When deciding whether or not to pursue ministry in Washington State’s Wenatchee Valley this past June, I was struck by the consistent message of how conservative the area was considered to be. This message was held up by both members of the local Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and others who were familiar with the region.
However, after this past fall, I am hearing a different story. For the first time, Cascade UU Fellowship took an active stand in supporting the Referendum 74, which brought marriage equality to Washington State. The wayside pulpit held a message for the month leading up to election day stating, “we stand on the side of love for marriage equality.” I was asked to write an editorial to the local newspaper and several of our members wrote their own letters. We held discussions and provided educational opportunities for members in the community to further develop understanding about marriage equality.
In October the local newspaper, The Wenatchee World, endorsed the referendum itself, which was momentous. Once the referendum passed, the paper contacted me for a reaction and asked if I knew of any couples who might want to be interviewed about getting married. This led to a front page story highlighting the wedding of Christina Davitt and Mary Timiras on December 29. The enthusiasm and joy felt by the congregation was enormous. The story has shifted now to reflect a more welcoming and accepting message. It is amazing what can happen in just few short months.
This post was written by Rev. Laura Shennum (pictured above) of the Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in East Wenatchee, Washington.