By Sydney Brouillard-Coyle
Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday, May 31, but the season of Pentecost will continue for the next several months.
In a time of uncertainty, self-isolation, and the inability to gather in person, we must ask ourselves: in what ways is the Holy Spirit working through us this Pentecost season?
As a queer person, I appreciate Pentecost especially because it typically occurs the Sunday before June – pride month. On June 28, 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City staged an uprising to resist police harassment and persecution that many queer and trans* people faced. It was a monumental moment that led to harsher laws for hate crimes, anti-discrimination bills, and representation in many different ways. Thus, June is recognized by many countries, including Canada, as pride month.
One could easily say that the Holy Spirit came down upon the people at the Stonewall Inn, lighting a fire within them to advocate for change. Still today, we see many examples of homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and cissexism running rampant within the world and our society. This time of quarantine and isolation has empowered certain people to speak out against inclusive sex education, to call for the repeal of laws that protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, and claim that gender-confirmation surgery and other transition-related procedures for trans* people “should be outlawed altogether”. People are being empowered through social media to commit “Zoom-bombing” and other acts of hate crime with little repercussion.
In what ways is the Holy Spirit present with us this Pentecost season, lighting a fire in us to spread the good news to all people and combat these acts of hatred and violence? How is the Holy Spirit whispering to transform unjust structures of society, and respond to human need with loving service? We are invited in this moment to truly be a church for the world, which is in desperate need of God’s ever-great love, mercy, and compassion.
Though pride events may not be happening this year, I invite you to pray: for those who are queer and trans* and mourning the loss of our community – to pray for those in isolation with people who are non-affirming – and to pray for those who are too afraid to open themselves to the love of Jesus Christ. More importantly, I invite you to open yourself up to the fire of the Holy Spirit, so that together we can transform this season of Pentecost into one of pride, hope, and love for all of God’s beloved children.
(A Pride Month worship service video produced by PROUD ANGLICANS HURON will be posted on their Facebook page on Monday morning, June 1, and will also be available on diocesan website and YouTube channel)
Sydney Brouillard-Coyle is the music director at St. Paul’s, Essex.