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Presbyterian Pride 2021 calendar

Several ministries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have events planned for Pride Month in June

By Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Members of First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York serve water to participants in the 2019 annual Heritage of Pride march. File photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Rev. Shanea D. Leonard wants to start a conversation about the upcoming Pride Month defining what Pride is and what it means to them.

“Pride is something that is a time of celebration, resistance, action and awareness,” said Leonard, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice in the Presbyterian Office of Gender, Racial & Intercultural Justice. “It started out as resistance to bigotry against those in the queer community or LGBTQIA community, and it has morphed over the years to not only that we stand in resistance to hatred and bigotry, but we celebrate who we are, our rich culture as queer people and our resilience despite what happens around us.

“Pride is something that transcends color lines, it transcends socioeconomic status and it transcends all the other barriers that so easily separate us.”

Under Leonard’s watch, Pride is also something the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is becoming more intentional about celebrating, putting together a calendar of PC(USA) Pride events (below).

The Rev. Shanea Leonard, Associate for Gender & Racial Justice in the Presbyterian Office of Gender, Racial & Intercultural Justice. File photo

Leonard said it is “a time for us as a denomination to live into realities of statements we have made at General Assembly, and to celebrate those within our larger Presbyterian community who often feel marginalized in various ways.”

In addition to Leonard’s office, other ministries participating in Pride include Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Office of Public Witness, the Task Force for the Disparities of Black Women and Girls, the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns and Unbound: An Interactive Journal of Christian Social Justice. Unbound, which is part of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, which produced a lot of Presbyterian policy regarding LGBTQIA+ issues, has created something of a Pride prelude with its Queering the Family series in collaboration with the grassroots group More Light Presbyterians. Additionally, More Light Presbyterians has several virtual activities that can be experienced as well, as they do each year.

Members of Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky., greet participants in the the 2018 Lexington Pride festival. (Rich Copley

In addition to checking out virtual national church presentations, Leonard says churches can be part of the celebration and observance of Pride in their own communities.

“I would encourage them to make sure that they are aware and share information that has come out of General Assembly around inclusion,” they said. “I would encourage them to invite someone who is LGBTQIA, one of our ministers of word and sacrament, to come preach. I would encourage them as allies to have conversations and Bible studies around inclusion during this month.”

But Pride is not confined to one month, particularly this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many communities to postpone their Pride Festivals and similar celebrations, where churches can often have an important presence, to the fall. In addition, there are important days for the church to observe, Leonard says, including LGBTQIA History Month in October, National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 and World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

While the fact of such broad observances of LGBTQIA+ Pride throughout the year represents tremendous progress, Leonard said there is a lot of concern about “the growing tension around anti-trans laws in this country that have been happening in various states. That is a growing concern, and something that we raised during Pride Month as well, because it seems almost as if our trans siblings are one of the last groups that it’s OK to discriminate against, even legally, and it’s not OK. And it is something that the Presbyterian Church has somewhat taken a stand against, in the sense that we have language out of GA that celebrates all genders. But it seems like it’s something that still our country is catching up with. Our collective struggle against oppression is something that cannot be denied.”

Last year’s celebration of Pride was muted as the world was in the grips of the still-emerging COVID-19 pandemic, and the start of the national reckoning with systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and other extrajudicial killings. While the pandemic has not fully abated, Leonard says there is a sense of relief as this Pride Month begins.

“Folks are excited to be outside and engage life with others outdoors again,” Leonard said. “Pride this month is becoming much more a celebration of who we are and being proud and taking not only just the stance of self-identity, but also this growing sense of we cannot be muted or be silenced.

“It’s a reflection of love and an appreciation for all of God’s humanity.”


PC(USA) Pride 2021 Calendar of Events

(all times EDT)

All June: Show Your Pride Artistic Expression — Asking those who are out and allies to share photos of themselves in their most prideful way to be featured on our Facebook page for the entire month of June. Office of Gender & Racial Justice.

Through June 16: Queering the Family — Series of essays and Bible studies that aims to expand the definition of family and celebrate its many forms. Unbound and More Light.

June 1: “Just Talk Live” PRIDE Edition — General Pride discussion. 6 p.m. Unbound.

June 8: Queer Families Month Liberation Bible Study — 2 p.m. More Light.

June 8: “Just Talk Live” Queering the Bible — 6 p.m. Unbound.

June 10: Pride Panel — Discussion around all things pertinent to the community. Office of Gender & Racial Justice.

June 15: Queer Families Month Liberation Bible Study — 2 p.m. More Light.

June 15: “Just Talk Live” Queering Liturgy — 6 p.m. Unbound.

June 17: Queer Quiz Night — Social gathering to test our knowledge around all things LGBTQIA+. Office of Gender & Racial Justice.

June 20: World Refugee Day — Churchwide recognition of refugees, including those fleeing due to persecution of LGBTQIA+ people. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Week of June 21: Release of updated “Well Chosen Words” — Official document to provide terminology and deeper understanding from Office of Gender & Racial Justice, Presbyterian Women and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns. Office of Gender & Racial Justice.

June 22: Queer Families Month Liberation Bible Study — 2 p.m. More Light.

June 22: “Just Talk Live” Queering Music — 6 p.m. Unbound.

June 24: Facebook Live on LGBTQIA Black Women and Girls — Discussion of issues pertinent to the population of queer Black women and girls with the Task Force for the Disparities of Black Women and Girls. 5:30 p.m. PC(USA) Facebook.

June 27 – More Light Sunday – Celebration of More Light Presbyterians, a grassroots organization working for full participation of the LGBTQIA+ community in the PC(USA). Churches are invited to create their own Pride Sunday supported by More Light prerecorded worship materials available the week before More Light Sunday. Also, join More Light for a livestream of Pride worship.  More Light Presbyterians.

June 29: “Just Talk Live” Queer YouthUnbound.

June 29: Webinar on The Equality Act — Education and information on this important piece of legislation. 3 p.m. Office of Public Witness.

June 30: Queer Youth of Faith DayMore Light Presbyterians and Beloved Arise.


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