Pride Week in New York has been quite a whirl-wind. Each morning we woke up hoping that today would be the day that Marriage Equality finally came to New York State, and each evening we went to bed disappointed as the State Senate worked into the night without bringing Marriage Equality to a vote. That is until Friday night, when the Republican controlled Senate brought the matter to the floor. (Without this turning into a civics lesson, let me just say that, in New York, the majority party controls which bills come to the floor for a vote and most bills are never brought to the floor unless passage is almost assured.)
There was literally dancing in the streets of Greenwich Village when the vote came in. I know. I was there.
As we in Integrity continue our own march toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments, as Episcopalians we are not always the best at getting our message of full inclusion out to the wider community. The visible participation of the Episcopal Church / Integrity in Pride Events is one of the ways that we can do this, so, on Sunday afternoon, June 26th, Episcopalians and their friends from the Dioceses of New York, Long Island and Newark, as well as further afield, began to gather on East 37th Street in preparation for our turn on Fifth Avenue.
We were soon joined by the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of New York who has marched in many New York City LGBT Pride Marches in the past and will be retiring at the end of the year.
The march began at noon, but it was almost 4:00 p.m. before the Episcopalian contingent began marching down the Avenue. The turn-out of both participants and spectators was far greater this year than in years past. Once upon the avenue we were joined by our float, funded in part by a grant from Integrity USA.
The view down Fifth Avenue from 34th Street was enough to take your breath away.
Preceding the float were banners from both the Episcopal Diocese of New York (pictured above with Bp. Roskam) and Integrity NYC Metro.
We then marched proudly down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich village along with many local Episcopal parishes.
We arrived in Greenwich Village at about 6:00 p.m., giving us enough time to rest before attending the traditional Festive Evensong for LGBT Pride at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, an Integrity Proud Parish Partner.
The church was packed with over 300 Episcopalians, Lutherans and friends as Bishop Roskam processed down the aisle in a rain-bow cope, preceded by the Rt. Rev. Andrew St-John, parish clergy and the Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng, theologian and Assistant Professor at the Episcopal Divinity School who was to be our preacher for the evening and who, coincidentally, had had his union blessed at St. Luke’s in June 11 years earlier. A reception followed and was enjoyed by all.
Photos by Br. Millard Cook n/BSG, Paul J. Lane and Vincent Chiumento