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LGBTQ community goes virtual to observe Passover, Holy Week

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah's Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum. (Photo by Donna Aceto)

BY MATT TRACY

Although religious institutions have moved away from in-person gatherings due to the coronavirus, LGBTQ groups and houses of worship are still moving ahead with plans to observe Holy Week and Passover in a virtual way.

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Manhattan’s LGBTQ synagogue, hosted a virtual Queer Seder hosted by Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbuam on Zoom April 8, and also recommended a Second Night Seder on April 8 hosted by Out at the J, the LGBTQ group at the Jewish Community Center. Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE) also hosted a virtual Second Night Seder.

Christ Church NYC, an LGBTQ-friendly Methodist Church on the Upper East Side, is hosting a virtual Good Friday meditation with hymns and Bible readings on April 10 at 3 p.m. on Zoom. Those who wish to dial in can email info@christchurchnyc.com. Christ Church will also host an online Easter Hymn Sing on Easter, April 12, at 4:30 p.m. Participants can email martha@christchurchnyc.com to watch along on Zoom or call in via phone.

Meanwhile, in observance of Passover and Holy Week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is continuing its “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” campaign to bridge the gap between LGBTQ folks and faith-based communities.

HRC is hosting a virtual interfaith memorial service to honor those who have died of coronavirus for noon on April 10. The event, titled “Remaining Home in Faith: An Interfaith Memorial Service,” will feature HRC president Alphonso David, HRC religion and faith program director Michael Vazquez, Bishop Yvette Flunder of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries who is pastor of Oakland’s City of Refuge United Church of Christ, and Senior Rabbi Michael Adam Latz of Minneapolis’ Shir Tikvah Congregation. Those who wish to participate can rsvp to madeline.roberts@hrc.org.

Father James Martin, editor-at-large at America Magazine. (AMERICA MAGAZINE)

As part of HRC’s program, Vazquez interviewed the editor-at-large of America Magazine and America Media, Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, who has become one of the most prominent LGBTQ-friendly Catholic leaders and uses his large social media following to promote messages of acceptance and inclusivity. In the interview, entitled “Welcoming LGBTQ People in the Church This Easter,” the pair discuss the Easter holiday, LGBTQ issues, and what moved Martin to become an important voice on queer acceptance in the Catholic Church.

HRC’s David, who implemented the “Coming Home to Faith: A Search for Common Ground” campaign earlier this year, also sat down for an interview with The Root to talk about the intersection of religion, sexuality, and race. He elaborated on his own experience growing up religious, dismissed false notions about homophobia in the Black community, and pushed to further bridge gaps remaining between the LGBTQ and segments of the Black community.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. (DONNA ACETO)

Numerous other LGBTQ-friendly religious groups have similarly shifted their events and programming to a virtual setting. If you are a person of faith and you are not sure whether your faith community is participating in virtual events, be sure to check online for the latest updates for your congregation.

This story first appeared on gaycitynews.com.

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