Oaklands Presbyterian Church – a More Light Presbyterian congregation in Laurel, Maryland – was one of the lead organizers of the city’s first-ever Pride Day Celebration on October 8, 2022. The church has stood on the side of justice since its founding in 1966 and was one of the top-tier sponsors of this landmark community event.
Attendees celebrated, sang, danced and lived authentically as a community without a protestor in sight. It was quaint — unmistakably a tentative first step by the city in recognizing the LGBTQIA+ population. It was an opportunity for many small businesses to interact with customers and for local organizations to connect with those who previously didn’t know they existed.
Oaklands was the only religious organization present at Laurel’s first Pride event and its members came with rainbow Oaklands stickers, Black Lives Matter signs and photo booth props. Oaklands’ pastor, LeAnn Hodges, wore a shirt that told of her love for all in the LGBTQIA+ community and was more than happy to talk to anyone who approached her with celebration or lament.
It was a monumental step for the city of Laurel, but for Oaklands, it was another beautiful witness to their longstanding commitment to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community.