Carolyn Woodall, who was recently ordained to the diaconate and is assigned to St. Mary in the Mountain Church in Jamestown, sent me an email last week which I would like to share with you.
Dear Bishop Chet,
October 19th is Spirit Day. If you're not familiar with it, here is part of the Wikipedia entry about it:
In early October 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan promulgated the observance of a new commemoration called Spirit Day, the first observance of which took place on October 20, 2010, in which people wear the color purple to show support for LGBT young people who are victims of bullying. Promoted by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of this cause, and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design.
The name, Spirit Day comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow Flag, defined by Gilbert Baker, creator of that flag, as 'representing "spirit"'. The observance was inaugurated in response to a rash of
widely-publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi.
At our convention in 2010 we started our forum on blessing of same sex relationships with a memorial to Tyler and the others we know of who had taken their lives because of bullying.
I personally observe this day by wearing purple and not being shy about why. I believe that we, the Church, should also observe it. It is not on Sunday, but on a Friday. That keeps it on a school day. However, for those congregations who wish to commemorate those youth and to express an anti bullying message (which would be all of them, I would hope), I would ask leave to wear purple stoles and use purple paraments on October 21st. I would also ask it be put in the Friday Reflection for a few weeks beforehand - maybe starting this Friday.
Given our commitment to inclusion, especially considering GC2012's resolutions against bullying, for transinclusion and the blessing of same sex relationships I believe this is a perfectly appropriate message which should be observed by all, and which should be voiced far and wide. It is, simply put, that our prayers are with those who have been, and currently are, victims of bullying and we condemn it as being a violent act not in keeping with Christianity.
I think that Carolyn is performing diaconal ministry by bringing Spirit Day to our attention. I do believe in the proposal that we as a Church observe this day. I do commend it to you and ask Sunday October 21 be designated as Spirit Day Sunday and that the color purple be used, and that there be some comment as to the meaning of Spirit Day in your bulletin and or announcements. This is not a Direction, but a request entirely in keeping with our baptismal vows "to recognize the dignity of every human being". SUNDAY OCTOBER 21, SPIRIT DAY SUNDAY.