While it is discouraging that we seem to need to expect destruction or negative response from a certain segment of the wider community in June, the month of Pride focus, this year their hate prompted an overwhelming overflowing of love from another portion of the community, and as they painted on one of the new doors, “Love Will Always Win”!
The Thursday before what has become known as “Pride Sunday”, the doors which have become our most notable witness in the community, were violently kicked to pieces by a person seen and briefly engaged by one of our members (toward the end of the destruction). As news of this hate-filled action spread through the metro area, a grassroots response of care and support was quickly underway.
Through more PNW people than we probably will ever know the names of, thanks to the advocacy of a person some of us met a while back—Zach as he is known publicly, and another organizing force, L (I believe her public persona is “Mom”), served as point people to collect funds, materials, and rally volunteers so that they, as representatives of the community focused on proclaiming love and inclusion, could demonstrate support and care to folks of both BSLC and the “neighborhood” for whom these doors have come to mean so much. The intent was to have a new installation done before Sunday the 2nd, as a surprise to the bulk of the congregation, which it was.
Although I was on vacation when the destruction occurred and then as plans for replacement developed, I was in communication with Zach. With such radical generosity and good will stirring from the community (Vancouver & Portland folx were represented), it seemed clear God was working through them, so what could adequately be said other than “thank you”? Before all came together, Zach and I discussed having several doors reflect the actual pride flag, with surrounding doors proclaiming the message of God’s fully inclusive love and in support of the trans community in this time of “other” messaging.
On Saturday a larger group than was comfortable having their pictures taken came together to do the work – several members of the congregation came alongside the folks from the community, to share in doing the work and in conversation. To say that I am grateful for all who participated is not enough! (And because I was more worn out from travel than I even thought, I didn’t think about clean up and shut down needs –thank you Don & Jordi et al for filling that gap!) Also thank you to those who painted and dug holes in the heat, provided refreshments, and expressed your thanks all others who came together for this big project!
An area artist, Ash, heard of the project underway, and asked Zach if she could create a special mural door, which she did in 24 hours in order to have it ready for the installation day. Several people from the community, beyond those who organized to create the new installation of doors, have contributed financially toward their resurrection, and others have expressed support and encouragement through comments on Facebook. It is humbling and oh so encouraging/uplifting to see how love can overcome the worst intentions. Praise be to God!