This year we have continued to build the charity and the campaign for a more inclusive evangelical voice for LGB&T people. Our aim continues to be promoting the acceptance of faithful, loving same-sex partnerships at every level of church life.
The Trustees and Steering Group has met 4 times over the past year, co-chaired by Sigrun Wagner and Martin Stears-Handscomb.
Many thanks to our Trustees:
- Martin Stears-Handscomb, Sigrun Wagner (Co-Chairs), Mike Dark (Treasurer), Jeremy Marks, Ray Khan, Mel & Benny Hazlehurst (Secretary)
and to our additional steering group members:
- Nim Njuguna, Alex Huzzey, Jude Morton, Tim Clifford, Bren Marks and Jude Morton.
Membership of Accepting Evangelicals has continued to grow and now stands at over 450 – an increase of almost 20% on last year. Just under half of our members are Anglicans – the other half are mostly Free Evangelicals, Baptists, MCC, Methodists and Pentecostals.
We hope & pray for our membership to rise to over 500 by the end of 2012.
AE Blog and Newsletters:
During the last 12 months we have published 43 Blog Posts and Newsletters. These have ranged from personal stories to news and comment, book reviews, and invitations.
Quite a number of our blog posts have been written by ordinary members of Accepting Evangelicals and we always welcome suggestions and submissions.
Our Secretary, Benny Hazlehurst has accepted invitations to speak about Accepting Evangelicals at a number of events over the last year, including a Churches Together evening in Shropshire, the Evangelical Fellowship Spring Conference, and a day conference in Whitstable on ‘The Bible and Homosexuality’.
Bookings over the next few months include a lunchtime event at Bournemouth University.
Press & Media:
We have also made contributions in the local, national and international press including articles and letters in the Church of England Newspaper, and a major interview for Australia’s ABC Radio National.
Working in Partnership:
It has been a productive year for working in partnership with groups like Courage, Evangelical Fellowship, Affirm (Baptist Network) and Christians Together at Pride.
It is with some sadness that we note the completion of Jeremy and Bren Marks work with Courage, but we give great thanks for God for their ministry there through many difficult years, and we are delighted that Jeremy will continue to be a Trustee of Accepting Evangelicals, and Bren a member of the Steering Group. We also pray for the launch of a successor to Courage which will continue to provide pastoral support and a focus for LGB&T Christians (more details at the Courage Retreat, 15-17th June).
Over the past 12 months, our Secretary, Benny Hazlehurst, has also been Chairing the LGB&T Anglican Coalition on behalf of Accepting Evangelicals. In this role he has helped to draft submissions to the House of Bishops, co-ordinate press coverage, and led a delegation to talk to the Church of England’s review group on Civil Partnerships.
Our deepest thanks go to everyone who has contributed financially to Accepting Evangelicals by cheque or standing order, and to Mike Dark, our Treasurer.
We continue to operate Accepting Evangelicals as economically as possible with Trustees/Steering Group members meeting their own expenses for meetings, and organisers of speaking events being asked to provide expenses. The only expenses which Trustees have claimed is where they have been asked to represent AE at forums like the Anglican Coalition and General Synod.
Financial support is essential however, if we are to achieve new goals like exhibiting at Greenbelt and other Christian Festivals, as well as producing new resources for churches and individuals.
We are also in the process of applying to the Inland Revenue for a Gift Aid number, after which we will be able to claim gift aid on donations.
A full statement of accounts is attached for the year to 31st May 2012.
Our deep thanks to all who have contributed financially over the last 12 months, and to everyone who has given their time, skills, of resources free of charge.
AE standing order form can be downloaded here.
Over the next 12 months we will be having a exhibition stand at Greenbelt Festival for the first time, in partnership with Courage, Evangelical Fellowship and Affirm, and will be producing banners and other material to publicise our work.
We are also in the process of producing a video resource for people, groups and churches who would like to reflect on the experience of evangelical LGB&T Christians. More news soon!
God Bless & Keep You
The Trustees of Accepting Evangelicals, 9th June 2012