more than hollow words,

We’ll listen for the Spirit and let our hearts be stirred.

We’ll learn to think in new ways, the doors we’ll open wide.

The table’s set and ready, bring everyone inside!

 

It’s time to believe out loud no more staying silent!

It’s time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It’s time to reach out to the rejected. It’s time to stand up and say, “No more!”

It’s time to declare a world of welcome, bring everyone through the open doors.

It’s time to believe out loud, it’s time to be strong and proud.

It’s time to believe, believe out loud.

 

The love of God is boundless, we’re never turned away.

And out of this abundance, this gift we must repay.

We’ve got to stand with millions, who’ve heard the Spirit’s call,

And shout it from the mountains: “God’s love is meant for all!”

 

It’s time to believe out loud no more staying silent!

It’s time to proclaim aloud the faith that we hold dear.

It’s time to reach out to the rejected. It’s time to stand up and say, “No more!”

It’s time to declare a world of welcome, bring everyone through the open doors.

It’s time to believe out loud, it’s time to be strong and proud.

It’s time to believe, believe out loud.

Making Rainbow Bracelets

 Let us weave ribbons or yarn to make a bracelet. Let us share the bracelets with one another as we close this liturgy.

Learn More from These Resources

 ~ Berry, Selisse. Out and Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office, 20th Anniversary edition. San Francisco, CA: Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, 2016.

~ Patterson, Gillian and Callie Long. Dignity, Freedom, and Grace: Christian Perspectives on HIV, AIDS, and Human Rights. Geneva, Switzerland: World Council of Churches, 2016.

~ Rosenberg, Rosalind. Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.

~ Sanders, Cody J. A Brief Guide to Ministry with LGBTQIA Youth. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.

~ Townsley, Gillian. The Straight Mind in Corinth: Queer Readings Across 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2017.

~ Wilson, Nancy. I Love to Tell the Story: 100+ Stories of Justice, Inclusion, and Hope. Parker, CO: Books To Believe In, 2016.

 

© 2019 Diann L. Neu, WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, dneu@hers.com