PRIDE Atlanta 2014 at St. Mark UMC

St-Mark-s-UMC-Atlanta

I am so proud to be a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church!

In the 80’s, long before I came around, the congregation had dwindled to a few older folks who had been members for years. Midtown Atlanta had long been a haven for the gay community in the south and St. Mark was there at Peachtree and 5th Street, right in its center.

A gay PRIDE parade had started marching past the front doors of St. Mark down Peachtree St. once a year. The giant Southern Baptist Church across the street hired security every year to protect their campus from the “pink hoard.” (My friend Bill, resident church historian, says maybe they were afraid the gays were going to break in and redecorate.)

As AIDS began to decimate the gay population, the tiny St. Mark congregation decided to reach out and open its doors as a welcoming and accepting sanctuary for worship, comfort, love and solace for a ravaged, battered and feared community of men.

In 1991, the 20th annual PRIDE parade day rolled around and as usual, the Baptists high-tailed it out of town. But the little old ladies of St. Mark proudly set up their table on  the sidewalk in front of the church and handed out water to the parade participants as they marched down Peachtree Street. That became known as “The Miracle on Peachtree Street.”

As the word spread that St. Mark was a different kind of church, the membership began to burgeon and today St. Mark is a thriving United Methodist church, proud of our diversity, but focused on doing Christ’s work in the world through our robust mission programs, ministering to the people of Atlanta and beyond, and fostering thoughtful and open-minded worship and learning.

I invite you to come experience one of our many PRIDE week activities this week. If you’ve never spent time in a house of worship that’s truly accepting of who you are, your mind and heart will be BLOWN! (Particularly the Sunday worship services.)

St. Mark United Methodist Church PRIDE Week Activities 2014

Tuesday, October 8 – Saint Mark hosts the annual Atlanta Pride AIDS Vigil (7p) featuring music performed by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus

Thursday, October 9Diversity Dinner (6p) & Service (7:30p)

We are delighted to announce that our guest speaker at this year’s Diversity Worship service will be the Rev. Frank Schaefer! Rev. Schaefer stepped in the national spotlight in 2013 when he faced charges in his home United Methodist conference for performing his son’s marriage to his partner. The jury who heard Frank’s case declined to take away his ministerial credentials for doing his son’s wedding, but then tried to bind his future ministry by insisting that he promise not to do another same sex marriage. He refused—not only because he has two other gay children, but because he truly feels for the marginalized LGBTQ community within and without the United Methodist Church.

Frank Schaefer will be signing his book, Defrocked: How a Father’s Act of Love Shook up the United Methodist Church,  directly after the Diversity Worship Service.

Saturday, October 11 – Saint Mark booth in Piedmont Park

Sunday, October 12PRIDE Sunday – Worship at 9a and 11:15a

Barbecue for sale in front of the church from Noon to the parade’s end. (All proceeds go to St. Mark missions.) And we don’t play about our barbecue either. This is the real deal! Pork, chicken or vegan: come get your grub on and watch the parade!

Join us, y’all! We’re not into proselytizing. We meet you where you’re at and love you for it.

Come say hi! I’ll be the girl in the baseball cap and shorts behind the sound board upstairs!

Meet you there!

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