The Bishop’s E-pistle: Pride 2021

At the beginning of June, a non-binary person named Michaela wrote a Twitter thread and blog post about their gender identity and scripture:

i’m nonbinary. how does this reconcile with the verse, “male and female he created them,” you may ask?

the variety in God’s creation emphasizes God’s creativity as an artist. Genesis gives us several examples of this.

God made “day and night.” this sounds like a binary, similar to “male and female,” right? but that isn’t quite all we experience in 24 hours. sunrises and sunsets do not fit into the binary of day or night. yet God paints the skies with these too.

The full blog post, in which they continue through the Genesis 1 creation story observing how the binaries of water and sky, aquatic and land creatures are not so easily divided, can be read here. I encourage you to read it and reflect on the binaries–real or imposed–in your life.

The pandemic has played havoc with many annual events; Phoenix’s Pride has been postponed to the morning of November 6. Tucson Pride is October 2. I’ve seen a number of other congregations (mainly in cooler areas of our diocese!) who have participated in Pride events locally during the month of June.

The day I was installed as your bishop in our Cathedral (April 7, 2019), I spent the morning at the Phoenix Pride Parade. Two Episcopal groups met for the Eucharist on the parade route before dividing: one headed to the end of the parade to provide a counter-demonstration to those who were protesting LGBTQ+ rights and bodies. That group had placards of God’s love for all and was a welcome contrast to the opposite corner. The other group marched–there were church banners, incense, some handouts from LGBTQ+ friendly congregations, and lots of waving and joy. I invite Episcopalians from around the diocese to join me on November 6 to witness to God’s love for all people. More details will be shared closer to the date.

I know that my life and ministry has been richly blessed by many generations of faithful LGBTQ+ Christians, often people who had been wounded deeply by the church; or who had needed to hide their sexuality or identity; and yet still radiated the love of Christ. Not all of our congregations are safe for LGBTQ+ people, and the church as whole, and the Episcopal Church specifically has a way to go before all can be confident that they are welcome.

And yet we belong to a church that prays “Let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new” on Good Friday, at the Easter Vigil, and at ordinations. May we truly be made new.