Many people feel helpless to know how to meaningfully serve or assist LGBT+ victims and survivors of the Orlando massacre. The time to do something, though, is at the point when people are grieving and hurting. The time to act is now.
Lead Them Home suggests a few simple ideas.
Give Blood: Give blood locally. If you have a rare blood type, this kind of donation is often desperately needed and can be transported cross-country. Otherwise, you can give as a symbolic gift to honor those who died and those who are injured. Your blood could save a life.
Give Money: PulseVictimsFund is a Go Fund Me effort to raise money for victims and their families.
Lead Them Home joins others in calling upon the creators of this fund to publicly guarantee that all donations to honor the dead and wounded will be distributed to survivors and the families of those who were ruthlessly murdered. Anything short of this will be considered an unethical act. The world is watching and waiting for clarification.
Attend Vigil: Your church can send a team of staff and lay leaders to city-wide and/or Gay Community vigils to honor those who died. You can bring free snacks and drinks to distribute to those in attendance and offer prayers, hugs and support to those in need.
Please note that it is likely there will be a series of vigils held at the one week, one month and annual memorial dates of this horrific tragedy. If you missed many of the vigils held within the first 48 hours, there will likely be many more to come.
Host Vigil: Your church can offer to collaborate with city leaders, including LGBT+ area leaders, in sponsoring a vigil. You can offer to host at your church or be part of organizing a vigil in your city.
Sunday Remembrance: This Sunday will be the one-week memorial. Your church can interrupt its’ sermon series to offer a message standing against LGBT+ violence, take a collection to support the victims and play a video showing the pictures of those who have lost their lives. If it is not possible to interrupt your sermon series, any church can easily adjust their service to make room for remembering LGBT+ victims and their families.
Condemn Hate: Let the voice of your church be heard. It is important to condemn this act of hate against LGBT+ people. This is a time for unity. It is a time to let LGBT+ folks know that you love them, care about them and stand with them against bullying and other violence. Shout out a very loud and clear condemnation of gay jokes, name-calling, teasing, bullying and violence against LBGTQIA+ people.
Encourage Acceptance: We request every pastor to guide parents toward loving LGBT+ children when they come out. No one has to change their beliefs to love well. Acceptance is simple: “There is no us-and-them in our family. There is only us – and you are us! You are our son. We are your family. This is your home. We will love one another. No matter what.”
Offer Refuge: One of the best things any church can do is offer LGBT+ persons a safe place to belong and express their faith in Jesus. If you know a gay teen or young adult who has been bullied or rejected by family, invite them to your dinner table. Offer them a place to stay. Help their parents become more accepting. Intervene to stop the bullying.
Send Security: Your church can send a team of loving Christians into the Gay Community (a community center, restaurant or bar) as a caring team surrounding people with prayers of security and protection. You can offer free snacks and water bottles.
Let your church’s voice be heard today during this time of loss and unspeakable grief.
Let us remember the power of prayer. True faith then calls us to express justice action steps that will generously serve, tangibly comfort, and authentically love hurting people.
We expressly and completely repudiate and condemn the horrifically hateful statements of a few pastors. These statements do not represent ANY of the thousands upon thousands of pastors that we serve all across North America.