Written by Anthony Moujaes
One of the newest UCC churches in the state of Washington will sing for marriage equality this weekend. Liberation UCC in Seattle joined the United Church of Christ in April, and is working so that its voice is heard this Sunday at an ecumenical Gospel concert.
The concert will bring together six church choirs to sing together for marriage equality, and raise money to help pass Referendum 74, which would give all couples in Washington the right to marry. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Seattle First Baptist Church, which was recently renovated and seats up to 300 people. Admission to the event is free, and any offerings will be used by Washington United for Marriage to support the marriage equality referendum.
"It's exciting to get involved in something like this," said the Rev. Darrell Goodwin, senior pastor at Liberation UCC, which was previously a non-denominational church before joining the UCC.
The six churches that will sing in the concert include Liberation UCC, St. Luke's (Lutheran), St. Therese (Catholic), Madrona Grace Presbyterian, Amazing Grace Spiritual Center and First Baptist.
"Gospel music as an African-American art form has always been an avenue for expression and a beacon for hope and change," Goodwin said. "Our desire is that the faith community and the city of Seattle will hear the loud and charismatic support for marriage equality and cast a vote for freedom."
Goodwin said the church has been planning the event for the last two months. Liberation UCC contacted Washington United for Marriage to express interest in taking a more active role in voicing its support for marriage equality, and told them about how the churches joined together for gospel concert in the past – usually in the summer. Washington United asked the churches to have the concert in the fall during election season.
"Our churches have been singing together, and we asked would Washington United sponsor it as an event and participate, and they said ‘Absolutely,'" Goodwin said.
"Singing and civil rights go hand-in-hand," said Vicki Thomas, Seattle First Baptist's choir director. "Our choir literally cannot keep silent on an issue that directly impacts so many members. Gospel music has an incredible energy that we can direct toward getting people more involved."
This weekend is also the celebration of National Coming Out Day, a day of celebration for LGBT persons and LGBT rights supporters. The holiday is observed with rallies and parades to raise awareness for LGBT issues.
Washington is one of four states with a marriage equality issue on its ballot this November – Maryland, Maine and Minnesota are the others. Washington and Maryland could become the first two states in which a marriage equality issue was upheld at the polls.