Gathering in Response to Orlando

On Monday, June 13, 2016, I hosted a gathering at my church in response to the mass shooting in a gay bar in Orlando, FL. The order of service and my comments folllow.

13391604_1189965757703748_893419545035532880_oIn 2012 I gathered with my church to mourn the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Last August, I gathered with my church to lament the slaughter of the Mother Emanuel Nine and Freddie Gray and Tamir Rice and so many other African Americans.

Today, we gather again as a church and as a city and a county in rage and shock at the slaughter of 49 predominantly Latina and Latino members of the queer community.

The Young, black, brown, and queer: all targets of profound violence and cruel death.

In my religious tradition, we talk about how God cares most for “the least of these,” and how we are to literally care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. But our nation, or at least some of our neighbors, seek out the least for death, not protection.

In 2012, I greeted my congregation with the following:

Welcome to this space of prayer. May you find it a place of comfort this night, and safety. May you find hope in the space between us. May we grown more whole as our time together unfolds.

How tepid that now sounds. How insufficient for the gore that has followed. And yet true. This is a space of prayer, this is a place for comfort and hope. But we dare not skip to those without confronting our grief and anger, or we will never find wholeness in ourselves or among each other.

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Pick up the Pace

pickupthepacePublished June 26, 2015
© The Rev. Eileen Gebbie

In 1986, when I was a freshman in high school, I attended the wedding of one of my mom’s closest colleagues, to her girlfriend. It was held at a Metropolitan Community Church and officiated by their Christian pastor. The only things that stood out for me were the bride wearing reddish flowing gowns rather than the traditional white and my mom telling me that it was important that her friends’ parents came in spite of their discomfort.

Sometime soon after I had a writing assignment for my English class. It must have required including a twist or revealing at truth, because I described the service only naming that it was two women at the very end. Much to my surprise, my classmates gasped. And, as fast as it could be done pre-Internet, I was named the school lesbian.
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