Changing Attitude Ireland – Annual General Meeting 2023

CAI AGM 2023

Jayne Ozanne

Changing Attitude Ireland was delighted to welcome Jayne Ozanne to speak to us on Saturday 25 March 2023, before we held our AGM. Jayne’s insights, experience and advice on becoming an inclusive church were food for thought at a time where the Church of Ireland is now the only Anglican church in the British Isles that will not marry same-sex couples or bless their unions.

Following the AGM, CAI are delighted to announce that Mark Bowyer has been elected chair in succession to Scott Golden, who has stepped down after many years of service on the committee. Mark has been on the committee for a number of years and is an openly gay man, a Diocesan Lay Minister in the Church of Ireland and who is committed to the work of CAI.

Scott Golden delivering his final address as chair of Changing Attitude Ireland at the AGM on 25 March 2023.

During his outgoing address [Text Post • PDF file], Scott highlighted that CAI have begun to reorganise and fashion our strategies for the short, medium and long terms. The changes in our sister churches in the Anglican Communion, allowing the blessing of same sex couples, have consequences for the work of CAI.

There are still many concerns that face LGBT+ communities across the world, in Ghana and Uganda, and more recently two horrific murders (gay hate crimes) here in Ireland. On these issues, the Church of Ireland has remained silent and refused to comment. CAI has rightly condemned these actions. All we can ask is why hasn’t the Church of Ireland?

“The work of CAI will continue and it is only through listening to the wisdom, gained through direct experience of LGBT+ people, their families and friends that the Church can begin to reform, repent and repair the damage to which it has subjected LGBT+ members over the centuries and continues to do so, even today. At a time of renewed violence towards gay, lesbian and transgender people especially an upturn of hate crimes here in Ireland, as well as the ongoing persecution of our brothers and sisters in Africa, and with the Church’s complicity in such acts, the need for organisations such as CAI is surely evident.”

Mark Bowyer, Changing Attitude Ireland’s new chair.

Speaking after his election as chair, Mark Bowyer said, “it is important now, more than ever, that we continue to be the voice of those who feel marginalised in their own church and communities because of their sexuality. We risk losing a generation of LGBT+ people who are turned away from the Church because of this. I am grateful to Scott for all the work he has done, and I’m delighted that he will stay on the committee as vice-chair. It is also important that we listen to those with differing views on human sexuality and that we try to find some middle ground. CAI will continue to work to build relationships with key stakeholders and I am very much committed to doing this, working with our committee, our allies and the wider church. There is a lot of work to do, to lay down the steps towards an inclusive church and as Scott said in his address “we look forward to a time when the fruits of our labours will render all of us on the committee of CAI redundant.”

Chairperson’s Address 2023 at Changing Attitude Ireland’s AGM