by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
A Harlem Pride event is stirring the emotions of local churches and pastors, and the tensions are very high. Some pastors are highly against it saying that the gay pride event will only harm the community. Others such as the openly gay pastor of Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church, Joseph Tolton, say, “My church will be there in full force. ”
Tolton told news media that ninety percent of his church members belong to the LGBT community. It was also confirmed by the Harlem Pride organizer, Carmen Neely, that Tolton was working with them to host a service at Marcus Garvey Park during the controversial weekend. Gothamist.com reports that the homosexual pastor has “extended an invitation to those pastors and Harlem residents who compared homosexuality with pedophilia or bestiality.” He says, “‘They need to come. They need to see us worship….we’re proud not only of our race, we’re proud of who we are as gay and lesbian people.”
Gothamist.com also reports that there are three other pastors lending their support to the Harlem Pride event. Rev. Calvin Butts of Abyssinian Baptist Church says, “It’s a free country and they certainly have every right to be in the park. Spewing out venom like that does not help to foster the kind of communal spirit that we so desperately need.” The reverend of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church says that he is please that he and his church members will be able to attend a gay pride event that is actually closer to their neighborhood. Rev. Earl Kooperkamp says, “Now we don’t have to go all the way downtown, we can celebrate gay pride right here in the neighborhood. I think it’s a good thing.”
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.