This weekend, members of a Lutheran church in Logan Square will be highlighting their ministry to the LGBTQ community and collecting signatures on a banner that they and others from the Logan Square community will be carrying to Springfield on October 22 to demand marriage equality. It puts the marriage equality push at the center of “The Boulevard,” the street festival St. Luke’s Logan Square sponsors each year.
“The Boulevard is one of the best festivals of the summer, with great bands and great food and drink,” said Noel Spain, a member of St. Luke’s, leader of the festival effort, and a leader in Chicago’s Bi/Queer Community. “This year, we’re adding segments to lift up the work that we and our partners in the Logan Square community are doing in the area of LGBTQ advocacy, youth empowerment, and issues of food insecurity, among others,” he added.
“Marriage equality is an issue that many people at St. Luke’s are passionate about,” said the Rev. Erik Christensen, pastor at St. Luke’s. “We were at the assembly of the Metro Chicago Synod the day we learned that the Illinois assembly failed to act on marriage equality. On the same day that we saw our own denomination continue to make progress on full equality for all people — including passing a resolution on same-gender unions and the election of the first openly-gay bishop in the Southwest Synod of California, ELCA — it was a shock to see the ‘progressive’ political leaders of Illinois drop the ball.”
Christensen, Spain, and other members of St. Luke’s say they look forward to the October 22 convergence in Springfield by groups from around Illinois to demand marriage equality.
In a related development, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), of which St. Luke’s Logan Square is a member congregation, affirmed its commitment to ensuring pastoral care for same-gender couples and their families at its churchwide assembly in Pittsburgh at the beginning of the month.
The Boulevard program includes a presentation from the West Stage on Saturday at noon about St. Luke’s LGBTQ advocacy, which includes hosting the national office of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries — which works to support publicly identified LGBTQ rostered leaders and seminarians and their ministries — as well as a monthly Queer Contra Dance group at its Logan Square location, and collaboration with other advocacy groups including the Chicago Coalition of Welcoming Churches, ReconcilingWorks, Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (South Africa), and Gay Liberation Network (GLN) Chicago.
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We were in Springfield on October 22 with thousands of other Illinoisans to encourage our state legislature to pass the marriage equality bill (SB10). Even if you weren’t there, you can get a sense of what it was like — raindrops and all! — thanks to the dozens of photos our friend Frank took. Enjoy!