Rockland, Maine – Too often, queer people and people of faith are discussed as if those were mutually exclusive categories. In order to change the narrative about religion and LGBTQIA+ people, we need to change the narrators. This June, the First Congregational Church of Camden with leadership from the Rev. Patty Fox is partnering with Rock City Café in Rockland to host Queer Faith Stories, a photojournalism exhibit where queer people name and own their own faith. In the face of religious homophobia and transphobia these individuals claim the promise that they too are blessed. The exhibit features ten different LGBTQIA+ people from around the state of Maine, gorgeously photographed and framed, paired with personal reflections.
The exhibit will open at Rock City Café, 328 Main Street, Rockland, on Friday evening, June 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The evening will begin with words from participants and creators of the exhibit, and then transition into a social celebration. Rock City Café will offer drink specials. Chicky’s, a small-batch eatery with an ever-changing menu featuring goodies such as sourdough pizza, sourdough loaves, and sourdough discard chocolate chip cookies, will provide food for purchase. There will also be a blessing station organized by the Rev. Marty Pelham from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockland, where participants can pick up words of joy and affirmation, written by members of that community.
The exhibit will remain open through June 30, after which it will continue to travel around the state of Maine, shown in different communities. Through storytelling, we hope to uproot bigotry and help people better understand the lives, love and faith of LGBTQIA+ Mainers. This beautiful community project is a product of several community partners donating time, talent and space. The photographs are shot by Keenan Boscoe, who owns the Topo Gallery & Goods in Camden, and framed by Jonathan Frost, who owns the Jonathan Frost Gallery & Frame Shop in Rockland. The reflections are edited by award-winning author and minister Rev. Benjamin Perry.