Written by Emily Mullins
The United Church of Christ is going all out for Cleveland Pride 2013. With more than 200 members from seven local congregations marching in the parade and participating in the festival, the UCC will have the largest presence of any faith group in the event's 25-year history. Cleveland Pride, an annual event to celebrate diversity in Northeast Ohio and raise awareness about the LGBT community, will take place Saturday, June 29 at the city's downtown Voinovich Park.
"The LGBT community needs to know that there is a familiar place to worship, and that no matter where they are on life's journey, they are welcome at Mt. Zion," said the Rev. Detra Evans, coordinator of Cleveland Pride 2013 activities for Cleveland's Mt. Zion Congregational Church UCC. "Our members love to love, and the community needs to be loved."
More than 200 UCC members will march in the Cleveland Pride Parade, which will end at the entrance of the Cleveland Pride Festival. The UCC National Offices and local churches will sponsor four booths at the festival, where UCC representatives will hand out literature and information about Open and Affirming (ONA) congregations and the denomination, and UCC merchandise will be available for purchase.
The UCC is a bronze sponsor of Cleveland Pride 2013. Participating ONA UCC churches include Mt. Zion Congregational Church UCC, Euclid Avenue Congregational Church UCC (Cleveland), Old South Church UCC (Kirtland), Federated Church UCC (Chagrin Falls), Pilgrim UCC (Tremont), Dover Congregational UCC (Westlake) and Plymouth Church UCC (Shaker Heights). The UCC has 24 Open and Affirming congregations throughout Northeast Ohio.
"Each year, organizations like the United Church of Christ increase their involvement and support for our annual celebration," said Todd J. Saporito, Cleveland Pride board president and CEO. "The UCC's presence at this event demonstrates a clear, concise and strong message to the community that faith-based organizations and their followers accept our community as family and loved ones. It's an honor to have the UCC standing proud at this year's silver anniversary celebration."