Article | June 25, 2022
Congregation Update: Pride, Roe, and Guns
Blog|The Rev Greg Kimura, Ph.D. (Cantab.)
Last Wednesday evening was the annual Singalong Pride Mass. Almost 200 folks joined for a joyful celebration of identity and solidarity. There was dancing, singing, and a final benediction with confetti falling like snow in the nave! A big kudos to the Rev. Canon Jude Harmon, who organized it, and the Rev. Canon Anna Rossi, who presided.
During fellowship afterward, I was able to speak with congregants and many visitors. They shared appreciation for the message of inclusion and the real embracing of difference at Grace Cathedral. Not only the words but the actions, expressed in the presence of homilist the Revd Dr. Cameron Partridge.
We live in challenging times in the U.S. and the world. Many of the rights so hard-fought for and won seem challenged. States are passing rules prohibiting even mentioning the word “gay” to children. School districts are revising curricula to exclude the full history of the U.S. and its diverse citizens.
Celebrating the Pride Mass at Grace Cathedral is a wonderful way to stand up for the theological right in the face of the politically expedient. As a recent addition to the staff, I can say that this has been a hallmark of Grace Cathedral and for which it is renowned as a national leader. Other Episcopal churches — and mainline Christianity in general — look to the prophetic witness of Grace Cathedral. The Pride Mass is an example of that, and that prophetic witness can be joyful.
In this way, the Pride Mass here is not an exception but the rule. It is a particular commemoration of a continuing Gospel message of Christ’s loving embrace of all. That is lived out daily at Grace Cathedral — and by its congregants worldwide.
Those who could attend the first TILT in-person gathering will tell you it was something special. Celebrating the life and work of Grace Cathedral friend Paul Crane Dorfman — and held on the Summer solstice — it included video music vignettes from NYC, New Zealand, Norway, and Maine. In Grace Cathedral, we had three musicians from SF Opera give a private concert and take questions at the end. You will not want to miss it next year. Thank you to all the sponsors and the many trustees and supporters who made this event possible.
We are launching the Grace Cathedral Cultural Membership program. Here is the blog post by Dean Malcolm Young about this meaningful new way to connect.
Today, we learned that the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Many were anticipating this eventuality with the leaked draft last month. While we are processing the news and considering the following steps, it is essential to remember that the Episcopal Church has unambiguously and vigorously supported the rights of women to access reproductive health, including safe and legal abortions. Here is a summary of General Convention resolutions to that effect.
This decision is a trauma. Taking away a recognized constitutional right of woman’s autonomy of choice over reproductive health has left us bereft, tearful, fearful, and angry. This is a reminder that the road to restoring justice is long. We need to double down on compassion, civility, and self-care. All the spiritual practices that lift us in times of struggle are vital right now. We will only be effective in changing hearts if we speak from the heart, with gravitas. We will only create social change by acting from the same place. We need to support each other, those organizations like Grace Cathedral that protect our rights, and we need to vote.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life.
Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Join us this Sunday after the 11 am Eucharist, we will be tolling the bells 49 times to symbolize the 49 years from which reproductive rights were protected.
The Rev. Dr. Greg Kimura
Vice Dean of Grace Cathedral
P.S. As part of End Slavery for Good, we are watching the developments closely with ACA 3 in the CA legislature and invite you to join a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, June 28 at 6:15 pm to learn what you can do to help the legislature meet its June 30 deadline.