why i wear my collar to pride

I don’t usually stand out in a crowd.
As a 30 something year old plaid wearing, balding and bearded, straight, white male – I blend into this hipster culture like Waldo.

But this morning was different.

This morning I attended a Calgary Pride fundraiser for the amazing Camp Fyrefly,
a summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth.
Now I didn’t stand out because I was cis gendered, there were lots of allies and advocates there.

What made me stand out was what I was wearing:
my clerical collar.

You’ve seen one even if you don’t know it by name.
Its that white piece of plastic priests and ministers like me sometimes wear.   Its not something I usually wear but this morning I very intentionally put it on.

I wore it because I wanted to stand out.

I wanted to stand out because too often,
when someone from the LGBTQ+ community sees a collar,
this collar symbolizing the church and it’s leaders,
they remember a heart-breaking part of their story:

they were told by a preacher they are an abomination,
or how the church they grew up in kicked them out because of who they are, 
or how someone said God could never love someone like them.

Ive heard those stories a lot and I’m thankful for the courage it takes to share them.
But to be honest?
I don’t want anyone else to have to tell that story.

I want a new story to be told because that story doesn’t need to be their story.
It doesn’t need to be their story because there are churches out there,
synagogues, mosques, and temples too,
that would tell them something very different:

You are beautifully and wonderfully made.
You are affirmed and celebrated here.
God loves you just. as. you. are.

Now thats a story worth telling. Thats the kind of story Id love to hear more of. 

I wore my collar today to apologize on behalf of those churches that have said otherwise,
to let my LGBTQ+ friends know that there are churches and leaders who stand with and for them,
and because of the truth I believe holds the universe together and guides it all forward:

God is love and that Love is big enough for anyone and everyone.

To those of you who are part of a faith community that believes in that kind of extravagant and indiscriminate Love, may you go out and wear it loudly.
May we do what we can to change the narrative from fear and hate to love and peace.

To my LGBTQ+ friends, Happy Pride! Thanks for letting me celebrate alongside you.