Equal Voices Anglicanlgbt religion is asking a simple question this year, “Will we be welcome in your church this Christmas?”

It’s a question being asked after recent comments by Archbishop Glenn Davies at the Sydney Anglican Diocesan Synod when he said ‘Please leave us’ to those who disagreed with his take on marriage, gender and sexuality, including his fellow bishops.

Every year, LGBTIQA+ Christians who would love to be able to share in celebrating Christmas with their partner by attending a service together have to ask, “Will we be welcome?”

One of our members said, “I’m feeling so much anxiety about not feeling welcome in my faith community this Christmas. I’ve made the decision to step into my church community, and to not draw away, but it’s taking a lot of reminding myself of God’s holding and welcome, and a lot of deep breathing and praying so I can take the step and walk through the door each week.”

An LGBTIQA+ ally said, “At this time every year, LGBTIQA+ Christians begin to fear Christmas. In what is meant to be a season of peace and goodwill, they have to prepare themselves for overt rejection or underlying dismissal when they think about attending a Christmas service, or being with their families.”

Steff Fenton, a queer Christian from the Diocese of Sydney, said, “LGBTIQA+ Christians ask me all the time what churches are safe for them to attend. Sadly, the list is very small and none of them are within the low evangelical tradition that most people in this Diocese belong to.”

We hear all too often of LGBTIQA+ Christians preparing to go home, but who know their families have adopted their church’s view of rejection and condemnation. Equal Voices Anglican is particularly concerned this year. Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies appears not to understand the hurt he has caused by his call for LGBTIQA+ Christians and their allies to leave the Anglican Church of Australia. He and those who support him appear oblivious to the impact of on-going and very public efforts, both nationally and internationally to exclude, discriminate against, and marginalize LGBTIQA+ people.

“I won’t be going to any church where my children are not celebrated,” Nina Berry, a post-Sydney Anglican mother, said.
Nina is a member of Equal Voices Anglican, which is a fast growing national network of LGBTIAQ+ Anglicans and their affirming allies. Included amongst our members are bishops, clergy and lay members of the Anglican Church of Australia.

As a movement, we want to see our Church do better.

“‘Come to me all you are heavy laden!’ is the call of the loving/forgiving/welcoming Jesus, who is the Lord of Life!” said Fr Stephan Clark, Parish Priest at St Mary Magdalene’s, Adelaide.

We thank God that there are churches like Fr Clark’s, dioceses in fact, right across Australia, where LGBTIQA+ people are loved, accepted, celebrated, and (increasingly) offered an equal place at the table.
If your church is one of those safe and welcoming communities, please share your message of welcome boldly.