Every blessing to you all this holiday time! Here is a round-up of relevant news from around the world.
London Pride Weekend
Once again, Christians at Pride marched in the Parade wearing ‘Christian and Proud’ T-shirts with this year’s evening service being held at Bloomsbury Baptist Church. The night before, the Brenda Harrison Memorial Lecture took place at St Martin in the Fields. The speaker was Rev Sharon Ferguson and you can find the text of her lecture here.
United Reform Church votes for Civil Partnerships in Church
Also in the UK, the national Assembly of the United Reform Church voted to allow their churches to conduct Civil Partnerships – making them the first mainstream Christian denomination in the UK to enable same-sex partnerships to be registered in church.
The Revd Adrian Bulley said: “For many years this church has been hosting services of blessing for those who have entered a civil partnership. How sad that these couples have had to go through two ceremonies to enable their union to be blessed by God in the context of prayer and worship. How wonderful that General Assembly has now opened the door and enabled those local churches that wish to do so, to register their premises in order that same-sex couples may have a single ceremony – both religious and legal – to mark their commitment to each other.
For more on this, follow this link.
The Episcopal Church authorizes Blessings of Same-sex Partnerships
In the USA, Anglicans have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a service for same-sex couples which will be called the “Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant”. This makes The Episcopal Church the largest US denomination so far to bless same-sex partnerships.
Not everyone has welcomed the move. In Thailand, a conference of ‘Global South’ Anglicans issued a wide ranging statement which included the paragraph,
“We note with great sadness the passing of Resolution A049 at the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church which authorized a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. This action confirms our disappointment that The Episcopal Church has no regard for the concerns and convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide. We stand in solidarity with our brethren in the Communion Partners who have dissented from this action…”
The statement appeared to be endorsed by 13 Anglican Primates from around the world, but it has since emerged that at least one of those listed had no knowledge of the section on sexuality. Others have noted that the names are only recorded as being ‘Present’ at the conference which was advertised as a Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking.
Archbishop Tutu calls for governments to safeguard LGBTI rights
In South Africa, Desmond Tutu has joined with 3 other Nobel Prize winners to calls for governments to protect, rather than criminalise LGBTI people.
The statement says,
“In many of our countries the influence of colonial era laws still makes outlaws of LGBTI people. Recent legislative efforts like those underway in Russia and Uganda could pose even more sinister sanctions on LGBTI people as well their allies, ourselves included. The criminalization of adult, consensual homosexuality in any form is unacceptable. And, we must remain vigilant even in countries that rightly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, to ensure that LGBTI citizens are effectively protected from the hatred and bigotry that persists.” Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/desmond-tutu-calls-on-world-leaders-to-protect-lgbti-rights.html#ixzz23DgFeUPZ
Greenbelt 2012 invitation
With only days to go to this year’s Greenbelt Festival in the UK, Accepting Evangelicals is gearing up for our exhibition stand in the G-source Tent. We will be there alongside several other evangelical groups who promote an accepting or affirming approach to same-sex relationships and people.
So if you are going to Greenbelt this year, come and see us!
Continuing the musical theme, did you know that Country Music star Carrie Underwood has spoken in favour of Gay Marriage.
Carrie draws on her Christian faith in many of her songs like the US No 1 hit “Jesus take the wheel” and attends a non-denominational church.
In a recent interview she said,
“As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry,” she said. “I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”
“Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me’. No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”
God Bless and Keep You…