The Equality Ride stop at Bethany Lutheran College was April 26, 2007.
On Thursday April 26th, the two Soulforce Equality Ride buses came together for their final school together.
We were not welcomed on campus for dialogue. We gathered at the school’s front gates at 10:00 am along with about 20-30 community members from around the area. We stood in silent vigil, 10 equality riders holding poster size prints of images from other schools reflecting Christ-like welcome to outright rejection. The question for Bethany Lutheran was, which would you choose? Unfortunately the administration at Bethany Lutheran chose rejection. We were, however, greeted by a few friendly students who showed their support by thanking us for coming. The vigil continued until 12:15.
The vigil line stretched out 70-80 people long at the edge of campus. At 12:15 the wait for a true welcome ended and we walked onto campus. We were met immediately by campus security, warning us of trespassing and asking us to leave. We proceeded on to meet with students standing by. Upon the police warning that we would be arrested for trespassing if we did not leave, 10 equality riders holding the images of hospitality and rejection were arrested. The remaining riders and community members returned to the public street off campus with Bethany Lutheran students to continue vigil and dialogue; these conversations continued until about 2:30 or 3:00.
After the events at Bethany Lutheran College we headed over to the LGBT center at Minnesota State University. At the center we were able to continue conversations, meet with allies, and share our experiences from the road through a slideshow presentation.
At 5:30 we headed over to the First Congregational UCC for dinner and a service. The service was well attended by pastors and community members from all over the area representing several denominations. The show of support and welcome from this community throughout the day in Mankato brought a beautiful end to the Equality Ride 2007.
We continue to hold out hope that some day, Bethany Lutheran College will decide to open their hearts and minds, come together with Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and transgender people in study, prayer, and discussion about their full inclusion and true welcome within the church and society.
Read about Bethany Lutheran College and GLBT equality.