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      Faith meets pride at Mid-Missouri Pridefest

      Speakers from multiple mid-Missouri churches speak at an interfaith service at Sunday's Mid-Missouri Pridefest.

      Worshippers at a Sunday afternoon interfaith service said they saw no conflict between religion and sexual identity.

      About two dozen people attended the service, held in Flat Branch Park as part of Sunday??s Mid-Missouri Pridefest. Kelsey Kupferer, who spoke at the service, has attended the service at every Pridefest for the last few years. Kupferer, an MU student who works with the university??s Hillel organization, said knowing that a religious community accepts you is important if religion is a major part of your life.

      ??I think that there is a perception that any kind of religion and any kind of spirituality and the LGBTQ community are mutually exclusive,?? she said. ??I don??t think people realize how many communities are open and affirming.??

      Michelle Scott-Huffman, a pastor at Jefferson City??s Table of Grace Church, said several area churches have put the service together for the past few years.

      ??We want people to have a place to celebrate their faith and their sexuality or their gender identity,?? she said. ??A lot of folks have been told they can??t do those things together.??

      Vera Haynes, who attends Columbia??s Missouri United Methodist Church, said she hoped people attending the service could see that not all churches oppose homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

      ??We really believe that everyone is a child under God and is welcome,?? she said.

      Haynes said she hoped the service demonstrated how welcoming mid-Missouri??s churches are.