OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Edmond Pride will host its first ecumenical Worship Service on Friday, October 11, at Southern Hills Christian Church, 3207 S. Boulevard, in Edmond from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The service is organized and led by Edmond area churches that are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, including St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, First United Methodist Church of Edmond, Edmond Trinity Christian Church, Southern Hills Christian Church, and First Christian Church of Oklahoma City.
A 22-year-old, black, gay man, Williams is Associate Pastor at Village United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, which has a predominately white and straight congregation. He is also a religion major at Oklahoma City University.
Williams’ sermon titled, “Scripture According to Lizzo,” is based on recording artist Melissa Viviane Jefferson’s, (aka Lizzo) gospel message of self-love and acceptance.
The evening will include singing, liturgy, prayer and communion. A reception will follow in Southern Hills’ Pumpkin Parrish.
“This is exciting,” said Don Heath, Minister at Edmond Trinity Christian Church. “Half a dozen churches in Edmond in four denominations will be coming together to lift up the members of the LGBTQ+ community in Edmond. We want them to know that they are beloved children of God and that their sexuality is a gift from God. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is something to celebrated.”
The worship service will take place on the eve of the second annual Edmond Pride festival, which will be held at Hafer Park, 1034 S. Bryant, on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Themed “Live. Love. Be,” Edmond Pride is a free, family-friendly event that will include booths, tables, food trucks and live entertainment.
The festival is organized by a group of volunteers from Edmond and the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) community.
This year’s headline event will be Cameron Clayton, better known by the stage name Farrah Moan. A drag queen, model, and actor from Los Angeles, she is one of 14 contestants who competed for the crown during season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Farrah’s performance will be presented by the University of Central Oklahoma’s LGBTQIA+ Faculty and Staff Association (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual +), The Center (Women’s Research Center & BGLTQ+ Student Center), and SAFE (Student Alliance for Equality) programs.
The Okie Kids Playground, another Edmond Pride sponsor, will provide an indoor playground for children under six, as well as an education facility with a coffee shop for parents
“Here at Edmond Pride we have a strong focus on education and outreach, but also value building a safe and welcoming environment for the LGBTQIA+ community,” organizers said. “We created our #PrideWide project that allows us to educate others about what it means to be LGBTQIA+.”
Zoe Travers of the The Gayly, an Oklahoma City print and online news source, reported that John Stephens, UCO’s director of Undergraduate Admissions and president of the LGBTQIA+ Faculty and Staff Association, says the event will be even bigger this year.
The inaugural Edmond Pride event in 2018 had over 1,000 attendees, hosted over 70 vendors, and featured an appearance by RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Trinity Taylor.
“I heard from individuals who have lived in Edmond for decades say they thought they would never see the day that Edmond has a Pride,” Stephens told The Gayly. “I also heard from the younger generation and their parents about how excited they were and what it means to them to see a celebration of acceptance and recognition.”
Edmond Pride sponsors are individuals, local businesses, churches and non-profit organizations, including Bob Moore Subaru, Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, Freedom Oklahoma, Southern Hills Christian Church, David Dobson, Dads Hug Too, and Crescent Medical PLLC.