September 18 – September 26, 2018
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August 30, 2016
The Borders I Cross is a series of reflections from BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz members and friends about their peacemaking journeys. This particular series focuses on the many borders crossed for peacemaking, which include physical borders as well as those such as language, culture, race, religion, nationality, generation, class, and sexual orientation. These essays come from people from all walks of life; those who cross borders as students, in their paid professions, in their volunteer time, in their family lives and/or in retirement. We hope you enjoy this series from BPFNA!
Earlier this summer Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, MA (a BPFNA partner congregation) partnered with Maggie Sky, a friend of our community, to support her with what we now call the Rainbow Peace Flag Project. When Maggie first reached out to me, she had already taken the leap to purchase 100 rainbow peace flags to give out around town. She had put one up on her house after the Pulse shooting but felt alienated being the only one on her block flying the flag. She wanted to see many more people displaying the flags. Maggie needed support with some of the logistics of the project as well as moral and spiritual support, which we were happy to give.
Part of our mission is to help people connect with their inner spiritual centers and to support them in manifesting what flows out of those centers. I feel like the support of our Spiritual Center community helped to move this project forward with grace and power. Soon we had other partners--Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts Center, the Littlest Spa, a local artist, Virginia Fitzgerald, and others came forward to help give this project legs. In a couple of short months, what began as an inspiration for Maggie Sky to put up one rainbow peace flag after the Orlando Shooting led to a longing for solidarity and is now becoming a movement that is having a major impact on our community. We’re giving people a tangible way to express love, solidarity, and the yearning for peace that so many of us share.
This past week a Natick couple, Cari and Lauri Ryding, cameback from vacation and found their rainbow peace flag stolen and their home egged. It was a disturbing scene to come home to. But soon after, their neighbors rallied and, all across the block, Rainbow Peace Flags have been put up, more than 30 so far. Kids were riding around on bicycles handing them out. Cari and Lauri were moved to tears by this show of support. One stolen flag suddenly became flags lining the street!
This past week the story was covered in the Natick Tab, WCVB, the Boston Globe, CNN, Upworthy, the Washington Post, Huffpost, and more.
Let’s keep flying our rainbow peace flags and growing this movement. If you want to donate so we can keep buying flags, click here.
The shooting at Pulse left many LGBTQ folks feeling isolated and unwelcome. As we can see with the couple whose house was egged, displaying pride out in the open can be risky. It can lead to heartbreaking rejection. The Rainbow Peace Flag Project is a way to invite and empower neighbors to become allies. In this case, Maggie and others were able to supply flags to neighbors as a way to express their support and solidarity. It was a beautiful moment. I should add that we see the flags as standing for LGBTQ solidarity and inclusion, as well as for peace, solidarity with immigrants and other nations, welcome and equality for people of color, and care for the earth. Every time the wind blows one of these flags it carries with it a prayer for peace on earth.
A few people may be upset about these flags and what they represent. That is OK. Love is stronger than hate. And as these flags continue to go up I hope that we might be able to make peace and bring along with us those who at first react negatively to them. Click here for more information on the Rainbow Peace Flag Project. We'll do our best to keep the page up to date as the story unfolds. And now, last but not least, I want to make an invitation to you. This is an inclusive project that you and your congregation can become a part of very easily...there is a link on our page to the store where we've been buying flags and I invite you to join the project. Order a 100, 200 flags and try handing them out in your town. Flags are about $2 plus shipping. Try partnering with folks in the LGBTQ community within and beyond your congregation and see how the story unfolds. If you do something like this, please let us know!
Rev. Ian Mevorach is minister and co-founder of Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, MA.