Rev Steve Chalke
Baptist minister, Founder of Oasis Global & Stop The Traffik, and a United Nations Special Advisor on Community Action Against Human Trafficking. He is Church Leader at Oasis Waterloo and was awarded the MBE in 2004 for services to social inclusion.
“I am honoured to be a patron of Accepting Evangelicals which is an important movement within evangelicalism because it represents the growing shift away from old, excluding and subjective readings of isolated biblical texts towards a much needed more affirming, compassionate, rounded and thoughtful approach to the Bible, humanity and sexuality.”
Bishop David Gillett
Bishop of Bolton until his retirement in 2008. David has huge experience in evangelical theological education having been Principal of Trinity Theological College in Bristol for 11 years, and the first Director of Extension Studies at St John’s Nottingham. He trained for the ministry at Oak Hill, and has also been a travelling secretary for Pathfinders and CYFA. He is now honorary assistant Bishop and interfaith advisor in the Diocese of Norwich.
“Over the years I have come to understand that the scriptures encourage us to support, affirm and celebrate all life-long committed relationships that follow the path in life gifted by God in his creation of each of us as different individuals. I believe that Accepting Evangelicals is one positive way of supporting same sex couples to receive the same love, blessing and support from the church which I and my wife knew so wonderfully throughout the whole of our married life.”
A well known broadcaster and writer on religion and ethics, Vicky studied theology at Oxford and is currently doing doctoral research at Durham with a focus on Christianity, gender and sexuality. Appearing on national TV and radio several times a week, she comments on religious and current affairs and regularly presents Radio 4’s Thought For The Day.
“Accepting Evangelicals has been a powerful presence within evangelical Christianity for the past 10 years. A prophetic voice ahead of their time, they elevated the conversation long before many were even willing to engage. I’m delighted to be one of their patrons, partnering with their vision to see the Church accept faithful, loving same-sex partnerships and develop a meaningful theology for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. AE represents a healthy, bright future for the Church, with God’s inclusive love at the centre.”
Rev Ruth Gouldbourne
Ruth was ordained as a Baptist minister 26 years ago. She has served in ministry in Bunyan Meeting Free Church in Bedford, taught history and doctrine at Bristol Baptist College and is now co-minister at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London. Her doctoral research was on issues of gender and theology in the Radical Reformation and she has also written on ecclesiology, gender issues, ministry and prayer.
“I am very glad and proud to be invited to share in the work of Accepting Evangelicals. The courage to read and reread Scripture daring to trust that “the Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from His word”, is I am convinced, vitally important in a faithful following of Jesus. And to follow him in welcoming in those who are too easily excluded, and listening to the breadth of faith stories and the action of grace will deepen the faith and discipleship of all of us.”
In 1988, Jeremy Marks founded Courage UK, which became one of the leading conservative evangelical pastoral Christian ministries in the U.K. for lesbian & gay people. Twelve years later, he startled the evangelical world by publicly embracing a gay-affirming approach after recognising the despair that had resulted for many sincere LGBT Christian folk who tried the “ex-gay” approach Courage offered.
After 25 years, Courage signed off with a service of celebration in September 2012 but Jeremy continues to provide pastoral care and spiritual direction as well as speaking and writing. Courage’s activities are now being developed by an exciting new ministry, the Two:23 Network.
“Every major biblical character is remembered for their personal relationship with God: through prayer and seeking God, they endeavoured to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the stories of their lives inspire us today. The evangelical emphasis on biblical Christianity makes a life-changing and dynamic contribution to modern spiritual life, but its credibility has been deeply undermined by a widespread anti-gay bias. For 10 years now, Accepting Evangelicals has been providing a hugely important living witness to the fact that one can truly be gay and in love and Christian.”
Professor Sophie Grace Chappell
Professor of Philosophy at The Open University, and longstanding member of All Souls’ Episcopalian Church, Invergowrie, Scotland. Philosopher, ethicist, writer, and poet. Married since 1988 to Claudia, with four daughters. Author of books including Ethics and Experience (Acumen 2011), The Philosophy of Religion (Open University 2012), and Knowing What To Do (OUP 2014). Currently writing a new book on ethics which is provisionally entitled Grace In The World: it’s about “epiphanies” which have transformative power in our lives, and which can happen to absolutely anyone, no matter what their “religious background”.
“I am honoured to be a patron of Accepting Evangelicals. Evangelicalism has been a key part of my own faith journey, but all too often Evangelicals’ approach to many issues, including LGBT, has been about beating already-wounded and vulnerable people over the head with carefully-selected bits of the Bible. I used to do this myself; it was an excellent way of avoiding facing up to some uncomfortable and surprising truths about my own gender identity. Today my own experience has led me to a strong conviction that if the Christian church is to bring people anything worth calling salvation, then it has to become a movement that is about listening and acceptance.”
Jayne has been a leading Evangelical woman in the Church of England for many years since being invited to be a founding member of the Archbishops’ Council in 1999. As a result she held a range of senior positions within the evangelical church, preaching and ministering both here and abroad. She was also deeply involved in General Synod, particularly in areas around mission and evangelism. This followed a high profile career in international marketing where she managed many household brands – from Fairy Liquid to the BBC. She has been an active lay-leader in various well known evangelical Churches, and has been a trustee of Trinity Theological College, the Church of England Newspaper and the International Centre for Reconciliation in Coventry.
“God is a God of Surprises! We can never be sure of what the future may bring, but what I do know is that He will always look to transform our darkest hours into something beautiful. I’m personally thrilled to be able to serve Accepting Evangelicals during such an exciting and important time for us as a Church”
- Martin Stears-Handscomb
- Elaine Sommers
- Jeremy Marks
- Mike Dark
- Benny Hazlehurst
- Mel Hazlehurst
- Ray Khan
- Sigrun Wagner
Additional Steering Group Members:
- Alex Huzzey
- Rev Judith Morton
- Nim Njuguna
- Jane Newsham
- Robert Day