Somewhere under the rainbow - Messages of love, thanks, wishes and prayers from Liverpool Pride

 The Open Table community stall at Liverpool Pride, July 2016

The Open Table community stall at Liverpool Pride, July 2016

KIERAN, one of our Local Missional Leaders with the Open Table ecumenical worship community for LGBTQIA+ Christians, writes:

The last two posts have told the experiences of members of the  at this year's Liverpool Pride - Jen's first experience of walking with a Christian group in a Pride march, and Richard's experience of being on the Pride community stall. This post was inspired by the words of the visitors to the Open Table stall who left messages of love and thanks, wishes and prayers.

Our aim with the community stall was to create a safe sacred space in the festival marquee, a 'prayer station' to encourage people to engage in conversation and to give people a flavour of the welcome they may expect when they come to Open Table. 162 people left messages over the two day festival, more than double the number we engaged with at the community stall at Liverpool Pride in 2015.

We honoured all the intentions of those who wrote and drew these beautiful messages in four ways:

  1. With a beautiful display at a special service on the Sunday evening at the end of the Liverpool Pride weekend in July (see photo 1).
  2. Cate, a poet in the community, read them all and turned them into poetic prayers which we shared at the Open Table Liverpool eucharist service in August (see 'Somewhere Under The Rainbow' below). She also made a picture frame of those messages and drawings left by children, as a moving symbol of hope for greater equality in the next generation (see photo 2).

  3. After the Open Table service we lit a fire in the church grounds and burned them with incense, echoing Psalm 142: 'May my prayer rise like incense before you'. We were accompanied by Jen on the ukelele who sang 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' in the distinctive version sung by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (see photo 3).

  4.  With the short video below, which features most of the messages (those which were not confidential) grouped by theme, including: a safe and happy day, for acceptance and equality, happiness, peace, inspiration, faith, love, children, family and friends, partners, for personal identity and other intentions, and for the Open Table community. Most poignant of all were the messages left by the niece and nephew of Michael Causer, the 18 year old hairdresser who was brutally assaulted in July 2008 and never recovered. Liverpool Pride is always held on the Saturday closest to his anniversary on 2nd August (see photo 4).

Here are the prayers compiled by Cate Jacobs, author of Climbing Mountains In The Dark:

Somewhere under the rainbow

We are wishing for happiness, love,

kisses, acceptance, equality, health,

wealth and well being.

Somewhere under the rainbow

We wish for the LGBTQIA community to be safe

in every land; for us all to be free to love who we love,

to be seen as the image of God in our world.

Somewhere under the rainbow

We yearn to have children if we so choose

and to have all the trappings of a ‘normal’ life;

a wife, a husband, a dog, a job, birthdays!

Somewhere under the rainbow

We are giving thanks for our family

and friends and a loving God;

who all accept us just as we are.

Somewhere under the rainbow

We are loving you oh Lord.

We are celebrating our uniqueness

and answering the call of our hearts.

Somewhere under the rainbow

We struggle with our identity, our sexuality,

with shame. In you, oh Lord, may we find

the compassion and acceptance often lacking our world.

Somewhere under the rainbow

And here is the video slideshow featuring many of the messages left by visitors at the Open Table community stall:

For more information about Open Table, check out the new Open Table webpage here.