Last update:
April 7th
2001

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The Liturgy

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Barry Jack Billy Jack Gaither

1960 - 1999

Pilgrimage Against Crimes of Hate
Liturgy in Memory of
Billy Jack Gaither
and All Victims of Hate crimes
March 8, 1999

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Silence is observed at the site of the slaying as we gather on the banks of Peckerwood Creek, Coosa County, Alabama.

Psalm 22:1-21 "Deus, Deus meus" Read by Marshall Johnson

  1. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *
    and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress?

  2. O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *
    by night as well, but I find no rest.

  3. Yet you are the Holy One, *
    enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

  4. Our forefathers put their trust in you; *
    they trusted, and you delivered them.

  5. They cried out to you and were delivered; *
    they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

  6. But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *
    scorned by all and despised by the people.

  7. All who see me laugh me to scorn; *
    they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

  8. [Fag, Queer],*
    You are an abomination, to God

  9. Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, *
    and kept me safe upon my motherπs breast.

  10. I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *
    you were my God when I was still in my motherπs womb.

  11. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, *
    and there is none to help.

  12. Many young bulls encircle me; *
    strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

  13. They open wide their jaws at me, *
    like a ravening and a roaring lion.

  14. I am poured out like water; all my bones are out of joint; *
    my heart within my breast is melting wax.

  15. My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *
    and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.

  16. Packs of dogs close me in, and gangs of evildoers circle around me; *
    they pierce my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.

  17. They stare and gloat over me; *
    they divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.

  18. Be not far away, O Lord; *
    you are my strength; hasten to help me.

  19. Save me from the sword, *
    my life from the power of the dog.

  20. Save me from the lionπs mouth, *
    my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls.

  21. I will declare your Name to my brethren; *
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

Silence is observed

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Anthem: Trisagion The Rev. James A. Creasy

In the midst of life we are in death;
from whom can we seek help?

From you alone, O Lord,
who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

Lord, you know the secrets of our hearts;
shut not your ears to our prayers,
but spare us, O Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

O worthy and eternal Judge,
do not let the pains of death
turn us away from you at our last hour.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty,
Holy and merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

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Prayer:

O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death, and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that your servant Billy Jack Gaither, being raised with him, may know the strength of his presence, and rejoice in his eternal glory; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother Billy Jack. We thank you for giving him to us, the gay Community, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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God' Word: Genesis 9:11-17 Read by Ron Gatlin

The Rainbow: A sign of God's covenant with all creation

God said to Noah, {11} I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." {12} God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: {13} I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. {14} When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, {15} I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. {16} When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." {17} God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."

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The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Celebrant
Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?

People
I do.

Celebrant
Do you believe in God the Father?

People
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Celebrant
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

People
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Celebrant
Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?

People
I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Celebrant
Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

People
I will, with God's help.

Celebrant
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

People
I will, with God's help.

Celebrant
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

People
I will, with God's help.

Celebrant
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

People
I will, with God's help.

Celebrant
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

People
I will, with God's help.

Celebrant
May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Thanksgiving over the Water

The Celebrant blesses the water, first saying
The Lord be with you.

People
And also with you.

Celebrant
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Celebrant
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your Son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life. We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

At the following words, the Celebrant touches the water
Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin and born again may continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus

Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and for ever.
Amen.

All drink of the water and the remainder is poured on the desecrated earth where Billy Jacks tortured bruised body had been set afire an burned.

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The Commendation

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant Billy Jack with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return. For so did you ordain when you created me, saying, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song:

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with your saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.

The Exchange of the Peace All hold hands and recite together The Lord's Prayer

The Benediction. The Rev. James A. Creasy

Amen!

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billy child

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"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

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