Days of Prayer
The year is winding down, but at POFEV we are gearing up for events and activities for equality in 2012—beginning with our annual legislative Prayer Breakfast on January 18 and the annual Marriage Equality Witness on February 14. That is in addition to weekly prayer sessions at the General Assembly in January and February.
The Prayer Breakfast has become an eagerly awaited annual event during the General Assembly session—this year, as last, it will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Grace Street across from Capitol Square. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Relationships,” and will feature voices of LGBT couples who seek full marriage legal equality (knowing that their marriages are equal to others in all other respects). The breakfast begins at 7:00 am (so that legislators can attend) and the cost is $20.
Why do we breakfast and pray? Praying is what marks people of faith, and sets us apart from others who simply lobby.
Of course, we can pray for equality by ourselves, and I hope you do. But our faith traditions encourage us to gather as well, and to do so joyfully. So we gather at the beginning of the day to break bread with one another. We also hope that some legislators have not made other commitments so they can join us. Some do each year. It is more difficult to get them at lunch time.
Our prayers have several foci. First, we gather to give God thanks for the service of our legislators and other leaders. Second, we gather to make witness for equality. Third, we gather to claim and give thanks for the power that God gives us to create change, and to encourage ourselves to use it. Keep reading...
Last year, State Senator Donald McEachin delivered a stirring address, along with Rev. Alex Evans, Rabbi Ben Romer, and Rev. Dr. Cathie Stivers. Cameron Hunt, our then new Program Director, also stirred us to lobbying action.
This year, we are not going for big names (although we expect several significant voices) as much as we are planning for authentic witness from those who are denied legal equality, and protection, for their marriages.
This is a great lead-in for our annual Marriage Equality Witness on Valentine’s Day (or the weekday closest to Valentine’s Day). 2012 is the eighth year we have conducted this witness in Richmond. Couples not only apply for marriage licenses, but also all present pray together in powerful public witness.
This year, plans are in the making for witnesses in a number of Northern Virginia communities, as well as Hampton Roads and Southwest Virginia. Our goal is to have at least six witness events this year, and grow the number each year so that in a few years we either have full marriage equality in Virginia or there will be a witness pressing the cause at every courthouse.
It all begins with prayer and is sustained by prayer--which is why Cameron Hunt and I, and others from POFEV, gather each week during the legislative session at the General Assembly building (Ninth and Broad in Richmond) to pray with legislators and staff. We will be doing that again in 2012, and we invite you to participate.
This is a time of year when we focus on love and liberation—the coming of the Christ child, the celebration of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, among other events—and I pray that we see more of both in 2012. And I hope you will join me and others in prayer—at breakfast and at other times—and in public witness.
~ Robin Gorsline, President, POFEV
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