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Matthew Shepard Internment

A Gay Pride flag flies outside the Washington National Cathedral on Oct. 26 following a "Thanksgiving and Remembrance of Matthew Shepard" service. A Rock Springs church is hosting a service Sunday that it says is the first statewide LGBTQ pride worship service in Wyoming.

A Rock Springs church is holding what it calls Wyoming’s first statewide LGBTQ pride worship service Sunday.

“Invitations have gone out across the state,” said the Rev. Jason Boyd, pastor of First Congregational Church—United Church of Christ. “It’s not a Rock Springs thing. It’s not a Casper thing or a Cheyenne or Laramie thing. It’s a Wyoming thing.”

The congregation welcomes members and supporters of the LGBTQ community to attend and celebrate. Boyd said the service is meant to ensure that people know they’re loved and are children of God.

The sanctuary is also meant to feel safe for anyone coming to worship.

“The order won’t be terribly different, but the content is more focused on God’s love being extended to members of the LGBTQ community,” Boyd said.

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Pride worship will be held at the regular service time of 10:30 a.m., and the public is welcomed to join the service.

“We see the rainbow flag and we are reminded that this covenant is for all,” congregation member and organist Diana Wiig said in the church’s announcement. “LGBTQ persons have often been harmed by churches. As an Open and Affirming congregation, we are intentional about welcoming and embracing those who have been condemned and excluded.”

Boyd and the church council came up with the idea along with John King, former chair of Wyoming Equality, in summer 2018.

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“Our church council had a wonderful, positive discussion and was enthusiastic about holding the first-ever pride service here in Rock Springs,” Boyd said. “Members of this church take very seriously their call to exemplify God’s love and justice, and they don’t shy away from living their faith.”

Wyoming Equality, a Cheyenne-based organization that supports LGBTQ rights, has given full support to the congregation and service. Executive Director Sara Burlingame, who is also a state representative, will be attending the Sunday worship.

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The pride service will be another historic mark for the church. Church trustee Liz Strannigan said in the announcement it was “fitting that First Congregational Church, the very first church in Rock Springs, will host the first ever Wyoming LGBTQ Pride Service.”

“We’re happy and excited about this,” Boyd said. “It’s not about being the first. It’s about the people we get to be with.”

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