It was an incredible day, one we will remember for a long, long time. We go to Pride each year to celebrate the diversity in people’s lives, to show that the Church really does care and value everyone, be willing to be vulnerable and apologise for past (and possibly current) behaviour – it wants to change.
Credit: Steve Doran
We saw throughout our time there so many different groups of people, from: radical feminists, transgender activists, gay Muslims, people who like leather (one of whom was wearing a rather tight outfit and dressed as a nun, who was desperate to have a picture taken with me – I would love to see it!), those dressed with dog muzzles, bisexual and queer groups,
political parties and even the corporate companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Twitter (alternative social media firms do exist, don’t they?), Tesco (thank you for the face paint) and a number of the banks, including Metro Bank (thanks for the stress toy). Men kissed directly in front of us as we smiled with joy, some people wore little clothing and we wondered on how much after sun lotion might be required, others resplendent in plastic or leather must have been drenched with sweat hoping that they could find rehydration later – all we could do was to love all and give out white Skittles*.
Who isn’t deserving of God’s love?
When the person who was clutching a huge rainbow flag dropped his edge and ran over to us, he hugged Mandy, not releasing her for some time, then he hugged me, then he said to Mandy those words which will haunt us for some time:
“I wished my parents were standing there instead of you”.
In some ways, it pains us to see people come out of the parade to say “thank you” or just make a symbolic gesture of a heart – what is the back story here? and
Where is the Church to hear them speak, to release them from that pain and show that love is there for them?
Yes, we celebrate with those who are celebrate (such as the Nun) and we also mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), but it affects us as well.
We are now in the final throws of packing for our next port of call on this journey of calling. Our time at Queen’s (training college in Birmingham) has come to an end, but the training will never cease because we are walking alongside those who are complex but equally wonderful and amazing.
* Do you know how difficult it is to give out white colourless Skittles on a march in London???