Reflections from LGBTIQA+ Anglicans in response to GAFCON’s announcement of the “Diocese of Southern Cross”…
Peter Sherlock – Diocese of Melbourne – General Synod representative
To all who are hurt or confused
To all who feel rejected and unloved
To all who do not know forgiveness and acceptance
As an Anglican, as a gay man, I encourage you
to read the Scriptures together
to hold your heart open to the Spirit
to love God and know that you are loved
to repent of your sins
and to have the courage to love your neighbours – all of them!
The Church is bigger than we can imagine
God’s vision for us is beyond our understanding
And in our brokenness, in our fellowship, we see the crucified and risen Christ reflected back.
So take heart, pray for the gifts of the Spirit, and recommit to walking towards justice and truth.
From Elise Christian – Sydney Diocese
For me as a gay Australian Anglican Christian, this has been a difficult and exhausting week. I have watched from the sidelines while yet again my existence, and the existence of my LGBTIQA+ Anglican siblings, has been targeted for public debate. While a man who has publicly called for our exclusion, and dehumanised us as “a virus in the Australian national church”, is given leadership over an entire new entity which claims the name Anglican but is dedicated to opposing our inclusion in the body of Christ.
Where do we find the strength to persevere, in the face of round after round of these attacks from hardline conservative forces within the Church we love? For me, in an isolated situation within a hardline Diocese, I am sustained by a sense of both the call of God to bear witness (as the prophet Jeremiah was) and the presence of God as my refuge (as the Psalmist was). But I am also thankful for my many LGBTIQA+ siblings, and our allies among the laity and clergy around Australia, who offer support, encouragement, affirmation and prayer, both privately and publicly. To have a community of support around me, despite my relative isolation within my home church and diocese, makes all the difference. I am deeply grateful to those who have cared enough to stand with us and speak up on our behalf during the events of this past week. It means more than you know.
From Rev’d Steve Hilton – Perth Diocese
I’ve just left a meeting with four Noongar women who have made me laugh and cry. Their stories included the darkest of tales and still they were able to smile and roar with laughter. Our conversations of hope and joy were the perfect antidote to a week where, once again, my life – and the lives of many other LGBTIQ folks – have been the subject of speculation, debate, and discussion.
I’m new to Australia. My appointment at St George’s Cathedral caused joy in some circles and pain in others. Things were said and presumed about my partner and I by people we had never met. We even received one letter imploring us to stay in England: “for the sake of church unity.”
And so, what I’d like to say this week is not aimed at so-called ‘progressives’ or ‘conservatives’. These terms are so unhelpful in any case. I’m not interested in sending a message to Sydney or GAFCON. I just want to speak from the heart as someone who is gay and who God has called to be a priest. Neither of which has been my choice.
This week will have been unsettling for many people. We may have felt humiliated or scared or even fearful about what is to come: for a whole host of different reasons. But in the midst of the storm, when it feels at its most angry, comes the clear, calm, confident voice of Jesus Christ: ‘do not be afraid.’ From the heart, to my LGBTIQ+ siblings, do not be afraid. If the cross shows us anything, it’s that love will always win in the end.
“It’s been a long
A long time coming
But I know, a change gonna come
Oh, yes it will.”
(Sam Cooke, 1964)