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.

                    

 

Social Justice Team

  

Photos contributed by Linda Rouches and Jan Hutchins

CHURCH OF THE PALMS
SOCIAL JUSTICE TEAM:
MOVING FORWARD

Working for JUSTICE through Prayer, Action, Love, Ministry & Support

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team (CoPSJT) is moving forward by addressing two immediate issues of concern and three important issues to be addressed in the future.

The CoPSJT, consisting of 19 members, is zeroing in on LGBTQ Equality and Immigration/Refugee Assistance. Future issues to be addressed include: Religious / Racial Discrimination, Protecting the Environment, and Criminal Justice Reform.

The team has embraced the “Open and Affirming Congregation” statement adopted in 2015 which reads as follows:

The Church of the Palms, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people into the full life and ministry of our church, regardless of age, race, or gender; personal, mental or physical ability; gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; ethnic, cultural or religious background; marital, social, or economic status; or life history.  We believe that God loves all people and offers us gifts in our diversity.  We affirm families and relationships built on love, respect, responsibility, and trust. You are welcome here!”

In addition, the team has developed and will recommend to the Church Council an “Immigrant / Refugee Welcoming Congregation” statement which reads as follows:

We are followers of Jesus, who welcomed everyone and excluded no one. As members and friends of Church of the Palms, we are called to take action whenever lives are made vulnerable and whenever injustice occurs.  We are moved to stand together with our immigrant/refugee brothers & sisters and their families. Therefore, we declare ourselves an Immigrant/Refugee Welcoming Congregation.”

Specific action steps will be developed for each of the statements listed above in order to move the church and community forward in these issues. Watch for these action steps to be posted on the web page and included in the Palm Leaf.

Calendar of upcoming events:

ICE BREAKER

Thursday, August 17, 2017, 11 AM

2035 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Social Justice Team Meeting

Saturday September 9, 2017, 9:30 AM

Schulz’s

 

These links may also be of interest to you:

The Church of the Palms Open and Affirming Statement ,

UCC.org advocate for justice page

The Church of the Palms Social Justice Team Report