LYONS, Colo. (KDVR) – President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended the Inaugural Prayer Ceremony Thursday morning, a tradition that dates back to George Washington’s first inauguration. This year, a transgender pastor from Colorado was invited to take part.
The Reverend Dr. Paula Stone Williams worked on the Biden campaign and his faith-based initiatives. She was invited to be part of the program that featured remarks from religious leaders from around the country, representing all walks of life.
Stone Williams said, “To me, it was a beautiful service to have so many different expressions of spirituality, all so tightly presented. This had beautiful expressions of faith, from the Navajo Nations, Islam, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, and various types of Christians. To see, that kind of unity, that kind of focus on peace, that kind of focus on love and the fact that we’re all in this together, it was such a refreshing message.”
Stone Williams is the pastor of Lefthand Church in Longmont. She has shared her story of transitioning from a man to a woman with millions on Ted Talks.
“This was just a special moment, it was quite the opportunity. I think there were five of us participating who are part of the LGBTQ community and after what we’ve had over the last four years in our case, particularly if you are transgender as I am, it’s just such a sigh of relief to no longer be in an environment that is actively trying suppress our civil rights,” Stone Williams said.
This year, the interfaith service was done virtually.
“My portion was taped, we taped last Saturday morning,” Stone Williams said. “Initially the thought was it would be at the National Cathedral, and while half of me was a little afraid to be in Washington, the other half was looking forward to meeting the president and vice president live, but they decided to do it as a virtual event.”
She acknowledges this was an opportunity to reach even more people. “To see so many Americans from so many different perspectives united together with their own understanding, but all wanting to work together for unity, for the betterment of this nation, that to me was just a wonderful experience,” Stone Williams said.
“You know I love doing the corporate speaking but this, oh my. I love this nation and I feel give peace a chance. Those of who had such a hard time with each other, if we could just get into each other’s presence, I think it’s proximity and narrative that will bring us together,” she said.
Stone Williams has been invited to serve on Biden’s LGBTQ faith-based leadership committee. She is also writing a memoir.