Video by Rev. David Valera
Members of more than a dozen Seattle-area United Methodist churches came out in force to participate in Sunday’s annual Pride Parade. The parade this year also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ rights in the United States.
A United Methodist presence in Seattle’s Pride Parade was not a new thing but it took on a new resonance this year in the shadow of the 2019 Special Session of General Conference. Where that global gathering of United Methodists narrowly passed more restrictions targeting the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the denomination, many United Methodists in the Pacific Northwest, and increasingly across the United States, understand the gospel to be far more inclusive.
Peter Jabin: It is so important that we are all out here celebrating this year, celebrating inclusion, giving witness to the fact that the Methodist Church in the West welcomes ALL regardless of distinction.
We are a home for all people of faith.
Rev. Willie Deuel: It’s so important for us to be out here at PRIDE this year, especially with the news that has come down from General Conference. We want everyone to know that we stand for inclusion for people regardless of race, creed, color, gender identity, sexual orientation—whoever you are, you are welcome and God loves you.
Rev. Laura Baumgartner: The people who are showing up for Pride are showing up because we want to make a statement that God’s love is available to all people. And if the Global Church says the opposite, we stand in opposition to that.
John Harvey: As a black African-American man in the gay culture it wants me to be able to be who I am and express, and celebrate with other people. You know, just be myself all day and celebrate everybody else.
Lorri Salmon: I agree: What Pride means to to me is it having pride in myself, in my community, and also serving my passion of loving God and knowing that there is a place for me here in Seattle at First United Methodist Church. And my wife got married here, my family goes here. I love our pastor here and wouldn’t be any other place on a day like today.
Rev. Jeremy Smith: Hi, I’m Rev. Jeremy Smith. I’m the pastor of Seattle First United Methodist Church behind me that is offering Communion and cookies, and frozen popsicles and water, to everybody that comes by, and that’s critical at this time with The United Methodist Church in the news for exclusion, for preaching a gospel that is just unrecognizable here in Seattle at this church and in the Seattle United Methodist community.
So, I think that giving, participating in Pride this year is our way of just poking a hole in that narrative and letting a different light shine through.
Video filmed and edited by Rev. David Valera, Executive Director of Connectional Ministries for The Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.