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Hispanic Missioner Awarded for Support of LGBTQ+ Rights

Jun 17, 2024

The Rev. Mimi Guerra received the Ally Visibility Award at the 2024 Gwinnett Pride event at Thrasher Park in Norcross.

Rolando Guzman, President of Visibility Club, the organizer of Gwinnett Pride, said gains like the recently passed Gwinnett County nondiscrimination ordinance,

“are not achieved without support from our allies. But not just any allies. True allies. The type that stands by us when it’s inconvenient to do so. The type that votes for candidates that support us. The type that defends us when we are not there. The type that opens the door to our community without any conditions. The type that embraces us when we’re down.

“And nobody embodies this better than the Reverend Mimi Guerra. She was instrumental in fostering what is regarded as the Episcopal Church in Gwinnett county, most welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community, Christ Church Episcopal in Norcross.

“She’s been known to bring out LGBTQIA+ rights in interviews, even when the interview is about something completely unrelated. And her unwavering support of minorities in Gwinnett county has made headlines all the way to California. Her commitment to inclusivity and equality is rooted in her deep-seated belief that God loves each and every one of us. Without any conditions. So, it is my honor to present the Ally Visibility Award to the Reverend Mimi Guerra.”

Guerra, diocesan Missioner for Hispanic Ministries, said the recognition was “a great blessing” for her efforts to reach all people, especially those of Hispanic heritage.

She was one of the first female Hispanic priests in the diocese and works to expand Spanish language services and congregations.

Those raised Catholic sometimes are surprised that women and LGBTQ+ people can serve as Episcopal priests, and communion is available to all,” Guerra said. “Working with Hispanic communities is educating in a new way to visualize the relationship with God,”

Guzman  praised the Gwinnett County commission for enacting the nondiscrimination ordinance providing legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals and other marginalized groups.

“I can’t think of a better gift for Pride Month!” Guzman said.

On June 4, 2024, Gwinnett County became Georgia’s 18th jurisdiction to offer such protections to those who live, work, and visit there. Others are Athens-Clarke, Augusta-Richmond, and DeKalb Counties, along with the cities of Atlanta, Doraville, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody, East Point, Hapeville, North High Shoals, Savannah, Smyrna, Statesboro, and Tucker.

Christ Church Norcross Rector, the Rev. Edgar Otero told attendees during opening remarks,

“Today we are gathered together here in a world that sometimes feels divided.

“But know this. You belong.

“You are an essential thread in the rich tapestry of humanity. You are unique. And your unique experiences, travels, and triumphs contribute to the vibrant mosaic of life.

“Look around you. You are loved, not just tolerated or accepted. But genuinely cherished. Love knows no boundaries, no checkboxes.

“Today we stand at the crossroad of identities, race, ethnicity, abilities, and more. We embrace inclusion and recognize that all belong. Each of us reflects the divine image and likeness of the Creator. You are seen and your story matters.

“At Christ Church we have embraced the call to love one another as Christ loved us. Our doors are open to everyone, regardless of background, race and gender orientation because you belong. You belong at God’s table. We’re building a church where everyone feels safe, respected and valued. Belonging to Christ Church means more than just attending a service. It means being part of a community that actively engages with the world. Always know that God didn’t make a single mistake because He’s a perfect god. I just know that we are all here because we believe in the Gospel that says that we are all part of this community, that we all belong, and we are the perfect image of the divine God that created every single human being,” Otero said.

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, which has 120 worshiping communities in middle and north Georgia, has been actively involved in Pride events and LGBTQ+ advocacy for many years.

“God loves you, period,”

–       The Rt. Rev. Rob Wright, Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta

View Bishop Wright’s message.

The Diocese of Atlanta’s Commission on LGBTQ+ Ministry sponsors Atlanta Pride events, including the annual parade and festival held in Atlanta each October. Episcopal churches in the diocese have also hosted special Pride-themed worship services and vigils to commemorate those affected by HIV/AIDS.

The diocese has organized discussions and events to promote education and awareness about LGBTQ+ issues within the church and the broader community.

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta has shown a strong commitment to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and fostering an inclusive environment within the church and beyond.

Don Plummer is the beat reporter for The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. If you have story ideas, please reach out to Don.

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