Soulforce Riders – A Testimonial and Thank you

The following is a testimonial sent to fellow Congregants of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun by Welcoming Committee Chair Joy Cobb. She has graciously allowed us to publish it here.

By now many of you have read the newspapers and the blogs and have heard some commentary on the events of April 12th. But all of these do not reveal how great it was to be a UU on that day.

I was so proud to be a part of a faith that was so welcoming to the most inspirational group of young people that I have met in a long time. They arrived early Thursday morning and were welcomed by you the congregation with wonderful donations of food and hugs and handshakes from congregants that came to witness the beautiful event that involved love, openness and honesty.

The neighbors on my street drove by with curiosity seeing a huge tour bus parked outside our home that had various slogans of justice and equality for LGBT persons. But then a look of understanding was apparent when they realized it was the lesbians on the hill in the stone house at it again…Doing something for social justice. Police cars drove by several times that morning and afternoon; cruising; slowing down; getting on the radio. I guess alerting the posse that the intruders were still at their home base.

The riders were so grateful to see that there was a warm home to come into and enjoy a breakfast spread that any soul would love.

Rev. Amy provided a wonderful blessing for the riders as they prepared to embark on a journey up the street to PHC and meet the most police, state troopers and sheriffs they have ever seen at a stop. Two of the riders were arrested when they went to deliver an invitation to the administration for the dinner in the evening. And I was not one of them as some may have expected. These two riders reported that they were treated with dignity by most officials for most of their time in the hands of the Loudoun County system. One officer even told them privately that she was with them and supported them for what they were doing. Equality Loudoun provided assistance with logistics to get the riders back to their group safely.

During the day my duties were to see that the riders were shuttled back and forth for meal breaks at local eating establishments and to see that the White Palace was ready for us at 7PM. They met three PHC students in a local coffee shop shop who expressed their embarrassment about the reaction of the college. At the vigil, various community members came up and spoke to the riders; some to debate biblical passages; others to offer support; some just to pray.

In the early evening- the riders returned back to our home- the base camp for the day- with a police escort. Police continued to watch our house. Neighbors continued to stare as they walked by reading the bus. The riders filled their bodies again with nourishment, relaxed, slept and talked until the dinner event at the White Palace.

The evening event was wonderful. Community members again showed up from our faith and others. A blessing was provided by another local minister invited by Equality Loudoun. Two riders gave heartfelt testimonials; David Weintraub gave a very eloquent speech about Soulforce and the days events; a video was shown reminding us all of the struggles of many before us who have been oppressed. The food was great and the company was even better.

To all of you who came out to support us; to those of you who provided food; I can tell you that the riders were so impressed and touched by all of it. They ate all the bagels; all the eggs; all the yogurts; drank all the juice; ate all of the egg dish; ate all of the spreads; ate most of the cereal- took some food for the road; and well- there just was not much food in the house left over. So if anyone ask “what would Jesus do?”- I can tell you that he would have been there doing just what the UU’s were doing on April 12, 2007- Living our principles and not being silent. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

To learn more about the riders and the ride go to…

In Peace, Thanks and Ministry,
Joy Cobb
Welcoming Committee Chair

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4 Responses to Soulforce Riders – A Testimonial and Thank you

  1. David says:

    Joy, THANK YOU for everything you and the members of UUCL did to help make them feel welcome. That’s what it says to do in my Bible, not sure what document they’re using over at PHC…