Saline Pride Month event focused on the LGBTQ+ community and the church
To close out Pride Month, a unique event was held in Saline that took a closer look at the LGBTQ+ community's relationship with the Christian church.
The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with the event’s organizers to see how it went and what it was all about.
“As June came to an end, one more Pride Event was held, but this one had a different focus, the church,” the organizers told STN by email.
The June 30 event was brought together by Free Mom Hugs and the Saline First Presbyterian Church. It was a conference and open forum on the LGBTQ+ community and their relationship with the church.
"So many LGBT have had a bad experience from churches that could not accept them. 'Christians' are often seen protesting at Pride events, shouting that we are an abomination to the Lord and are all going to hell," said Julie Neuhauser, a trans-woman and one of the organizers of the event. "We knew that not all churches preached that type of hate, but felt that many might not have experience with or knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community."
Churches from Saline, Milan, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Bellville, Plymouth and Canton were invited. Twenty people from six churches attended.
The planning for the event began with Neuhauser and her spouse, Arleta Greer, who is the Michigan State Leader and National Board Member of Free Mom Hugs and Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Saline, reaching out to Renee Roederer, who is an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) minister and the founding organizer of the Michigan Nones and Dones Community.
Once they connected, the next step saw them planning the message they wanted to share.
Greer presented “LGBTQ+ 101; Gender, Sexuality, and Identity,”
which covered all the basics of the Pride community, defined the Pride terminology, and gave several statistics demonstrating why recognition of Pride is so important. Roederer discussed how her personal opinions of the Pride community changed while in seminary and gave example passages from the Bible that negate other anti-LGBT messages.
The organizers said the event was a great success, and the presenters hope to expand the conference and present it to other churches or organizations.