What an amazing couple of days this journey for marriage equality has been. We’ve gone from the bustling lights of New York City to being greeted by a small town with churches standing on each corner of the intersection. We have met with senators, assembly members, clergy members, and their congregations. Conversations have ranged from “we are so glad you are here” to “not in my town faggots”. The beautiful thing is that in every town, truth and love reigned pure.
Sunday marked the midpoint of our journey. A week ago we were just beginning to grasp the importance of the next two weeks and now here we are living and fighting for our dream to finally have the right to marry. At this point in our journey, morning alarms awaken me physically but also spirituality with a song in my heart. “Our minds are stayed on Equality.”
One by one we take cold showers and dress preparing for our busy day. As a person of faith I find myself extremely anxious about experiencing a worship style that is new and different but more than anything I am excited about worshipping God and being surrounded by the open arms of a loving community of faith. We are attending the morning worship at Amherst United Church of Christ. A congregation that is moving towards being a family open to all the diversity within the body of Christ. Our reception was warm and simply delightful. Pastor Scott was so kind in extending an invitation to Soulforce Q and publically welcoming us during his announcements. His sermon that followed served as a great reminder not to take life to seriously. Personally I was reminded that as human beings we will make mistakes but the trick is too wipe the dust off and keep on running towards the goal. Tomorrows isn’t promised so we must not live in the grief of our mistakes but learn from them and seize the day! We only have the now! Carpi Diem!
Once the service ended so many people came up too us and truly welcomed us in the same way Jesus would. I was so touched by the eagerness the congregants displayed. They were so excited too learn about us as individuals and the importance of Marriage Equality not only to us as individuals but society as a whole. A couple of us stayed afterwards for the coffee hour while others went to access internet to begin preparing for the following day. The coffee hour was a wonderful time of fellowship and we made many new friends! One of our new friends June even invited the entire group over for dinner later on in the week!
Once the service was over we had the privilege of having lunch with one of our heroes. Madeline Davis and her partner Wendy. Madeline was the person to speak on lgbt issues at the democratic national convention many years ago. She serves her community as a passionate activist as well as maintaining the Buffalo LGBT Archives. Not only has she been essential too making history in the community she has also been wise enough to understand the importance of preserving that history as well. Listening to her stories over lunch was an extremely powerful reminder of where we’ve been, how far we’ve came, and how far we must continue to go. She has truly paved the way and certainly shed so much light onto our path as we journey on. She inspired all of us so much and energized us all.
Following lunch we all had some personal time to prepare for the hectic week before us. Many of opted too do laundry while others spent the time resting, writing, shopping, or even getting tattooed too serves as a memory of this experience in Buffalo. Notes were prepared and poetry was written in preparation for the evening event. We would all be attending an open mike spoken word event at Hardware café located in Allentown which serves as the lgbt capital of Buffalo. Alex and Jarrett prepared and performed a beautiful piece on Marriage Equality. The reception was so warm and they even got asked to be recorded for a internet radio show. Enjoy the pieces below:
Jarrett and Alex: http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/hardware/070722/soulforce.mp3
Totally awesome, right!
So, That’s the summary of a slow day in the life of a Soulforce Marriage Equality rider. Every step we take in love and truth in an effort too bring light to our dreams and hopes that our relationships will be seen and valued as equal too those of our heterosexual siblings. At the end of the day our message is Marriage is about love not gender. Our relationships mean just as much to us as many heterosexual relationships and we just ask that they be protected equally. A Buffalo local put it best when she said, “We are not forcing you to marry us in your church but asking for the rights too be married in our own.” Thanks so much too the community of Buffalo and Western New York for your love and support of equality for all as well as your amazing hospitality during our visit to your community.