Rev. Vicki Kemper: Gazette missed story on area churches’ response to PVPA play
To the editor:
With Monday’s publication of the column “Marriage equality’s trump card” and the letter to the editor “PVPA play and the facts: Who needs them?” the Gazette continues to provide a very unbalanced and inaccurate picture of where many Pioneer Valley churches stand on issues of sexuality, how to interpret the Bible, inclusiveness and free speech.
From reading the Gazette, one would never know that some 45 members (including five pastors) of no fewer than six area churches showed up at the Academy of Music March 15 (opening night of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told”) with signs and banners proclaiming God’s love for gays, their support of the school and the play, and the wide-open welcome of their churches to all people, including lesbians, gays bisexuals and transgender persons.
We sang, handed out fliers, chatted with persons waiting to enter the theater and generally created a safe space. Our beautiful banners, humorous handmade signs and friendliness created a party atmosphere and brought PVPA students out of the theater to offer their thanks and take photographs.
Yes, there were also 15 or so people protesting the play. Their signs and some conversations indicated that they were Christians who believe homosexuality is wrong and that the play was only more proof that God has been kicked out of the public schools.
In other words, Christian supporters of the school and the play outnumbered Christian opponents three-to-one. But the Gazette has never reported this. Why not?
My congregation has been welcoming LGBT folks officially for 26 years. We organized our own members and invited other welcoming United Church of Christ congregations in the area to join us in expressing God’s love outside the theater. Members of my congregation and two other UCC churches also bought supportive ads in the playbill.
It’s far past time for Gazette readers to be given the “other” side of this poorly reported story.
Rev. Vicki Kemper
The Rev. Vicki Kemper is pastor of the First Congregational Church in Amherst, United Church of Christ.