The Session approved a motion brought by the Mission Committee and Stone Catchers at their December Session meeting to place the logo, to the right, on our Dunton Avenue sign showing our commitment to welcoming all to the First Pres community. The following is the statement given by First Pres member, Lee Bruce, prior to the Session decision:

“As most of you already know, my name is Lee Bruce. I have been a member of First Pres for the last five years. I’ve served as a Deacon, volunteered on numerous occasions and am currently serving on the Mission Committee. While here, I have finally felt comfortable enough to speak publicly, socially interacting with others within a church and felt welcomed and accepted for who I am and not be judged for my lifestyle. Accepted to the point that I was legally married here. This year at the Buffalo Grove Pride Parade in June, was the first time that this church ever participated in an LGBTQIA+ event, even though we have given to several different organizations as an ALLY. However, being an ally is not visible enough. We must let it be known that WE are here, not just financially but physically, spiritually and emotionally. That our doors are open and welcoming to everyone. That we are a safe space for all. I have visited several other churches and didn’t have that feeling of acceptance. This can be very challenging for the gay community to find comfort within a church home. I’ve often asked myself, what can we do as a church community, that will allow the world to know that we too are making a change? So, I come before you wearing several different hats: a very active church member, a Mission Committee member, but most importantly for me, a member of the gay community. The purpose for me speaking today is this, we, the Mission Committee, are requesting approval from the church to display a pride flag/banner inside and outside the church. This will be the next step in letting the world know that we are working on putting some action to our words and to live by our motto: Choose Love (being Gay is all about love) Be the Light (open your eyes and see us) Change the world (accept us within your hearts)! As you can see, just by driving through the neighborhood, our neighboring churches have already made that step. Let’s not continue to stay 10 steps behind. Let’s put some action to our words!”

The Session will continue to work with the Mission Committee and Stone Catchers to ensure that our message of inclusivity is visible to the community. Watch Weekly Highlights and other church news sources for ways you can get involved. Perhaps you can mark your calendar today for June 2, 2024, for the Buffalo Grove Pride Parade.