Tag Archives: faith

Steinbach Pride- Homecoming, Forgiveness and Hope

At the Pride Parade in Steinbach I was walking with my brother. My brother grew up in Steinbach and experienced some of  the same kind of discrimination and bullying speaker Chris Plett described in his moving address to the crowd. Having the opportunity to march proudly in his hometown with his family and his same sex marriage partner meant a great deal to my brother.  

At the parade I met other members of the LGBTQ community who grew up in Steinbach and had returned, some from quite a distance just for the occasion. The opportunity to walk through their childhood home in support of something so integral to their identity was very significant and a kind of coming full circle sort of experience. 

Some comments in the media say the crowd at the Steinbach Pride Parade consisted mostly of people who live outside of Steinbach, and while that may be partly true, I would say that a large percentage of the people at the parade had some connection to Steinbach.  Every time I turned around I saw people I knew who either live in Steinbach now or have lived in the Steinbach area in the past. It was a day of homecoming for many. 

Speakers Chris Plett and Tyrone Hofer particularly impressed me.  As they described their experience of being gay, they firmly stated how strong their religious faith remained and clearly demonstrated what forgiving attitudes they had. They were willing to give the people in their faith communities another chance even after they had been treated so badly. They had hope for change in their churches and in the city of Steinbach.  

I think marching in the parade was a way to extend, ask for, and receive forgiveness for many. One woman I met said she had gone to high school with my brother and she wanted him to know that if she had ever said or done anything to hurt him during that time she apologized. And if I am honest marching in the parade was a way to ask my brother for forgiveness too, because while I have always accepted and affirmed his sexual orientation in a private family setting, there were many years when I did not do so in a public way out of fear of what people would think. I am sorry for that.

It made me feel so hopeful to see all the children in the crowd. I noticed many families represented as mine was, with three different generations. I dreamed as I walked that there would be a time in the future when there would be no need to have Pride Parades anymore because everyone in Canada would feel safe and secure in publicly sharing their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The Facebook post of Phil Campbell- Enns my Winnipeg pastor, who grew up in Steinbach, reflects well the spirit of the parade for many. I share it here with his permission.

Today all were loved, and all were safe.
Honest words were spoken.
Stories of pain and resilience were shared.
Optimism and joy filled the air.
Politicians and educators were called to look after everyone.
The church was challenged, and faith was declared.
What a great day for my home town!
So glad I was there to celebrate.

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

I’m glad I was there to celebrate too!

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach Isn’t Something New

Responding to Changing Understandings of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

Take Time to Listen

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Filed under Canada, Politics, Religion

I Remember When…..

Church at the Mennonite Heritage Museum. I remember when I was a little girl my grandparents' attended a church like this and men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

This is a photo I took of the church at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. I remember when….. I was a little girl my grandparents attended a church something like this and the men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

I remember when…… a young woman who attended a church in my home town was forced to “confess her sin” in front of the congregation when she became pregnant before her wedding. Her fiancée did not have to confess.

I remember when….. I was speaking at a women’s conference at a church in my home town and they told me I would need to stand behind a special microphone at the front of the church because only men could stand behind the pulpit.

I remember when….. I made a motion at a church membership meeting in my home church that we use inclusive language rather than exclusively male language when we rewrote our church constitution and the motion was defeated.

I remember when…… a young woman in our church wanted to marry a divorced man and we had meetings for months to ‘discern’ whether this would be fine. Finally she had her wedding at her parents’ home rather than in the church building where she had gone to services every Sunday since she was born.

I remember when…… they would post lists of people who would set tables and bring food and do dishes for church suppers and there were only women on the list.

I remember when….. the women in my church were referred to by their husbands’ names. They were Mrs. Henry Janzen or Mrs. Herman Epp as if they had no first names of their own.

If you would tell any of these things to a teenager in most churches today they would shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Sometimes I wonder what I remembers.….. the next generation will write decades from now, and the teenagers of that day, will shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Other posts…….

Some Mennonites But Not All

Praying Naked in Front of the Mirror

A Photograph in the Mennonite

What Will You Be Building?

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Filed under Religion

Lord You Have Come To The Lakeshore

mom's wheelchairLord, you have come to the lakeshore
looking neither for wealthy nor wise ones.
You only asked me to follow humbly.

Refrain
O Lord, with your eyes you have searched me,
kindly smiling, have spoken my name.
Now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me;
by your side I will seek other seas.

You know so well my possessions;
my boat carries no gold and no weapons;
But nets and fishes my daily labor.
Refrain
O Lord, with your eyes you have …

You need my hands, full of caring,
through my labors to give others rest,
and constant love that keeps on loving.
Refrain
O Lord, with your eyes you have …

My mother requested we sing this hymn Lord You Have Come to The Lakeshore by Cesareo Gabarain at her funeral. I think the words really reflect the way she lived her life, humbly, caring much more for people than possessions, taking joy in the things she did for others and having a constant love for her family. 

As the congregation sang it during her memorial service the photo above came to mind. I took it the last time Mom was at our family’s Moose Lake cottage. She really wanted to go for a boat ride and so her grandsons carried her in her wheelchair down to the dock and lifted her into the boat. Off she went for a last tour of the lake where she had spent time with her family every summer for over fifty years. 

Other posts about music at my Mom’s funeral…….

Now Thank We All Our God

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

God of Eve and God of Mary

In the Bulb There is a Flower

Precious Lord

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Filed under Family, Music, Nature, Parenting, Reflections