By Chris Kohn, Julius Lorenzi, and Michael Torres

Dignity/San Antonio hosted its annual Solidarity Sunday Interfaith Service on October 6. Jamie Manson, a nationally recognized retreat leader, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, and member of Dignity/New York, gave the keynote address. The event was attended by over 60 participants that represented a cross section of faith traditions.

Solidarity Sunday is an anti-violence project of DignityUSA. Dignity/San Antonio has celebrated the day annually since 1995 with an interfaith service that promotes elimination of violence against all people, especially LGBT individuals. Solidarity Sunday occurs annually on the Sunday before National Coming Out day.

The theme of this year’s service, Answering Conflict with Compassion, resonated with many speakers and participants who witnessed the conflict that surrounded the San Antonio City Council’s passage of an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in early September. Many religious groups demonstrated forcefully in opposition to the ordinance. Jamie reflected, using the gospel story of the Good Samaritan, how compassion can overcome conflict by transforming hearts and minds that would otherwise remain closed for fear of having to encounter someone who is different from them.

The participants at the service took a four-point pledge to refuse to participate in violence in all its forms, including discrimination, and verbal or physical violence. In addition, participants were invited to sign on the San Antonio’s Charter for Compassion, an initiative that seeks to make San Antonio a more compassionate city. A real spirit of understanding and kinship was palpable at the service, which concluded with a pot-luck dinner. We are proud to be able to offer this service each year to the growing LGBT and allied faith communities in San Antonio.