Oct. 11 is one of the national LGBTQ+ Days of Observance; particularly, Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. In the spirit of National Coming Out Day, made unfortunately all the more relevant given the anti-LGTBQ+ legislation passed this year all across the country (for more on that, see this article by the Human Rights Campaign, with a big content warning), a few of us clergy in town wanted to come together to write a “love letter” of sorts to our LGTBQ+ beloveds.
The only appropriate place to start is by acknowledging that our faith traditions, each in their own ways, have wrestled with legacies of perpetuating homophobia, transphobia and anti-LGTBQ+ prejudice — legacies which will only be healed and transformed if we remain accountable to them.
We believe the Divine to be present in all things and in all places, and as religious leaders in Marblehead, we celebrate the presence of the Divine in our LGTBQ+ siblings, including those among our ranks as clergy. We validate the hurt that has been felt by our queer and trans siblings, pain that has been sometimes directly inflicted by our own congregations. We are committed to reconciling these harms with our own understanding of a faith that is much greater than ourselves, rooted in the idea of being present with those on the margins of society who are kept out of full participation in society due to race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic situation, age, ability and any other kind of systemic barrier that has been put in place.
To our beloved, queer selves and siblings: We side with you in solidarity. We are ready to turn tables with you. We are ready to offer pastoral care for you. We are ready to make mistakes and grow alongside you. We are ready to risk parts of ourselves to ensure that you survive and thrive. As clergy leaders, we commit ourselves to the work of educating ourselves and growing alongside our faith communities so that we can minimize harm and move closer to collective liberation for all.
Happy National Coming Out Day, beloveds. Know that no matter what any person or institution says, you are a whole and beautiful person, created in the image of the divine.
— The Rev. Isaac Garrigues-Cortelyou (they/he), St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church
— The Rev. Susan Morrison (she/hers), retired United Methodist clergyRev. Jenna Crawford (she/hers), Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead
— The Rev. James Bixby (he/his), Clifton Lutheran Church
— Rabbi Darryl Crystal, Temple Emanu-El
— Rabbi Allison Peiser (she/her), Temple educator at Temple Emanu-El
— Rabbi David J. Meyer, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El
— The Rev. Don Remick (he/his), Old North Church
— The Rev. Lindsay Popperson (she/hers), Old North Church
*While we were not able to get signatures from every leader of an openly LGTBQ+ affirming faith community in Marblehead due to vacation and transition schedules, we certainly do not intend to exclude their names and community ministries from this sentiment, and we celebrate their ministries of inclusion and justice.