What started as a safe space in a time of liberation and revolution has grown into a worldwide spiritual hub for the LGBT community.
Sunshine Cathedral is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Throughout the month of October, they are holding events to reflect on the past and look forward to a bright future.
“It’s amazing to be part of something that came out of the gay rights movement,” Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins said. “In 1974 it was us and part of that time when liberation was in the air and movements were started. We’re from the early days of that time and still here.”
Much of their growth has come in the past couple of years. The COVID crisis brought on a fresh wave of creativity. Since many couldn’t come to service at the Cathedral, Rev. Watkins and his staff brought services to them. They’ve gone from a few hundred attending on Sundays to tens of thousands watching from around the world online.
They also added a quick, mid-day prayer as a way to help isolated people feel connected. Rev. Dr. Anne Atwell, Sunshine’s Minister of Connections, believes this is just the beginning. “I’m most looking forward to seeing how this Connections Ministry is going to grow. We’ve discovered new things with the virtual outreach.”
As they have since their founding, they host many community meetings, and have added studios for Queer News Tonight and It’s Happening Out.
Sunshine Cathedral initially planned a year-long Golden Anniversary celebration. The pandemic forced many events to be scaled back or canceled. But, the shows will go on in October.
Sunday, Oct. 3, is the 50th Anniversary Concert featuring New Directions Chamber Winds Fall 2021 concert, Triumph and Celebration.
The Anniversary Gala is scheduled for Oct. 9. They’ll host the Anniversary Community Concert on Oct. 16, featuring members of the Sunshine Cathedral Choir, Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, Nova Singers, and Opera Fusion.
Sunshine Cathedral ministers to people of all faiths and denominations without expectation or judgment.
“That’s what I love,” Rev. Watkins said. “We’re not telling you what spirituality has to look like. We’re inviting you to bring your spirituality in and then we’ll see what ours looks like once you add yours to the mix.”
Sunshine Cathedral is located at 1480 SW 9th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit SunshineCathedral.org/Celebrating-50-Years.