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There are no prayers recitals, no reading of sacred scriptures, no religious customs to follow and no formalized worship practices inside a church.
For those who participate in Out in Faith NL, their faith is in each other and their celebrations, held in public spaces, are as spiritually uplifting as any other large religious denominational assembly.
Out in Faith NL’s multi-faith services are designed to facilitate more faith-based groups getting involved in Pride. With members of other faith-based groups, the group promotes inclusion and fosters a welcoming and comfortable space for those of different faiths and sexual orientations.
“We want people to feel like this is a place where they can come and tell their story and all stories are welcome,” said Liz Ohle, a member of the group’s planning committee.
A member of the Quaker Worship Group, Ohle played a key role in forming the group in 2015 after noticing no other spiritual groups besides theirs participated in the Pride parade.
She contacted people of many faiths and got a positive response.
It was so well received, they were over capacity at their first location, the chapel at Memorial University, with 75 people showing up in early 2016. With interest growing, the services moved to The Gathering Place and eventually to the large gathering room at The Lantern.
The service features speakers discussing issues of faith and the LGBTQAI2S+ community. There are also songs from the Spectrum Queer Choir.
“We do the best we can to look at all the different aspects of spirituality, of faith and what brings meanings to our lives,” Ohle said. “As humans, we seek meaning in our lives. That to me is spiritual.”
Father Paul Lundrigan, a Roman Catholic priest, has been involved with the Out in Faith NL group for four years. He said it’s all about loving one another, no matter what your personal beliefs may be about sexuality.
“While we may not share the faith, we may not share the understanding of sexuality and gender identity, we do share a common love for people,” said Lundrigan, who added he is blessed to have gotten to know the committee and people in the group.
“We support people who are trying to be the best people they can be, people who are seeking goodness and love and understanding and coming together to help other humans and all of creation.
“In that sense, I thought it was essential … that we’ve come to this point. I want to be a part of this wonderful way of showing pastoral care, ministry and love to all people, especially people of the LGBTQAI2S+ community.”
The fifth annual Out in Faith service is scheduled to be held Thursday during Pride Week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration will be online, starting at 7 p.m. The link for the celebration will be available on the Out in Faith NL Facebook page and can be seen on YouTube.
This year, participants are asked to show the group something that represents their spirituality, from photos and artwork to poems and songs.