Episcopalians in Western Washington showed their true colors once again with enthusiastic participation in Seattle Pride Weekend this past June. The Diocese of Olympia was well represented in the annual Pride Parade on Sunday, June 24.
This year was also the first time the diocese participated in the Capital Hill PrideFest on Saturday, June 23, at Cal Anderson Park, hosting a popular booth at the Family Pride Fair.
The Diocese of Olympia Booth at the Family Fest was an effort led by St. James, Kent. The booth drew a diverse crowd of folks of different ages, genders, and backgrounds. The table was set up with a variety of activities including decorating angel wings with bright paint colors, glitter, and mini-pompoms; designing and applying temporary tattoos; and applying rainbow and unicorn stickers to brighten up any outfit.
Also available at the table were Episcopalian Relief & Development (ERD) Fund cardboard do-it-yourself “savings banks,” folded from flat pieces of cardboard into a small box with a slit on the top. (These DIY boxes are similar to mini-moving boxes). The end result is a small savings deposit box available from neighborhood banks, often used for kids to develop the habit of saving by depositing coins and dollars into the slot on top. In the case of the ERD banks, money deposited goes to charitable donations. Admittedly, these weren’t the most popular crafts at the table—at least the angel wings, glitter, stickers, and temporary tattoos ran out!
Although the main focus of the booth was not to evangelize, a few people picked up pamphlets about the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Olympia. The primary message of the booth was focused on community and letting the LGBTQ+ community and their families know that they are loved and accepted by the Episcopal Church and by God!
On Sunday, June 24, Episcopalians from across the diocese gathered together at the new, much improved staging area on 4th Ave downtown between Marion and Columbia Streets – no more sweltering under the freeway! The weather was perfect this year, in the mid-70’s (a vast improvement over last year’s stifling heat!).
About 45 marchers from 10 parishes represented Integrity Western Washington and the Diocese of Olympia. Participating parishes included: Christ Church, Seattle; St. Andrew, Seattle; St. James, Kent; Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle; St. John, Kirkland; Christ Church, Tacoma; Trinity, Seattle; St. John the Baptist, West Seattle; St. Matthew-San Mateo, Auburn; and St. Margaret, Bellevue. Once again, all ages were represented – from babes in arms to over 70-years-old.
The marchers proudly displayed a variety of banners and signs, and it seemed the sidewalk crowds greeted them with the loudest and most enthusiastic cheers yet. The parishioners of St. Margaret, Bellevue tried a new strategy with the contact cards they always hand out. This year they taped a piece of candy to each card and couldn’t pass them out fast enough! For the first time, they ran out of cards long before reaching the end of the parade route!