A Day of Sacred Connection

Rev Sean Neil-Barron

“….You are stardust, made of the same stuff as the stars and the trees and the mountains and rivers, which means you belong here, and nothing you can do, or say, and nothing that anyone can do to you can ever change that. You are loved. Beloved” 

I must have said these words hundreds of times on Saturday, in the heat of Denver’s Civic Center Park, as Foothills convened a UU clergy to offer Glitter Blessings at Denver Pride. 

Glitter blessings are simple: a moment of spoken affirmation and care and the optional anointing with glitter (biodegradable of course). 

This year at PrideFest, a few other churchy type folks were offering Glitter Blessings around the festival, but despite sharing the same name, we were not doing the same thing.

What I heard from others, and witnessed myself, was that other groups were offered a nice set of words and some glitter.  

What we offered were true blessings.

Blessings that met people in their lives,

That grew from conversation and a deep genuine care,

All rooted in the conviction that all bodies are sacred and that all Queer and Trans people are divine. 

I was joined by Revs. Eric Banner, Senior Minister at First Universalist in Denver, and Randy Spaulding, Pastor of Boulder Mennonites who is also an ordained UU minister, and together we spent 8 hours blessing over 450 people. 

When I would ask: “Is there anything you might want a blessing for right now? Anywhere in your life that needs some love and care…” 

The stories poured out raw and real.

Painful stories of Assaults, breakups, rejections by family and friends, working through past trauma, transphobia, bi-erasure, and fear. 

Beautiful stories of new relationships, new identities, and new milestones in transitions.

In Between stories of being newly out of the closet, being nonbinary, and trying to figure it out, of the joy chosen family amid the grief of the inherited. 

It’s hard to describe how holy it was, to receive these stories and to be trusted with their brutal honesty and at times defiant clarity. I felt our collective faith flowing through me. 

I can bless you. 

For you bless the world.

I can offer you love,
Because I know what you are is love finding a way,
Joy finding way.

There were so many moments and stories:

When I asked one guy where to apply the glitter during the blessing, he pointed at his chest scars. And I did, with reverence. 

A group of three was hesitant to receive a blessing but conversation opened the door to bless their polyamorous relationship.  

There are so many stories I could tell you, there were so many tears, and the pain and trauma of queer/trans life is so close to the surface, especially when it intersects with faith. 

Going through my mind the entire time were all the miracle stories in the Bible with Jesus healing people. And when you get over the obvious ego trip of relating to a story like that, I was struck with how much healing can occur, through the simple act of a consensual touch & words of deep care and affirmation backed up with deep conviction.

I left exhausted but so fulfilled. In a sea of vendors, mostly selling cheap rainbow-washed stuff, we offered true blessing, true ministry, without a need for people0 0to come to our church or our faith. But so many of them asked, because how could they not?

And we did so on the day that Unitarian Universalists from around the country, including from Foothills, voted to affirm that  “our [UU] principles and values unequivocally commit our faith to honor and celebrate the full spectrum of gender identity and expression. Being transgender or identifying with any gender other than the one assigned at birth, is a beautiful and divine manifestation of humanity; As a people who put love at the center of our faith, that love calls us to fully embrace equity for transgender, nonbinary, intersex, and gender diverse people in our congregations and the wider world”.

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