EPISCOPAL CHURCH HOSTS TWO-DAY FESTIVAL CELEBRATING AND AFFIRMING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY
MERCERVILLE, NJ: Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church will present the Pride & Joy Festival, a free, all-are-welcome celebration of love, faith, family, and all things LGBTQ, on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 2016. The two-day event opens with an evensong (sung service) at 7 PM on Friday evening and continues with performances, worship, family-friendly games, and a cupcake social. All activities are free. Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is located at 3715 E. State St. Extension, Hamilton, NJ, 08619. More information is available at http://gracestpaul.org.
The two-day festival is the result of months of planning by a group of parishioners collectively known as Young Episcopal Professionals, a team of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey’s Way of St. Paul church growth program.
“We’re thrilled to host an event that celebrates and honors the LGBTQ community,” said Mother Amy Cornell, rector of Grace-St. Paul’s. “This church is a place of love, fellowship and acceptance, and each part of this event showcases these qualities with liberal doses of both respect and fun.”
Clergy and parishioners from St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Trenton, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hamilton, and Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park have contributed to the planning and presentation of the festival.
The Friday night evensong (a sung worship service) will celebrate the “weird and different;” afterwards, all are welcome to attend a Genderqueer UnCabaret, where performers will undertake songs and performances outside their traditional gender norms or “casting types.”
Saturday begins with an open-table Eucharist worship, presided over by Pastor Ian Hll of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hamilton. This will be followed by an “ask us anything” ecumenical panel of clergy, available to answer questions on different forms of worship, sexuality in a scriptural context, and the historical significance and modern standing of the LGBTQ community across different denominations.
Saturday afternoon offers family-friendly games and a cupcake social, followed by Grace-St. Paul’s annual spaghetti dinner (available for a small additional fee).
“We’re ready to throw open our doors and have a great time,” said Cornell. “Our hope is that all of us will learn a thing or two about the open and unconditional nature of God’s love; we hope you’ll join us.”
ABOUT THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NEW JERSEY
Founded in 1785, the Diocese of New Jersey ranks sixth in size out of 100 domestic dioceses in the United States, with 147 congregations within its borders. The Right Reverend William H. (Chip) Stokes, the current diocesan bishop and twelfth bishop of the Diocese, was elected in May 2013 and consecrated in November 2013. For more on the Diocese, please visit DioceseofNJ.org.