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Worship service unites faiths to celebrate PrideFest

Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 10:59 a.m. CDT; updated 6:37 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 10, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Rev. Heather Morgan shows her interest in social justice issues through her ministry at Columbia Hope Church.

She has been working with other local religious communities to plan an interfaith worship service as part of the Mid-Missouri PrideFest. The service will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at Peace Park.

Participating groups

The following faith groups in Columbia have participated in the planning process so far:

The Hillel House at MU is out for the summer, but the community has been very supportive and will direct interested individuals to the service.

The Rev. Bonnie Cassida, the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, and the Rev. Cathy Ellen Rosenholtz, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America denomination, have also participated in the process as individuals.

Source: The Rev. Heather Morgan



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Morgan said she got the idea for an outdoor service at PrideFest from the “Mass on the Grass” Episcopal service held annually during the St. Louis Pridefest.

“Because of the success of that one, and because it’s so popular, our congregation got the idea to hold an outdoor worship service in the Columbia PrideFest,” Morgan said. “Because there are so many other Columbia communities of faith ministering to the LGBTQQA community, we wanted to make this service broader than our own denomination.”

Morgan uses the LGBTQQA acronym used by the Center Project - a community space in Columbia — to refer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally community.

Unlike the Episcopal service held in St. Louis, the worship service in Columbia will incorporate different religions. Morgan said she hopes the service will show the LGBTQQA community many houses of worship in Columbia have open arms and would love to invite them in.

“We have a deep belief that a large percentage of the LGBTQQA community has a deep faith in God and is looking for a place to call their church home, if they don’t already have one,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she has invited the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Unitarian and pagan communities to attend, in addition to numerous Christian denominations.

Kathleen Ross, a leader for the Missouri Frontier area of Soka Gakkai International - USA — an organization that practices Nichiren Buddhism — said she was contacted by Morgan about participating in the service.

Ross plans to share religious readings from her faith at the service with Maggie Henson, an SGI-USA leader for the Columbia district.

“We’re still open to other groups jumping in with us between now and June 13,” Morgan said. “If there’s a group that would like to take part in planning the worship, we invite them to come be a part of our next planning meeting.”

The final planning meeting for the interfaith worship service will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Columbia Hope Church, 4603 John Garry Drive, Suites 5 and 6.


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