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(For context first read Hillsong’s ‘Do I love gay people?’)115e57df85fbff6 (2)

I love and care about all people. No matter what their beliefs, ethics, or lifestyles. It concerns me that so many in the Christian Church can be quick to judge others that are different from themselves, that don’t fit into the categories I’d like them to.

I try to live by my own Christian convictions and for this reason hold true on the thought that breeders are not God’s ideal. I believe that God’s word is clear on the straight lifestyle,  that relationships should only be between those of the same sex. Millions of children are abused, orphaned, or put through a tragic childhood because of this excessive breeding.

Our Church welcomes ALL people, but of course, we cannot support all ways of life. If I’m to be frank, we do not support a breeding lifestyle and as a consequence of this, we cannot allow breeders within the leadership of our Church.
I understand that this may be upsetting, but this just highlights what a difficult issue breeders are for the worldwide Church, and again to be frank, it’s causing me a bit of inconvenience too!

I love all people and if I were to work with a breeder I would love them in the same way that I would love anyone else. Everyone is entitled to follow what they believe to be right. I could totally disagree with the way you live, and I will always tell you how wrong you are according to my personal convictions, but at the end of the day, it’s your choice. Rather you than me! After all God created us with free will!

I think we have moved too quickly in allowing breeders to be active, but how does this affect our Church? I believe we can continue in our ministry as long as we are not forced to take part in your debauchery or pair you together in marriage.
Breeders marriage is already legal in many places, and we are still here, we will not surrender.

Everyone is welcome at our Church, oh, apart from those who don’t quite fit into our safe boxes. Then maybe not.
Unless of course we like them…then maybe.

So, if you’re a breeder are you welcome? YES! You can come along, meet us, socialise with us, reap all the benefits of being part of a Church congregation. But (this is where is gets awkward) we will not allow you to lead in anything in our Church. Let’s face it, if you’re a breeder it’s not as though you have anything to offer!
Some may see this as being duplicitous, but we are a breeder welcoming Church, but do not want breeders involved in the Church.

I began this sermon by stating “I love and care about all people”. My friend and I were in a lift with a man dressed as a Native American. We had a brief conversation, he gave us a huge smile, which I interpreted as the spirit of the Lord within him. He left, and we both comment how lovely he was. Does that mean I agree with his lifestyle? No! Of course not – but I can’t not talk to him can I?!

I love people yes, and I have breeder friends. Jesus hung out with all sorts of people.  He gave strength to the weak and took it away from those that were up their own arse. He would do the same if he came back to earth today. While on earth he dealt with the social issues like breeding we unfortunately have to deal with today. I pray for the Lord to return and smite all those who I don’t quite agree with.

If He had wanted to kick the world into gear he would have sent a strong man to do that, but he didn’t, he wanted to save the world (mainly from breeders) so he sent one that didn’t breed.

Love (I think…)

Lucy

(N.B. This is of course a tongue in cheek response to Hillsong's blog. I really do try my best to truly love all whoever they are.)

 

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So yet again, like so many other times social media is up in arms over a comment from a seemingly homophobic Christian. The difference being, for me, this time it’s a vicar in Hull. It’s a vicar I know of, that knows of me, and has accused me of ‘affirming genital expression’ by setting up our fellowship group, whatever the hell that is!

You can find the artmelvinicle on Pink News here. It reports that Rev Tinker (in a questionable purple shirt) was responding to a decision by Canon Smith of York Minister to bless the pride parade this weekend. Rev Tinker apparently responded by suggesting that the Church should therefore welcome those who are ‘doing wrong’ such as serial adulterers, and people engaged with paedophilia.
And there we have it, the classical ill informed, ultra conservative view of homosexuality being linked with the likes of active paedophilia. Marvellous.

This gets me, more than anything, because quite rightly people will assume that this is the view of Christians, when actually, although we have a long way to go, that’s not actually the view of people in the pews, and dare I say it probably isn’t the view of the people that sit in his pews!
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I’m not sure whether Rev Tinker is aware as yet, but Pride in Hull is happening on 18th July. Our LGBT Christian Fellowship group are going to be there with ‘Christians at Pride’ t-shirts on, a 12ft Jesus coming all the way from Blackpool courtesy of Liberty Church Blackpool along with glow in the dark wristbands, sweets & stickers.
We’re going to be there all day, from the parade to having drinks in the club afterwards, making sure that everyone who comes along whether young, old, gay, straight, bi, trans*, male, female, neutral, pet lover, single, childless or hundreds of children knows they are fearfully and wonderfully made.
That they were made in the image of God and that he does NOT make mistakes.

Rev Tinker is entitled to his opinion, and I respect it, however I will not stay quiet and let him portray the God I know and love to be a God of hate and discrimination.

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I found myself in a bit of a reflective mood this weekend, both on what has been and also on what is to come – if you can ‘reflect’ on the future!
It was a year ago that I laid in bed, on a Saturday morning, scrolling through Twitter and Facebook expecting to send a few tweets, reply to a few messages and get up. How wrong was I!?
Those of you that also did similar will know it’s a year ago since the House of Bishops guidelines on same sex marriage where released. Yes that’s right, the CofE could barely wait until Valentine ’s Day was over to piss on our love fuelled bonfires.
I woke up that morning and realised I was part of an organisation that didn't accept, acknowledge nor want my love for another human being.

But, onwards and upwards, and as Aaliyah sings you've got to ‘Dust yourself off and try again’. I guess that’s what I've been trying to do, sometimes well, and sometimes not so well!
As well as being reminded of that statement, the shared conversations process that the Church of England are about to embark on has also been at the forefront of my mind. (Sad – I know!)
To fill you in, you can read all about the official stance here, however my take on it is, this is the Church’s way of dealing with the ever growing elephant in the room. We’re going to talk about it. The key question being 'Given the significant changes in our culture in relation to human sexuality, how should the Church respond?'
So (I’ll keep it brief) over the next year there will be 13 conversations of between 3-5 dioceses grouped together. Out of each diocese the Bishop will chose who should be selected to participate. The caveats being, there should be 50/50 lay & clergy, 50/50 male & female, 25% under 40 and a minimum of 2 openly LGBT+ people.

I've found myself defending the process, mainly to others in the LGBT Christian community and it’s made me question myself. Given the differences in the Church on this subject, how do we move forward together? At what point will I sit back and think our work here is done?
I think the answer to the latter is unfortunately never! No matter what happens with legislation there will (certainly in my lifetime) always be attitudes to change, just like there still are with women in leadership in the Church. But at the moment one of my main problems is that we cannot marry in the Church of England, it is illegal for a vicar to marry two people of the same sex in a Church of England Church.
It may sound simple, and I’m still thinking it through, but I think I’d be happy if legislation was changed so that vicars who wanted to marry same sex couples, in their Church could. And clergy that wanted to marry their partner in Church could. That’s it.
I don’t want to force anyone who doesn't believe it is right, to have to do it, simple.
In trying to look at it from a different angle, maybe those who disagree feel they couldn't inhabit a Church that welcomed same sex marriage, but I feel I could. Surely God’s love is big enough and strong enough to hold both sides together?

Being reminded this weekend of those guidelines, which hurt and shaped quite a large chunk of my life this past year, along with the anticipation of the shared conversations brings mixed feelings.
I want to do this, I believe it’s a good idea, and even if there is no planned outcome, we need to talk about this, it’s not just going to disappear into thin air. But at the same time I’m scared that I’m going to get hurt again. I recently finished reading Richard Coles’ book and in there he writes

“I love the Church of England. But it is not wise to love organisations because they do not love you back. They do what organisations do, sometimes close ranks, lie, betray, disappoint, take you out at dawn and shoot you.”

Part of me, as much as I don’t want to admit it loves the Church of England, but I need to remember to refocus that love, on God. I will get hurt by the Church again, but I need to remember throughout this shared conversations process, whether I am directly part of it or not, that I stay focused on Him. I do what I do for Him and that although I may not agree with some people’s opinions I need to try my best to hold them in the same love that God holds me. Maybe then we can move forward, together.

Lucy x

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Sometimes it really gets me. You know when you read or hear something and it gives you that ‘kick in the stomach feeling’ and all of a sudden you just want to cry and ask why? Well that happened yesterday.

So the back story, a few of us, some regular congregation members, some not, have been going to a Church in Hull occasionally while they discuss and explore the subject of sexuality. This came about, when we wanted to display an LGBT Christian Fellowship poster, it was put up, taken down, put back up etc. This prompted the Church to think about where they stand when it comes to sexuality and related issues.
So I of course offered our help and support as they go through this process, however they decide to approach it. The thought and effort they went to was brilliant, and it really touched us as a family. There are many Churches who just sweep this under the carpet, they were tackling it head on, and I’m so proud! I went along and told them how I came out, how I came to terms with it, offered them the chance to ask me /my parents any questions they wished. We respected the views of others when they disagreed, and stressed how important it was to talk about this honestly, whatever that meant.

This is the Church I grew up in for the first 13 years of my life, my birth was announced from the pulpit the very same morning I was born. My mum grew up there, my grandparents both went there, my parents were married there, both mine and my sister’s thanksgivings where held there, my baptism and many other Sundays spent in between. We’ve always tried to go back and keep in touch since we ‘left’ so it’s safe to say this Church, the congregation and its journey forward, means a lot to us.

It all boiled down to their Church Council meeting, and a case of voting as to whether they feel they can display our (LGBT Fellowship) information.
I was informed yesterday they had decisively voted against.

You’d think by now, it’d be like water of a ducks back, I’ve been here, in similar situations plenty of times before, but sometimes you just can’t help but take it personally, and it hurts.
I’m not in any way annoyed with them for selfish reasons, and while some of the pain is for myself, because I feel so tied to this community, a lot of it is for others, and for the effects this decision could have.
There are quite a few that go to the Church that have LGBT relatives, how does this make them feel? What message does it give to those relatives? What about those who will come to the Church for maybe a wedding, funeral or baptism and sit in the pews thinking that God isn’t for them because they’re gay? Those that will sit wondering who they can talk to about this problem? What to do next? Whether they can even carry on?
I’ve never asked any Church to start flying rainbow flags (although it’d be nice) from the rooftops, only to discuss it, think about it, and provide the congregation with the relevant information to do that. In this case, I believe displaying posters for our LGBT Fellowship and open events is doing just that.

I’ve written this from my heart, not my head, so in places it may not make perfect sense. I feel better than I did yesterday, but it’s still pretty raw for me. Maybe I’m being over dramatic, over sensitive but I’ve come to the conclusion recently that actually, sometimes, it’s okay not to be okay.
I so often think I’m invincible, and it's hits like these that make me realise I’m not!

We’re planning to go along to their service on Sunday morning, it’s a little bittersweet and I’m sure I’ll feel more stable by then! Just because they’ve decided against for now, doesn’t mean we disappear, all of us are still going to be around, after all we still have a lot of work to do!
I’m a tough cookie, yeah sometimes I fall when I get hit, who doesn’t?! But the important bit it getting back up, and in this case, shaking hands, showing God’s acceptance through our lives and deciding how to move forward together, in love.

So then, a little background, I’m Dana and I’m an LGBT traditionalist Catholic. I started this curious addiction when I converted to Catholicism roughly a decade ago from a middle of the road, vaguely evangelical Anglican background, only complicated by the fact my dad is an Anglican priest. When I converted I had to vow that I agreed with everything the Catholic Church teaches, and at the time I was happy doing so. I thought the logical conclusion of Christian theology and philosophy is Catholicism and shock horror, for the most part, I still do.

Of course back when I converted I was also still very much in denial about my sexuality and gender identity. I was so far in the closet I was eating Turkish delight with a witch. Even the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality, which I no longer agree with, is at least more philosophically coherent than most protestant groups. Perhaps at the time I thought that if I signed on the dotted line the pesky part of me that was transsexual and bisexual would quietly disappear.

Of course it didn’t and like all things that are quietly but brutally suppressed the inconvenient truth will out eventually, but not before it caused me huge psychological damage. Cue the obligatory therapy sessions and pill popping until finally I faced up to the root of the problem.

Joining the LGBT Christian fellowship has been a long time coming and it has been a breath of fresh air to know I am not alone; it’s so invigorating to meet people who have, like me, chosen not to allow homophobia in the Church, institutional or otherwise, to drive us away from Jesus. I will always love the Catholic Church, I love the Mass, I love the Catholic faith. I will never give it up; even if the Church cannot escape this straight jacket it has made for itself on the issue of homosexuality.

My mind is now made up, I am now in favour of gay marriage, my past reluctance to endorse gay marriage was gradually eroded the more loving gay Christian couples I met. I’ve come to the conclusion gay marriage is the only honest response to the romantic love God seems to be giving gay Christian couples.

It never occurred to the early Church that gentiles might become Christians until God gave gentiles the Holy Spirit. Likewise the Church now has to recognise the reality of gay love. Because I knew that a lot of secular people have a warped idea of marriage to begin with it took gay Christian couples to convince me. But now the words “what god has united let no man divide” have an additional depth.

Christianity invented the idea of marriage being about love, but just as Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, so marriage is made for love, not the other way around. When you find gay people with this Christian desire for the sanctity of marriage for their relationship it is eye opening, when you see that they really do genuinely and deeply love one another it takes a certain kind of callousness to grope around for reasons to tell them that their love is not worthy of the Church’s blessing.

The Catholic Church argues against homosexuality by extolling the virtues of the ‘complimentary nature of the sexes’. Love between a man and woman is beautiful and is bountiful in children. But you do not defend straight marriage by attacking gay marriage. You are simply saying “I can have my good thing, but you can’t have yours”. Complementarity of the sexes is truly all well and good, but God also created gay people and straight people, and what if gay love is complementary to straight love?

It seems to me that gay love is a mirror of God’s limitless love for humanity not bound by our human frailties. Maybe Christian homophobes think every time two women or two men kiss a child dies? Well I’ve got good news, there have been gay people since the dawn of time and there are now seven billion humans on the planet.

Actually if straight Christians obey the Catholic Church when it comes to contraception then there will be plenty of sons and daughters to become priests and nuns and there will also be more than enough of us so that the one in ten of us who are gay can be welcomed as joyous addition to humanity and be accepted for who we are in the Church.

I’ve been ruminating a lot on this in my sleep, because on Saturday, for the first time, I went to bed genuinely happy to be queer, I’ve finally realised why ‘Courage’ (The only gay Catholic group endorsed by the Vatican) ceaselessly use the term ‘same sex attraction’ on their website. They cannot use the term gay because for them it would be a lie, they are deeply unhappy to be the people that God created them to be. It does not have to be this way; God calls us to life and life in all its fullness.

The reason I went to sleep happy was I had just been to another fantastic LGBT Christian event and heard Tracey Byrne the ceo of LGCM and the newly minted (Catholic) ceo of Stonewall talk about their work, both spoke simply and powerfully about how right it is that gay people be true to who they are. The theme of the event was Desmond Tutu’s quote “There comes a point where we all need to stop just pulling people out of the river, we need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in” or in the case of gay Christians, why we are being pushed in.

It is within this context that I can begin to look past the psychological hurt done to me by the Church that does not seem to notice it is crucifying its own members on the issue of homosexuality. Remind myself that I am just one person, and that actually there are many more like me, and that whilst keeping my head below the parapet might be a good survival technique I owe it to my gay brothers and sisters in Christ to voice my dissent against the machinery of this institution that really does grind so many of us into paste.

The Catholic Church does not realise how brutally it erases its gay members. It seems to think that insisting gay people never do anything gay is somehow a loving acceptance of gay people. It is not, it is annihilation. The Catholic Church said in the Catechism decades ago now that gay people need to be loved and accepted, but when it comes to what that actually entails it still needs to be educated.
Being gay absolutely is not a ‘cross to bear’, being gay is wonderful, what is a cross to bear is the Church’s small minded refusal to truly accept gay people for who they are and who they love. I am happy because the gay Christians I’ve met are wonderful and from now on I will endeavour to put my head above the parapet for them, I will not be beaten down because now I have other people I can stand up and be counted with and be vociferous in their defence.

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Helen is a regular member of the LGBT Christian fellowship and here she shares her thoughts on yesterday's event. 

"There comes a point where we all need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in". Desmond Tutu.

Ruth Hunt (Chief Executive of Stonewall) & Tracey Byrne (Chief Executive of LGCM), speaking on the same platform, at the Hull & East Yorkshire LGBT Christian Fellowship.

This was a great opportunity to have two important women sharing stories of their faith and how they believe ones sexuality intertwines with religion. I picked up a postcard provided by the LGCM and it states "You don't need to identify as lesbian, gay or Christian to be part of the LGCM (Lesbian, gay Christian movement). You just need to be passionate about love, faith and justice." I believe that's what drew so many people through the doors. Their love for one another, love for God or a belief in a just world where people can be who they were born to be.

Both speakers mentioned education. Whether this was in the form of educating young children, to celebrate difference and challenge homophobic behaviour or by means of re-informing and initiating discourse with those who have their minds firmly set towards one particular viewpoint.

Engaging in discussion and allowing people to process their beliefs, their faith and their sexuality is a positive way to move forward. This open meeting held by the Hull & East Yorkshire LGBT Christian Fellowship allowed for open discussion, the asking of questions and certainly gave everyone 'food for thought' whatever their background.

Helen x

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So I haven’t ‘blogged’ for ages, and I hoping this may be a little different to others. Mainly because I don’t want to convey my opinion too much, but more bring to your attention the opinions of others.

If you know me, have me as a ‘friend’ on Facebook or follow me, you may have picked up over the last few months that I am well and truly against outing and this week the subject of outing Bishops has yet again reared its ugly head. Now I’ve already written an article for Vada about this a few months ago, and I have made my feeling very clear across the board, so I’m not going to harp on about that. However with it being hot LGBT news at the moment, Pink News has published a few articles, which can be found below.

Peter Tatchell Article - 24th July 2014
Peter Tatchell Article - 3rd October 2014

I’m not going to beat around the bush (pardon the expression), it’s the comments I want to talk about. You can have a look for yourself but I’ll quote a few that really struck a chord with me.

“I say out them, expose them for the hypocrites that they are and bring their churches tumbling down around them.”

“Let’s show the world just how hypocritical the churches are and let’s take away their power”

“If there was a mechanism to effectively ban religion then I would advocate it.” 

“Education, human rights, and growing affluence are all we need”

“Name them. Shame them. Show them the same mercy that Christianity has given us during the past 2,000 years....”

“Everyone goes along with the hypocrisy and two-facedness. That's just life in the Church of England
So do us all a favour and thrust a little bit of honesty upon the Church”

Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of sensible comments there, and I’m well aware I may have taken the above out of context, or read them wrong myself, however, with Pink News being a secular LGBT site, we get a glimpse into what it’s like looking from the outside in.
I don’t know about anyone else but it makes me scream the question what on earth are we doing?! How is this spreading God’s wonderful, unfathomable, unconditional love?

The Church is becoming more known for what it is against, than what it is for. Recognised more for its flaws, rather than its benefits, and that really does break my heart.
I’m not pinning the blame on anyone, neither am I professing I know all the answers, but we have, we are, and I’m reasonably sure we will continue to mess things up, big style.
As a Church, we get things wrong, and reading through the comments, some of them I agree with, but I feel we’re so focussed on what is going on internally that sometimes I feel we are blind to what goes on outside the Church walls. What people think of us, as Christians.

Helping to head up the LGBT Fellowship I find myself going along to lots of secular LGBT meetings, and therefore meeting a lot of new people. Sometimes they’re are incredibly welcoming, other times I can sense the tension because they know I’m a Christian and they’re trying to figure out whether I’m there to heal them!
But every time, before the F word slips out, I agree to go to the pub, or talk about sex, I wonder, what opinion do you have of me because I’m a Christian?
Is it that of love, forgiveness, and welcome? Or is it that of hypocriticalness, homophobia and judgement?

Whatever our sexuality, our beliefs, our theology, we are Christians and in that our aim is to model our life on Jesus. “Love one another. As I have loved you.”

I think many of us as LGBT Christians at some point have been asked 'that' question. Why, if you're working for acceptance in the Christian community do you run exclusive events or meetings? 
Here, one of our members Fi, gives us her perspective on that question. 

We’ve been asked quite a few times recently about whether our groups are open to those who don’t define themselves as LGBT+. We are aware of the irony of running a group exclusive to LGBT people while focusing on churches becoming inclusive of us. But I hope I can persuade you that it’s not so much a decision we’ve made about the group, but more a decision that’s been made for us.

1) I am sure you are a lovely person. I’m sure whether you agree or disagree with our beliefs you would still be polite and loving. Sadly, we are surrounded by those who want to use their conservative beliefs to bring us down, to destroy what we are doing and to brand us as the filth at the bottom of the Christian barrel.
Check out twitter if you find this hard to believe, but the threat we perceive is also very real from people who live physically close to us. We can’t yet trust that with open doors we won’t find those people turning up to cause trouble. We had a community support officer at our last open meeting because the perceived threat is very real. There are people out there who really don’t like what we are doing. If the backlash ever dies down then we will be in a far better position to be open to anyone. In the meantime, if you are that lovely (straight) person who genuinely wants to be involved in our group and is put out that you’re ‘not welcome’ then have a word with your not-so-loving peers.
Once we can trust open doors won’t put our members at risk, we could think about opening them. It needs to be safe space for LGBT people.

2) Life looks very different through the eyes of an LGBT person. If we aren’t listening to the House of Lords debating our right to marriage, we’re hearing schoolchildren deride each other with the word gay, all whilst hearing our Christian friends discuss why you can’t be a 'gay Christian'. We get kicked out of churches, we get shouted at on the street by strangers, we wake up every morning facing the fact that we are caught in this endless supposed dichotomy of being LGBT and people of faith. For some of our members, we deal with all that pretty well, for others it’s a daily battle. But we all have in common those moments of fear, disheartenment, worry, sadness and insecurities about our position as gay people in society, let alone the church.
Don’t get me wrong, our meetings aren’t sobfests of self-pity but we meet together with an unspoken solidarity. We provide uninhibited support for each other and, in my opinion, that’s what makes the group special to me. I go to the group knowing I am going to spend two hours of my life away from all the chaotic and hurtful debates and drama that I face in my daily life. It’s like a quick regroup before going back to the daily grind.

3) We meet with the purpose of enjoying fellowship with other LGBT Christians. As mentioned, this can include support in dark times. It can also mean chatting about your family life without the shifty glances and awkwardness of people who don’t fully understand same-sex relationships. It can be drinking tea and coffee with a cake, feeling like a ‘normal’ person in the middle of a week of feeling like a case study. It is a time of encouraging one another, welcoming one another, getting to know each others’ stories etc.  Within our monthly gatherings, we have no intention of educating straight people about being an LGBT Christian (although there are separate resources for this and we look to educate churches and the community, just outside of the monthly gatherings). We aren’t there to persuade people of any opinion, or to be in an LGBT Christian fish tank for others to come and observe us. Basically, we aren’t meeting to cater for the interests or needs of straight people. We just want those 2 hours every month where we can be in fellowship which is 100% LGBT+ and 100% safe.

4) You probably know an LGBT Christian who is out as an illuminated exit sign, happy to talk at length (at any opportunity!) about faith and sexuality… if you don’t know such a Christian then I am happy to provide my services! But whether someone is fully out as I am, or still entirely private about their sexuality, we are all on that same road. We all started at the same point of realisation and all face that journey of reconciliation. As a group, we are able to support one another in that journey as we’ve all been there to some extent. For some of us ‘there’ is a very terrifying part of the journey where we aren’t ready for the world to know about our sexuality and coming out can involve all sorts of risks. Our group is great for those who are happy to sing and shout about being LGBT but it is also great for those who come along completely and utterly incognito.
By having open meetings, we would jeopardise the safety of those who aren’t ready, or simply don’t want to come out.

5) Although we are ‘exclusively LGBT+’ this includes a massive spectrum. We’re talking people who might have an inkling they aren’t completely straight and need a space to explore that, all the way to those who have known they are gay for years. We’re open to non- Christians who may be gay and exploring faith (as long as they can put up with the meetings being overtly Christian!) as it is important to be a welcoming place of faith for everyone. So many have only every experienced non-welcoming churches and Christians.
So we are exclusive in a respect but wide open for anyone who needs to come and share our safe space. If you identify as a straight Christian and you want to come along because, for whatever reason, you need the safe space that we provide then contact any of our members. We do run a parents group as well where parents of LGBT people can enjoy fellowship and we're constantly looking into having other types of support for straight people who need it due to LGBT issues.

6) Although we need to be a discreet group, we are far from looking to run a secret group. We are open about what topics we discuss, when we meet, a lot of us are openly members and we are happy to advertise on social media and through our website. We have no hidden agendas. Anyone with any questions about the group, LGBT Christians etc are so welcome to contact us about it. We are as open as we possibly can be, without jeopardising group safety.

We will be running open events, such as our successful event with Rachel Mann guest speaking recently, hopefully at least twice a year. We are open to further email/twitter/facebook discussions. We will consider holding an event for friends and family of our members. We're working with local churches to help them become more welcoming to LGBT Christians as well as working within the LGBT community to repair any damage that has been done. And we hope to produce some resources for groups who want to engage in LGBT issues.

We are doing all we can to be as open, honest and supportive of those outside the group as we can be. A lot of our members are really passionate about getting out there and making a difference. But we can’t do any of that without having our small amount of time every month where we can gather in complete and utter safety and receive the fellowship we need to be able to support others and make a difference.

Fi x

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Lent has been an interesting one for me this year. I usually like to give something up that’s a real challenge and this year I decided to go veggie for lent. So no meat, fish, chicken, or anything with traces of meat in, which unfortunately for me rules out lots of lovely chewy sweets! It’s definitely one of the hardest years I’ve done, and it’s not necessarily the taste I’ve missed, it’s more the texture, which sounds bizarre!

Anyway I digress! We’re also still in our first year of LGBT Christian Fellowship being up and running, although the idea was there for quite a while before I actually did anything! We’re in the last few weeks before our first event on Saturday 26th April, which is open to all. I’ve said so many times before; it’s like fighting two corners. Trying to let the LGBT community know that God does love them and not all Christians are anti-gay, and trying to show the Christian community that being gay/trans/whatever is perfectly ok!

Being a Christian, lent is the time when you’re supposed to be all reflective, it doesn’t always happen for me, but this year it has a little. Stereotypically I’ve been thinking about sacrifice, the most obvious sacrifice for me during lent was giving up meat, but I’ve also been thinking about it in terms of being gay and Christian as well (shock horror!)
I seem, over the past few months to be having a similar conversation with quite a few different people, which is hard to describe in a sentence, but I guess ultimately What if God doesn't agree with me being gay?

Now I realise that opens up a huge can of worms, with lots of consequential questions, but it is something I personally have been thinking about a lot. Not in the same way as when I was coming to terms with being gay, and coming out, but more from the perspective of where my priorities lie. Is God number one in my life? Or is my sexuality?

I guess this can happen to anyone, whatever cause they are fighting for, and I don’t know if anyone else has experienced similar (and I’d love to hear about it if you have) but it sometimes feels like the cause can take over more that the reason you’re fighting. I’m not sure if that makes sense so let me try and explain a little. I am so used to talking about being gay, and how that intertwines with my faith, that sometimes it feels like I am gay, before I am Christian, and I guess therefore putting my sexuality before God.

Now don’t worry (or don’t get too excited depending on which angle you’re reading this) I’m not about to say being gay is wrong, but it has made me think more about my personal relationship with God. As I’ve said in other blogs, and in person, I truly believe that God did not make any mistakes regarding my sexuality, and, that being a part of LGBT Christian affirming groups is my calling at the moment but I have been thinking what if? What if in the same way God has affirmed my sexuality he told me he didn’t want me to act on it? That he wanted me to marry a guy? That he wanted me to stand up and fight the opposite cause? What would I do?
I would do it. And although that is hard to say, and believe me I haven’t taken this lightly, I would. God is number one in my life. I trust in him completely, I wouldn’t understand it, and I would probably fight against it for quite a while, but I think I would eventually trust he knew what he was doing, and follow him.

I don’t currently have any of the above feelings or convictions, so for now I’m going to continue being a ‘raving homosexual’ but it has been important for me to think about this, and I believe I haven’t just had the same conversation with different people by coincidence, this is something God wanted me to think about as well. I guess maybe to reinforce that he is still number one.

I think I probably need to make clear that I don’t believe God will ask that of me, celibacy is a different question; however I believe God creates your sexuality perfectly in the same way he does the colour of your eyes, skin, hair, and your personality and that isn’t something that is changeable. You can supress it yes, but you cannot change it, and he does not want you to change it.

I spend a lot of time up and down the M62, and that’s where I spend most of my time thinking, praying and worshiping as well! I’ll leave you with a song lyric that has really stood out to me over the past few months, it’s from a song called ‘Be Exalted’ by a guy called Ben Cantelon (listen below)

“Be exalted, be exalted, in my life above all else, be lifted up
be exalted, be exalted, you are Lord and no one else, be lifted up”
 

Lucy x

I sit here, in my room, knowing I am sat on the edge of history. Equal marriage eve. Tomorrow same sex couples can finally get married. At last, this is what we’ve waited for, for so long.

I remember being sat here on 5th Feb last year watching BBC parliament (one of the few times, I have to admit!) waiting for the votes to come in as to whether the equal marriage bill would pass one of it’s first hurdles, obviously it did and here I sit again, knowing tomorrow it comes into force.

I’m a feelings person, I will talk about how I feel until the cows come home, but this stirs something different, I can’t put those feelings into words. If I force myself too, maybe thankfulness or relief come to mind! Most of all, I have this feeling in my heart, of passion which, over the last year or so I have come to recognise quite often. Although we now have equal marriage rights in the eyes of the law, there is still a long way to go when it comes to changing people’s attitudes.

It is still illegal to get married within a Church of England, which means I cannot get married in the Church I have grown up in, don’t get me wrong I am absolutely over the moon that equal marriage is now legal, and I’ll be celebrating, but it does come with a slight sting, for me anyway.
As Stonewall’s new slogan ‘Lots to do’ says, there is still plenty of work to be done. I still find myself with my head in my hands listening to Christians on the tv, radio, and through blogs, and articles stating marriage should be between one woman and one man, that homosexual relations are sinful, and that a gay marriage just “isn’t the same”.

My absolute dream is to one day walk down the aisle of my home Church, with a woman I love having being married by a Church of England vicar. I firmly believe and hope that, one day that’ll happen. Until then, I’ll be using that passion to make sure I do everything I can to make that a reality, for me, and for many others.

Lucy x