June marks the celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month and the Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church on Madison’s north side will host a Pride Flag Raising Ceremony and celebration on Saturday, June 11, noon, in recognition of Pride Month.

Linda Ketcham

LGBTQ Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This uprising marks the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ Americans.

Sherman Church’s Pride Month Flag Raising Ceremony will feature JustDane Executive Director Linda Ketcham as the keynote speaker. JustDane is a Madison-area non-profit agency that offers an array of direct service programs for individuals and families involved in the criminal justice system.

“I am honored to be asked to be part of the service. For myself and so many other members of the LGBTQ+ community, religion was often used as a weapon, we were told that God could not or would not love us even though we were made in God’s image,” Ketcham tells Madison365. “To celebrate with a congregation that is inclusive and loving, that is for many of us how we heal from the damage and trauma we experienced in other congregations. This is Sherman Ave UMC saying, ‘you are welcome here, you are part of our community of faith, you belong here, and God and we love you.’”

Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church
(Photo by David Dahmer)

Sherman Church said in a statement that it “celebrates and embraces the LGBTQIA+ members of its diverse faith community, our Dane County community, and invites the community to join in on a recognition of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Rev. David Hart

“Permanently raising the Pride flag sends an important message to our LGBTQ community — God sees you, God supports and loves you, and you belong here,” said Rev. David Hart, pastor of Sherman Church. “This flag is a representation of the LGBTQ community’s resilience, the struggles the community has faced and a reminder that we must continue to fight for inclusiveness and respect in many parts of the world.”

Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church has been an open and affirming church for many years. Founded in the 1950s, Sherman Church has established itself as one of the most progressive and service-oriented churches on the north side of Madison.

The Pride flag-raising ceremony and celebration is open to the public. Sherman Avenue United Methodist Church is located at 3705 N. Sherman Ave. on Madison’s north side.