The idea for the colorful addition to church service came from Courtney Perry, a photographer who served the bread at her symbolic wedding ceremony in 2011. (She and her spouse didn’t marry legally in solidarity with their LGBT friends who are still denied that right.) Rev. Jay Bakker, the church’s head pastor, found the idea symbolic and fun.
“So many people have been hurt by the church and by Christianity,” Bakker told the News. “But this was a beautiful moment.”
Bakker describes his church as “pretty liberal” on social issues. Congregants in Minneapolis meet at a theater space with a bar and a bowling alley; the New York chapter of the church meets at a bar in Brooklyn. It’s friendlier and more neutral than traditional places of worship, and that’s how he wants members to see the church.
Bakker said he’s received plenty of backlash from conservative social media users after news about his rainbow communion bread spread online.
“They’ve missed out on the higher message of the Bible and who Jesus is and what he did,” Bakker said in response to those negative comments. “They’ve become victims of tradition.”
It’s refreshing to see more and more religious groups that aren’t so much about religion, per se, but about sticking together in the face of adversity perpetuated by others under the guise of “God’s will.” A little rainbow bread goes a long way.