The Rev. Jude Harmon, Director of Innovative Ministries, and Darren Main, cathedral yoga instructor, helped kick off the SF Pride Celebration at Civic Center on Sunday, June 25. Please enjoy Jude’s remarks from the event and watch our 2017 Pride Video.
How many of you are maybe a little surprised,
or even nervous, to see a priest on the Pride Main Stage? (raise hand)
There was a time in my life
when just seeing this collar would put me on high alert.
Now I’m wearing one – my therapist is so proud! Haha
There are many moments that have shaped my priesthood,
But I’ll never forget the evening of February 2nd.
Taja DeJesus was a vibrant young trans woman of color;
She came to Yoga and to services at Grace every week.
And every week, she’d pop up off her mat, or out of her pew
And with a wide-eyed smile she’d give me a big hug.
“Hello Fr. Jude, I just wanted to say ‘hello.’”
“Hello Taj! It’s so good to see you today. How was your week?”
She’d tell me what a joy it was to serve at Bayview Mission,
And she’d tell me about the harassment she’d experienced in her neighborhood.
Whatever the news, she’s always delivered it with a smile,
Always saying how happy she was to be at Grace.
When I found out Feb. 2nd that Taj had been murdered,
I couldn’t stop crying; something holy felt deeply violated.
The sanctuary Taj found at Grace couldn’t protect her from the cruelty outside.
We mourned with her family, and I officiated her funeral.
It was one of the hardest weeks of my life –
we hadn’t just lost a community member; we had lost family. Taj was one of us.
Every time I saw Taj’s family, they thanked us.
Taj told them that whatever else she encountered in the world,
At Grace, she always knew she was safe, welcomed and loved.
As a trans woman of color, she knew she was home at Grace.
I have heard that same sentiment echoed so many times
By gay and lesbian couples that I’ve married since 2015,
Who’ve discovered in Grace an unexpected place of affirmation and beauty.
Even as my heart swells with Pride for Grace,
it also breaks my heart that we’re the exception instead of the rule.
Too many of us in the LGBT community have been hurt or denied by the Church.
We don’t expect the Church to be a place of refuge or advocacy.
And that’s not right. The Church should be on the frontlines with us.
“Resist” is apt theme for this year’s Pride.
Places like Grace remind us and the wider world that
Our dignity does not come from any elected official or religious organization.
Our dignity comes from God; it’s not open to negotiation.
I’d like to invite you to check out our newest community, The Vine.
It meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m, and I designed it with you in mind.
It’s our fresh take on what church can be.
This Wednesday we celebrated Pride with a special Sister Act Mass!
Whoever you are, wherever you are in your spiritual journey,
When you enter Grace Cathedral you are safe, and welcomed and loved!
Please enjoy this little Pride video, which affirms that
“At Grace, we don’t tolerate; we celebrate you.”
God bless you and Happy Pride SF!!!!!