Can’t Turn Around: Coming Out Prayers

Celebrating LGBT Visibility and Courage in Communities of Faith

The hymn "We've Come This Far By Faith" provides a fitting image for those who dare to speak up and speak out the truth of their lives as LGBT folk in the midst of church, synagogue, mosque, temple or sacred place that, more often than not, offer the stone of homophobia rather than the nourishing loaf of grace to us:

We've come this far by faith,
Leaning on the Lord:
Trusting in His Holy Word,
He's never failed us yet.
Oh, can't turn around,
We've come this far by faith.

Ritually, to "come out" is to testify, to confess. In other words, when we "come out": we declare who we are in order to move from invisibility to visibility; we risk rejection in the hope of forging more genuine relationships; and we act to realign our networks of intimacy as well as more public community dynamics so that they are based on more complete truths rather than denial or fear or distrustful silence.

"Coming out" is a spiritual act—a public declaration of "who one is" at the deepest of levels of identity. When one "comes out" as a queer person of faith, one rejects the notion that one's affective orientation can be separated from one's orientation toward the divine. In other words, it is a religious act and, as such, it should be celebrated in the community of faith. In Christian terms, at least, those who "come out" stand as witnesses to the courage faith provides and to the power of God that overwhelms even the hypocrisy and cruelty of so many churches, so many sibling members of the one Body.

"Coming out" is also complex and never ending. Some "come out" to individuals and communities that they can count on for acceptance and support. Others "come out" to dear ones—parents, close friends, pastors—who refuse to listen, much less to hear. Those who receive our stories can be glad or upset or cruel or ashamed or relieved. In our telling, we can be confident or aggressive or empathic or timid. And, we all must decide each day, each encounter with someone who does not yet know, how much to say, how much is at stake. And so, "coming out" celebrations are important in communities of faith to encourage and empower sisters and brothers to continue their witness to their own truth and to God's inclusive love.

Such are some of the motivations for creating the resources offered here.

Recognizing the limitations created because of the author's location in "mainline" (read privileged European-American) Protestant and ecumenical liturgical traditions, I encourage you to modify the materials below for appropriate use in your own context. What you find below is intended primarily to spark your own imaginations about what you might do to celebrate the courage of many. If you do find particular words or ritual structures that speak to your context, then feel free to steal them and make them your own—no credit is required. Good liturgical materials are after all anonymous. I only ask that you let me know how it goes.

I offer here, then, a variety of resources to enrich your devotions and worship. I begin with texts and prayers that may be used by individuals and build towards a full public rite—a Service of Confession, Testimony and Blessing that might be celebrated on National Coming Out Day. As I proceed, I offer discrete elements that could be added to a service, for instance, on one of the adjacent Sundays. Along with scripture and hymn suggestions, and in addition to reflections on the lectionary texts that can be found in "Out in Scripture", these pieces may allow for recognition of a "sacrament" of LGBTQ lives in your community of faith, whether on  National Coming Out Day itself or as enhancement to a regular service on other holy days. 

May we all worship in yet more spirit, in yet more truth,

Scott Haldeman
Assistant Professor of Worship
Chicago Theological Seminary

Personal Devotions

It may be that you seek to recall your "coming out" alone: because you no longer have a community of faith in which to do so or because you are not out to many in your congregation and you do not feel safe to expose yourself further or because you simply have too much else going on the appointed day. Perhaps you only have occasion to find a quiet place, light a candle, rehearse in your own mind the stories of how you "came out" to self and friends and family and co-workers and so on. Then you might read one of the following bible passages, reflect silently for a moment and then say a prayer (the one printed below or in your own words).

While many biblical stories may both evoke the feelings we had when we "came out"—whether we found the occasion exhilarating or wrenching or something in between—and shape our memories in empowering ways, the three stories chosen point to quite distinct aspects of the experience and so, I hope, serve the needs of many. Two are stories of costly self-revelation and the third is a narrative of Jesus' own refusal to leave a friend in the closet of death. Together they illumine many facets of the closet—its deep ambiguities—and the promise of coming out. A word of introduction may be in order and may help you choose the most appropriate story, while preparing you to enter this time of contemplation and celebration.

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, his blood relations, as so many LGBT folk have suffered rejection at the hands of family and church. Later, having avoided despair and ascended to great power in Pharaoh's administration, he meets his brothers once more. They no longer recognize him. He tests them from the safety of anonymity but musters the grace to forgive and eventually reveals himself. Here, "the closet" provides safety as he can deny who he is and reframe the dynamics to bring his brothers to a sense of their betrayal. Joseph's "coming out" restores broken relationships and renews bonds that can now be just, mutual and life-sustaining—but only because his heart has grown large enough to forgive.

Through Mordecai's stratagems, Esther has become queen—but at the cost of hiding her heritage, her true identity. Now as her people are threatened with annihilation, she risks her own life by coming before the king to ask him to reverse Haman's evil policies before they are carried out. Mordecai has reminded her that her position will not protect her if she does not speak on behalf of her people, yet she is afraid. In the end, however, her fear does not win out. She goes before the King and begs for the life of her people. Here "the closet" presents Esther with an illusion of safety that must be shattered for her to risk speaking up and identifying herself as one of the condemned. By placing her own face on the nameless mass of the despised, Esther moves the King from enmity to sympathy and he removes the threat of death. It becomes more difficult to discriminate against, revile or even kill the Other when confronted with a face one knows and loves—this is the power of "coming out" to change social dynamics, to confront, and perhaps dispel, the threat of annihilation.

Lazarus has died. If only Jesus had arrived earlier. Mary and Martha are confident that Jesus can cure illness. But death. Death has the last word. Or, maybe not! Jesus weeps and yet does not wallow in grief. He tells them to roll away the stone. They object, warning him that the smell will be overwhelming—Lazarus was buried four days ago after all. He rebukes them and tells them they are about to see a glorious work. "Come out!" Jesus shouts and Lazarus emerges, bound but alive. Death will not win out this time. The power of life, the power of love is stronger then the grave. The "closet" tempts us with its illusion of safety but it is really a tomb. There is life outside. "Come out!" Jesus shouts—to Lazarus, to us all.

Now, settle into a comfortable posture.
Light a candle.
Remember.
Read a story.
Be silent.
Pray.
Then, return to the world, renewed and courageous!

Joseph: coming out to reconcile with family

Genesis 45: 1-5:
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Send everyone away from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?"
But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come closer to me." And they came closer. He said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life."

Prayer:
Inspiration of Dreamers and other misfits,
    who rescued Joseph, favorite son, awkward prophet, when he was betrayed by kin, 
        who did not abandon him but sustained him through despair,
        who led him from slavery and imprisonment to Pharaoh's court
so he might help those who had shown him only scorn,
rescue me—for I have been abandoned, thrown out, thrown away,
    infuse me once more with hope and with your patient forgiving Spirit
so that I might continue to reveal my true self, even to those who despise me,
and speak grace to those who betrayed me
and make peace with those who call me enemy,
in the name of One who was revealed as your Beloved,
Amen.

Esther: coming out to save a people

Esther 4:13-16:
Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this."
Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.''

Prayer:
Protector of your chosen people,
    who placed a maid in the royal house when the king acquiesced to murderous lies,
        who spoke through Esther, banishing her fear to break the law despite the risk,
encourage me to speak up when silence tempts me with illusions of self-protection
that all who are threatened might know me as an ally in places where I can make appeal,
    that I might help free those condemned unjustly,
in the name of One who defied authorities, who broke laws that hungry people might eat
        and the injured might be restored to health,
who was condemned and killed and yet who lives,
Amen.   

Lazarus: coming out to new life

John 11:39-44:
Jesus said, "Take away the stone."
Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days."
Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
So they took away the stone.
And Jesus looked upward and said, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me."
When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

Prayer:
Breath of Life,
who opens graves and invites the dead to live again,
        who restored Lazarus to his sisters, astonishing the crowd with life-giving power,
call to me loudly that, despite the static of my fears, I may hear and come out,
so that death-dealing shame may no longer bind me,
    and your glory may be revealed in a life of witness to your saving power,
in the name of the Source of all love, of love that is stronger than closet doors,
    more fierce than the grave,
Amen.
         
Elements to be added to any service of worship:
It may be best to celebrate "coming out" during a regularly scheduled worship service in your community of faith rather than planning a separate occasion. The following petition(s) could simply be added to the pastoral prayer or prayers of the people. Or, you might include the "abbreviated rite of testimony and blessing" within a larger service—perhaps after the sermon.

Petitions

Inspiration of Dreamers and other misfits,
    who rescued Joseph, favorite son, awkward prophet,
        when he was betrayed by kin, 
    who did not abandon him but sustained him through despair,
    who placed him in a position to help those who had shown him only scorn,
as we celebrate National Coming Out Day
    with our sisters and brothers who are LGBT,
rescue those who have been abandoned, thrown out, thrown away,
        infuse them with hope and empower them with your patient forgiving Spirit
so that they might reveal their true selves,
        their wholeness and goodness at the proper time,
    and speak grace to all, even those who have betrayed them,
        forging peace from pain,
in the name of One who was revealed as your Beloved,
God in your mercy,  . . .
Hear our prayer.

Protector of your chosen people,
    who placed a maid in the royal house when the king acquiesced to murderous lies,
    who spoke through Esther, banishing her fear to break the law despite the risk,
as we celebrate National Coming Out Day
    with our sisters and brothers who are LGBT,
encourage us to speak up when silence tempts us with illusions of self-protection
    that all who are threatened might have appeal made for them in high places,
    that those condemned unjustly might be freed, their sentence lifted, the threat removed,
in the name of One who defied authorities,
    who broke laws that hungry people might eat and the injured be restored to health,
    who was condemned and killed and yet who lives,
God in your mercy,  . . .
Hear our prayer.

Source of Life beyond death,
    who opens graves and invites the dead to live again,
    who restored Lazarus to his sisters, astonishing the crowd with life-giving power,
as we celebrate National Coming Out Day
    with our sisters and brothers who are LGBT,
shout to us that, despite the static of our fears, all of us may hear your call and "come out",
    that death-dealing shame may no longer bind us,
    that your glory may be revealed in our lives of witness to your saving power,
in the name of the Source of all love, of love that is stronger than closet doors,
    more fierce than the grave,
God in your mercy,  . . .
Hear our prayer.

Hymn Suggestions:
The range of possible songs is so wide that is probably foolhardy to make suggestions. Yet I propose the following, as was said above, as example to stimulate your own recollection of hymns and choruses that fit the occasion and style of your celebration. The following come from major hymnals (though primarily "mainline Protestant" ones). I designate where they can be found by noting after each title the initials of the hymnal and number. I draw from: The New Century Hymnal (NCH), The Presbyterian Hymnal (PH), The United Methodist Hymnal (UMH), This Far By Faith of the ELCA (TFBF) and The African American Heritage Hymnal of GIA (AAHH). Following the reference(s), I also indicate the image or phrase that suggested each song's appropriateness to National Coming Out Day celebrations. As further illustration, I draw from this list for the rites below.
 
 "Blessed Assurance" (NCH 473, PH 341, UMH 369, TFBF 118, AAHH 508; commitment to tell the story)
"God of Grace and God of Glory" (NCH 463, PH 420, UMH 577; empower us with courage)
 "Here I am, Lord" (PH 525, UMH 593, TFBF 230, AAHH 567; I will go if you need me)
"His Eye is on the Sparrow" (NCH 475, TFBF 252, AAHH 143; do not be discouraged)
 "In the Midst of New Dimensions" (NCH 391; all manner of persons on the journey)
 "I've Got Peace Like a River" (NCH 478, PH 368, TFBF 258, AAHH 492; my confidence is unshaken)
"Keep your lamps trimmed and burning" (NCH 369; change is coming)
"Keep Hope Alive" (AAHH 405; don't give up)
"O for a World" (NCH 575, PH 386; yearning for justice and peace for all)
"Precious Lord, Take My Hand (NCH 472, PH 404, UMH 474, TFBF 193, AAHH 471; seeking God's healing power)
"There is a balm in Gilead" (NCH 553, PH 394, UMH 375, TFBF 185, AAHH 524; healing is sure)
"This Little Light of Mine" (NCH 524/5, UMH 585, TFBF 65, AAHH 549; commitment to hide no longer)
"To You, O God, All Creatures Sing" (NCH 17; praising God for all creation)
"We Are Marching in the Light of God" (NCH 526, TFBF 63, AAHH 164; God is with us in the struggle)
"We've Come This Far By Faith" (TFBF 197; AAHH 412; perseverance)
"You are Called to Tell the Story (NCH 357; all our stories must be told)
"You are Salt for the Earth, O People" (NCH 181; we are blessed and a pilgrim people)

An abbreviated Rite of Testimony and Blessing:

Song:         "We've Come This Far By Faith"

Scripture:      John 11:39-44.

Coming Out Stories:
Depending on time available, invite one, two or three members of the community to tell the story of their coming out. As possible and appropriate, let there be women and men, those who came out long ago and those who recently declared themselves, those for whom it was easy and those who struggled mightily and suffered deeply. Encourage them to connect their story to the scripture passage. Ask them to end their story with the following call and response:

One:     Blessed be God who called me from the tomb of fear,
        who bids me live with yet more spirit,
            in yet more truth,
        who surely did not bring me this far to leave me!
Many:     Thanks be to God.

Litany:
A worship leader invites all to stand for the following litany of blessing:
       
One:     Blessed be God who calls us all out of our tombs of fear,
        who bids us live in with yet more spirit,
            in yet more truth,
        who surely did not bring us this far to leave us!
Many:     Blessed be God forever.
One:    Holy One, as we bless your name, bless us.
            Sustain all those who risk speaking truth despite the risk,
                witnesses to Your love and hope and mercy.
Many:        Blessed are those who "come out"!
One:    Temper the hearts of those who receive "coming out" stories,
            that disappointment may become honor,
            that confusion and shame may become empathy and support,
                all according to your great mercy!
Many:        Blessed are those who have ears to hear,
                whose hearts are open, to those who "come out"!
One:    Embrace those who cannot "come out"
            because jobs or housing might be lost,
            because of fear of rejection from those they hold dear,
            because of hostility and threats of violence,
            because they might lose family, children, security or shelter!
Many:        Blessed are those who cannot "come out"!
                May they one day be free!
One:    Encourage those who are weary of "coming out",
            stand by them, nourish their tired spirits,
            sustain them in the long journey toward truth and justice!
Many:        Blessed are those who keep "coming out"!
One:    Build up this community in acceptance, faithfulness,
            forbearance, solidarity and love,
        make us sisters and brothers, make us one Body,
            that we might serve neighbors, strangers—even our enemies—
                in your gracious name.
All:    Blessed are we, members of the Body, to go out and serve!
            Amen.
   
The service continues.

National Coming Out Day Celebration: A Service of Confession, Testimony and Blessing

Call to Worship
One:    People will come from East and West, North and South
        to worship God upon the holy mountain!
Many:     We come, praising God!
One:    People will come—women and men, young and old, gay and straight,
        black and white and red and yellow and brown!
Many:     We come, praising God!
One:    People will come in peace, breaking down old misunderstandings,
            welcoming strangers, learning new languages,
            greeting one another as sisters and brothers!
Many:     We come, praising God!
One:    Praise the God who made us all, who loves us all,
            who calls us together so that we might sing Alleluias!
All:     Praise God! Alleluia!  Amen.

Song        "To You, O God, All Creatures Sing"

Prayer of the Day
You who open doors and dismantle barriers,
    open our hearts to praise you
        that we might live the full truth of who we are,
        that we might live as neighbors and friends, no longer strangers and enemies;
    open our hearts to the transforming power of your love
        that we might forgive and reconcile, making peace and learning war no more,
        that we might be your people, one body in one Spirit, to tell your grace to all the world.
    We pray in the name of the One who walked among us as brother and friend,
Amen.

Confession
Holy One who knows us right well,
        who cherishes our deepest yearnings,
            channeling our desires toward the great end of your love,
    we confess our fear of passion, our shame over our deepest needs,
        grant us courage to speak uncomfortable truths,
            to confront the lies that tinge love with shame;
        assure of us of your embrace of all of us,
            even those parts of ourselves that the world treats with scorn,
        lift us up, make us strong,
    that we might be a light that sheds your truth before all,
        that speaks through our lives of your surprising grace.

I invite you now to keep silence as you make personal confession of who you truly are,
    and the ways in which you have failed to become all you might be.

Assurance
Sisters and brothers, hear the good news of the gospel:
    In Christ, we are forgiven!
    In Christ, we are forgiven and made new!
        The past is finished and gone and everything has become fresh and new!
    So, forgiven, we can live differently—with courage, without shame!
    We can be witnesses to all we meet of astounding grace! Of fierce love!
Arise and let your light shine before all!

Song        "Blessed Assurance"

Readings
Genesis 45: 1-5
Esther 4: 13-16
John 11: 39-44

Reflection
A brief word from a worship leader illuminating the texts in light of the many facets of life in relation to the closet is appropriate. The introductory comments in relation to the personal devotion resources above may be helpful as "sermon starters."

Song        "We've Come This Far by Faith"

Coming Out Stories
Depending on time available, invite one, two or three members of the community to tell the story of their coming out. As possible and appropriate, let there be women and men, those who came out long ago and those who recently declared themselves, those for whom it was easy and those who struggled mightily and suffered deeply. Encourage them to connect their story to the scripture passage. Ask them to end their story with the following call and response:

One:     Blessed be God who called me from the tomb of fear,
                who bids me live with yet more spirit,
                    in yet more truth,
                who surely did not bring me this far to leave me!
Many:     Blessed be God forever.


Prayers of the People
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    You made us all in your image—gay and straight, bisexual and transgender, intersex, questioning and queer—all sisters and brothers, all family to one another, your Body on earth.
    We give you thanks this night for all who have "come out", whether in places of hostility or places of safety, for they have taken the bushel basket off of their lamp and placed their little light upon a lamp stand as a witness to others; sustain their witness.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    We give you thanks this night for all who have listened to another "come out", whether in happy expectation, in dismay or with shock, for, whether they have accepted it or not, they have received another's truth; grant them peace.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    attend this night all who cannot "come out", who are too frightened, who have counted the cost and find it too dear, who are threatened by violence, economic and emotional hardship, who seek to save others pain; loosen their bonds.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    embrace this night all who are lonely, rejected, betrayed, who spoke truth only to have others use it against them, who are without shelter, income, love or hope; seek them out, bring them home.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    sustain this night all who are hungry—whether for bread or for roses, for justice or for companions; supply their need.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    heal this night all who are ill in body, mind or spirit, especially our sisters and brothers throughout the world who strive against HIV/AIDS; bind up their wounds, provide adequate care, extinguish any stigma, surround them with your love.  We call the names now of those whose physical suffering weighs upon our hearts.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    receive this night all who have died; welcome them into their rest. We call the names now of those whose absence we grieve.
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:     Holy One of Blessing, eternally you are God and Savior of your people,
    tarry with us, transform us, empower us to speak truth, to risk the vulnerability of self-revelation, to keep on "coming out".   
    We pray to the Lord.
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer.
One:        For all these places, people and things and the many concerns that remain tucked silently in our hearts, we pray,
    Send your Spirit, Lord . . .
Many:     Hear our prayer. Amen.

Song            "This Little Light of Mine"

Invitation to anointing
Anointing with oil and the laying on of hands is an ancient practice of the churches. Anointing has many meanings and purposes: to heal the sick, to confirm the mature, to designate new leaders, to offer reconciliation to the alienated, as a sign that sin is forgiven. I propose the act of anointing here as a means to revive, empower and commission those who risk "coming out", those who want to "come out" but cannot, and those who support others as they "come out". Healing and empowering embrace accompanied with a marking by oil and by prayer seems a fitting gift to offer those who are committed to the long struggle for justice for all God's children, LGBT and straight alike. In small groups, those present can anoint one another. In larger gatherings, it is a good idea to designate a number of leaders to anoint at stations. As each person approaches, the one designated to anoint should ask if there is a special reason the person comes. If so, prayer might be modified to include this concern. If not a general formula like the one below might be used. Olive oil is a readily available balm for anointing, but a variety of oils without or without scents can be used. At stations a person should be designated to hold the small container of oil so that the one anointing has hands free to touch the person approaching. Dipping a finger in the oil, a mark is made on the head or hands as appropriate. An ancient way of marking is with the sign of the cross but other less weighty forms of marking, such as a circular motion can also be used as appropriate. Then the one anointing offers prayer for the one anointed. Touch, as appropriate, can enhance the connection between the one praying and the one being prayed as a sign of the embrace of God and the church.

At the anointing:
    I anoint you in the name of the One who called Lazarus from the tomb to live again.
        May this be a sign of God's loving embrace of all that you are!
Beloved of God, live fearlessly and boldly!

After the anointing:
Source of Life and Love,
    this child of yours seeks renewal this day,
        banish her doubts,
        remove all of her fears,
        redouble her strength,
        increase her courage,
    so that she may continue to witness to your love for all!

Litany of Blessing

A worship leader invites all to stand for the following litany of blessing:

One:     Blessed be God who calls us all out of our tombs of fear,
        who bids us live in with yet more spirit,
            in yet more truth,
        who surely did not bring us this far to leave us!
Many:     Blessed be God forever.
One:    Holy One, as we bless your name, bless us.
            Sustain all those who risk speaking truth despite the risk,
                witnesses to Your love and hope and mercy.
Many:        Blessed are those who "come out"!
One:    Temper the hearts of those who receive "coming out" stories,
            that disappointment may become honor,
            that confusion and shame may become empathy and support,
                all according to your great mercy!
Many:        Blessed are those who have ears to hear,
                whose hearts are open, to those who "come out"!
One:    Embrace those who cannot "come out"
            because jobs or housing might be lost,
            because of fear of rejection from those they hold dear,
            because of hostility and threats of violence,
            because they might lose family, children, security or shelter!
Many:        Blessed are those who cannot "come out"!
                May they one day be free!
One:    Encourage those who are weary of "coming out",
            stand by them, nourish their tired spirits,
            sustain them in the long journey toward truth and justice!
Many:        Blessed are those who keep "coming out"!
One:    Build up this community in acceptance, faithfulness,
            forbearance, solidarity and love,
        make us sisters and brothers, make us one Body,
            that we might serve neighbors, strangers—even our enemies—
                in your gracious name.
All:    Blessed are we, members of the Body, to go out and serve!
            Amen.

Song        "O for a World"

Dismissal
Go out to "come out"!
Tell the world who you are.
Tell the world how much you love God!
Tell the world how much God loves you!
Tell the world that we—LGBT folk, LGBT Christians, LGBT allies and friends—are here and they had better get used to it!
And, as you speak truth and work for justice, you can be sure that God goes with you,
ahead of you to clear the way,
beside you to sustain you when the road is rough,
and behind you to pick you up when you are weary!
    You do not walk alone!
Go in peace with courage!
And let all God's people say:
Amen!

These materials were adapted from National Coming Out Day materials for the Human Rights Campaign, 2006.

© 2012 Scott Haldeman.  All publishing rights reserved.  Permission is granted for one time use of  individuals, faith communities or educational institutions for use in prayer or teaching.  Permission for further use must be sought directly from:
Scott Haldeman, Assistant Professor of Worship
Chicago Theological Seminary
shaldeman@ctschicago.edu


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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org