History of our involvement in Manchester Pride
In 2009, Sarah Brewerton joined the large Christian presence at Pride which was supported by most of the mainstream denominations. The following year, it looked like nothing was happening; only three other friends joined Sarah on the Parade.
Surely we could do better than that! And we did, because 25 people walked with great pride on the Parade in 2011 - and involvement has steadily increased in succeeding years.
After the 2011 parade, Sarah wrote:
"We all agreed that we must repeat this amazing experience... And as for Manchester Pride 2012, we would like to have more people, matching T-shirts, a large banner, maybe even a vehicle. We have a message to proclaim about God‘s inclusive love, and it must be heard!"
Each year, Sarah puts together a booklet of photos, comments and reflections from people who took part in the parade. These provide valuable recollections of our involvement in this remarkable annual event.
A reflection for Manchester Pride Parade 2017
Gay Pride provides an opportunity forlesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to let their hair down (or bank it up) and be outrageous for a day, entertain the masses, be totally extrovert, and provoke some conservative Christians into ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ mode.
But of course not all Christians feel like that. There are many of us who are proud to be inclusive.
It is great fun to be Christians Walking with Pride, and a privilege to be alongside the LGBT community. It is so important to have a supportive Christian presence on the Parade, as churches do not generally have a great track record when it comes to the issue of differing sexual orientations. This is made all too clear by a Christian group standing by, protesting against the parade.
During the closing HIV/AIDS vigil at the end of Pride one year, one of the speakers announced (and it needs to be noted that he is not a Christian):
“Present at the parade were those Christians who tell us that it's wrong for us to love each other, while shaking their bibles at us. But there were some Christians walking with us in the parade, waving right back at them.”
This announcement was greeted with loud cheers and applause. I, for one, am proud and moved to be part of the group of Christians who earned those cheers and applause.
Revd Sarah Brewerton