Pink Mennos launch campaignby Anna Groff
Approximately 100 Mennonites wearing pink gathered outside the convention center on July 2 for the “Pink Menno Campaign” witness and press conference to advocate for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Mennonite Church USA.
After a time of singing and confession, three individuals from the campaign told their stories.
Cynthia Lapp, pastor at Hyattsville (Md.) Mennonite Church, talked about the gifts of LGBT individuals in her congregation. Katie Hochstedler, who described herself as a “young queer Mennonite,” called for the church to “be its best self.” Luke Yoder of Denver spoke of his dream for the inclusion of his gay friends and queer sister.
The witness was only one aspect of the Pink Menno Campaign at Convention 2009. Other components included seminars and film viewings in the campaign’s “hospitality room” and hymn sings in the convention center.
In an interview, Yoder said he appreciated the “overwhelming number of people wearing pink” and the many people interested in dialogue.
Yoder said a small group of people in opposition to the campaign became confrontational. While that group did not surprise him, “It was really disappointing to see that that happened and not much of a response from church leaders,” he said.
Yoder also said the campaign recognizes that the issue’s sensitive for certain groups within Mennonite Church USA, such as underrepresented racial-ethnic members. He acknowledged that this issue does not carry the same significance for all parts of the church but added, “Where can we find areas that we share the same passions?” He named immigration as one such issue.
A support network for LGBT individuals is one outgrowth of the campaign, said Yoder. “What happened in Columbus is a starting point for further conversation and discernment,” he said, adding that the campaign will have a presence at Convention 2011 in Pittsburgh.
Regarding the resolution on conflict, Yoder said, “We’re very hopeful that Mennonite Church USA will be able to provide those resources … so that the dialogue can be positive and move forward in meaningful ways.”
In an interview, Hochstedler said, “We are trying to model what we want the church to be.”
Editor’s note: The inverted pink triangle, originally intended as a badge of shame by the Nazis, has become an international symbol of the gay rights movement, from Wikipedia.
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