THIS is a guest post by Jen Williams, a member of Open Table at St Bride's Liverpool, who writes about walking with a Christian group in a Pride march for the first time:
Basking in the sun, under a brightly coloured rainbow umbrella, donning a rainbow cape, and wearing a beautiful white t-shirt with the brand new Open Table logo, holding an image of the wonderful Paul Bayes, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool up proudly, I marched through the streets of Liverpool as a confident, gay, Christian woman at Pride last weekend.
It marks my first Pride as a Christian, and it was especially moving to be able to share that with other LGBTQIA+ Christians, all part of the Open Table group. The intense flow of people to the beat of the Samba band, the beautiful music coming from the voices of choirs and singers also marching in the parade… all you need is love, love, love.
The day was full of love. Everywhere you went there were people, of all genders and sexualities, young and old, flying flags, holding hands, hugging one another, embracing each other and who they were, and meeting with friends new and old. Even the animals were in on the act – bearing rainbow coats and rainbow kerchiefs, making their own paw print, bringing pride to the wonderful city I am proud to call home.
I was overwhelmed at points, overwhelmed by the moment, God was most certainly with us all on that march – and nothing could take that away from us. We were all one, one body, one heart, one mind, and we all shared one pulse. The significance of this march after the hate crime in Orlando and others that go unreported is huge. Liverpool Pride gets bigger and better each year, and it is a testimony to the love of a city that embraces all for who they are, that LGBTQIA+ people feel safe walking the streets and shouting out proudly who they are.
The stalls were incredible too – I even found out about a youth group local to me, which I am thrilled about! And I met with old friends, some I’d lost touch with. It is beautiful the way Pride brings so many people together. There is only so much extroversion I can take however – I ended up taking myself off to share my pride at Another Place with the Iron Men, enjoying taking the time to stand and walk in the warm breeze of the sun at Crosby beach. It was a wonderful day, one to cherish for a long time.