GRAND BLANC — St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Grand Blanc is celebrating Pride Month with its first-ever Pride Sunday worship service to welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community and let them know where they can find a church home.
Pride Sunday worship is set for June 27 at 10 a.m. The service will be followed by a reception, which includes live jazz. The church is at 9020 S. Saginaw St. in Grand Blanc. All COVID-19 protocols from state and local health officials will be observed.
“As a gay man and a gay priest, I came to the Episcopal Church because I knew that I could expect to be treated with decency, love and respect,” said the Rev. Jerry Lasley, who this year became only the third full-time rector assigned to the church in the past 51 years. “I didn’t have to hide who I was. I didn’t have to try to hide who God created me to be. For so many, they have no idea that the Episcopal Church is on the frontlines, pushing for the acceptance and dignity of all God’s children.”
Lasley said there are many people who do not feel welcome and accepted in churches across the country. That includes members of the LGBTQ+ community, who have experienced exclusion from so many sources. He is hopeful a service such as Pride Sunday will begin to change that.
“We don’t always have to understand someone to love them,” Lasley said. “There are so many folks who desperately need to hear that God loves them and they are not evil. On June 27, we will celebrate the diversity of God’s people. We will welcome all who enter our doors. We will show them what it is to be church. And God will be present.
“My hope is that on that Sunday, you will reach out to someone who may love differently than you. Get to know them like you are getting to know me. Take the time to try to understand. What you will find are human beings. The LGBTQ+ Community is made up of people like you and me.”
If the LGBTQ+ Community has an agenda, it is to have the same rights as everyone else, Lasley said.
“It is sad that in today’s world, Americans are still fighting to have the same human rights, guaranteed in our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution,” Lasley said. “The LGBTQ+ folks, as well as Black and Brown Americans, are still fighting that battle. It cannot and must not be that way in the Church of God. The Episcopal Church has often been on the frontlines in the struggle for social justice. Until everyone is treated with equity and dignity, we must continue the fight for all God’s children.”