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 Launched

At the March 18th, 2017 Church Council meeting, unanimous approval was given to establish the Church of the Palms Social Justice Team. The work of this team will include the following activities:

P (Prayer)
A (Action)
L (Love)
M (Ministry)
S (Support)

Each of these activities is an important as the next. So there is a place for anyone interested in social justice on this team.

According to Chris Marshall, author of the book Biblical Justice, “Social justice doesn’t happen by accident. It requires focus, dedication, and commitment. Because of God’s commitment to justice, there is always hope for positive change.”

As an extension of the Board of Mission and Outreach, the Church of the Palms Social Justice Team recognizes that the obligation of social justice falls upon the individual, but that individuals cannot fulfill the obligation alone. Rather, they must work in concert with others, through organized bodies, as a member of a group whose purpose is to identify the needs of society, and, by the use of appropriate means, to meet these needs locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally.

At its initial meeting on April 12th, a number of potential social justice issues were identified by the team for further investigation and possible
action planning. A Social Justice Team planning retreat will be held on Saturday, May 20th at the home of Pam & Paul Clark from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.

Look for further announcements in Sunday Bulletins regarding potential social justice issues and further details on the May 20th planning retreat. Or feel free to talk to Pat or John Durbin, Pam or Paul Clark, Jan Hutchins or Amy Alves, Kurt Hofmann, Debby Stinton, Eona Schulz, or Pastor Paul.

Photos from the April Fellowship Breakfast

Pastor Francis from Solution Church shared his experience ministering with refugees from Africa. Solution Church is one of the outreach projects that our Board of Mission and Outreach sponsors. Len Silvester, who first connected us with Pastor Francis, gave us a history of the relationship with Solution Church. Breakfast was delicious, as usual, thanks to George Wall and company.