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Endgame is near, says LGCM

22 May 2015


"Supportive": LGCM members and friends at a recent conference

"Supportive": LGCM members and friends at a recent conference

AS THE Church nears the "endgame" of its divisions over sexuality, it is time to celebrate those who have not lived to see it, the chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), Tracey Byrne, said last week.

Ms Byrne hoped that, at the end of the shared conversations next year, the Church will be a place where "we can accomodate a range of viewpoints. I want to be part of a really broad Church, and, if I am going to be accommodated, then we have to be equally expansive at the other end."

She also hoped that the Church will "get real about ministry; so that marriage or sexuality is not a bar to ordination. . . I would like gay people to be assessed and perceived through the same filter as a straight individual."

Another hope is that it will be possible to "affirm people's relationships - sacramentally, liturgically, and through marriage". She would like to see the Church "raise the tone of the conversation about relationships", and said that gay people had a different perspective to provide on relationships.

LGCM will support those who take part in the shared conversations, she said, but also those who do not. "People need to do what feels right for them. . . Some will say: 'I am done with talking,' and we have to say that we understand that; and, if people do not feel safe, then they should not be in those conversations."

She accepted that some people may feel the need to leave the Church ( News, 30 January). "The most important thing, for me, is that choosing to leave, or choosing to stay, are positive choices, freely exercised. My fear is that many, many people don't feel like that right now."

The Church is nearing the "endgame" of its internal debate about sexuality, she said, and the tide is turning in the favour of those who would affirm the relationships and ministry of gay people. There are "lots of people who want to see what LGCM wants to see; but I think they do not always know how to express their solidarity."

Much had changed since LGCM was founded in 1976, she said. "People needed to come to London, or other big cities like Manchester to live any kind of meaningful gay life." But, today, she said, "amazing stuff" was going on outside the capital.

"We are standing on the shoulders of giants. People still remember when homosexuality was illegal. . . People have amazing stories. It is really important that we do not lose sight of their history."

She gave, as an example, the first Honorary Secretary of GCM (which became LGCM), the Revd Jim Cotter, who died last year (Obituary, 25 April 2014). With this in mind, LGCM is working on an oral history project to match "pioneering older people" with younger interviewees, creating an online archive of their stories.

After outlining her hopes for the end of the conversations, she said: "We owe so much to those who have gone before us; there are many people who worked so hard to get us where we are now, some of whom did not live to see this progress."

'Management of the facilitated conversations about sexuality' - Letter

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