For years now, Oakhurst Baptist Church has had a float in Atlanta’s Gay Pride Parade, under the sponsorship of the Rainbow Fellowship Covenant Group. Several dozen LGBTQ members and friends ride the float or walk along with it while handing out rainbow colored copies of the congregation’s covenant. From the beginning, our church’s float — and those of other faith communities — are met with loud cheers from on-lookers, who seem to be delighted to find support for the cause from that quarter so historically opposed to all things gay. The expressions and tears which we see on the faces of some in the crowd attest to the power of our witnessing presence.
But each year the Pride Parade is also met by a small segment of counter-protestors. Apparently unaware of Luke 6:37 and numerous other passage in the book they and we hold holy, they wave signs and chant. Parade participants one and all are, they judge with great certainty, condemned to hell.
We meet their taunts with cheerful waves, and maybe an occasional good-humored “God loves you, and I’m trying.” But lately they’ve been largely shielded from our sight. A band of angels, dressed in flowing white and sporting enormous wings has joined the parade. Where do they come from? Perhaps they are heaven sent. In any case, they surround the counter-protestors in a peaceful but persistent way. We still know the counter-protestors are present – sometimes we hear them, or catch glimpses through outstretched angel wings. It’s nice to know, though, the angels are watching out for us.
The Pride Parade is one of the highlights of the church year. Each participant takes away something different, and each year – rain or shine – it takes on special meaning to us all.
The participation in the parade is coordinated by the Rainbow Fellowship Covenant Group. The covenant group is an opportunity for LGBTQ members and friends to “know and be known.” The group gathers every month or two, for lunch after worship or for other occasions. ALL are invited to join in.