Pride Parade

by Rev. Kerry Smith

Every June I think about an encounter I had while walking in my first Pride Parade. That first year I walked, I felt like a rock star. Our church group at Oak Lawn UMC started down the parade route and we heard cheers and many folks were telling us, “Thank you for walking.” They were expressing their gratitude that a church would walk in solidarity with them. They were expressing their gratitude that a church would walk as a way to share their love. We were about halfway down the route and a man grabbed my hand and said, “I remember you.” He told me that he had been a teenager in Krum, Texas, when I served as a pastor there and that he had been deeply depressed and close to suicide. He remembered me from the articles that I wrote in the weekly Krum newspaper. He asked me, “Will your church accept me?” Tears ran down my face and I said, “Yes, yes, please come. You will find a family that loves you.” I never saw him again, but I think about him and pray for him often. I hope that I will see him one day and that I will be able to thank him for the gift that he gave me. He helped me to see the importance of churches being a part of Pride.

May 29th is the two year anniversary of a transgender individual who was in my sphere who died by suicide. This individual was full of life and joy. They had a supportive family and church family who loved them and embraced them as transgender. Their family was proud of them for being their true self. I pray for a world where it is easy for people to be their true selves without fear. A world filled with love where we speak out and protect one another. Thank you for being a part of White Rock UMC as we work together to build this world.  

I'm going to be walking in the Pride Parade Sunday, June 4, and I hope you will join me.  We will meet at 12:45 pm in front of the sanctuary to carpool to Fair Park to walk with other United Methodists. Wear your walking shoes and your most colorful outfits! Sign up HERE.

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