People attracted mainly to the same sex have made a major contribution to the life of the church through the ages, and in recent decades have become more visible. In many countries, including the UK, there has been growing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBT&I) people, and awareness of the damage done by prejudice and discrimination.
Debates around the theology of sexuality have, for the past half-century or so, focused largely on gender and homosexuality. Numerous scholars have contributed to this. Church historians, too, have considered the meaning of same-sex intimacy among Christians in mediaeval times and before.
Scripture, tradition and reason have been crucial in addressing the opportunities and challenges arising from the diversity in creation.
In the past couple of decades, some church leaders have taken up the issue of homosexuality as a test-case for whether their particular view of what the Bible teaches can be imposed, in place of traditional spiritual and theological diversity. There has been fierce opposition to appointing senior clergy who are open about being in same-sex partnerships. Yet many believe that unwillingness to include LGBT&I people as full members of the church, or even listen seriously to the arguments for inclusion, is contrary to the Gospel.
Through public statements, discussions with church leaders, working with our partner organisations, and other means, Inclusive Church has been seeking to resist attempts to make the church more narrow and exclusive, and to promote serious study, dialogue and reflection.
In the UK LGBT History month is marked each February.
Inclusive Church works in partnership with a number of campaigning and support LGBT&I organisations. Work within the Anglican context is centred through the LGBT&I Anglican Coalition.
Same Sex Marriage and Inclusive Church
The trustees of Inclusive Church have written a response to the government consultation on same-sex marriage. Inclusive Church recognises that there will be a variety of views on this topic within our registered inclusive churches and individual members.
Sexuality: The Inclusive Church Resource
The Inclusive Church Resource book series is published by Darton Longman and Todd.
Designed as resource books for churches, each book has an introduction, theological reflection, stories from lived experience and a practical resource section
Books in the series include Disability by John Hull, Mental Health by Jean Vanier and John Swinton.
Sexuality by Susannah Cornwall, Poverty by Susan Durber, Ethnicity by Michael Jagessar and Gender by Rosemary Lain Priestley.
The book on Sexuality has an introduction by Inclusive Church trustee Simon Sarmiento. The theology of sexuality is by Susannah Cornwall of The University of Exeter. There are 4 stories from lived experience - including Jo Ind and Martin Hazell. The resource section of the book is compiled by The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
This is a really exciting project for Inclusive Church and we are proud to be working in partnership with DLT.
A comment in from someone who has read the first 2 books:
"Have just received the first books, and dived into one of them. They are excellent, and all churches should have them for the clergy, and PCC."Buy Now
Organisations working on LGBTI issues check out the LGBTI Coaltion and other organisations on our links page.
St James and Emmanuel, and inclusive church in Manchester, has made two 'beyond inclusion' videos with John Bell, about being Christian and gay. They can be used in churches and can be found here.
There is an interesting video by Steve Chalke about sexuality in biblical times on Vimeo here (explicit warning).