Dear People of Saint James,
My heart is breaking this week. It breaks for the 50 children of God whose lives were taken from them, for their families, and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ) community who were targeted with such hate.
I didn’t think it could get much worse than Sandy Hook, but then there was Charleston. I didn’t think it could get much worse than Charleston, but now there is Orlando. Our schools, churches, and entertainment venues--the places we seek out for safety, formation, and comfort have become the front line of our nation’s public health crisis around gun violence.
We cannot afford to sit idly by and do nothing.
That is why Karen “Rudy” Renaud, Greenfield Town Counselor, and her wife Julie Payne Britton organized a Vigil for Orlando on Sunday night. Word spread on social media, and that night over thirty people came to lift up our heartache, to show our solidarity with Orlando, the LGBTQ Community, and a desire to end gun violence. Fourteen folks from Saint James joined that prayer circle, and even as the wind tried to blow out our candles we prayed that our lights might burn, even when the wind, and this world, tries to blow them out.
Most of you know I do not often wear my clerical collar, for a variety of reasons, but on certain occasions it feels important. This was one of them. You and I both know that this tragedy will be used by some of our brothers and sisters in Christ as some kind of ‘proof’ that God condemns our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I wore my collar to this vigil as a sign and symbol that God stands in solidarity with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. God is not condemning being queer, God is condemning the hatred and violence that allows tragedies like Orlando to happen in the first place. God stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ Community, and so did several members of Saint James on Sunday night.
So many people have shared with me that they were sad to have missed the vigil. There is another opportunity for us to come together to stand in solidarity with all of God’s children--we know from scripture that each and everyone one is loved and as glorious as the last. The Interfaith Council of Franklin County will hold a vigil in front of All Souls Church Unitarian Universalist on Thursday at 5:30pm located at 399 Main Street in Greenfield. I hope you will join me as we stand in solidarity with Orlando, the LGBTQ Community, and a desire to end gun violence.
You can listen to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's prayers for Orlando hereand read Lisa Spear’s article in Monday’s Recorder here.
Please join me in praying for our community and nation.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Heather Blais
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Rev. Heather Blais,
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