United Church of Christ Will Sponsor Gay Games
Cleveland is gearing up for Gay Games 9, this summer. There are plans for more than 35 sports competitions, along with cultural events and plenty of partying. Olympic diver Greg Louganis just announced he will participate in the opening ceremonies. And the United Church of Christ has agreed to be a sponsor, posting on their Facebook page:
"The UCC's sponsorship of the Gay Games 9 represents the first time that a religious denomination has agreed to be a major sponsor of the Gay Games."
The United Church of Christ, which has more than 5100 congregations and just short of a million members, has long been friendly to the LGBT community. Ten years ago they ran a television ad that depicted a pair of bouncers selecting which people could cross over the velvet rope to enter a church. The ad ends with a crowd of diverse people, including a lesbian couple and their baby, being welcomed into the United Church of Christ and the message:
"No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here."
You can watch it below, it's just 30 seconds long, but it caused quite a stir at the time.
The Church has agreed to be a "Silver Sponsor", meaning they have promised at least $50,000. Ann Poston, the church’s director of communications, said its offer includes cash and in-kind donations like volunteer support. The United Church of Christ is headquartered in Cleveland, and several hundred of its congregations are in located in northeast Ohio, where Gay Games 9 will be held. Letters were sent to members of those congregations asking for both financial support and volunteers, who are critical to the success of the games.
Tom Noble, Executive Director of Gay Games 9, praised the United Church of Christ for their example, telling reporters:
“Being supportive sends a message to the L.G.B.T. community and to faith communities.”
Opening Ceremonies for Gay Games 9 is August 2. TNCRM