National Coming Out Day Service, 2008

National Coming Out Day

After two services at the church were I am on staff, St. George’s in La Canada, I was walking out the office door when I was stopped by my rector, Amy Pringle, who gave me this big deep hard hug saying that everything would work out fine. I pulled back and said, “I just want people to know God loves them.” When I said this emotions welled up so deeply that my voice cracked, and I flew out the door.

We all stood around the baptismal font outside, we gathered ourselves with words, the two officiants rededicated the doors of the church to welcome all people, including those of different orientations. Once in the church we sang, and we heard six unique coming out stories from ages 17 – 80. We were admonished by a young teenager to stop the bickering over the importance of human sexuality or will shall loose a generation, we were told by a a wife and mother, and one who came out later in life, now married to her partner, that a journey like this can be a blessing, we heard from a young man that he has been showed nothing by love by his church, and from another that he has come from the confusion of pre-stonewall, and no one speaking of same sex attraction to his own fullness as a human being, and finally we heard a story of continuing growth in a journey not yet completed, living through the pains of the Gay Liberation movement to this moment, with a voice caught up in tears, fulfilling a fantasy he once had, speaking from the pulpit saying his name, and that he is Gay…….Powerful stuff.

We heard music performed by the South Coast Chorale, and we also prayed together, prayers of hope, of change, of newness, and for the struggles which continue in the lives of many people, but also acknowledging special mention of those who had died in the closets of history. We brought up the the plate (seen in the picture) private prayers offered to God which were blessed, and set aflame, and we sang a closing song which said, We Are Everywhere (we’re your neighbor your sister and your brother).  It was an evening of tears, of joy, of hurts remembered, but most of all a sense of hope in the goodness found in ourselves, and what we can offer to the world.

One of the co-officiants, The Rev. Vicki Mouradian, mother of a gay son, shared her love she has for her son, and the joy she experienced when she found out he was Gay, as she claimed to have had a sense of his orientation while caring him to full term. She reminded us of Psalm 139 and the words:

“For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will thank you because I am marvelously made; your words are wonderful, and I know it well. “

Then, she stopped, and after a pause said to everyone, repeating the words over and over saying that all here must know that God loves you, that God loves each and every person for who they are…….in that I gasped, and I felt tears falling from the corners of my eyes.

At the end of the service, the assembled said these words:

The fire of God has changed us, and we shall be changed. The wind of God has changed us, and we shall be changed. The breath of God has changed us, and we shall be changed. The Spirit of God has changed us, and we shall be changed.

We were changed.