Please click on the links below to go to our various Social Justice Ministries:
Open and Affirming–We invite anyone, regardless of race, ancestry, age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic circumstance, marital standing, family structure, faith background, culture, physical or mental prowess or limitation, to full participation in the common life of the church.
Racial Equality–Racial Justice is the systemic fair treatment of all people that results in equal opportunities and outcome for everyone.
Women’s Rights and Advocacy–Poverty, racism, and anti-female religious and cultural oppression prevent women from being able to make authentic choices about their own lives and bodies. Our moral goal is to struggle against barriers to equality for all women. We at First Congregational UCC Charlotte are committed to advocacy and justice issues, and seek to treat all women as equal partners in the work of the church.
WHAT IS PRIDE MONTH AND WHY DO WE CELEBRATE IT?
The month of June for most people is a busy one. Summer is finally here and there are graduations to attend, weddings to plan, and all sorts of warm weather activities to participate in. Why then should we pause and recognize the month of June as PRIDE month, and what is it about that rainbow anyway?
For people in the LGBTQIA+ community the question is a no brainer. Persecution and a loss of human rights has become their way of life. For centuries, hate and discrimination has been supported by laws and practices in the general community at all levels. From the time they enter school as a child and on into adulthood, they are treated as not worthy of praise or protection. The Trevor Project who advocates for LGBTQIA+ youth, reports that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 due to bullying, rejection and harassment. The America’s report that the average life span of a Transgendered woman is 30-35 years of age. The list of atrocities against the LGBTQIA+ is endless. Not only are they often rejected by their family and peers but by the faith community as well.
Thankfully a lot of wonderful people and organizations are making great efforts to change all this. Our current President in his first 100 days has passed a number of executive orders that protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes a proclamatiom that March 31st be recognized as transgender Day of Visibllity. As members of the United Church of Christ denomination, we support and advocate for equal rights of ALL people! And there are many more wonderful organizations that support and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Last year our church celebrated our 1 year Anniversary of becoming Open and Affirming. This means that we affirm the full inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community into the full life and ministry of the church. When Covid hit, we didn’t really have a chance to celebrate Pride Month. So this year we would like to do a few things to let the LGBTQIA+ people in our community know that we care about them. A couple of our members have made a beautiful rainbow flag that will be wrapped around a tree in the church yard from June 1st until June30th. Why a rainbow flag you say? On June 28th 1970, New York held the first Gay Pride Parade following the previous years Stonewall riots using the rainbow as a symbol of joy and hope. The word PRIDE is actually an acronym for Promote Respect, Inclusion and Dignity for Everyone. PRIDE as opposed to the shame brought on by hate and rejection. The purpose of Pride Month is to recognize the impact that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals have had on History, locally, nationally and internationally. Knowing the History can give us a fuller comprehension of the Gay Pride Movement, its’ origins and why it is so important.
In recognition of PRIDE month our church is planning a couple of Sunday services in June around that theme. On Sunday June 20th we will have an outdoor service, inviting everyone to bring their well-behaved canine members of the family. After which we will be giving out rainbow doggie bandanas and treats. Sunday June 27th is Open and Affirming Sunday within the UCC church. It is a joyful celebration of the diversity of creation and the love that rebuilds hope. The Social Justice Team will be hosting a Rainbow themed coffee hour after the 10:00 am service. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots and 5 years since the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando where 49 people lost their lives and 53 others were seriously wounded. Please take a moment and say a prayer for the families of those that were lost and that this sort of thing never happens again.
For more information about our church go to www.ucccharlotte.org. Pride month is for all people of every color and every orientation. Let’s celebrate life, love and creation together. And let’s build a better world where all people are treated as equals.
Submitted by the Social Justice Team
First Congregational United Church of Christ