As a church, Alum Rock UMC made the decision that the LGBTQI community was welcome to be part of the “church family” in 1999.  This wasn’t really new to most of us in the church, but it was the first time we made a public statement about it.  By the way, when we say “welcome,” we mean welcome to join us in every way – from visitor to volunteer to lay person to lay leader to clergy.  And, we mean welcome just as you are – be the person God created you to be – no need to change anything for us.

We’re cool with whoever you are.

For about the last two years, we have been hanging a rainbow flag in the front of the church property.  I would like to share with you a bit about why this flag is important to us because this week it was stolen, again.

As a church family we thoroughly discussed putting our flag up before we did it.  We knew it could make us a target for bigotry and hostility.  We know our society is replete with examples of hostility towards LGBTQI folks and their allies.  We know some in our own Methodist denomination join in this hostility.  In fact, we received complaints about our flag.

So why did we decide to hang this flag?  At the end of the day, we are LGBTQI folks and their allies.  As a church family, we strive to be the kind of place where everybody, including LGBTQI folks, can find the unconditional love of family, community, and God.  It’s kind of that simple.

Each time our flag is stolen or vandalized, it reminds us that the hostility and danger that LGBTQI folks experience is very real. 

It reminds us that there should be a place like Alum Rock UMC –  a place where the people who society likes to judge and abuse for their differences will be loved unconditionally, supported and celebrated as the people God created them to be.  Yes, that’s in the Bible too.

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