The Bishop and the LGF

Publish Date: 06/08/2007

The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCullough said recently on BBC GMR "There have been quite a lot of bridges built between the Christian community and gay and lesbian people and of course gay and lesbian people are also part of the Christian community and so we mustn't forget that."

This may seem contradictory given the present siuation within the Anglican Church on issues of sexuality but last year Rev Nigel McCulloch accepted an invitation to talk to members of The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, opening dialogue with the Bishop of Manchester on behalf of lesbian, gay and bisexual people who follow religious faiths in the North West.

Since then The Bishop has been looking at ways to try to contribute some positive ideas towards how the church can look at sexuality openly and honestly through his own Advisory Group while accepting support from the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. The LGF also have regular meetings with a small group of individuals clergy, who have been busy meeting behind the scenes to try to promote understanding of LGB issues within local churches and form a network that will support lesbian and gay Christians and also lesbian and gay Clergy .

The LGF hopes to inform the Bishop's Advisory Group on discussions around sexuality and encourage debate around issues raised. One of the main aims of the LGF's meetings on this issue is to contribute towards opening links between the Anglican Church and all LGBT people around the north west.

Ben Amponsah , Chair of the LGF group says "It is important that we promote the good work that is being done out there to bring people together in the church at this time when there is so much confusion, animosity and negative press. There are many churches in our region that welcome openly lesbian and gay worshippers yet you might get the feeling from many sources that the whole of the Anglican Church is totally hung up on sexuality and anti-gay. It is true that for many countries in the world the issue of sexuality is a divisive one and because the Anglican Church has to conform to a global view on such matters it is now that we are seeing problems within different societies as some western countries seek to be more inclusive of openly gay clergy. I am sure that by being supportive to the genuine call from The Bishop of Manchester to look at issues around sexuality we can go a long way towards trying to bridge some of the gaps in understanding that many people both within and outside of the church have around this very sensitive issue ."

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement believe that the current process within the Anglican community must involve lesbian and gay participation on all occasions when the lives and faith of LGBT people are being discussed if the process is to be authentic and credible. "The Lesbian and Gay Foundation is also pressing for this participation and will continue to seek ways in which to inform debate and discussion around sexuality" adds Ben.

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