Voices & Stories: Marriage Equality

Thursday, November 18, 2021 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

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To build bridges of understanding, we must take time to listen to the experiences of others. 

Rolling Ridge launched "Voices and Stories" as an ONLINE series that uses historical education and contemplative listening to open hearts and minds to the events that have shaped American society today.

On November 18, 2003, history was made when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4 to 3 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.  Although there were attempts to delay implementation, Massachusetts led the way, becoming the first U.S. state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004 and opening the door for the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize it in all fifty states on June 26, 2015.

Join us on Thursday, November 18th from 11 am to 1 pm as we travel the road of marriage equality.  Following an overview of this aspect of American history, we will move into a time of contemplative sharing and reflective conversation as we consider the hopes, dreams, and concerns ahead given the current political, social, and religious climate today.  

Although there is no fee for this program, your generous donation allows Rolling Ridge to continue our mission and ministry of contemplative spirituality. Thank you. 

Please check out our website for other events in our Voices and Stories series

About the leader(s)

Lawrence Jay

As the Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, Lawrence works in partnership with the staff to ensure that the guest experience at the Ridge is top quality.  He also partners with retreat leaders to provide excellent programming at the Ridge, and is available to speak about the ongoing ministry and historic mission of Rolling Ridge as a place of rest, retreat, and transformation.  A trained spiritual director and ordained American Baptist pastor, Larry (as he is known by friends) is a graduate of UCLA, Golden Gate Seminary, Franciscan School of Theology, American Baptist Seminary of the West, and the Gateways to God Missional Spiritual Direction Program.  Eco-spirituality is his passion (and was his doctoral dissertation), encouraging everyone to live into the fullness of our connection with nature, God, and all people.  

Jim Belmont & Steve Pierce

Jim Belmont and Steve Pierce were married on November 16, 2013. They both have an abiding love for The Source of All Life, which they have come to know through Jesus.  Their marriage vows were made in a church service with many family and friends witnessing. Jim and Steve live in Fitchburg, MA, where Bessie, their cat, allows them to share the condo unit which she thinks she owns even though she does not offer a dime for the mortgage. Jim and Steve are members of the Leominster United Methodist Church, having joined the church in August of 2020, and they are slowly wading-in, ever deeply, into the fabric of the many embodiments of The United Methodist Church: locally, regionally, and nationally. Both Steve and Jim had earlier independent experiences with the UMC, but then left to settle into another denomination. So, the sojourn back to the LUMC was like a return “home” in many ways, despite the continuing struggle around LGBTQIA+ issues. Jim is retired and quite active in the local genealogical society, dabbles in art and photography, and is a food pantry volunteer at LUMC. Steve is semi-retired. He is the part-time administrator for a Boston area non-profit, offers spiritual accompaniment to interested parties, and is a Candidate for the Office of Home Missioner in The United Methodist Church. As they share their story, you will hear lots more about how their life experiences have blended with their faith connection.