The peace of Christ to each of you!

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Dear Congregation.

The peace of Christ to each of you!

On Wednesday Karen Kett and I attended the Miami-Dade County School Board meeting, which was quite an experience! We got there early to get a seat for the 3:30 p.m. meeting, as we had heard that it would probably be crowded. It certainly was as eventually there was an overflowing crowd. We were there to show support for the motion to designate October as GLBTQ History Month as it had been celebrated in 2021. I had signed up to speak and this is basically what I said during the allowed two minutes at the microphone.

I’m The Rev. Candace Thomas, pastor of Christ Congregational United Church of Christ, Palmetto Bay. I am here representing the members of my congregation. I also have a granddaughter who is a sophomore at Miami Beach Senior High School. I am here to ask that MCDPS will continue to honor and recognize LGBTQ History during the month of October as was done in 2021.

*LGBTQ-inclusive history education benefits all students.

*Erasing that history silences our students and their families.

*Miami Dade Co. Public Schools must foster an inclusive, safe and premier academic experience for all.

*We urge the School Board of Miami-Dade to incorporate the landmark Supreme Court cases of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and Bostock v Clayton County (2020) into the 12th grade Social Studies Curriculum. (I’m proud to say that James Obergefell was born in Sandusky, Ohio, my home town, a community that is proud of him!)

Christ Congregational UCC is an Open and Affirming Church. If you are looking for a church home we are a church that welcomes everyone!

There were over a hundred speakers that day. Unfortunately, the majority spoke against the measure, and were allowed to be very vocal about their disapproval. That room did not feel like a safe place!

Ultimately the recognition of October as LBGTQ Month was defeated by a vote of 8 to 1, with nearly all the nine board members who voted in favor last year reversing their vote. Lucia Baez-Geller was the only board member who voted for the measure.

For me this experience brought home how important it is that we, as Christ’s church, Progressive Christians, exist in this time and place with our commitment to social justice and freedom for all. I am so grateful to be serving such a congregation! We are indeed allies of organizations such as PFLAG S. Florida (Parents and Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and Queer) who asked for our support. It is an understatement to say that we are living in challenging times.

Let us, as a church, ask for God’s guidance to live out the love of Christ in very real ways. God Bless You.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Candy