Worship for Pride Month and ONA Sunday

Link to Transgender Day of Remembrance resources

Worship Resources for Open and Affirming Sunday

Open and Affirming Sunday 2023

by Rev. Derek Terry, Pastor

“You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” —James Baldwin

June 25, 2023: Daniel 3:16-28

Note:  The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is usually used to encourage Christians to worship God without fear.  When viewing the text through a queer lens we can consider that these three humans were rejecting the safety of conformity and assimilation in order to be their authentic selves.  Society often tries to force the LGBTQIA+SGL community to reject their queerness in order to “fit in.”  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego teach us that 1. there is strength in solidarity, 2. it is perfectly Godly to stand up to oppression and tyranny, and 3. standing up to unfair power structures can bring about positive change in society.

Non-traditional Media Suggestions:

Spirit by Beyonce: Youtube Here

Home By Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez & Our Lady J. Perform “Home” at TrevorLIVE LA 2018:  Youtube Here

Bishop Carl Bean I was Born This Way: Youtube Here

Call to Worship

Leader:  King Nebuchadnezzar constructed a huge golden statue and used his power and political influence to declared that everyone in the kingdom should worship his statue.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to conform.

People:  The world is constantly using power structures, money, oppression, and marginalization to encourage individuals to silence their uniqueness and conform to the status quo.  It’s okay to reject pressure to conform. 

Leader:  Once they refused to be like everyone else haters told the king that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego should be punished for being different.  

People:  Sometimes people will try to pressure or bully us to be just like everyone else in order to make them feel better.  It is okay to love who we are and who God made us to be. 

Leader: After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to change the king threatened them with violence and embarrassment.  They still refused to change. 

People:  Bullies with use their power and influence and encourage everyone to meet their standards.  It is okay to stand up to bullies and live your truth without the approval or acceptance of others. 

Leader:  After Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not conform they were put into a fiery furnace as punishment for not changing.  Never be surprised at the lengths people go through to reject your individualism.

People:  The three survived the flames and through their witness the power structures that supported their oppression were changed.  Standing up for the right thing can bring positive change.

Leader: The LGBTQIA community is currently under attack all over the world.  Politicians, individuals, and even some churches are using their power and influence to harm these and other underrepresented groups.

All: Let us live and walk in our truth.  Let us encourage others to do the same.  Let us not be ashamed or afraid to be who God created us to be.  Let us resist all forms of hate.  God is love and God loves all.  Amen.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life (Confession)

Loving God, sometimes we have dishonored ourselves and others in our longing to fit in and to be accepted.  At times we have rejected the individuality of others.  Sometimes we have allowed the pressure to be popular cause us to bully ourselves and others. Occasionally we have been silent when we have witnessed people being dishonored because of their truth.  Please change our hearts and help us to love our own humanity and the awesomeness of other humans.  Please help us forgive ourselves for the harsh things that we have said and thought about ourselves and others.  Each person is a unique and beautiful expression of God’s divine light and love.  We confess that we forget this sometimes and pray that you help us too do better. Starting now.

Assurance of Pardon

Assuredly God forgives us of all of our wrongdoings— those we committed consciously and unconsciously.  Thank you God for your forgiveness.  Let us forgive others as God continuously forgives us.  Amen

Invitation to Generosity (Call to Offering)

God has blessed us beyond measure and our own generosity is an opportunity to use a portion of our blessings to minister to others.  The Holy is calling us to gather our gifts and offer them to God in worship.  Let us gather our gifts and worship through our generosity. 

Offering Dedication Prayer

We offer or gifts to the God of all.  We joyfully give our treasure to bring hope, justice, love and healing to those who are hurting.  May these gifts be blessed and multiplied and used to provide ministry for those who are too often pushed to the margins in society.  Let the generosity represented here be magnified and amplified to stretch beyond our human thought and imagination. 


Thank you for this worship experience, oh Lord.  Please dismiss us in your light and in your love.  Let us leave this worship experience with a renewed sense of hope and healing.  Let us leave this space walking and serving in authenticity understanding that our greatest witness is our truth.  Let us prayerfully work to find the strength to resist the pressure from others to change from who God created us to be. Thank you God, for loving us for who we are, as we are.  Amen

Communion Prayer:

God, we gather at this table representing all people in all places in our world.  We bless and pass the bread and cup as Christ passed it to his friends.  Please allow these elements to remind us of the good that you have done and inspire us to do the good that Christ calls us to do.  May we leave this table revived and refreshed having sipped from the cup of bold courage so that we may challenge all forms of injustice and pain.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen

Rev. Derek Terry is the current pastor of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH and is on the current Program Director of the Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ.

A recording of our virtual National 2020 Open and Affirming Service is available YouTube.

Credit abbreviations: Kimi Floyd Reisch (KFR), Mak Kneebone (MK). This service was created and edited by Kimi Floyd Reisch.

We recommend that the congregation stands (as they are able) to recite together the words of your Open and Affirming Covenant as an act of faith and recommitment following the sermon. In many of our traditions, a covenant (like the covenant of baptism) is a vow that should be renewed every year.

Call to Worship 1

One: Those who are thirsty, come to the fount that will not dry up.
ALL: We bring our thirst here to be quenched.
One: Those who are weary, Spirit is a ready refuge.
ALL: We bring our weariness that we might find rest.
One: Those who feel lost, come to the One who knows the way.
ALL: Lead us by the hand, by our hearts, and by hope. (MK, 2020)

Call to Worship 2

One: How long, O Lord?
ALL: How long must your lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people hide, afraid to come out to wholeness?
One: How long, O Lord?
ALL: How long must our Black, Latinx, and Indigenous siblings bear the scars our legacy of white supremacy and racism have left on this nation, on this world?
One: How long, O Lord?
ALL: Before the lament we carry in our souls is heard and comforted?
One: Divine Beloved, we have trusted in your steadfast love.
ALL: Our hearts have rejoiced at the promise of your mercy and compassion.
One: This Open and Affirming Sunday, let us sing to the Lord, Our God.
ALL: Let us raise the songs of our ancestors, committing to walk in justice and mercy, until all God’s people are free. (KFR, 2020, inspired by Psalm 13)

Call to Worship 3

One: From ancient times to this present day, people have gathered in sacred spaces like this one.
ALL: Moments of time fold together when we immerse ourselves in love and connection.
One: We ask for Divine Love to be revealed to us in this gathering.
ALL: We open our spirits to the depth and breadth of Divine Presence.
One: We listen for sacred whisperings and await holy joy to be written on our hearts.
ALL: Being truly ourselves, we come together in this eternal moment.
One: We bring our prayers to you as one community, one assembled body
ALL: Transgender, Nonbinary, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Intersex, Gay, Queer, Ally. Beloved people of God. We come, and we pledge our commitment to walk the path of Jesus. (MK, 2020)

Call to Worship 4

One: We come today, representing all the majesty of creation
ALL: Diverse and beautiful, blessed and beloved, all made in the image of the Creator of all things.
One: We come today, called to this time and this place by an infinite God
ALL: Who hears our cries and responds with love and mercy.
One: We come today, Transgender, Nonbinary, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Intersex, Gay, Queer, Ally
ALL: We come today, knowing you will listen and answer our needs.
One: We come today, to deliver our joined prayers of hope.
ALL: We come today, a people mourning still our losses, still recovering from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic of institutionalized racism that has plagued our world for too many centuries.
One: We come today, knowing you care for us
ALL: We come today, knowing that even when others reject us, your arms are open to offer comfort. We come. (KFR, 2020)

Call to Worship 5

One: I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever.
ALL: With my mouth, I will declare your faithfulness to this generation and all generations.
One: Your steadfast love is established forever.
ALL: Your faithfulness as firm as the strongest oak, as strong as the heavens themselves.
One: You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, my servant David”
ALL: Following you, we have established our own covenant with you and each other, to affirm the lives of our transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay siblings, to invite them into the full life and ministry of your Church, our church.
One: For you are the glory of their strength, of our strength
ALL: By your favor, our burdens are lifted. For your steadfast love endures all things. (KFR, 2020, inspired by Psalm 89)

Unison Prayer 1

Holy One of Blessing, eternally we co-create ourselves in your love.
All companionship orientations;
All gender identities and expressions;
All ways of having family.
We celebrate LGBTQ+ peoples everywhere
Knowing that many are still not safe to come out;
To be free;
To live life abundantly.
Heal all who are ill in body, mind, heart or spirit.
Bind up all wounds and provide adequate care.
Extinguish any stigma people are enduring.
We celebrate because everyone should be celebrated.
We are your body on earth.
May our love and hope be sent on the wings of this prayer
To all who need refreshing, affirmation, and love’s embrace.
May it be so. Amen. (MK, 2020)

Unison Prayer 2

Based on ‘We are Descendants’ by Lavon Baylor

We are descendants of your righteous ones,
Those who obeyed, you Beloved children,
Greeting your covenant with joyous praise
Through fearful nights and problem laden days.
You were our refuge through all times of change,
When the world seemed harsh and strange.
We followed your lead even when the path was obscured,
the way to grace hidden behind our own fear.
God, we witness the violence of the world,
Too often callously dispensed against the most vulnerable,
Too often targeting our Black, Latinx, and Indigenous siblings.
You deliver us from a world filled with inequities.
Forgive us, God, for breaking our covenants.
Forgive us, God, for those moments when we stayed silent and ignored your command to speak.
Forgive us, God, for those times when we witnessed harm and did not intervene.
Forgive us, O God, for those moments when we forgot to act always in love for one another.
We have been blessed with gifts so manifold!
Heaven and earth, and wonders yet untold.
Proclaim your love divine, O God of Light.
May we, your people, reaffirm our covenant in your name.
Pledging to walk as allies, as disciples, as friends committed to the Way of your child, Jesus.
(Lavon Baylor, 2014; edits by KFR, 2020)

Unison Prayer 3

God, we come before you in these mortal bodies,
Pledging that we will become instruments of peace, love and hope.
Christ called us to serve as disciples to all nations, to all people.
We commit to serving without fear, learning how to serve as Jesus served,
Seeing the beloved-ness of your people, people set free from sin through the sacrifice of the Cross.
Let us be instruments to glorify you, O God.
Let our hearts and minds hear the message of love and hope delivered on Calvary.
God of all truth and goodness, help us to set aside shame,
Shame that has no advantage.
Shame that does not reflect the good news, that we have been given eternal life.
Let us be obedient to the work Jesus entrusted to us,
Let us hear his teaching, and through it learn how we are to treat one another.
Hear this prayer of our hearts, O God. Amen. (KFR, 2020, based on Romans 6)

Unison Prayer 4

God, your child Jesus taught us to welcome each other, but welcome often seems too little in this world.
Welcome, without affirmation, becomes an empty promise,
Devoid of the lesson that to truly welcome each other means to see the face of God in each other.
We commit to affirm all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,
Welcoming them and Affirming them as God’s beloved creations.
You taught us that whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will see a prophet’s reward;
That whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous.
We know that until we are all free, none of us can be free,
And we commit to co-creating that world of welcome and affirmation until all people can access that promise. Amen. (KFR, 2020)

Unison Prayer 5

Together we defy the darkness by being the Light. We make violence tremble by being peacemakers. When chaos and trauma cause distress, we counter by reaching for love and remembering joy. This day, when people are going hungry, give us bread to share. This day, when people are angry and hurtful, give us forgiveness to offer. When there is so much temptation to be selfish and careless, this day give us the strength to be kind and intentional. Remind us that we are all born holy and deserve love and tenderness. In the many names of Love, may it be so. (MK, 2020)

Responsive Reading

One: Each of us is created with worth, imbued with dignity.
ALL: We are the representation of God’s love in the world.
One: We are diverse in our experiences, vast in our manifestation of how love looks
ALL: Our families are all different, but each represents and honors the many ways that your people live and love.
One: Our lives are enriched when LGBTQIA+ people are welcomed and affirmed in our churches and communities.
ALL: Our lives are enriched when our Black, Latinx, and Indigenous neighbors are affirmed.
One: Your words, shared in Scripture, call us to be a people of justice.
ALL: We all suffer when any LGBT person is oppressed, excluded, or shamed.
One: When justice is denied to any of us, justice is denied to all of us.
ALL: Until we are all free, none of us are free.
One: May we work to build a world where all people are affirmed with love. 
ALL: Our sexual and gender diversity enriches us, creates joy in our lives. Joy given by and through you. In your name, we pledge to go out to share these blessings with the world. (KFR, 2020)

Offertory Prayer 1

We are all one human family. In your love you created us. Through your grace you reach out to us. You are great enough to hold us all in your arms at the same time. Help us to open our hearts to the world that you love. Teach us to weave our lives together. We yield to Spirit, offering what we have to the greater good. In this way, each day, we begin again in love. Amen. (MK, 2020)

Offertory Prayer 2

One It is a gift to be able to give something away.
ALL: We are called to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
One: Spirit of Love, look upon us now.
ALL: Bless these gifts; those we can see and those we cannot.
One: May our hopes come true for the better world we dream of
ALL: As we work together in love. Amen. (MK, 2020)

Offertory Prayer 3

For all the great and wondrous things you have done for us, O God, we are grateful. You give us strength to go on when we are troubled and discouraged. You grant newness of life as we share in Christ’s resurrection. We want to pass on the good news through this offering and by the way we live each day. Lead us, and guide us with your steadfast love, that we might channel your gifts to all we meet. Amen. (Lavon Baylor, 2014)

Prayer after Communion

Gracious God, you love all that you have created, and you celebrate the diversity of your creation. Throughout your history with your people, you have reminded us that those whom the world sees as the least are the greatest in your eyes. We ask that you give us the grace to celebrate with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary family as they choose to live authentically in the world. Teach us to honor and celebrate their gifts and help us to create a world in which gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary teenagers and adults are loved, accepted and celebrated, in every gathering and every congregation. We ask this in your many names. Amen. (Revised from Religious Institute)


Continue to serve with faith and love,
Depart from this time today committed to sharing the best of yourself,
Through generosity of time and resources,
Meeting the needs of others, both spoken and unspoken, seen and unseen, heard and unheard
As the God of healing has healed us,
Let us go now and share that compassion with the world,
Let us go and greet our beloved transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay siblings,
Our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, siblings,
Sharing the good news that they are seen, they are heard, they are Beloved.
Go now in hope. Amen. (KFR, 2020)

Hymn Suggestions from The New Century Hymnal

3: Wakantanka Taku Nitawa (Many and Great, O God, Are Your Works)
11: Bring Many Names
28: For the Beauty of the Earth
30. Colorful Creator
58: Spirit of Love
106: My Heart Sings Out with Joyful Praise
175: O Christ, the Healer, We Have Come
177: God of Change and Glory
207: Just as I Am
249: Peace I Leave with You, My Friends
274: Womb of Life, and Source of Being
286: Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness
351: I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry
362: When Love is Found
388: Help Us Accept Each Other
391: In the Midst of New Dimensions
392: En Santa Hermandad (United by God’s Love)
402: De Colores (Sing of Colors)
433: In the Bulb There is a Flower
437: We Shall Not Give Up the Fight
461: Let Us Hope when Hope Seems Hopeless
467: Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth
471: What a Covenant
495: Called as Partners in Christ’s Service
502: Dear God, Embracing Humankind
511: I Love My God, Who Heard My Cry
524/525: This Little Light of Mine
576: For the Healing of the Nations
581: Lead Us From Death to Life
Other Sources

Songs for the Holy Other: Hymns Affirming The LGBTQIA2S+ Community (https://thehymnsociety.org/resources/songs-for-the-holy-other/).

All Belong Here – The Many (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJBEwqBfw3I)

Daily Taizé Morning Prayer for ONA Churches

Begin your day (Monday through Friday) with a quiet and centering experience of Morning Prayer at 9 EDT. Based on ancient Christian practices of daily prayer, this 20-minute service includes a Taizé chant, psalms, a reading, prayer and silence. In stressful lives and a world in turmoil, Morning Prayer will reconnect you with God.


Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

We’re proud to share with your congregation this video designed by Kimi Floyd Reisch for Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s suitable for your service on Sunday, Nov. 22. You can download from YouTube at youtu.be/-dTb7fc43Tk.

Additional Readings for Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

We Know the Love of God: A Reflection On the Trans Day of Remembrance by the 2018/19 Transgender Seminarian Cohort: Davíd E. Patiño and Ezra Fairley-Collins, Jude Johnson, Greyson Kentopp, Erica Saunders, Cole Williams

As trans people, we know the love of God. We feel it in our bones, in the very skin that lines our bodies, in the very nature of who we are.

God is that voice within us that shows us the way to authenticity, to self-love, and to community. The Holy Spirit is at work within and through us.

The Holy Spirit is that which can transform our deepest anger, sadness, and loneliness into something new. We can recognize this when the impossible happens, when inside us, despite our despair, there is the tiniest of lights, the smallest sign of hope, the little bit of energy that seems to be coming from within us. The Holy Spirit is that which resurrects us from the death we experience deep inside us from trauma. It is the darkness that shelters us and keeps us safe. The Holy Spirit resurrects us and allows us to see our own sacred divinity.

Cast out from our families, churches, and society, our fight for our existence and for our freedom is our ministry to the world. Our understanding of gender can heal the wounds of this oppressive system, from which every person of every gender is punished for doing gender wrongly. We are God’s chosen–who like Moses were not meant to be born, not meant to exist, but do.

We are here to create a new humanity which values every life: the life of every person in an immigrant caravan, the life of every child taken from their parent at the border, the life of every trans woman, especially trans women of color, fighting to survive, the life of every trans person, period.

The Deputy Director of Transgender Law Center, Isa Noyola, once said that, “Transgender people are medicine, spirit, and leadership.” Indeed! God chose every single one of us. God chose to speak to us, to show us a way towards authenticity — to show others the way toward the value of life, the destructiveness of rigid gender rules.

This new humanity is led by us, those who have for long been categorized as non-existent persons. We are different. This does not mean that we are not valuable. Our difference is what makes us valuable, beautiful, and divine. Divine because it is God’s gift to us.

In this difficult time, trans siblings, hang on. Hang on to hope, to love, to yourself. Even if you have to go underground, if you have to stop your transition, if you cannot come out, if you have to go stealth — it is okay. You are loved, cherished, and one of God’s children. We are praying for you. You are one of us. We are a community. Find safe spaces. Find trans organizations, trans friends, trans instagram accounts to follow. Every bit of love that is out there, God has guided you to find it. So that you may fill yourself with it. Fill yourself with affirmation and love for yourself.

It is not that trans people have never existed, it is that we have been erased and taken out of history. We must do our best to rediscover our transgender histories, cosmologies, myths, and stories. We must write the stories of our trans elders and trans visions of a trans past. Our ways of knowing God within us are through body, through movement, through being in community with one another. In the midst of an oppressive power that seeks to fragment us, to make us insufficient and insignificant enough to document, to make us non-data, we must not forget our sources of knowing. There is sacredness and divinity in understanding the deep meaningfulness of coming into our being. Our transitions are spiritual quests, pilgrimages–of searching and discovering different parts of ourselves through surgery or gender affirming accessories/clothing/items, different gender expressions, new bodily sensations through hormonetherapy, and alternative ideological understandings of ourselves in relationship to others. We must share our pain, love, history, memories, dreams, hopes, myths, and visions with each other.

When we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit within ourselves, we can embrace a divine community of creativity and love that can propel us into a fight for justice, free from hatred and unnecessary violence towards others, each other, and ourselves. Write, paint, photograph, sing, dance, pray, celebrate, love, gather, protest, and speak your truth.

Know that you are loved by God. Be blessed. And be safe!

You are Beloved.

The Trans Seminarian Leadership Cohort is a 5 year old collaborative program of the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Freedom Center for Social Justice in Charlotte, NC and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at the Pacific School of Religion

Together – A Prayer for 2020 Transgender Day of Remembrance in a Pandemic by The Rev. Terry Williams, Ohio RCRC Faith Organizer

Oh Holy Flame, spark of all creation,
You who we greet as the Great Flame in our lives,
Providing shining light for our vision
And soothing warmth for our hearts;
Help us be attentive witnesses today
To the extraordinary wonder
That walks among us
Daily in grace.

So, too, kindle within us power
To not let pain deter us
From struggling onward
In justice and in peace
To make the present
A different story.

As we remember the violence
That has destroyed so many lives
Of people who you call Beloved,
Grant us the strength and resolve
To look upon this great pain
In reverence and sobriety,
Without turning away
Or denying the reality
Of this terror.

As the fires of experience burn scorching hot
In the life of every Trans person,
Grant that these fires may burst forth
Into a world eager for the warmth
Of the truth of abundant Trans Life and Thriving.

Forge from this fire a new world –
One filled with justice and with peace
One blessed by strength and tenderness
One called to challenge and to soothe
One able to strain and to heal
One that is grieving and rejoicing


Resources for National Coming Out Day

Call to Worship (Psalm 31)
One: On this Coming Out Day, I turn to you again, God.
ALL: You’re our safe leader, our true mountain guide. Free us from hidden traps. I’ve put my life in your hands. The world may let us down, but you won’t drop us, you’ll never let us down.
One: I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love; you saw my pain, you disarmed my tormentors, When I was bullied and rejected, you gave me room to breathe.
ALL: Be kind to us, O God, we’re sinking again. Too many in the world still ridicule those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, asexual, and intersex. Too many still fail to see that we are Beloved, made in your image.
One: I throw myself on you: you are my God! Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from those who would harm me.
ALL: God, you have piled up stacks of blessing on those who believe, You stand ready and waiting for all who run to you to escape an unkind world. You hide them safely away.
One: Blessed God! Love of the world. Trapped by a siege of despair over the events of the world, I panicked. But you heard me, you heard and listened.
ALL: We come today to celebrate our deliverance from that despair and to give thanks to you, Loving God; We know you God, God who takes care of all who stay close to them. We hear your answer to all still hurting: Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. God is here to walk with you and lead you to a place where you can find peaceful rest.
(KFR, 2020)

Call to Worship
One: Strange One. Fabulous One. Fluid and ever becoming One.
ALL: Do not allow us to make our ideas of you into an idol.
One: You are as close to us as our own breath and yet, your essence transcends all that we can imagine.
ALL: You are mother, father, and parent. You are sister, brother, and sibling. You are the transgender and gender-fluid person, you are the same-gender-loving and bisexual person – You are each of us—made in your image, incapable of limiting your vast expressions of beauty.
One: Embodied in us, your creation, we recognize our flesh in all its forms is made holy in You. With thanksgiving, we celebrate your manifestation in all its glorious forms.
ALL: Blessed are our bodies. Blessed is our love. Blessed are we when we celebrate that which the world turns away. Fill our hearts with a pride rooted in resistance to all that seeks to destroy.
ONE: May we delight in the ways you have created us: diverse, unique, surprising, and beautiful.
ALL: Thanks be to God!
(adapted from Embodied by KFR)

Call to Worship
One: God is calling us out.
Out of the places we hide
Out of insecurity
Out of shame
Out from under that which silences love and justice.
ALL: Come out, people of God!
One: Though we may be afraid
Though we will be at risk
ALL: God calls us to courage!
One: Our God is a god of resurrection. Of new life after devastation. Of hope in the grip of evil. And so we dare to proclaim, with pride and faith, our truths:
ALL: We believe in the power of love.
We believe in solidarity with the suffering.
We believe we are each valuable.
We believe that our togetherness is transformative.
One: The world is longing for Holy truths that reveal, voices that speak real words of hope.
ALL: Come out, people of God!

Prayer: Blessed Are the Queer
Blessed are the wanderers,
Seeking affirmation.
Blessed are the worshipers,
Praying from closets,
Pulpits, pews, and hardship.
Blessed are the lovers of leaving—
Leaving family and familiarity,
Leaving tables
Where love is not being served.
Blessed are those who stay.
Blessed are those
Who hunger and thirst for justice –
For they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the queer
Disciples of Truth,
Living, breathing, sacred
Reflections of Divine Love.
(Helen Rose)

Prayers of the People
One: In the midst of all that keeps our spirits frantic, overwhelmed, or troubled, we pause.
We pause to remember each other as those whose precious and precarious lives are inherently bound together.
We pause to remember the basic gifts of water, of trees, of beauty, of the land we gather upon.
We pause to remember our neighbors—distant and near.
And so to the One who is Love, we bring the prayers of our communities. Where we share in joy or concern, let us respond together, “God, hear our prayers.”

We pray…

For all the queer, trans, and intersex children and youth across the globe. For the ones who are struggling with feelings of isolation and shame. For those who have no safe place or people to retreat to. For those who must be teachers to the adults in their lives. For those who are unsafe in their communities.
ALL: God, hear our prayers.
We pray for our elders whose labor we are indebted to. For the ones who never tasted the freedom they fought for. For the ones who were forced to the fringes of their own movements. For the allies who suffered beside us, casting their lot with us in true solidarity. For the ones forgotten and betrayed.
ALL: God, hear our prayers.
We pray for all those who hunger for justice and liberation today. For the ones who lay down their lives for their friends. For the ones who tell the truth. For the ones who take risks, who dream, who feed and pray, who fight for bread and roses, both. For the ones who are eager to learn and grow and offer their gifts to the work of enfleshing your promises.
ALL: God, hear our prayers.
We pray for all who are suffering in the church and the world at the hands of white supremacy. For those imprisoned by the state. For those whose land has been taken. For the earth that groans beneath us. For those without food or housing. For those fighting to recover from illness, coronovirus and others. For those experiencing economic hardship. For those who have yet to repent.
ALL: God, hear our prayers.
We pray in gratitude for all that nourishes and sustains us. For the gifts of beauty and friendship, shared meals, and art, and love. For laughter. For pleasure. For the friends, lovers, and comrades who lift our spirits, always by our side when the days are heavy. For the freedom we have in Christ.
ALL: God, hear our prayers.
For your presence within and around us, in our highs and lows, our hope and our despair, God, we give you thanks. Hear our prayers and deepen our willingness to show up with and for one another, sharing in each other’s burdens and working to protect and care for one another. We pause now for a moment to allow you to silently or vocally offer your own prayers.
God in your mercy…
ALL: hear our prayers. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Loving God, in your wisdom, you created a world rich with diversity. Today, as we acknowledge National Coming Out Day, we give thanks for the gifts of sexual orientation and gender identity. We celebrate with our queer, transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay siblings who choose to come out, and honor those who do not. Today, we say “yes” to the diversity among us—within ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our communities. We claim that diversity as we come before you and as we go out into the world. At times, we turn away from this diversity, fearful of its transformative power. We reject that which is different, force it to be silent, or pretend that it does not exist. We participate in systems that privilege sameness and uproot difference. Give us the courage to live boldly into the mystery of diversity, the strength to persevere in the face of adversity, and the power to love in ways that go beyond understanding. Help us create a world where all queer, transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay people can flourish. Amen
(Religious Institute)

Prayer of Intercession
One: Long ago in Galilee there were many who were sick and suffering, isolated and oppressed. Wherever there was pain – you were there in solidarity and empowering liberation. We see and experience the same realities today. In the margins, in the hard, in the alone – you are there too. Confident of your commitment to wholeness and healing, we lift before you the wounds inflicted on your beloved queer and trans children. We name the rejection we have felt- from our churches, from our families and friends. We name that many of us wondered if you too had rejected us. Jesus Christ, lover of all,
ALL: bring healing, bring peace.
One: We grieve the reality of a broken church that has been used as a place of harm rather than a safe harbor. So much pain has been inflicted. So many lies have been spread about God. The church was founded in a purpose that is grounded in embrace, liberation, resistance, and community. Instead, too often, it has enacted spiritual violence on children and adults alike. Jesus Christ, lover of all,
ALL: bring healing, bring peace.
One: We hold in this space, those who have endured the worst of what the world has to offer. Those of every generation who have faced violence, the breaking of relationships, the fading of hope when basic needs go unmet. Jesus Christ, lover of all,
ALL: bring healing, bring peace.
One: In silence we name within ourselves, the things we cannot bare to speak.
Jesus Christ, lover of all,
ALL: bring healing, bring peace. Bring healing, bring peace. Bring healing, bring peace.
One: Jesus Christ, lover of all, may it be so.
ALL: Amen.
(Enfleshed, adapted by KFR, 2020)

One: Open your hearts to Love.
ALL: We open our hearts to you, O God

One: O God, you offer us life. In you, we are free from the pressure of our world to conform—to all become like. Like a tapestry, we are created with diverse and beautiful threads that only fully shine when they are braided together in creation. You want us to not just survive, but flourish in a world that you imagined—filled with mercy, with love, with beauty.

But we have not always honored the gifts you have given. We reject our neighbors—othering them for being different from us. We reject and harm people for loving who you gave them to love, for being who you created them to be, all because we cannot honor the diversity of your creation. Since the very beginnings of your Church, we have struggled to overcome our fear-based rejection of difference.
But we cannot forget that in love, your child came to be different, to overcome that fear, to be everything the world would reject. Your child was the transgender child rejected and cast from their family for daring to Come Out as their true self. Your child did not see outcasts, but only your own people. In Christ, difference is seen again as you created it – holy and beloved. In Jesus, the Sacredness of those on the margins of the world is centered and affirmed, the tables upended, love overcomes hate.

On the night of his arrest, Jesus gathered around table with his chosen family, his companions, his friends.

He took bread, blessed it, and when he had broken it, gave it to the others and said,

“This is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

He then did the same with the cup of wine, saying,
“This cup that is poured out is the new covenant.”
And so, in remembrance of that night and the sacrifice of your child who refused to conform to a world that too often harms, we join in this communal meal as a commitment to the Kindom promised, where all are free to flourish, not just survive. May the Spirit guide us all to a place of love, a place of full affirmation. Amen. (KFR, 2020)

One: The Holy One be with you
ALL: And also with you
One: Open your hearts to the One who is Love
ALL: We open our hearts to you, O God
One: Let us give thanks to God who shapes our world
ALL: For every creature and creation, we give you thanks, O God!

One: Indeed, we give you thanks, our Divine Creator. You declared from the beginning that we were created in your image, a reflection of what is holy, each, in our own way, a glimpse of you. We praise the works of your creative hand that fills our life with beauty. Every flower that blooms, every animal that delights, every body of water that sustains our life—all part of your good works.

Despite the abundance of life around us, we still turn to destruction. Each in our own ways, we have failed to embrace you by failing to embrace all your people, especially those different than us. We have, at times, sided with political and religious powers that refuse to recognize your image in all people.

And so we turn to Jesus, who showed us what it looks like to live into our true selves as people of God. He was humble yet grounded in your love for him. He sought out the despised and made them friends. He confronted every power that belittled, marginalized, and oppressed. His commitment to living out the image of God enfleshed could not be swayed, even in the face of death.

On the night of his arrest, he gathered around table with his companions.
He took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said,

“This is my body which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

He did the same with the cup after the supper, saying,
“This cup that is poured out is the new covenant.”

Even in death, O God, your love prevailed. Through you Spirit, Christ was raised from the grave. No person, no institution, no force of evil could extinguish the work of your hand.

And so, by the same Spirit, bless these gifts of bread and cup that they may be the living Christ within us today; compelling us to be agents of love, uncompromising on our commitment to protecting every one of your creatures and creations.

Prayer after Communion
ALL: God of abundance, we give you thanks for the grace we experience at your Table. For forgiveness. For connection. For sustenance. For a renewed vision of who we are. Our gratitude abounds. Amen.