by the Rev. Mark Erson
Proclaim member and pastor, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Manhattan
It has been a total pleasure to serve on the Proclaim Team these last few years. It has given me the opportunity to witness the growth of this essential group of colleagues and to work with some pretty awesome folks as we strive to build and strengthen this community and its witness.
I know we have just started 2018, but I am already so excited for 2019. As one who loves to make the most of anniversaries and historic remembrances, 2019 offers us two amazing anniversaries to celebrate and to create a lot of hoopla over.
First of all, June of 2019 will mark Stonewall 50. Yup, fifty years since the uprisings at the Stonewall Inn (really a bar) here in the West Village of New York City. While some of us have been alive for all fifty years, we have all been affected by the movement that grew out of those initial events. As LGBTQIA+ people it is part of our legacy. New York will be World Pride City in 2019. Please, consider coming to NYC for the celebration. As a church that sits right on the Pride March route, I’m hoping to have 50 pastors cheering on the march from our steps.
But more importantly to the work of the Proclaim team, 2019 is also the tenth anniversary of the passing of the resolutions at Church Wide Assembly (CWA) that brought about policy changes regarding ordained LGBTQIA+ people. There will be another CWA in 2019 and the Proclaim Team is making it a priority to publicly celebrate this milestone.
We want to tell stories of ministry that has happened and is happening because of those policy changes. We want to proclaim the good news of radical welcome that the ELCA embraced in 2009 and continues to work at growing into. We want to challenge the church to be honest and see that there is still work to be done.
It is a tall order. There is a lot to do and say. Over the next 18 months there will be a variety of ways to have input into this project and this proclamation. Please keep watching, for opportunities to participate, vision, brainstorm and collaborate.
Due to the great divide in the 2009 vote, those of us who were rejoicing were asked to keep a lid on it so that those who were still struggling would not become angered. Well, this party has been ten years in waiting. Together we can make the most of it. In the words of a not too distant Advent season – Keep Awake, Keep Watch.
Mark Erson (he/him/his) is pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Manhattan, NY, on Christopher Street and wonderfully close to the Stonewall National Monument. As a theatre artist, he engages the performing arts every chance he gets at St. John’s for the sake of the gospel. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Scott Jordan, and is entertained continuously by their dog Brooklyn.