Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bronx Clergy Bless New Offices of the Bronx Community Pride Center

Here is news on cooperation between local pastors and the new Bronx Pride Center that just opened up.


LGBTQ Community and Faith Communities Come Together in Dialogue

On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 8 Pastors from varying faiths joined together to tour the new offices of the Bronx Community Pride Center, ironically located in the Rev. Ruben Diaz Gardens Building. The Pastors met with staff and clients of the LGBTQ community center and participated in an Interdenominational Blessing of the Space.

The Bronx Community Pride Center (BCPC), the borough’s only LGBTQ social service agency, is predominately a youth services center, but also provides case management and social opportunities to the lesbian and transgender communities. Located on 149th Street in Mott Haven for over 15 years, the agency had to move when notified of myriad building violations in their old space. Working with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Kathy Zamechansky, a local real estate agent, BCPC soon identified their new site, which is accessible to the disabled, centrally located and modern.

Dirk McCall, the Executive Director of the Bronx Community Pride Center, thanked the Pastors for attending and spoke of the agency’s hopes to work more closely with the faith community, “Our clients and staff have strong ties to the faith community and religion has played a large role in their lives and upbringing. While we might not always agree on all issues, we want to engage in dialogue and find areas of common ground, working together to improve the lives of all LGBTQ Bronxites.”

Bishop Wenzell P. Jackson, Pastor of the Mount Hermon Baptist Church and the Chair of Bronx Community Board 4, offered the first blessing, noting, “This new and beautiful space offers a place of refuge for those who need it and I appreciate the opportunity to be apart of this dedication and invoking of God's presence."

Pastor Paul Block, from Transfiguration Lutheran Church on Prospect Avenue, and the dean of the Lutheran congregations in the Bronx, prayed for the clients of the agency and for a copier to be donated.

The Rev. Martha Overall from St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Mott Haven, explained, “The Pride Center is a vital sanctuary providing life-sustaining services; my prayer is that God will shower them with resources to continue their good work. I also hope that those who are not part of the LGBT community, and who may be part of a sometimes hostile world, will make an effort to get to know more LGBT people and to learn about the obstacles they face.”

Pastor Doug Cunningham, of New Day Church in the NW Bronx (East 199th Street and Bainbridge), declared, “The Bronx Community Pride Center is a great blessing as we build community for all people in the Bronx. At New Day Church we are finding the abundance of crossing boundaries of race, class, sexual orientation and age and the Bronx Community Pride Center provides critically important resources and partnership for us in that process.”

The Rev. Pat Bumgardner, The Pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of New York, closed out the blessings, proclaiming, “The Bronx Community Pride Center is a blessing to the entire Bronx community, especially the LGBT community. It offers safe space to all, including youth, and in that way furthers the future of our city as a whole. It was a blessing to me to pay tribute to the visionary leaders who laid the foundation for the center, and to those now carrying that vision forward.”

Also attending were Pastor Ulf Lunow, of First Lutheran of Throggs Neck and Pastor Paul Milholland, from Trinity Lutheran Church of Long Island City.

Prayers were offered for the ongoing good work of the Bronx Community Pride Center, for peace and understanding between all people, for greater support for these vital services in incredibly lean times (donations which can be made online at and for a new copier to be donated to replace the one seized from the agency last year.


Anonymous said...

No Catholic clergy. Hah!

Anonymous said...

Any Islamic clergy?