newSpin 080814
Diocesan Life.September

Diocesan Presence at Pride in the Park

[By Patrick Malloy, rector, Grace Allentown]
Yesterday, about 40 members of the Diocese from six parishes (Grace, Allentown; Mediator, Allentown; St Andrew’s, Allentown; St. Anne’s, Trexlertown; Trinity, Bethlehem; and Trinity, Easton) hosted our booth at the Lehigh Valley Gay Pride event. It was a remarkable show of solidarity. Of the 40, only four or five were themselves gay. That sent a clear message that the Episcopal Church, not the gay members of the Episcopal Church, welcomes everyone into our community. Other parishes that contributed to the two-page ad in the Pride in the Park booklet and to the cost of the tent and materials were the Cathedral, Bethlehem; Christ Church, Stroudsburg; St. Margaret’s, Emmaus; and Trinity, Mt. Pocono; as well as the Safe Spaces Committee of the Diocese.

Next to us was the booth of the Interfaith Alliance.  The staffers came from Harrisburg and represented Christianity, Judaism, and Wicca. They said that never in years of attending events like this had they ever known an entire judicatory to sponsor a booth. They were very impressed, and they praised the Diocese of Bethlehem for its solidarity.

The Episcopalians at our booth did not try to convince our visitors of any theological position about any issue, including the issues related to sexuality that trouble our Church and the Anglican Communion. (The staffers may not even have held the same position. They did not discuss it.) What our Sisters and Brothers did was extend a welcome to everyone who would receive it. They handed out brochures for all the congregations that sent them, as well as literature from Integrity concerning the conversation in our Church about GLBT people and their place in our common life.

At the entrance to the park, fundamentalist street preachers with large placards stationed themselves. They spewed hate and berated those who passed by. Our Diocese, along with a few other individual congregations of other denominations, painted a far more flattering picture of Christianity and offered a real Gospel witness. Whatever your view on issues of human sexuality, I think you would have been proud of our Brothers and Sisters. They represented us exceedingly well.

Father Scott Allen is planning an article for Diocesan Life, featuring photos of the event and our booth, as well as a list of the volunteers.

Thanks to all who helped, before and during the fair.


James in North Caolina

To John Campbell in Pittsburgh: You are trying to require gay persons to abstain from sex because such contact is "sinful". Well, as a gay person I will ask you to abstain from sex, because I believe that heterosexual sex is sinful, disgusting, quite unthinkable.
Has anyone ever asked such a thing of you before? Do you think it would be easy to do? Give it a try for a week, a month, a year, or
the rest of your life.

Gay folk are confronted with such demands constantly - and many other
demands,requirements, acusations and calumnies.
You really don't know how much venom is out there,
often being reinforced by the church and biblical literalists who spend too
much time in Sunday School and not enough in the classroom.

For some good and accurate information, go to:

http://psychology.ucdavis. edu/rainbow
pages/1550/sexual orientation. (these pages
extend from 1550 through 1555.)

You can also google such terms as gay rights, gay life, gay marriage, "Homo-
sexuality Laws of the World," and many other concepts.
This will get you started:
good luck in your reading.

James in North Carolina.

John Campbell in Pittsburgh

I grew up in the Diocese of Bethlehem, and it is distressing to see it in such drastic moral decline.
James in North Carolina says homosexual orientation is a psychological trait, not a choice. This may or may not be the case, as science is still far from proving it. However, those with same sex attractions certainly DO have the choice not to act on their impulses. As a fairly young heterosexual male, I encounter natural, inborn urges to be with as many young women as possible. But something tells me that my wife, my three children, my God, and maybe even James in North Carolina would have a problem with that. Thus, I resist my impulses, natural though they may be.
Even Rowan WIlliams is on the record as stating that the Church is not "inclusive", rather it is "welcoming". We do not say that all are included regardless of their behavior. We say that all are welcomed provided that they adhere to certain conduct. In recent years, the vast majority of the Communion has agreed that this conduct includes resistance to living in unrepentant sinful lifestyles that are incompatible with scripture.

James in North Caolina

I am very glad to see this outreach. Educated people are slowly accepting the fact that sexual orientation is merely a psychological trait that the ancient world knew nothing of, unconnected to amy kind of sinful choice.
All sexual orientations are
equal, being natural states, and are morally neutral. How long will it take for the churches to recognize this simple truth?
Gay people are often very talented, being adept at art, music, finance, law
and priestly mimistry They can be faithful members of a parish, bringing their personal talents, money, and their ability to be faithful members of a congregation. They are in no respect inferior to everyone else, merely different. Bless you all in the Diocese of Bethlehem.

The comments to this entry are closed.