*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

John Bell explains his decision to come out at the Greenbelt festival

01 September 2017

Alex Baker Photography

Festival favourite: John Bell speaks about his sexuality, on Saturday

Festival favourite: John Bell speaks about his sexuality, on Saturday

THE death of the Manchester schoolgirl Lizzy Lowe was what prompted the Revd John Bell, a hymn-writer, speaker, and member of the Iona Community, to be open about his sexuality, he told a large audience at the Greenbelt Festival on Saturday.

At the end of a talk in which he took issue with conservative readings of scriptural passages about sexuality, Mr Bell, a Church of Scotland minister, told the audience that he had a vested interest in the subject: he was gay himself.

He had chosen not to broadcast the fact in order not to compromise the work that his denomination had given him over the years: supervising new liturgy and the Church’s new hymnal. He has no partner.

This was not a confession, he said: it was not something he was ashamed of. It was a disclosure. “You disclose the truth.”

He decided to be more open about his sexuality on hearing the story of Lizzie Lowe, a 14-year-old girl who took her life in 2014 after telling friends that she dreaded telling her parents, both of whom were Christians, that she was a lesbian.

To sustained applause, Mr Bell said: “Those not compromised by their work should not keep silent.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

 

Church Times Month

March 2024

For the whole of March, Church Times is offering completely FREE online access, so you can share stories without a paywall.

We are also asking our readers to spread the news of the Church Times among their friends, acquaintances, and fellow churchgoers (and non-churchgoers).

Find out more

 

Keeping faith in Journalism: a Church Times Webinar

11 March 2024 | 6pm GMT

An expert panel discusses trust between the media and the public

Online Tickets available

 

Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available

 

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Welcome to the Church Times

 

You are able to read this for FREE as part of Church Times Promotional Month, where for the whole of March, we are offering unlimited web access to the newspaper.

From next month to explore the Church Times website fully, you will need to sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers will return to only being able to read four articles for free each month.