A church in upstate New York marked LGBT pride month by hosting a pair of drag queens at a worship service.
The Park Church in Elmira hosted a “Worship is a Drag” event Sunday, the first Sunday of the month recognized by LGBT activists as “pride month.” The church, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, described the event as a “special communion worship service with guest presenters in drag.”
Led by the church’s pastor, Rev. J. Gary Brinn, the service was held to “celebrate Pentecost, kick-off LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and come to Christ’s Table of Love.”
The church published a flyer promoting the event on Facebook last month, which featured a man wearing women’s clothing and makeup.
The Park Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Christian Post.
In a message shared on his personal website Monday, Brinn swrote: “Just as there have always been queers, [there] has always been diversity in gender expression and affectional orientation, so there has always been diversity within Christianity.”
Brinn dismissed the idea of God as a “white male,” contending that in a “church where older white men had absolute power, God acted like ... an older white man with absolute power and a shocking fragility, for despite God’s supposed omnipotence, he was constantly offended that humans were not properly stroking his ego or following the rules he had implemented to micro-manage our lives.” According to Brinn, “The culmination of his rage was the ultimate act of domestic violence, conspiracy to murder his only child.”
“Now if that version works for you, that god that small men created in their own image, great. Though if that version does work for you, I’m probably not the right pastor for you, for I find that God, angry and violent, disgusting and unworthy of my adoration and praise. That God is a monster, one that I abandoned long ago,” he added.
The pastor also offered on behalf of the church an “extravagant welcome to the LGBTQ+ community, not tolerance but celebration” and spoke about fighting racism. He asserted that “our sin is not just in what we have done but also in what we have failed to do, and we are determined to sin no more.”
Brinn — whose church bio describes him as a "committed anti-racist," feminist and a gay man — also stated that white Evangelicals “preached a suicidal anti-science message during the worst of the pandemic, preached insurrection from their pulpits, and are completely and absolutely obsessed with the LGBTQ+ community, convinced we are grooming their kids.”
Jenny Monroe, who serves as president of the church’s council, told local ABC affiliate WENY that Park Church seeks to be “affirming” toward those inside and outside the church.
“The affirming piece is the important part. ... That means that we affirm your choices of gender identity, or sexual preference, or who you love, or what you talk about, how you dress ... all those things,” she explained. “We affirm who you want to be at church.”
On its website, Park Church describes its vision as working “for social justice with a progressive pulpit and a caring congregation in a landmark structure." The church characterizes itself as an “active and hopeful partner in Elmira’s renaissance.”
On two occasions earlier this year, Park Church hosted a “Charity Drag Brunch” featuring several local performers.
Meanwhile, the trend of churches embracing drag queens has become more prevalent across the U.S.
A gay man, who is also a drag queen, was confirmed last year by a Methodist church in Illinois as a candidate for ordained ministry. He wore wigs and full makeup while participating in his church’s “Drag Sunday” event.
On May 12, Trinity Lutheran Church in Greenville, South Carolina church hosted an event called "Drag me to Church." The event featured a drag performer known as "The Lady Douché"
Another United Methodist Church pastor was recently dismissed after participating as a drag queen in the HBO reality series “We’re Here.” The Rev. Craig Duke, formerly the lead pastor of Newburgh United Methodist Church in Newburgh, Indiana, was relieved of his duties late last year after appearing in a Nov. 8 episode of the docu-series.