The Arvada United Methodist Church held a celebration in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month on June 13 at their location on Carr Street. The event was attended by over 70 members and supporters of the …
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The Arvada United Methodist Church held a celebration in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month on June 13 at their location on Carr Street. The event was attended by over 70 members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community featured a small parade, informational booths, and speeches from House District 27 Rep. Brianna Titone and AUMC Pastor Dr. Amy Gearhart.
The event ran from 12-2 p.m. and saw attendees adorned in rainbow regalia with signs supporting the LGBTQ+ community. A youth group set up an informational table to share resources for young people who identify as LGBTQ+.
The AUMC joined the Reconciling Ministries Network in 2000, meaning that the congregation believes that “all people are God's children and affirm(s) that all people including LGBTQ+ people are created in God's image.”
AUMC Project Coordinator Katie Vigil said she felt the event was important to show the local LGBTQ+ community that they have a space where they'll be accepted.
“We are a proud progressive voice in Arvada,” said Vigil, ”and our bishop (Rev. Karen Oliveto) identifies as a lesbian and she was installed in our church a few years ago — we are proud to have her come to our church and be here. We just want everyone to know they're welcome.”
June has been designated as Pride Month to honor the legacy of the Stonewall Riots, which began on June 28, 1969, in Greenwich Village, New York. The Riots are often cited as the catalyst of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Two protesters came to the event but stood on the opposite side of the street and did not interfere with the celebration.
Titone said the event saw a positive move by a religious group, many of which have historically excluded members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I think it's a real step in the right direction,” said Titone, “to take the initiative to show inclusion and welcome LGBTQ+ people into their congregation. It shows people that religion and being LGBTQ+ are not mutually exclusive; you can be both, and you should be welcomed into those places if you are, and it just shows the intersection of what our beliefs are.”
Vigil said that she was glad the event featured an informational booth hosted by a youth group due to the heightened occurrence of suicide and suicide attempts among LGBTQ+ youths. LGBTQ+ youth contemplate suicide at a rate of almost three times that of their heterosexual counterparts and are five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to their peers who are not in the LGBTQ+ community, according to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group.
“Our family ministry director wants to be sure to include the youth group,” said Vigil, “so they always know they're loved and accepted however they are, and for parents to know that as well and not be afraid to talk about it.
“I think it's a special event to have,” Vigil continued,” because of the high incidents of mental health issues and suicides of kids who are having enough problems with the COVID-19 pandemic and then may not feel supported. With this project, we just want them to know that they are, and they will be welcome here.”
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