The 2012 Euro pride took place in London, UK in July. Martin Pendergast wrote an impression.
It was a delight to welcome Forum members to London for World Pride: Co-Presidents Diane and Michael; Yves from France and Wolfgang; Andrea, Dario and their 5 month old baby Artemisia; Ari who brought the Forum banner; Susan, the intrepid Secretary, and then various members of UK-based Forum member groups!
As many of you know World Pride here in London hit a series of serious organisational crises in the days before. Much of this appears to be a municipal authorities’ conflict between the Mayor of London’s Office, Westminster City Council, the Police, and contracted commercial companies causing last minute problems. What could have been a complete omni-shambles resulted in a larger than ever 7 July Parade 2½ kilometres long with 25,000 people and many more onlookers. Trafalgar Square was crowded and entry to some Soho streets had to be denied due to over-capacity!
However, at least the faith groups were organised! The Cutting Edge Consortium - www.cuttingedgeconsortium.co.uk - sponsored an excellent multi-faith and international exploration into faith, belief and LGBT rights on 5 July, Mind The Gap! Visitors noted that this had been freely advertised on London’s Underground transport system! The 1st Brenda Harrison Memorial Lecture was given by the Revd. Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church on Friday, 6 July.
Faith-groups presence on the World Pride Parade was larger than ever with Christians at Pride, European Forum, Evangelical Fellowship, LGCM, New Ways Ministry, Quakers, Quest, Soho Masses, Unitarians, and various London churches represented, alongside LGBT Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs. The Society of Friends offered welcome Pride Teas at their St. Martin’s Lane Meeting House. A moving ecumenical celebration was held at Bloomsbury Baptist Church with a powerful sermon from its Co-Minister, Revd. Dr. Ruth Gouldbourne.
Although many visitors needed to depart, Sunday, 7 July, saw a number of church services around London, marking World Pride, including St. James Piccadilly, and a closing Mass at Soho’s Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory.