I WAS excited to learn about the recent launch of a new website for LGBT+ people of faith (you can check it out at www.inclusivefaith.lgbt). This new resource seeks to bring together stories, talks, courses, news and events, as well as signposting our LGBT+ Christians to inclusive faith groups.
Recently, one of the founders, Kirsten Kearney, featured on BBC Talkback. She not only talked about the website, but also shared a very moving story about her father. When I stepped into ministry life over twenty years ago, I continually met people from our LGBT+ community who shared their many heart-breaking stories and experiences of how the church treated them. This eventually led to a few of us setting up Spectrum: a space for LGBT+ people of faith.
I served as part of this team for four years and it was an honour to meet and journey with so many fabulous people. It is encouraging to hear from the faith leaders who are stepping up and speaking out for the full inclusion of our LGBT+ community within our churches. It is important that we continue to champion:
•Love over hate
•Inclusion over exclusion
•Acceptance over rejection
•Equality over inequality.
Sadly, the church appears to be lagging behind on this. No-one should be made to feel ashamed, excluded or dismissed because of who they truly are. Yes, we are going to differ in our theology, but we must be determined to always err on the side of love, grace and acceptance, especially in the midst of our disagreements.
I believe everyone is loved by God, and we the church should not deny the inclusion of our LGBT+ community or their right (with our blessing) to be married. I have said many times that we need to deal with the toxic theology that not only excludes but also damages precious people.
As faith leaders, we cannot sit at tables where injustice – whether it be gender/LGBT+/racial eot whatever – are present. Jesus would be flipping those tables. It's time for change. It's over to us!