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Personal hurt caused by Wales’s rejection of gays

by
11 September 2015

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Sir, — The Church in Wales’s consultations on same-sex partnerships, which have been taking place around the province this year, come to the Governing Body for debate on 17 September. The process, for me, has been momentous and unprecedented. May I, then, tell you how I, as a gay member of the Church, am feeling now?

In the several consultation meetings I attended, few other lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people took part openly. Mostly I was a lone voice. Sometimes I was amazed by the understanding and support of some churchpeople who attended. The desire for change they expressed overwhelmed me.

Yet how often I heard brothers and sisters in Christ question the authenticity of my faith and good standing in Christ, deny the work of the Spirit in my living and loving, and say they want to continue to refuse me “the gift of God” granted to heterosexual people who ask to marry in church.

Even so, I was shocked to hear that half of our dioceses have, it seems, indicated a desire for no change to the Church in Wales’s current position. I want you to know the depth of hurt that I and many LGBT people, in and outside the Church, are feeling about that.

This is the nearest I have been in my life to understanding, by experience, the meaning of St Paul’s words “I have been crucified with Christ.” Some religious authorities reject my witness that God is with me, as they did our Lord’s. It is for me, now, as though I have joined Jesus “outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured” (Hebrews 13.13).

Yet I believe that the majority of churchpeople in Wales do want to see change happen. I am hoping the Governing Body will move towards the kind of changes that will allow the many clergy and congregations who wish to affirm and celebrate the lives and loves of LGBT people to do so. I ask that members of the Governing Body do all they can to bring this about.

 

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