I want to share a glimpse of what “Blessed at Pridefest” is, an event I help co-create and host. “Get your blessing here! Personal Blessing given to you right now by our Blessing Booth Clergy!” Krystal called out to the passersby at PrideFest in Milwaukee. Quizzically, they would look over and be offered a Blessing Menu. “To help the clergy customize your blessing,” she explained.
Most folks look pleasantly astonished as they realize that this was a real offer.
The Blessing Menu invites you to share what you call the Divine or Sacred. Is it God, Goddess, Allah, Jesus, Love, Father, Mom, Sun, Moon, Earth, Science, Spirit of Life, or Quantum Physics? There is no limit to how many sources of divinity you choose, and a blank space is provided to write in your own unique name for the sacred.
The Blessing Menu has many choices and, though it is a playful catalyst for connection, its aspiration and purpose are quite real. It creates a path to being vulnerable, to being seen, and to being blessed by one another. By offering a blessing, we hope to take a small step toward helping heal people, especially people who identify as LGBTQ; so many of whom are religiously wounded from churches, family, and friends that have told them they were “less than.” The blessing booth gives us a moment to connect and share in the joy and sorrow that it is to be human.
Do you need a Healing Blessings for Emotional Pain or Rejection?
How about a Forgiveness Blessing for harming yourself or others?
What blessings do you long to experience: Abundance, Love, Grace, Justice?
So many people—too many people—requested healing from abandonment, rejection, abuse, and self-harm.
“I am already blessed!” someone shouts out. I answer, “Yes, you are, we just want to articulate it!”
On that June weekend, over five hundred people were blessed: young and old, straight and gay, parents and children, drag queens, police officers and senators—everyone! Jewish, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist clergy blessed everyone earnestly and eagerly. It was a remarkable interfaith coalition of ministry and love. Most blessings ended with smiles, some tears, hugs, and a sweet surprise—surprise at the simplicity, the tenderness, and the magic we make when we remember that we belong to one another.
It is so easy to feel powerless today in a world where human rights and dignity are all too often ignored and violated. Our little Blessing Booth was a visceral reminder of the power of human connection, to heal one another through relationship and love.
Rev. Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education