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VIDEO: St. Paul's Cathedral and Hillcrest History Guild to get Pride's Stonewall Service Awards

SAN DIEGO -- Nine individuals or groups will be honored this year by San Diego LGBT Pride.

The Pride board annually recognizes individuals and organizations for their activism and notable contributions made to the LGBT community during the preceding year or for extended periods of time.

This year’s awardees will be honored at Pride’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally at 6 p.m. Friday, July 16, at Marston Point in Balboa Park.

The outdoor rally marks the start of San Diego Pride weekend, which continues with a mile-long parade starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 17, through the heart of Hillcrest. The two-day festival in the park featuring the legendary Devo and other headline entertainment will be on Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.

This week, San Diego Gay & Lesbian News is saluting the winners by category.

Stonewall Service Awards

These awards go to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Hillcrest History Guild.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

In 1885, the parish took the name of St. Paul’s, but the church as been a part of San Diego since 1853. It has stimulated the creation of a number of new church communities, including St. Matthew's in National City and All Saints in Hillcrest and St. Dunstan's in San Diego.

In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II, who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and Prince Philip visited St. Paul's as part of their official tour of California.

St. Paul's is a place that truly welcomes everyone to God's table and thoughtfully engages its members in the critical issues of social justice facing our world.

"Although we are an Episcopal/Anglican Cathedral, we have a Rabbi-in-Residence, our Bible classes are taught by a Lutheran, our Preacher-in-Residence is a Methodist, our Hispanic Mass is led by a former Roman Catholic and our congregation is made up of everyone in between and then some," said Chris Harris, St. Paul’s canon for congregational development.

Since hosting the first national convention on the West Coast in the early 1980s calling for LGBT rights within the Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral has visibly campaigned against Proposition 8 and enlisted its priests and clergy to go door to door in spreading a message of equality.

Additionally, St. Paul's participates in the annual Pride parade, something Harris says he looks forward to the most.

"We have had so many members of the cathedral, including myself, tell us that they came to St. Paul’s because they saw our 'sea of purple' in the parade," Harris said. "It’s an opportunity to show the more than 150,000 onlookers, that there are indeed mainstream, traditional Christian churches out there committed to social justice and the belief that God made all of us, just as we are, as beautiful gifts to the world."

The cathedral has also openly denounced hate crimes and false claims made by leaders of the “ex-gay” movement in their attempts to turn LGBT individuals “straight.” The cathedral serves as a beacon for tolerance, welcoming people of every faith regardless of their sexuality.

"It’s another opportunity to show the LGBT community that contrary to what we so often see in the media, there are many significant faith communities that affirm LGBT people as equally beloved children of God. Period. No exceptions, no qualifications,"Harris said of Stonewall Service Award. "St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in San Diego, tracing its roots to the 1850s and we are proud to proclaim: Whoever you are, wherever you find yourself on the journey of life and faith, you are welcome here!"

Below, footage of St. Paul's Cathderal in the 2009 Pride parade, where they had the largest contingent with nearly 100 Parishioners, clergy and friends walking.

St. Paul's Cathedral welcomes everyone to walk with them at this year's Pride parade. For details contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or harrisc@stpaulcathedral.org

Hillcrest History Guild

The virtual online museum that is the Hillcrest History Guild (HHG) captures the rich and colorful history of a neighborhood that sits at the core of San Diego’s LGBT community.

Since its launch in 2005 by Hillcrest residents Nancy Moors and Ann Garwood, the couple have collected and uploaded a plethora of photographs, videos and stories that showcase the neighborhood’s fascinating evolution.

Moors is a San Diego native and Garwood, who was Ms. Gay San Diego Pride in 1985, has been a part of the community since 1981. Both women are actively involved in the community in various organizations such as the Hillcrest Business Association, the Hillcrest Town Council and the Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition.

They first came together in 2002 to create the first edition of "HillQuest, an Urban Guide to 92103."

Moors and Garwood both agree that what they love most about history is Hillcrest itself.

"It’s a great neighborhood that we’re lucky enough to call home," Moors said. "In 2007 it was honored by the American Planning Association as one of the top 10 neighborhoods in the nation."

"This community has such a rich story, but the past is slipping away," Garwood said. "Many of our historic buildings have been demolished, some illegally, and we want to save what we can and chronicle the rest if our history is to survive."

The guild is preserving what they can while honoring the character of Hillcrest and creating awareness of the people and businesses that make up the diverse neighborhood. The volunteer-based organization is still quite young, but has big plans for the next few years. Both women have a passion to share what they learn about the community and document today’s Hillcrest for future generations.

"The beauty of the website is that it’s always open to people worldwide — and has no admission fee. We ask visitors to also share stories and images of their own Hillcrest history," Moors said.

Both women are looking forward to the Pride parade and the colorful energy.

"It’s great having Hillcrest buzzing with excitement as we celebrate our Pride and enjoy the festive weekend. We are also proud that HillQuest is again a sponsor of Pride and look forward to decorating our two electric GEM cars for the parade," Moors said.

"As HHG founders we’re honored to be recognized by the LGBT community for our accomplishments and have the opportunity to outreach for more volunteers who also love our neighborhood’s historic past and web surfers who will enjoy our website and may share their stories or photos," Garwood said.

Offline, the guild has created the Hillcrest Clean T.E.A.M. ((Together Everyone Achieves More), which conducts quarterly cleanups of the neighborhood with the enlisted help of volunteers. The effort extends also to the massive cleanup that takes place on the Monday after Pride weekend. If you are interested in becoming involved and helping to keep Hillcrest clean call (619) 260-1929. Volunteers will receive free orange T-shirts and an "additional dose of community pride."

For more information about San Diego Pride weekend and volunteer opportunities, call (619) 297-7683 or visit www.SanDiegoPride.org.