After a few somewhat “fallow” years, we have some exciting news!! But first, to put things in context…
The Revd Benny Hazlehurst, founder of AE, was not only an excellent pastor, church leader and teacher, he was a truly prophetic visionary. And his vision for what became known as “Accepting Evangelicals” which took shape early in this 21st Century, resulted in ten years of dedicated work to expose the lie – that to be an evangelical Bible-believing Christian you must therefore, by definition, be anti-gay!
Benny’s infectious enthusiasm and huge heart of compassion encouraged a great many evangelical Christians to find the courage to be open about their growing convictions – that it is possible to be an evangelical Bible-believing Christian and actually support same-sex partnerships and the full integration of LGBTI people into the Church. Benny demonstrated how this position is not merely possible but can be fully supported by biblical scholarship and a rich pastoral experience. His death in December 2018 is a serious loss to so many of us… above all his family and close friends of course.
Those of us who fully supported Benny by becoming trustees of the small charity he founded in 2010, wish to ensure that his legacy continues, and serves as foundation for further development, for the benefit of the whole Church as it includes the LGBTI community of faith. This is what Benny would have wished to see. However, whilst fully committed to supporting Benny and his vision, since he pulled back from full involvement, we (the trustees) have all been so committed to our own works we’ve not had the capacity to give the energy and time AE needed to take the work into a new era. Hence AE’s “fallow years”.
However, since Luke Dowding became Executive Director of OneBodyOneFaith (formerly LGCM & Changing Attitude), we have seen a gay Christian man from an evangelical background, with a strong sense of vocation, full of vision and dynamic energy, called to take this work into an exciting new era. With this in mind, the trustees of AE have agreed that to move into full cooperation with OneBodyOneFaith under Luke’s direction will be the best way to ensure that Benny’s legacy is remembered and continues to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.
Jeremy Marks, one of the AE trustees and founder & Director of Courage (now “Post-Courage”) will serve in an advisory capacity to the trustees of OneBodyOneFaith during the period of transition.
Those who have generously supported AE over the years may now wish to transfer your support to OneBodyOneFaith. Subscribers and supporters of Accepting Evangelicals who are not already members of OneBodyOneFaith will be eligible for a 50% discount on their first year of membership.
Please pray for us all as we move forwards together. Thanks be to God.
Elaine Sommers, on behalf of the Trustees of Accepting Evangelicals, 11th February 2021