In the week previous we saw the horrific killings at the Methodist Church in Charleston; tragedy based upon historical deep-seated racial motives; however, from the pit of despair, we then saw amazing forgiveness. These children, shown below, highlight the power of forgiveness and an opening for the murderer.
Then last Friday we heard of a momentous decision by the Supreme Court of America declaring that in all 50 states same-sex marriage (shall we now call it marriage?) is now legal. Sadly many conservatives that then said that the Supreme Court is irrelevant and 'unwrote the laws of nature'. Many Christian groups in the US still quote particular verses suggesting that being LGBTQ is immoral; whilst others are very much more supportive to this community who have been victimised, and many still are persecuted. The Albert Kennedy Trust provide such a valuable support for those who are 25 years or less and are homeless or living in crisis.
So to Saturday: Gay Pride, with all the extremes of dress, the lavishness of expression mixed, entwined, with political debate. The line up for all the groups participating are featured here. It's worth a look. The variety of groups is amazing. Sorry we'll use that description a lot here, it was just one of those days.
What a statement on today's perception of religion -
Christians, Muslims, Jews - all standing together.
Arriving we ventured to the corner of Baker Street and Marylebone Road (above) to see (and hear) and cacophony of colours and myriads of differing groups. If this was a protest, they appeared to have already secured what they wanted! Delighted faces, laughing and full of fun. Diverse Church, a group for those 18-30 year olds who identify as LGB or T and are exploring Christianity, were just one group within an astonishing mixture of Catholic, Jewish and Muslim Pride groups. What a statement on today's perception of religion - Christians, Muslims, Jews - all standing together.
Diverse Church had designed and produced leaflets to give away during the parade. You might tend to think that these would be particularly evangelistic. It certainly may go against what many might expect to receive at Gay Pride. On many occasions we heard people in the crowd shout out "Yay, it's the Christians".
But rather than shout dissent, they clapped, cheered, sang along to the music being played (from a speaker on a trolley!) and waved.
It felt very much like a victory march - not for us who were walking along - for the many who had in the past been vilified and hurt by the Church. Now they could see that the Church wanted to show that the love expressed was unconditional.
Many may still feel that the Bible categorically states that being LGBTQ is wrong - we have received a number of tweets over the past few days stating this.
I wonder whether the God who let his Son die on the Cross, that Jesus were to sacrifice his life for others, and had expressed his love for all, especially those marginalised in the society of the day, would declare that the LGBTQ community are eternally doomed.
More than 30,000 people in more than 250 groups took part in the biggest Pride in London Parade ever. It took almost four hours for the Parade to make its way from Baker Street to Whitehall, on a route that included Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Hundreds of thousands of people spectated on the route.
We have stood up and proclaimed that:
- Christians do love and sincerely welcome the LGBTQ community.
- As parents we truly value and love our children - we are very proud of them all.
- We hope we have encouraged many that:
- They would be welcome to return to Church. Visit these websites to get some more information (Inclusive Church; Diverse Church; LGCM) or to find our more about Diverse Church email ChristianItGetsBetter@gmail.com
- That parents of LGBT children can be supported on their journey. Yes we would never wish to overlook ANY of the trauma faced by the individual but the parents also encounter significant trauma. If we can be of help to any parent then the LGBT+ individual, we hope, will be better supported. Why not email Parents@DiverseChurch.org.uk ?