Photos and Reflections from LGBTQ+ Pride
On Saturday, June 24, nearly 30 volunteers from St. Paul's and St. Timothy's gathered together at the Town Common for NAMI Pitt County's Third annual LGBTQ+ Pride. We gave out bottles of water, stickers, paper fans, and offered a simple blessing to anyone who would receive it: "When God created the first humans, God said they were 'very good.' You are 'very good'!"
"When God created the first humans, God said they were 'very good.' You are 'very good'!"
2023 LGBTQ+ Pride
St. Paul's parishioner Heather Jenkins said, of Pride: "It was wonderful to see everyone being their true authentic selves and being able to share their stories with others. It was great seeing all the churches come out and show their support and love for the community when so many feel ashamed by just being who God created them to be. I really enjoyed seeing the younger community out there. If I had been able to be myself at a younger age and have the support kids have nowadays then I would've come out sooner." Heather and her wife Julia have been attending St. Paul's since 2005. They have both been Sunday school teachers.
St. Paul's parishioner Phil Hartenstein offered this reflection: "This was my first time attending the Pride event in Greenville and it was a wonderful experience. Seeing so many people from all walks of life supporting each other was truly touching. Even the hospital, ECU, several churches and our local police department had representatives present to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community. This Pride event left me hopeful and excited about the future of our city of Greenville." Phil has been involved in lots of ministries at St. Paul's, including our Knitting Ministry, desk volunteers, and more.
St. Paul's choir member Kyla Kremhelmer said this: "It was enjoyable to see all the different representation at the event, from affirming care providers to affirming mental health practitioners, to welcoming churches and programs. I loved that it was a family friendly event for everyone, including youth, children, even pets (there was even a bearded dragon that participated!) It's amazing to see a community come together to show love for those of us that may not have loving and accepting families/friends/workplaces and to feel as though we are worthy and loved."
St. Paul's parishioner Louise Hudak said: "The Pride Celebration at the Town Common this year was a great experience for me. I loved the camaraderie with everyone present from the LGBTQ+ community to the individuals and families that came out to show their support and the reps from various organizations. The good energy, the love were contagious!"
Martha Whitesides, the Director of Christian Formation at St. Timothy's, offered this: "This was my first Pride, and I love that I got to experience it with the church. It was awesome to work alongside St. Paul's community members and invite so many people into our tent. Their reactions that we wanted to welcome them to a church space were joyous. I was also pleasantly surprised to see several other church tents sharing the same mission: to love God and our neighbor. I can't wait for next year!"