Our Sunday morning service was live streamed onto Facebook from the vicarage with Heston and Lydia leading our service and celebrating Pride Sunday with lots of flag waving. Katherine-Alice Grasham shared her thoughts on the story of Peter’s dream and it’s consequences in Acts 10-15.
”My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep. The more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite…” — Romeo & Juliet Act 11 scene 2
Following our response to the bishops’ Pastoral Statement, a few members of the congregation decided to get together at church for an alternative Valentine’s evening yesterday as a symbolic protest to insist that love is far more diverse than the Church may be ready to recognise.
It was a beautiful evening: we prayed through a liturgy of celebration and blessing, we lit candles to remember a dear friend, recently lost, Kye, and to pray for the church to become more compassionate and diverse. We also shared some delicious food. Adriaan had us in stitches with food/sensuality allusions and metaphors from Song of Songs (on hearing this, you’d never look at a pomegranate the same way again!) and Nicola shared a powerful and wonderful poem, which she has just written… and left not one dry eye in the room:
This is my church, your church and our church, a church of unity, sanctuary, asylum, a whole church
Those who have travelled whether willingly or not, those white or of colour, those with all those who’ve not got
The upwardly mobile, middle roaders and oppressed, those who’s assigned gender doesn’t meet the way they’re dressed
Those of native language, those with words that helped form it, those whose emotions run so deep no words we need, those so deeply hurt they can no longer bleed.
Those who can sing it and shout it that Jesus died for them, those scared to even whisper for the weight of silencing from men
When I walk through the doors, oh hi so glad you are here, not what do we do it’s her, you know her, the queer.
My name resounds in joyful muse never feeling my sexuality, anyone does confuse,
we are there gods people, God’s children worshipping in his image, holding up the hearts of those broken whilst they heal, holding those so broken they can no longer feel, those who had once given up on mankind.
But here in my church, in your church, in ours, all hearts are thrown open and arms wrap tightly with the words of our beautiful all inclusive lord, we are but people all formed in his image so we go forth with strength and rise to the challenge.
We may have less rights be frowned on by many but together we have faith not experienced by any, we are the few sent to make us the many.
Together we grow, divided we fall, if you hurt one you will hurt us all, but we will take that pain and make it a gain
For this church is my church is your church is ours, our sanctuary, our breath our infinite love divine, I am so proud to with these people entwine.
My church your church ours we conquer, ever carried forward by the strength of our father — Nicola Edmonds, 2020
Here too is an excerpt from the liturgy we used:
An affirmation of Faith and Hope
O God, Giver of Life, Bearer of Pain, Maker of Love, affirming in your incarnation the goodness of the flesh: may the yearnings of our bodies be fulfilled in sacraments of love, and our earthly embracings be enjoyed as a foretaste of the glory to come, in the light of the resurrection of Jesus, our Companion, our Lover and our Guide. Amen.
May the outrageous welcome of God accept us for who we are; May the incarnation of the Word touch and hold us close; May the wandering of the Spirit help us risk ourselves for love. May God drive us out with power to fill the world with her justice. Amen.
There has been some debate recently about which colour the vicar’s stole (the “scarf” he wears for services) should be. It’s After Trinity (or Ordinary Time) at the moment but today is Pride Sunday – so which one should Heston wear?
The first weekend of August, Leeds celebrates LGBT Pride. At All Hallows’ church, we start Pride Sunday by celebrating the gift of diversity in God’s creation, and we would love you to join us!
Our Bible reading is about Jacob wrestling with God. It is a story of struggle and transformation that speaks so well to the experience of many LGBT people of faith.
In our service, we celebrate the gift of LGBT people in our midst, we thank God for the progress that has been made with LGBT liberation in our country and across the world, and we pray for full liberation to come.
Everything is Connected: A lively discussion about identity, justice, and peace
Pull just one strand in our world and see how deeply it is connected to many others. In this entertaining and insightful presentation, Ruth Wilde and Peterson Toscano join forces to reveal strange and often unseen connections in the world. Drawing on ancient stories, comedy, and insights from their travels, they weave together a tapestry that covers identity, LGBTQ issues, climate change, justice, peace, and much much more.
After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay himself through gay conversion therapy, Peterson Toscano came to his senses and came out as an American quirky queer Quaker concerned with human rights and comedy. He asks himself and his audiences unusual and stimulating questions: Who are the gender outlaws in the Bible? What is a queer response to climate change? and How can comedy help us better understand our most tragic losses? A Bible scholar, a comic, and public speaker, Peterson is on a mission to connect with his audiences in deeply personal ways stirring up hope and purpose in a rapidly changing world.
Ruth is the UK Outreach Worker for Christian Peacemaker Teams. She also works as National Coordinator for Inclusive Church, so she understands how oppressions can intersect, and how climate change is ‘sexist, racist and classist’. Ruth has known about the oppression of / racism against indigenous peoples since she went on a CPT delegation to Grassy Narrows First Nation, Ontario, Canada in 2011. Now she sees clearly that climate change is also ‘racist’ against indigenous peoples and she thinks this is painfully ironic because they are often the humans who live the most sustainably and most in harmony with the earth. This makes her more determined than ever to educate and speak out about what is happening to indigenous peoples around the world!
In addition, Peterson and Ruth will also be leading a Dig Deeper workshop on Saturday 29th April at All Hallows. Ruth Wilde and Peterson Toscano stir up lots of discussion in their lively presentations. In order to deepen the experience and help communities figure out their next steps, they offer a facilitated discussion that includes small and large group activities designed to dig deeper into the issues raised during their presentation. Come to share your insights and to engage in others in conversation about making the world a better place for all.
Sunday 5th August is Leeds Pride Sunday #LeedsPride. We will be meeting at church as usual at 10.30am and then, for those who want to join us, we will be heading down into the city. There is a marching space booked for ‘Faiths at Pride’ and we also have an invitation to march with the Green Party crowd!