On Saturday, September 7, 2013, 406 United Methodists from 9 churches participated in Austin Pride Parade. Each day this week we will feature a story about the experience by a SWTX Conference Reconciling United Methodist.
Today’s story is by Mark Brooks, an active member of Journey of Faith UMC in Round Rock, Texas. Journey of Faith is in the Central Texas conference and joined the SWTX UMCs in Austin Pride Parade in 2012 & 2013 as part of the Love Your Neighbor coalition. Mark is recently retired and looks forward to traveling with his wife Jean, to whom he has been happily married for 25 years.
The 2013 Austin Pride Parade marks the second time I marched in the parade. I marched for the first time in 2012. Both times I felt exhilarated from the experience.
I marched with my church, Journey of Faith United Methodist Church, on both occasions. All of us arrived early at the staging area. Even there, the feeling of excitement swirled around us. Our group had all ages represented from 18 months to 91 years.
We got familiar with our surroundings, the diversity of other groups, and the other Methodist churches represented in the parade. Dance beats moved through the air, and I felt moved to dance. I had a great time even before the parade started!
Once the parade began, we saw people of all kinds, all ages, all colors, and all orientations. The feeling of love pervaded the street. We caught the feeling, and began high-fiving folks in the crowd. People cheered us on, and we cheered them for coming out. I even had individuals tell me thank you. I thought I should thank them!
I still have a feeling of gratitude for the work Austin Pride does to make these events possible. What a great demonstration of the theme Love Unites!