Episcopal churches celebrate Pride Month with special worship services, parade participation, fundraising events

By Shireen Korkzan
Posted Jun 1, 2023

A Pride flag is shown on May 28 during halftime of a major league soccer game in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Steve Roberts/Cal Sport Media via AP Images

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal churches across the United States will be celebrating the 52nd annual Pride Month in June with events ranging from special worship services and festivals to hosting LGBTQ+ proms and advocacy discussions.

This June’s Pride Month events will take place as anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment continues to rise in the United States. Currently, bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights introduced by state legislatures have more than doubled since 2022.

Additionally, hate crimes targeting marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ people, are predicted to rise in 2024 consistent with an ongoing trend in reported hate crimes during U.S. election seasons, according to a report by The Leadership Conference Education Fund. The current political climate is “rife with opportunities for the trend of increased hate to continue,” the report says. The Leadership Conference Education Fund is the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the oldest and largest civil and human rights coalition in the United States.

The following is a list of some Episcopal churches hosting Pride Month events. Check online for additional events hosted by local dioceses and parishes.

Calvary Episcopal ChurchCalvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, will sponsor a booth at the Memphis Pride Fest, taking place June 1-4 in the historic Beale Street Entertainment District. Parishioners will also march in the Memphis Pride Parade on June 3.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church — On June 2, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, both located in St. Paul, Minnesota, will sponsor a family-friendly LGBTQ+ affirmation service and karaoke night. St. Mary’s will host the event. The event is a collaboration between clergy and staff at St. Mary’s and St. John the Evangelist, as well as United Methodist Church-affiliated New City Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

All Saints ChurchAll Saints Church in Pasadena, California, will be hosting multiple Pride Month events throughout June, starting with a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Queer Prom event on June 2 and ending with an LGBTQ+ interfaith worship service on June 25. All Saints will also host various forums throughout the month, drag queen bingo on June 4 and a screening of “The Wizard of Oz” on June 16. 

Judy Garland, the actress who stars as Dorothy Gale in the classic 1939 film, is largely recognized as a gay icon. She was known as an outspoken human rights advocate while she was alive.

Grace Cathedral — On June 4 at 6 p.m. Pacific, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California, will kick off Pride Month with a special Pride Mass to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with partner organizations from across the San Francisco Bay Area. Marvin White, minister of celebration at nondenominational Glide Memorial Church, will serve as a special guest preacher with the Rev. Mary Carter Greene, canon pastor of Grace Cathedral, presiding.

Trinity Church Wall Street — On June 8 in Lower Manhattan, NYC, Trinity Church Wall Street will host a youth queer prom for high school teenagers who identify as LGBTQ+. The prom will include dancing, snacks, party favors and more. The party’s theme is Enchanted Forest, and the dress code is “fabulous.”

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church — Parishioners at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri, will gather June 10 at 10 a.m. Central for a Pride Mass before the Kansas City PrideFest parade commences in the historic Westport neighborhood. Marching in the parade is optional, and anyone interested in joining St. Paul’s planning team for the liturgy may contact the church at (816) 931-2850.

Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis — Episcopalians from central Indiana will be volunteering at the Indy Pride Parade and Festival all day June 10 in downtown Indianapolis on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, home to 46 parishes in central and southern Indiana. Volunteers will meet at a designated parade rally point for a prayer service before festivities begin. Some volunteers will march in the Indy Pride Parade while others will help run the diocese’s booth at the festival. Participants are encouraged to wear IndyDio Pride T-shirts to help increase the diocese’s visibility at the festival.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal ChurchSt. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, will participate in several events during Pride Month, starting with The Trevor Project’s 52 Mile Pride Ride challenge. Participants will ride, walk or swim 52 miles total beginning June 10 until the end of the month while fundraising through Facebook for the nonprofit organization, which provides counseling and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth. St. Andrew’s goal is to raise $1,000 for the organization. Participants will gather at 8 a.m. Mountain at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge to kickstart the fundraising challenge.

Later in the month, St. Andrew’s parishioners will gather June 24 starting at 10 a.m. to make signs for the 2023 Coors Light Denver Pride Parade the following day, June 25. They will march in the parade alongside Colorado Bishop Kym Lucas and members of other Denver-area Episcopal churches, as well as faith leaders and parishioners from local Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and United Methodist churches. Marchers will convene at St. John’s Cathedral at 8 a.m. Mountain.

While making signs on June 24, participants will discuss how the St. Andrew’s community can continue advocacy and activism work for LGBTQ+ people after Pride Month concludes.

Christ Church Cathedral — In Cincinnati, Ohio, Christ Church Cathedral will host SingOUT Cincy, a “queer-centric, multi-generational festival chorus,” to showcase LGBTQ+ singers and composers in the Tri-State area. LGBTQ+-identifying singers and allies in ninth grade and up are welcome to participate; there is no upper age limit. Participation is free for high school students and $10 for adults to cover the music cost. The concerts, which take place June 10-13, are free, but a $10 donation is recommended to cover music, facilities and operating costs.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral — On June 28, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska, will host a meeting for adults to learn about and discuss how to support the LGBTQ+ community. The adult formation will start with evening prayer at 5:45 p.m. Central.

-Shireen Korkzan is a reporter and assistant editor for Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at skorkzan@episcopalchurch.org.