Uniting Churches welcome World Pride
“LGBTIQ+ people are welcome and wonderful children of God”
February 22, 2023
By Warren Talbot
A number of Uniting Churches in inner Sydney are taking part in World Pride and Mardi Gras this week. Nearly 300 people packed Pitt Street Uniting Church on 21 February for a World Pride Pancake evening followed by an ecumenical prayer service.
“We hope to send a message to queer communities that they are so beloved by God, and that there are LGBTIQA+ affirming and celebrating faith spaces in which they can follow Jesus and find home."
The Minister and Team leader at the Leichhardt Uniting Church, Rev Radhika Sukumar-White explained that members at Leichhardt Uniting Church (LUC) are actively engaged in World Pride (and have been involved in Mardi Gras for many years) to celebrate the joy and wonder of God which is reflected within LGBTIQA+ people.
She said “we hope to send a message to queer communities that they are so beloved by God, and that there are LGBTIQA+ affirming and celebrating faith spaces in which they can follow Jesus and find home. We're also excited to utilise the great gifts in music at Leichardt Uniting through our Drum Corps!”
Over 15 members of the Leichhardt Uniting Drum Corps will be joining the ecumenical Rainbow Christians Together float in the annual Mardi Gras Parade which returns to Oxford Street after COVID restrictions.
The Uniting Church LGBTIQ Network is working with other queer Christian groups to organise the ecumenical float in the Parade. Convenor Jason Masters said that it was imperative that churches stand in solidarity with members of the LGBTQA+ communities.
"World Pride is a unique opportunity for the Uniting Church, and others, to step up and support our gender and sexually diverse siblings," said Mr Masters. "The Uniting Church has made significant progress, but we have not done enough work on support and education for trans and other gender diverse people."
Mr Masters encouraged individuals and local churches to support the wide range of events linked to World Pride and Mardi Gras.
"Local churches can include prayers for LGBTQ+ people in the last Sunday of February or the first Sunday in March when 50,000 people will walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge," Mr Masters suggested. Information, prayers and resources are available at https://www.worldpridefaith.com.au/
Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT Rev Simon Hansford sent his welcome and greetings to participants in Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and World Pride. His message was read at the Pride Pancake evening held at Pitt Street.
“Greetings to everyone for World Pride, and all those taking part in the celebrations, and all other aspects, including, of course, Mardi Gras.
Please accept my blessing for all those involved:
I give thanks for LGBTIQ+ people, who are welcome and wonderful children of God.
May it be a time of justice and joy for all, speaking hope into our whole community.”
Pitt Street Uniting Church has become a hub for the expressions of Rainbow Christians Together during Sydney World Pride.
Pitt St Minister Rev Dr Josephine Inkpin, said “as a community which has pioneered LGBTIQA+ celebration and leadership for decades, Pitt Street hopes and prays that this may help usher in the next stage of fully empowering the diverse lives and gifts of all."
"Our displays of angels, in partnership with Lismore Lantern Parade, invite us to deeper solidarity – particularly sharing Courage, Compassion and Joy - and our Queer Faces of Faith photo exhibition is a wonderful demonstration of the rich variety of Australian spirituality which people of all kinds of faith can receive and help flourish.”
Dr Inkpin that she hoped that “the Church’s witness at this time help us 'Amplify Light and Love', not only for now but across our communities and world in the days to come.”