Church and LGBTI

The Dean of Newcastle has signed a letter asking the Church of England to repent for discrimination against gay and lesbian Christians.

The letter that that has been written by the two leading archbishops in the Church of England. It asked for repentance and acknowledgement that the church has for too long seen those in the LGBTI community as second-class sinners.

Having been a member of the Church of England for over a decade I didn’t feel right at all that I could be open with the people who surrounded me. It was bad enough growing up in the eighties with the stigma of HIV and AIDS that still exists to this day. I cannot remember in the early days the subject of human sexuality being discussed at all in the church I attended. It wasn’t something that they were ready to discuss.

It is right for both Archbishops to acknowledge where the church has failed people but it is also up to the church to recognise that there are still within it’s walls those people who outrightly condemn same-sex relationships. The Rev’d David Holloway is a good example of someone still preaching that the scriptures specify that homosexuality is a grave sin. He works with the diocese of Newcastle and I am sure would have something to say about the Dean’s signature on such letter.

It is only when such people acknowledge and apologise for the continuing harm he is directly causing the LGBTI community. Parts of the church of England stretch across many continents and especially those in developing countries that have appalling human rights issues regarding the gay communities that are supposed minister too.

My faith died decades ago. It is replaced by rational thought. This means that I treat all human beings with equality. Regardless of their gender, race, and sexuality. The horrible and trite phrase that is often used that the sinner is somehow separated from the sin and therefore we condemn only the action but not the person themselves is utter crap. I am proud of who I am and I am not going curtail this for anyone. It is an intrinsic part of who I am and I believe made me a better person for realising how easy it is to be judgemental on things of which we may not understand.

There are people who have remained within the CofE whilst still in LGBTI relationships. Many in the clergy are gay and lesbian but in fear of being truthful and losing one’s position within the community.

I have good friends who have no issue with my sexuality and regularly attend church. They have been good examples of what the archbishops have called upon to do and is love those who are in any community whether it be gay or straight.

I acknowledge that some do not hold the same caring attitude but until those people have changed/repented (which also means moving away from their sin to which they are repenting) the church will continue to decline and be replaced by a smaller community of believers.

Faith and accessibility 

It has been a strange day. I went to a funeral service for a neighbour of mums who had passed away a few weeks before. I went instead of mum as it’s more difficult for her to be at these sort of events.

Mums neighbour was a devoted catholic and the local church is just on the end of my estate. A short walk to the place and so I was on time.

Entering the church was strange. No one to greet you or tell you where to sit. No one giving you a hymn book and the specially made ‘order of service’ had all been taken.

The service was rather alarming started by a clanging of a bell but I was baffled at the texts and responses both mumbled by the priest and the congregation.

“RumpletumpleJennyAguttertoo”. The priest said. The congregation replied “Lalatittletattlelemonypledge”. I was rather confused at what and where if at all I should be saying anything.

There was a lot of signing and genuflecting. I didn’t want to try and join in not for the lack of faith but looking like a dislexic sign language interpreter.

It become apparent that if you weren’t a part of the church or a had experience of the Catholic mass you were going to be at a loss.  It felt sad that I just didn’t feel a part of the service. No welcome and no explanation of what or when things took place.

My knowledge of religion and experience of places of worship has been varied. I would have thought someone coming into this environment would be overwhelmed to say the least.

Accessibility and faith should be a priority. Those who don’t practice both will alienate even more to come.