The 27th annual Outfest, Sunday, October 8th (Noon -6pm) is the celebration of National Coming Out Day, the day men and women recall professing their sexuality to the public. This Sunday event is sponsored by Philly Pride Presents, and hosts a number of vendors from local bars, business, and musical troupes!
For some, coming out is a pivotal moment that defines their new identity as Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, etc. For me, the date was Saturday, August 24th 2013, and I came out to my parents. I was a college senior at La Salle University, a Catholic Lasallian college in Northwest Philadelphia. I toasted the event with a glass of Prosecco, and bravely stated to my parents, “Cheers, I’m gay and God is ok with it”.
It’s a brave decision to stand against the norm; the act of ‘coming out’…or the act of being truthful is a difficult choice to make because we have to examine ourselves from within. As humans, we struggle to find a balance between self-preservation and compliance. Even with the current events of this year, we must be vigilant and confident to speak up for what is fair, honest, and true to our beings. If we are burdened by the beliefs [or judgements] of others, we fall victim to ignorance and hate. To all who read the e-pistle and specifically this article, know this: You are loved; You are welcomed and respected here at Old First; and You are a reflection of God.
Old First is firmly commited to the diversity of our congregation (see website):
“At Old First we believe that each individual reflects aspects of God’s image, for example: the female image, the Black image, the gay image, the youthful image, the immigrant image, the poor image, the otherly-abled image… Only together in our diversity and service, do we begin to resemble the full glory of God”.
As an ‘Open and Affirming’ congregation within the United Church of Christ, Old First honors and uplifts those individuals who differ from the norm of our society. We invite those identified as LGBT, Non-binary, Neutral, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Disabled, etc to walk with us as we explore our relationship with God and re-examine theology within our fast-paced society.
Old First will not have a table at Outfest this year. Even so, we invite you to still participate in the festival and enjoy the various features offered in the Gayborhood of Philadelphia. If you have any questions about the event, please contact John (via firstname.lastname@example.org).
See you in church,