Seattle church’s Same Love Garden commemorates involvement in LGBT music video
The music video for the Grammy-nominated song “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis chronicles the life of a gay teenager coming to terms with his sexuality, marrying his partner, and spending his final days beside the man he loves. Fittingly, the same-sex wedding scenes were shot in a United Church of Christ congregation – All Pilgrims Christian Church UCC in Seattle’s LGBT-friendly Capitol Hill neighborhood. To commemorate its involvement with the song that has become an unofficial anthem for the LGBT community, All Pilgrims is ready to break ground on the Same Love Garden, which will be an open and inviting green space for all to enjoy.
“Our yard right now is in need of transformation and our priority is to create an open and welcoming space for the neighborhood, which will be the only green space on our avenue,” said the Rev. Gary Turk, pastor of All Pilgrims. “As we were working toward that, we realized that we have this wonderful opportunity to recognize the ‘Same Love’ video and legislation for marriage equality in Washington and beyond, and to continue to recognize and celebrate that as part of who we are.”
Hip-hop artist Macklemore, who is from the Capitol Hill area, contacted All Pilgrims in 2012 seeking permission to film parts of the video for “Same Love” in the church. The song brought the issue of marriage equality to the forefront when Referendum 74 was on the ballot in Washington, which legalized same-sex marriage in the state in 2012. Through construction of the garden, All Pilgrims seeks to recognize the power of the arts to promote social justice, and plans for the Same Love Garden include the creation of a labyrinth for walking meditation and spaces for weddings and other community gatherings.
All Pilgrims has committed $100,000 to fund the project, and is seeking another $100,000 from members, the community and Macklemore himself to complete it. The church has a fundraising campaign on the site indiegogo.com, through which donors can receive merchandise donated by Macklemore and Lewis in return for their contributions. The project is in its final fundraising stages, and Turk said they are more than halfway toward reaching their goal. Construction of the garden is expected to begin in early summer.
“Having an open green space is something people are in favor of, and the celebration of ‘Same Love’ is as important a part of our story as it is for the community,” Turk said. “We want to be assertive about who we are by our faith, and we find that doing that is a tangible representation of what I think is the expectation of what church ought to be.”
Macklemore reached out on social media to thank All Pilgrims for the church’s participation in the video, and asked his fans to support the project to better the community that the congregation has been part of for more than 100 years. “In 2012, we filmed the ‘Same Love’ music video at All Pilgrims Church on Capitol Hill because we found a community that welcomed the message of marriage equality,” the Facebook posting reads. “We will be forever grateful to Greg Turk and All Pilgrims for giving us the opportunity to freely film one of the most impactful projects we have worked on to date.”
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