A Woman’s Courage and the House of Bishops…

Coming OutIt takes enormous courage to ‘come out’.

Announcing that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender to family, friends and work colleagues is often stressful, frightening and risky.   There are fears of rejection, confrontation or ridicule from those we love, care for, or work with.  It is a step which we should never underestimate.

Yet at the same time, it is a step which also brings huge benefits.  Feelings of liberation, freedom, personal integration, and relief are commonplace.  The liberation of no longer having to live a lie, or exist in the shadows.  The freedom to truly be yourself with others. The relief at having faced up to the fears and conquered them are often overwhelming – even when the revelation has resulted in conflict or rejection from some.

But it still requires courage.

Last month, one of our Patrons, Vicky Beeching took that momentous step. And her ‘coming out’ was not done in a quiet limited way – she came out to the world. In national newspaper articles, TV interviews, Web posts and social media she proclaimVicky Beechinged her sexuality publicly for the first time. If by some chance you missed this – here is the news-breaking article in The Independent and video in The Guardian.

The response has been mixed while many have welcomed her openness and honesty, others have reacted with varying degrees of shock and dismay.  The Christian Post began its response with the words, “Believers throughout the English-speaking world were shocked and saddened to hear that Vicky Beeching, a greatly loved songwriter and worship leader, has announced that she is gay” and advised its readers to be restrained in their reactions, “To lash out at her now in immature ways will only drive her further from the cross, and while it is fine to speak the truth to her in love… praying for the Holy Spirit to convict her of her error is even more important.”

And yet the next morning Vicky tweeted, “Waking up & knowing you can truly be yourself is such a refreshing feeling. Slept better last night than I have in years. #Grateful.”

Through her courage and the strength that God gave her, she had found a new freedom in life and faith – the freedom to be herself after decades of being made to feel she had to live a lie.

Bishops CrossNext week, the Church of England’s College of Bishops meet to talk about sexuality.  They will spend 2 days together with facilitators trying to find a way to have open conversations on the issue.

According to the CofE briefing paper, “Under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, Canon David Porter, a team of around 20 trained facilitators will support a process of conversations across the Church of England. They will bring the skills necessary to ensure that the process provides a safe place for all viewpoints to be expressed and to keep the conversations to the objective of seeking understanding rather than having any predetermined trajectory.  The process will begin at the meeting of the College of Bishops in September where the bishops will spend two days working in small groups with facilitators.”

These shared conversations are essential for the Church of England, but they will only work if the conversations are truly open and honest.  That will take courage.

There are many Bishops who support same-sex relationships but have been too afraid to say what they really think.  As one diocesan Bishop said to me at General Synod, “Benny, you know what I think, but I’m chicken – I am too afraid to say it!”

There is also a sizeable minority of the Bishops who are gay themselves.  For many of them it is an open secret – one which is only protected by the loyalty and compassion of others which will not ‘out them’ to the world.  How stressful must it be for them to continually keep quiet or deflect the conversation or sign up to statements which strike at the very heart of their being.

If the shared conversations next week are to move the Church forward, there must be a greater honesty, greater courage, and greater grace at work than ever before.

Women are renowned for their moral courage, and although there are no women Bishops in post yet, perhaps the courage of people like Vicky Beeching can inspire and challenge our Bishops to have a more open and honest conversation next week.  It is certainly long overdue.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Benny Hazlehurst

 

Upcoming Events

There are a number of events over the next couple of months, which will be well worth attending:

TWO23-logo20th September – Two:23 at St Mary Aldermary, London

Two:23 is a network of Christians, connected by LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues, who have discovered that God loves us just as we are.

Accepting Evangelicals Director, Benny Hazlehurst is their speaker on 20th September.  Everyone is welcome and there is no charge.

Also before the meeting, there is an informal lunch for Parents of LGBT people – for more information see the Two:23 website – http://two23.net/

LGBTAC27th September – ‘To Have and to Hold’ Conference on Marriage

A day conference organised by the LGBTI Anglican Coalition at St John Waterloo.

‘Recognising current unease in the Church of England over same-sex marriage, the conference will ask whether there is a theological basis for expanding the definition of marriage. If so, what might a theology of equal marriage include?’

Speakers are: Professor Adrian Thatcher, University of Exeter : Rev Dr Charlotte Methuen, University of Glasgow : Dr Scot Peterson, Oxford University : Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham.

Tickets cost £25 (£10 concessions) and include lunch.

More information available at: http://www.lgbtac.org.uk/index.htm and tickets from www.ToHaveAndToHoldTheTheologyOfMarriage.eventbrite.co.uk

Accepting Evangelicals is a member of the Coalition.

Vickie Beeching18th October – Accepting Evangelicals 10th Anniversary Celebration

Steve Chalke OasisDon’t miss our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Our speakers are Vicky Beeching and Steve Chalke. It is 10 years since we AE was launched and we will be reflecting on progress over that time as well as looking forward to the next 10 years!

The Celebration starts at 2pm with praise and worship, but the church will be open from 12:30pm to bring your packed lunch, meet our Trustees, and share fellowship with others.

Tickets are available free from Eventbrite here – but they are going fast – get yours now.

Success at Synod

General Synod - July 2014

Over 40 people gathered at General Synod on Monday evening for  the Accepting Evangelicals fringe event.

That in itself was a success.  It had been a very long and emotional day, as the legislation on women bishops was debated and voted through – itself a historic moment for the church – and I secretly wondered how many of the Synod members who had signed up to attend would be too exhausted to come.

I need not have worried.  We actually had more people arrive than we expected, including members of Reform, Anglican Mainstream and a range of church traditions.

Our speakers were David Runcorn and David Ison – Bishop David Gillett had to step down as he is recovering from major emergency surgery (and is making a good recovery) but needs to rest.

David Runcorn is the author of the ‘Including Evangelicals’ section in the recent CofE Report on sexuality – the Pilling Report.  For us this report has marked a watershed, as for the first time, it has recognised the diversity of theological understanding amongst evangelical Anglicans on sexuality.

David Ison , as Dean of St Pauls Cathedral in London is one of the most senior members of the clergy in England.

Both identify themselves as Evangelicals and both spoke passionately and theologically about the need for the Church to continue its journey of understanding on sexuality.  Both argued that the journey is 3-fold – an emotional journey, a hermeneutical journey, and a journey into a new community of faith.

David Ison ended with these words,

“All of us across the church, including the wide variety of Evangelicals and our viewpoints, are indeed on a journey. Wherever we start from, we’re called to grow into Christ: and as we grow closer to him, and are formed more into his likeness, so we grow closer to one another. For all of us, journeying into Christ will make sex and gender less important, and love more vital. We have a vision of a new community in the kingdom of God, and a calling to make that kingdom more of a reality in this fallen world: and the challenge to us is how we are going to build it.”

You can read the script of both speeches by following the links below.  We are extremely grateful to both Davids for giving their time and theological expertise.  The meeting finished with buzz groups around each table and questions to our speakers.  At all times the atmosphere was friendly and enquiring.

The last time we hosted a meeting at General Synod was 10 years ago on the weekend we launched Accepting Evangelicals.  We won’t leave it so long next time – we may even be back next year!

Benny Hazlehurst
Director of Accepting Evangelicals
 
 

For pdf’s of both speeches click the links below:pdf_icon

AE synod address – David Runcorn

AE Synod address – David Ison

 

Newsletter – July 2014

Dear Friends

Church of England edges forward…York Synod 2014

In the lead up to this weekend’s sessions of General Synod in York, the CofE has published its plan for ‘Shared Conversations’ on sexuality.

Over the next 2 years, a series of meetings will aim to deepen mutual understanding, and explore ways of modelling ‘good disagreement’.  The first of these meetings will be in September when the College of Bishops spends two days in small groups with trained facilitators, and will conclude with a similar process for the newly elected General Synod in 2016.

One of the key ingredients in these shared conversations will be honesty and openness.  With this in mind, Canon Simon Butler has tabled a question at this month’s Synod which asks,

 “In the forthcoming process of shared conversations what procedures and process are the House of Bishops establishing to ensure that sufficient confidence is given to its gay members to enable them to safely declare their sexuality?”

Accepting Evangelicals will be at General Synod in York hosting a fringe meeting with speakers David Runcorn and the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, David Ison.  Over 30 members of Synod have signed up to attend.

But also takes two steps back…Jeremy Pemberton

This week it has emerged that Hospital Chaplain, Rev Jeremy Pemberton has been blocked by his Bishop from taking up a new post after marrying his partner, Lawrence Cunningham earlier this year.

Jeremy is already serving NHS Chaplain but when he was offered a more senior position at another hospital trust, the Acting Bishop of Southwell refused to grant him a license (a pre-requisite for Anglican Chaplains) because of his same-sex marriage.

This has led to the strange situation where the NHS, which is an equal opportunities employer, is now having to discriminate against one of its employees by withdrawing the job offer.

The full story is in this week’s Church Times – follow this link.

Better news in the USA…Frank Schaefer

Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist Church pastor from Pennsylvania, who was suspended from his church for presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony, has been reinstated by a nine-person United Methodist Church appeals panel.

In response, Frank Schaefer said “I’ve devoted my life to this church, to serving this church, and to be restored and to be able to call myself a reverend again and to speak with this voice means so much to me,” He intends to continue to work for gay rights “with an even stronger voice from within the United Methodist Church”.

The church suspended Frank Schaefer, of Pennsylvania, last year for officiating his son’s 2007 wedding. The church then defrocked Schaefer because he wouldn’t promise never to preside over another gay ceremony.

Schaefer appealed, arguing the decision was wrong because it was based on an assumption he would break church law in the future.  The appeals panel, which met last week to hear the case, upheld a 30-day suspension that Schaefer has already served and said he should get back-pay dating to when the suspension ended in December.

This Guardian article outlines the details.

And among Presbyterians…

The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted last month to allow same-sex weddings within the church, making it among the largest Christian denominations to take an embracing step toward same-sex marriage.

By a 76-24 percent vote, the General Assembly of the 1.8 million-member PCUSA voted to allow pastors to perform gay marriages in states where they are legal. Delegates, meeting in Detroit in late June, also approved new language about marriage in the church’s Book of Order, altering references to “a man and woman” to “two persons.”  This change will not become church law until a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries vote to ratify the new language. But given the lopsided 3-1 ratio of the vote, approval is expected.
Gay rights activists within the church rejoiced at their victory, which was remarkable for its margin of victory after multiple years of razor-thin defeats.  “This vote is an answer to many prayers for the church to recognize love between committed same-sex couples,” said Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a group that has led the fight for gay marriage within the church.

And finally – more Patrons for Accepting Evangelicals…

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We are delighted to welcome two more Patrons for AE!

Rev Ruth Gouldbourne is co-minister at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London, having taught history and doctrine at Bristol Baptist College.

Jeremy Marks Nov 2012 (2)Jeremy Marks was the first ‘ex-gay’ evangelical leader in the UK to turn his back on the idea that God wanted to re-orientate LGBT people – 14 years ago!  Every since he has worked to affirm LGBT people and couples in their faith and sexuality.

See more on our Patrons Page here.

God Bless and Keep You
Accepting Evangelicals

Listening to T

Heath Adam AckleyPublished in the Church of England Newspaper – 6th June 2014

Last summer, an evangelical university professor in the USA was asked to leave his post after coming out as transgender.

Heath Adam Ackley (formerly Heather Clements) was a member of faculty at Azusa Pacific University for 15 years and has been Chair of Theology and Philosophy as well as being ordained in her church, but when he asked the University to recognise his new name and gender he was asked to leave.

“People assumed that I’ve done something – some sex act,” he said. “I’m not violating any sexual conduct and it’s embarrassing that it’s implied. I live a very chaste life.”  Despite vocal support from students at the University, other members of staff were immediately asked to cover his classes.

“I tried to be the best Christian woman I could be… but I have to accept something difficult about myself,” he said. “I’ve never been fully myself; I’ve always been living a lie.”

Sadly, such a reaction is not uncommon among evangelicals and is just as prevalent here in the UK.  As Elaine Sommers writes, “Whilst there are some wonderful examples of ordained transgender people in the Church of England, they are few and far between.  Lay people face problems too. I know of organists, choir directors and others whose positions have been terminated when they disclose that they are trans.  Others are excluded from communion or may be asked to leave, which is devastating for them.”

Elaine continues, “There are also many trans people, and I am one, who have no desire to live permanently as the opposite gender.  If such a person decides to be more open about it, this can bring a strongly negative reaction, especially in a more conservative church, where transgender may be seen as a moral issue.  My decision to come out was therefore difficult, but I didn’t anticipate just how dramatic the response would be.  Having served as a worship leader, songwriter and in overseas mission over many years, news about my transgender identity resulted in me being excluded from all positions of responsibility with immediate effect.  And after many months of discussion, negotiation and prayer, the situation did not improve. With heavy hearts and a sense of rejection, my wife and I left our church of over thirty years, but by God’s grace we found a fellowship which welcomed us with open arms and surrounded us with love, in full knowledge of my trans nature. This was a lifesaver.”

So what can church congregations do to help and encourage trans people?  First of all, don’t assume that there are no transgender people in your midst.  If your church is of medium size, say one to two hundred, you probably have several already, but they are keeping quiet for fear of rejection or ridicule.

The Church has become accustomed to hearing the voice of gay and lesbian people. Sexual orientation has been debated at length, but how often do we consider transgender?   The common response from trans Christians who have tried to share their story is: ‘no one listened.’   When Accepting Evangelicals wrote to the Evangelical Alliance to offer our help in considering transgender issues, the reply we received was sobering:  ‘I note that you feel that it is a subject that merits more dialogue, study and understanding. Whether or not this may be the case I can advise you that the Alliance has no plans to conduct such a study in the near future.’

On the other hand, groups such as Accepting Evangelicals have sought for many years to encourage acceptance of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the Church, and are now speaking out with transgender people as well.  Last year, when the new Archbishop of Canterbury met with a number of LGBT people, including trans representatives, he indicated a willingness to listen.

For others who are ready to listen, there is now a Transgender section on the Accepting Evangelicals website – www.acceptingevangelicals.org/transgender -or you could listen to Heath Adam Ackley’s ‘coming out sermon’ on YouTube – see below.

Written by Benny Hazlehurst & Elaine Sommers

A warm welcome to Vicky Beeching…

Vickie BeechingAccepting Evangelicals is proud to welcome its newest Patron – Vicky Beeching.

Vicky is a well known broadcaster and writer on religion and ethics. She 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.

Vicky is also a successful songwriter, performer and worship leader with a string of chart hits and been a regular contributor at Spring Harvest.

Vicky writes,

“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.”

 As previously announced, Vicky will also be one of our speakers alongside Steve Chalke at our 10th Anniversary Celebration in October.  Tickets are free and available here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

New Zealand and same-sex blessings…

by Bishop David Gillett.NewZealand-map 2

When I was in New Zealand earlier this year I had the privilege of leading a seminar for clergy and lay leaders on same sex relationships. At the time I  detected an atmosphere pervading the discussion which I hadn’t found in this country at the time. Even the most conservative present were primarily concerned to understand how I as an evangelical understood that the scriptures encouraged me to support my gay and lesbian friends in their relationships.

A similar spirit of open enquiry and desire for unity within the church characterised the recent meeting of the General Synod there. The doctrinal divisions are just as wide there as here, yet they came to a common mind on the way forward. There is still a long way to go but all agreed to look for a way that allowed those that held to the traditional view of marriage being solely for one man and one woman in life-long union would continue to be able to believe and practice only that as fully faithful members of the church. Those who believe that God wants to bless all monogamous life long relationships, irrespective of gender would also have a similarly secure place and be able to bless same sex unions.

This is a remarkable achievement of a loving journey together especially as we realise that some of the South Pacific countries within that Church have legal systems which outlaw the practice of homosexuality.  But they are a church which from the beginning has been committed (variously at different stages through their 200 year history) to give equal and honourable place to different ethnic backgrounds. – notably to indigenous Maori and  to white settlers – as well as embracing  bilingualism.

At times the life blood of the Church of England seems governed more by the spirit of the Act of Uniformity than by such a spirit of journeying together with difference and ‘disagreeing well’ to use our own Archbishop’s concept. We can too easily demonise those who believe differently from us.

On social media I have noticed some who strongly support gay marriage decrying the Church of New Zealand for reaffirming the traditional doctrine of marriage. Hopefully we who support the fully inclusive view of relationships can learn to live with traditional views as we hope they can accommodate our views. There are a couple of reasons why I support their affirmation of the traditional view. Firstly it recognises the reality that there are those who will not be able to move forward and give space to others to celebrate same sex unions if they are not allowed to continue to believe and practice what they hold as dear to them. But secondly I want passionately to affirm marriage between a man and a woman as a basic good within God’s created order. I see it there in the scriptures and I knew the reality of it throughout my own married life. In no way do I wish to deny the God-given intention and blessing of such a wonderful institution. What I believe in is a widening of the main paradigm of marriage (which I believe to be implicit in creation) to include all those who find the person who is their natural life partner to be one of the same gender – for God says to all, gay or straight that it is not good to be alone, (unless we are given a vocation to celibacy, a calling specifically envisaged within the New Testament). I believe same sex marriages too are equally blessed by God and can also provide a wonderful nurturing environment for children.

The Church in New Zealand has begun a journey so that it can give such freedom and fulfilment across the church – though it will be variously practiced in different parishes, dioceses and countries. I hope that we can approach the whole issue with a similar degree of love, acceptance and desire for truth and unity – as we engage together over these coming months in our facilitated discussions.

I have only touched on the main points of the NZ motion – the full text can be found here –

http://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/Features/Extra/Anga#.U3M

 

 

Announcing our 10th Anniversary Celebration!

Welcome to AcceptanceWe are very pleased to announce details for our 10th Anniversary Celebration this year!

It will be on Saturday 18th October 2014 at St John’s Church Waterloo, London, and our speakers are Steve Chalke and Vicky Beeching.

When we launched Accepting Evangelicals 10 years ago, the phrase ‘pro-gay evangelical’ was thought to be a contradiction in terms.  Yet today, Evangelical Christians are increasingly open to an accepting or affirming theology of sexuality.

We have come a long way – but there is still a long way to go.  So as we celebrate 10 years, we will be looking forward with excitement and hope for the future.

We are delighted to have Steve Chalke and Vicky Beeching as our speakers.

Steve Chalke is a 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.

Vicky Beeching is a theologian, writer and religious commentator. She studied Theology at Oxford University and is currently doing research for a PhD at Durham University exploring Christian theology, sexuality and gender. She regularly appears on national TV and radio.  She has recently started blogging on marriage and LGBT theology to open up conversations among her readers.

Steve and Vicky are also Patrons of Accepting Evangelicals.

The Celebration starts at 2pm but the church will be open from 12:30 for fellowship – just bring a picnic lunch – and our members are also invited to a brief Annual Meeting at 11:30am to do the charity business for the year.

Full information and tickets are available from Eventbrite – follow this link.  Tickets are free but please register for yours so that we know how many people are coming – and know when the event is full.

If you are coming, please also click on the Event post on our Facebook page to say that you are going – and to invite your friends.

We look forward to a great day and hope you will join us.eventbritelogo

For Information and Ticktets – follow this link

 

 

Better together – apparently not…

EA logo-largeEvangelical Alliance, whose tagline is “better together”, today announced that it had “discontinued the membership of  Oasis Trust.”.  This was, needless to say, following Oasis and Steve Chalke expressing supporting for same-sex relationships and calling for an open conversation in the wider church.

Evangelical Alliance’s press release can be found here and Oasis has responded here

This is not the first time, of course that Evangelical Alliance has taken action against one of its members.

In 1999, the organisation played its part in ‘outing’ Roy Clements – one of its own Council members – after they became aware of his sexuality, forcing his resignation and leaving him homeless and jobless.

Then in 2001, Jeremy Marks and Courage were forced to resign their membership of Evangelical Alliance after changing their ministry from one which sought to prevent gay Christians finding a same-sex partner to one which supported same-sex relationships.

This decision however, appears to have been much more difficult for the Alliance and 15 months of negotiation has been going on behind the scenes.

The reason for such a protracted deliberation is clearly the change which is occurring among  evangelicals.  Gone are the days when there was one evangelical view on sexuality, and yet organisations like EA try to continue as if this were true.

EA cite Oasis’s failure to “adjust the content of their website/resources and social media output to equally profile the traditional Christian view” as a reason for removing them, and yet EA’s own publications give no space to a more progressive evangelical theology of sexuality.

In actual fact, the loss of Oasis and Steve Chalke from the ranks of EA members will do more damage to Evangelical Alliance than to Oasis, and it seriously undermines their slogan and raison d’être, “Better Together”.

Their website proclaims that , “Unity is what drives us – but not just for unity’s sake. By bringing people together, we are following the John 17 mandate to show the immense love of God, who sent his Son for us” and yet their action today has shown that unity to be conditional on towing the conservative line on sexuality and has little to do with the ‘immense love of God’.

They can also no longer claim to represent “the UK’s two million evangelical Christians” as there are clearly many evangelicals who they no longer represent, or who they are unwilling to represent.

Perhaps the saddest thing comes from EA’s  description of themselves at the bottom of the Press Release.  It says,

“We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society.” 

The Oasis Trust is certainly a leader in Christian mission; Oasis celebrate the Bible and make a powerful difference in communities up and now the country; Oasis are actively engaged in lobbying the government for a better society – and yet because they are exploring a different way of responding to LGB&T people, all that counts for nothing.

Sadly, those of us who have followed Evangelical Alliance expected this to be the outcome, but we rejoice in the new openness that is God is bringing to many others in the evangelical world.   Isaiah 43:19 comes to mind:

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

 

We pray that Evangelical Alliance will open its eyes and begin to perceive this new thing that God is doing.

 

A wonderfully ordinary Christian couple…

“What a lovely couple!”

How many times have you heard that said in church?

There is something beautiful about seeing two people who are in love with each other and it warms our hearts.  And when they are a Christian couple who talk about the Lord being at work in their relationship and the blessings of praying together, then we find our faith is warmed and encouraged too.

But unfortunately, in many churches, that doesn’t apply if the couple are both of the same gender.

While heterosexual couples are welcomed and celebrated, same-sex couples are often treated with discomfort, embarrassment, or suspicion – especially in Evangelical churches.   All too often what is seen is a caricature or pre-conceived image of a ‘same-sex couple’ which inhibits real conversation.

The strange thing is, people who actually take time to listen to same-sex Christian couples, find the same faith and love at work in their lives, and the same grace of God shining through.

But how can we listen if there are no same-sex couples in our church?  And if we worship in an Evangelical church, that is even more likely to be the case.

In response to this dilemma, Accepting Evangelicals has created a YouTube channel and our first video features just such a couple – Martin and Ian.

They talk openly and honestly about coming to terms with their faith and sexuality – about how God brought them together – and about the blessings they have received through their relationship with God and each other.

They are not famous Christin celebrities – they are just an ordinary couple who have promised to love each other for the rest of their lives – but for those who are willing to listen, the same quiet love and warmth shines through their stories, and the same faith in God.

At the end of this short video, there are some questions for personal reflection, or for a small group discussion.  If you know someone who has never had the opportunity to listen to a couple like Ian and Martin, perhaps you could send them a link.   Or perhaps you could suggest to your church or fellowship group that you spend a little time together hearing from this same-sex couple in their own words.

We hope that each person who watches this video will see what those of us who have the privilege of knowing Martin and Ian see – what a lovely couple!