Bubbleman, Garry Golightly, offering bubbles of fun at the Ballard Blessing event.
Marriage equality blessed by Ballard Churches
On June 30, Ballard Blessings in the Park at Ballard Commons Park (5501 22nd Ave NW) celebrated the final phase in Washington State legalizing marriage equality.
On this day Washington State converted domestic partnerships into marriages through referendum 74.
Blessings were offered from local clergy to all, including couples already married, as well as couples celebrating the voter's decision.
Organizer for the event and Pastor of Northwest Christian Church, Monica Myers Greenberg, said it was a great way as a group of churches to support those who were celebrating on that day.
The event was free to the public and attendees were offered food-truck snacks and free ice cream (courtesy of Umpqua Bank). There were smiles all around amid live music from Alleyoop and The Weavils. Kids face-painting was offered and Bubbleman’s bubbles added extra fun for the kiddos. In addition, Urban Utopia Photography donated services for any couple wanting a picture during the blessing.
The event was a collaboration with local churches and religious organizations as well as businesses. Greenberg said that they were grateful for the support they received from the community, mentioning a special thanks to Amy Besunder with Populuxe Brewing for her contribution in organizing the event.
“We are really just throwing a wedding reception here for all the people celebrating same sex-domestic partnerships becoming marriages today. We celebrate the wisdom of the voters in the state of Washington. … In my mind there are thousands more married people in the state today than there were yesterday, and that is reason to celebrate as a community because we believe God blesses all healthy, loving relationships, “ said Greenberg.
Judy and Con Edwards were blessed by Pastor Tim Divine of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
There were many churches offering blessings, but the seven primary churches were Crown Hill United Methodist Church, Northwest Christian Church, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Interfaith Community Sanctuary and Ballard First Lutheran Church. Clergy wore brightly colored tags that read, “I can bless you.”
“We are offering blessing for anyone who wants to be blessed, anywhere they want to be blessed. When we say we are offering God’s blessing to all people, we really mean all people.”
Greenberg said that the event was less political and more of just a reminder that God has ubiquitous love for humanity.
“From what I’ve found, 67% of King County voted ‘yes’ for referendum 74. I would assume if you distilled those numbers to just Seattle it would be even higher, so I don’t think that we are changing the minds of our immediate neighbors about marriage equality in any way. It’s the law in the state of Washington now, so it's not a political purpose that we are out here today, but hopefully it changes the question on where the church stands on the full inclusivity of gay and lesbian persons in all aspects of life.”
Moreover, Greenberg said that through the event the churches wanted to clear the air on the religious interpretation of marriage.
“I don’t feel we are the ones offering the blessing. I can’t speak for all of the clergy present, but as far as my church tradition is concerned the blessing comes from God, and we are here letting people know that God blesses them just in case they didn’t know already. We’re letting them know God blesses them, and just in case they’ve been told God doesn’t bless them, we want to correct that misperception. “
Indeed, Greenberg went on to note the relevance of the issue on a national level.
“I agree with those who have said that full and equal human rights for gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people is really one of the top human rights issues of our time, and really the presenting civil rights issue in our country right now.”