Creating a life-giving response for young LGBT+ Christians

2016-10-15-10-59-53Dublin, October 15th

Rev Sally Hitchiner, the senior chaplain and inter-faith adviser at Brunel University in London and founder of Diverse Church, was in Dublin on Saturday October 15th at the invitation of Changing Attitude Ireland, Accepting Sexuality and ACET.  The workshop she gave on how best to help Young LGBT+ Christians in the churches in Ireland was greatly appreciated by all present from a wide range of age groups in the Molesworth Hall.

Among the themes included were: Living OUT your faith; the ability to tell your story; and how your story fits into the Christian Story of incarnation and resurrection.

Sally Hitchiner spoke eloquently and passionately about acceptance of all views on Gay Marriage and Celibacy within the response to young Christians coming out in Church Communities. She pointed out that at the heart of the Trinity is diversity and this is reflected in us, both in how we are made and in how we deal with issues. She highlighted that grace is needed on all sides of the debate on human sexuality, reminding us of the love at the heart of God’s wishes for us.

She spoke of the need to create safe spaces within our churches for testimony and story-telling to help all parties to come together in grace and begin to heal together. She spoke of many examples of this that she had experienced through Diverse Church.

One such story that struck a chord with those attending was when the Dean of Sheffield, speaking to a group from Diverse Church, brought up the story of the Prodigal Son. While many were expecting him to compare the young LGBT+ Christians to the wayward son, he actually compared them to the Father, while the Church was the wayward son, with the young LGBT Christians awaiting the Church’s return to them. This was quite powerful and had tears in many participants’ eyes.

The workshop considered the barriers faced by young LGBT+ Christians and the various ways we can help overcome these in a practical manner, in the hope that they do not lose faith in God, in the Church or in life itself.

Rev Sally will be in Belfast on October 22nd to give a workshop in the Knock Methodist Centre, 17 Knock Road, Belfast from 10:30am. More details on Facebook and Eventbrite

Stephen Spillane

Changing Attitude Ireland