During this week leading up to the Pride Parade in Vancouver, we typically pause to consider how far we have come in terms of the ability of members of the LGBTQ community to be open about who they are and who they love.
And while it is true that great gains have been made in terms of the legality of same-sex marriage, and more recently a broader public understanding of gender as a continuum rather than a binary attribute, fear still raises its head and sometimes still issues in acts of hostility.
In early July, Crossroads United Church, an Affirming ministry (which means we are explicitly welcoming of all people including LGBTQ folks), hung a Pride and a Trans flag in our front walkway. We knew, of course, that there was a risk they would be vandalized, as they were, early on Sunday morning, July 21.
In the words of Crossroads’ music minister, Dr. Bruce Harding, that day when the community gathered for worship, “That is exactly why we fly those flags.” Not that we want to attract vandalism or violence, but the attack on those flags was a visible reminder that ignorance and hostility exist for real. And real people, beloved children of God, face that threat every day.
An openly gay member of the North Delta community wrote a letter to us, in which he said, “Seeing the flags vandalized yesterday was very upsetting to me. I stopped my car, got out and took some photos to share with friends and on Social Media. I struggled, trying to understand what would provoke someone to do this. I want to believe that this is a reaction born out of fear rather than hate.”
We who stand in solidarity with members of the LGBTQ community and [those] who live in hope for a world in which every child of God finds respect, understanding and love, want to believe that too.
At Crossroads United Church, we trust that love is stronger than fear, and that we are stronger when we turn toward one another — in all our diversity — with curiosity, courage and respect. We celebrate that there are others in the community of North Delta who stand with us as we stand with the LGBTQ community.
Rev. Cari Copeman-Haynes
Crossroads United Church, North Delta