Newsletter – May 2013

Dear Friends

More Evangelical leaders back same-sex partnerships!

Following Steve Chalke and Rob Bell, more Evangelical leaders and pastors are speaking out for same-sex partnerships.

In the USA, Jim Wallis…Rethinking Values in the Post-Crisis World: Jim Wallis

In a wide ranging interview with the Huffington Post, Sojourners’ founder and leader, Jim Wallis has said that he supports gay marriage as part of a much needed wider renewal of marriage in American society.

“I think we should include same-sex couples in that renewal of marriage, [but] I want to talk marriage first. Marriage needs some strengthening. Let’s start with marriage, and then I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage.”

Jim Wallis has often been called a ‘progressive Evangelical’ by supporters and opponents alike, with his strong campaigning stance on issues such as poverty, social justice and climate change, but this is the first time he has gone on the record to support same-sex marriage.

You can see a video of the interview in full at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/jim-wallis-faith-politics-immigration_n_3024458.html

In the UK, Rev Paul Bailey…Rev-Paul-Bailey

…has become one of the first African-Caribbean Pentecostal ministers in Britain to state that the Black Christian community should be more inclusive and welcoming of gay people, and that the Bible contains theological grounds for same-sex marriage.

In an interview for ‘Keep the Faith’ magazine, which serves Black Pentecostal Churches in the UK, Paul pointed to Jesus example of welcome for the oppressed and a pattern of inclusion which continually pushed the boundaries of religious acceptance.  On the traditional ‘clobber texts’ he said,

“The statements in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Romans, 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy refer to a range of homosexual acts, but not to the issue of same-sex orientation, or to loving relationships between people of the same gender. Scripture should be applied in the light of God’s welcome of excluded peoples. If the Scriptures do not prohibit same-sex love, then who are we to exclude those whom God has included?”

Paul Bailey co-pastors The Regeneration Project in South London.

London Pride Service 2013St_martin_in the fields

This year’s Pride Service will take place at 6pm on Saturday 6th July at St Martin in the Fields Church, Trafalgar Square.

This year, Accepting Evangelicals and Evangelical Fellowship have been asked to plan the liturgy and the preacher will be Rev Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans Cathedral.  The service will be led by our own Benny Hazlehurst.

Unfortunately, since the venue and date were set last year, the date of the Pride March has been moved to the weekend before, so we and Christians at Pride want to encourage as many people as possible to come back on the 6th July.

And Blackpool Pride…

Organiser Nina writes:

“After the success and fun of being in Blackpool Pride Parade last year we’ll walk as a group of Christians again this year. Last year several denominations joined in and we had a wonderfully positive reception from spectators who cheered and applauded. The crowd was delighted to see Christians standing up for a message of full acceptance for all people.”

To join Christians@Pride at Blackpool on Sat 8th June email nina@libertychurchblackpool.org.uk  The day begins with bacon butties, prayer and praise at 9am, North Shore Methodist Church.

Greenbelt Festival 2013

Following our success at last year’s Greenbelt Festival, we have applied to hosting an exhibition stand again this August.  As last year, we will be doing this in partnership with Evangelical Fellowship, Two:23, and Affirm (The Baptist Network).

The stand will be in the G-source Tent and we will need a team of volunteers to staff it over the weekend (23rd – 26th August 2013).  If you would like to help, please email Benny at the following address: benny@accpetingevangelicals.org

We can order weekend tickets for volunteers at a discount price so let us know if you are interested.

Other Events…

Our partner organisations also have a number of events over the coming months:

The Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians.

Our next conference is from Friday 25th October 5 pm to Sunday 27th October 2pm.  It is led by Rev Brian Smith with the title ‘Story Telling as part of the Christian life’.

For full details and booking form visit  http://www.eflgc.org.uk/events.asp#Forthcoming

Or phone John on 020 8411 0040

Two:23 Network

Has a full programme of speakers for 2013 at their meetings in London.

Satuday 18th May – Ruth Valerio who is on the leadership team for Spring Harvest

Saturday 21st September – Padraig O Tuama from Belfast

Saturday 30th November – Steve Chalke from Oasis

More information is available here – http://two23.net/our-meetings/

And finally, ‘Ex Gay’ ministries…Newsweek cover

One of our members drew our attention to a petition following a letter of apology from one of the leading advocates of ‘Reparative Therapy’ which claims to change sexual orientation by Christian discipleship and ministry.

John and Anne Paulk’s appearance on the cover of Newsweek magazine in 1998 provided huge publicity for the ‘Ex-gay’ movement when they claimed that reparative therapy had changed or cured their homosexual orientation.  They also wrote the book “Love won out” to persuade others to seek change in their sexual orientation through Christian ministry.

Now, however, he has issued a letter apologising for the damage his campaigning has done “to countless people” and stating categorically that it did not change his sexual orientation.

He continues, “Today, I see LGBT people for who they are — beloved, cherished children of God. I offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to men, women, and especially children and teens who felt unlovable, unworthy, shamed or thrown away by God or the church.”

The petition asks for Newsweek (now a web publication) to publish an article with the same prominence to update the full story and the damage which Ex-gay ministries have done.

God Bless and Keep You…

Accepting Evangelicals

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