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Church promises inclusivity at Pride Service

Promoting inclusiveness: the rainbow flag is flown outside Wesley Methodist Church yesterday

The future will be a friendlier place for Bermuda’s gay people, churchgoers heard yesterday.

The Reverend Meredith Fraser said: “It may not be this year or next, but there will likely be the day when in the month of June the rainbow flag is flown across the street at Sessions House, or in front of the Cabinet building on Front Street for all the world to see.

“The world is changing, my brothers and sisters, and there is room for all.”

Ms Fraser was speaking at a Pride Service organised to show support for gay people at Wesley Methodist Church in Hamilton.

She told members of the congregation “the world is changing”.

She added: “Although when we click on the evening news it may seem that we are regressing — particularly in ways of compassion and tolerance. Then we see the immediate, though sometimes eventual backlash, to shameful practices and policies.”

The service included a rainbow proclamation in support of gay people, as well as songs, bible readings and a poem from writer Tiffany Paynter.

Ms Paynter said her poem god gap was influenced in part by a battle with the Government last December over the removal of the right to marriage for gay people and the substitution of civil partnerships.

Ms Paynter earlier said the piece was a “sociopolitical critique of homophobia in Bermuda”.

She added: “That’s really just a fancy way of putting it. Really, it’s not a sociopolitical critique — it’s a love poem.

“I’m talking about what it means to be in love in the face of homophobia — in the face of a battle with the Government for my right to be seen as equal.”

Ms Paynter said: “I believe there is a God, a creator, a power, a source behind all this that knows that I am equal. I’m not a mistake.”

She said her poetry was a bid to show people they do not exist in isolation.

Ms Paynter: “When we connect, these stereotypes fall, these barriers fall and I think our fears are weakened.”

Representatives from the Human Rights Commission, OutBermuda and the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda were at yesterday’s service.

A Rainbow Alliance spokeswoman said she turned up to show support for Wesley Methodist Church.

She added: “The support that they are showing for Bermuda’s LGBTQ community — they are really putting themselves out there as a safe space.”

The spokeswoman said that she hoped the service showed Christian LGBTQ people that they do have a home.

She added: “It’s really awesome that Wesley can be that place.”

Ms Fraser said she was excited by the “amazing” response to the service, which included a lot of visitors.

She added that she hoped the congregation knew that Wesley was “a place of welcome”.

Ms Fraser said: “I hope that anyone would feel that they could come through these doors and be welcome.

“It is a very grace-filled, receptive community.”

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