Pink Mennos focus on healing and hopeby Gordon Houser
Participants at Pittsburgh 2011 calling themselves Pink Mennos held a worship service on July 5 that focused on healing and hope and included much singing.
Not allowed to meet on site, the group met at the Smithfield United Church of Christ several blocks from the convention center. Randy Spaulding, pastor of Covenant Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Fla., gave a homily at the service and led a choir in several songs.
Philip Kendall (left) and Darian Harnish (right), leader of EMU's Safe Space program, sing during the Pink Menno worship service on July 5 at the Smithfield United Church of Christ. Photo by Kerry Bush.
Spaulding, whose congregation is under discipline from Southeast Mennonite Conference because he is in a homosexual relationship, told a story about author Alice Walker, who lost her sight in one eye while young and felt shame and unwholeness for many years because of it. Then one day her 3-year-old daughter said to her, “I see a world in your eye.”
“We need to see a world in the eye of each person we meet,” Spaulding said.
He referred to Matthew 5, which tells of Jesus welcoming those who are outcast, then saying at one point, “You are the salt of the earth ... [and] the light of the world.”
Spaulding noted that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people and their allies have felt the sting of rejection. God’s love as expressed by Jesus, he said, can seem scandalous in accepting those deemed unacceptable.
“God outrageously calls us to see a world in the eye of others,” he said.
In spite of the rejection many feel, things are changing, Spaulding said. Scientific knowledge points to “the inescapable conclusion that affectional and sexual orientation is not a moral choice,” he said.
Hope is dynamic, not static, Spaulding said. His hope comes from those who model the love of God, he said.
In a blessing of hands ceremony, people came forward and received an anointing of oil on their hands to receive and give healing and love. About 100 people took part in the service.
The group took an offering to help the Brethren Mennonite Council on LGBT concerns defray costs of renting space for the worship service and for workshops, since the group was not allowed to use space on the convention site.
Two students from the Center for Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., announced a campaign to attach rainbow stickers to the Mennonite hymnal supplements that Spaulding helped create as part of the binational worship council. In March 8 the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA told him he could no longer serve on that council.
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