Raising the Rainbow Flag Ceremony Photos

Church of the PALMS Social Justice Team:
Seeking justice through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry & Support

The rainbow flag represents affirmation of our Church’s commitment to be Open and Affirming and to show our support for the LGBTQ community.

The flag is commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow. The colors were determined to symbolize: life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple/violet).

This flag is a statement of welcome. We welcome the LGBTQ community, friends, and family.  But it is more than just that – it is a symbol of welcome to one and all.

Pastor Paul’s statement in worship:

The Social Justice Team raised a rainbow flag this morning. While some rejoiced with the raising of the flag, others raised a voice of worry and concern. I want you to know, I have heard both voices. No matter your opinion, I will listen.

A rainbow is a symbol that makes a powerful statement about who we are. Some, I am sure, will reject that openness and that affirming approach. Our own experience in hanging our rainbow banner, last summer, has been extremely well-received. The rainbow flowers around the fountain, while battered by the monsoon winds, remain spinning and showing all who enter of our extravagant welcome. Please know that the Social Justice Team and I are not naïve.

When considering this step in faith, we contacted other congregations to get their real life experiences. I contacted several clergy friends within the UCC and the Disciples. Most said, they have only received good comments.  The worst that was reported was from our friend and former Interim Pastor, Jim Meadows.  I had lunch with him this very week. While supporting our move, he reminded me of his experience:  In 15 months, Shepherd of the Hills UCC has had three flags stolen.  Each time Jim just put up a new one. We are not naïve. I expect ours, one day, to be stolen. And if that day happens, (maybe I should say, when that day happens), we will follow Jim’s lead, and put up a new one, again and again.

That fear that some have over this, is just a glimpse, a sliver, of what some people deal with 24/7, 365 days a year.

Because, I also know to be faithful to our call from God, we must have a heart, use our brains, and we must muster up some courage.  Rather than living as though we are untouched by faith, let us be the citadel against bigotry. Let us be bold examples for our neighbors of what faithful living looks like.  And let us not shrink and hide from our responsibility to be God’s palms reaching out with love and acceptance. Let us not let fear mongers frame the moment, but rather let us live these days and let us define the moment as an expression of what it is – the rainbow is God’s promise to one and all of love, grace, and acceptance.

PHOTOS FROM OUR CELEBRATION on August 6, 2017:

Thank you Dott M for sharing these photos with us!

Thank you Nancy T for sharing these photos with us!


Photos submitted by Janet H.

                    

 

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team Report

Our Social Justice Team has been very active this summer with a number of activities. Following is a statement and prayer written by Michael Curry, our service leader July 16th, and read by members of Shadow Rock and Church of the Palms , pictured below, at the ICE Office, Phoenix on July 17th, 2017.

“Here we are in the sweltering heat of the Arizona summer standing together on the threshold of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to offer a statement and prayer with the ongoing hope that we will one-day experience immigration reform for all of God’s beloved children.

Our heart is heavy this morning as there is no new information in the cases of Ismael Delgado and Sixto Paz who are still in sanctuary at Shadow Rock United Church of Christ in Phoenix as they can only wait as with pray for them and their families that they may no longer be separated by the confines of the walls of Shadow Rock. We continue to pray for Marco Tulio and his family as we journey and join with them in the fight to bring him home to his wife and children.

We want to end by sharing a quote from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In sharing this quote, we hope it inspires all of us as we continue to move forward in our efforts to ensure Immigration reform for all people. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shares, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort convenience, but where he stands in times of challenges and controversy.” As a people of faith and good conscious, we challenge to everyone to think about how we will stand with our neighbors as they face times of challenge and controversy as walls are built which separate them from a life of comfort and familiarity. When will the officials in the confines of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office raise their voice and speak up on behalf of those who have been treated unjustly as they await their fate in a broken immigration system?

Friends, I ask that you take a deep breath and join me in a time of prayer…

Loving God we come to you seeking your presence as we offer our heartfelt hope and prayers for those who are trapped in an unjust world. We continue to prayer for Misael, Marco, Ismael, Sixto, and Alfred as we journey with them so that they may no longer be bound by the confines of a broken immigration system. God, we ask that you show us as a people of faith and conscious how to be the light in the darkness of challenge and controversy in our world today. Go forth knowing that we are a people of hope fighting for justice in an unjust world. And All of God’s People say Amen!!”

Look for reports on other activities of our Social Justice Team in Sunday Bulletins and the Palm Leaf.