Human sexuality and gender identity has long plagued the Church as a hot-topic that just won’t be silenced.
We believe that this is a good thing;
that being fully human means embracing sexuality and the differences in how that is expressed.
For the Soho Gathering, the big gay elephant in the room is not how we interpret scripture but, what do we do next?
LGBT folk are sitting in your churches, meeting you at the school gates, sharing your desk at work. The issue is no longer how we differ theologically, but how do we seek to embrace one other and make a welcome place for all within our churches.
The Soho Gathering is seeking to do just that. We provide a safe space on a Thursday evening at The Yard Bar in Soho, Central London for fellowship. Here we share food and wine, while discussing life, the universe, and everything.
In the future we hope the Soho Gathering will help facilitate the ongoing conversation about the beautiful complexity of human sexuality.
Luke and Dawn
have known each other for far too many years and through far too many awful haircuts. For different reasons, they feel passionately about the misrepresentation that has occurred in the Church and the LGBT community struggle. They are driven to build bridges between the two. Both trained at Spurgeon’s Bible College in South London and are keen speakers, conversationalists and all-round people folk.
Luke, a Sussex boy by nurture not nature, is an ‘out’ gay Christian who spent much time working within Church contexts in the UK and abroad. He now works in the advertising world. His reconciliation of faith and sexuality can be read here: http://bwhbad.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/stronger-than-yesterday.html He is driven by the hope that one day he might not only be able to be married in a Church but also be able to lead one. His desire is that congregations the world over, will be inviting and nurturing places for all people – regardless of who they are.
Dawn, by way of Essex, Sussex, Cornwall, Kent is now the Communities Minister for Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London. She has degrees in Theology, and in Illustration. Dawn’s opinion has shifted from a conservative view (of one man, one woman) to that of an inclusive standing on the issue of same-sex behaviour and relationships within a faith context. She passionately believes that no-one should be excluded from the joy of sharing their life with someone, and from the security that is found in God’s love. Dawn is driven by the desire to challenge prejudices that exist against her faith, but also those that exist of others within that same faith.
People are often so concerned about causing offence, or concerned about ’being right’, that they never start the conversation.
But there are topics regarding human sexuality that are good to discuss. When meeting with your churches or small groups, among those you know and love, why not begin by thinking about these issues?
It’s important to remember that there may be those in your group who have not yet ‘come out’.
The best advice is to simply speak honestly and sincerely, even if you have doubts.
– What do you think the differences are between straight and gay Christians (apart from the obvious!)?
– When your interpretations of Scripture differ on other issues, how do you live together?
– What does love mean to you?
– When did you know you were ‘straight’ (if you are)?
– How did Jesus respond to people whom others deemed unacceptable?
Conversations are the tools by which we break down walls and relationships will be built.
We believe the best way to have these conversations is to include ‘the other’.
“Don’t talk about us, without us.”
Recently members of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church joined the Soho Gathering on Maundy Thursday. We broke bread together in an ‘upper room’ in a gay bar in Soho, and shared wine around a common table. We were all hesitant and nervous, but excited by the willingness to be in community and in conversation with each other. It’s the spirit and intent that breaks down barriers.
We sometimes find ourselves facing the uncomfortable.
When engaging the LGBT community in the conversation of human sexuality consider that, just as the Bloomsbury members found a gay bar uncomfortable, someone of LGBT orientation may be uncomfortable in Church on Sunday.
Our commitment is to meet with the LGBT community where the LGBT community is.
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
Great people. Great work.
- Accepting Evangelicals
An open network of Evangelical Christians affirming same-sex relationships. http://www.acceptingevangelicals.org
A UK network of Baptists to affirm and support lesbian and gay Christians. http://www.affirmingbaptists.org.uk
- Christians at Pride
A broad stroke from across the Christian palette gathering together to march in affirmation at Pride in London. http://www.christiansatpride.com
- Diverse Church
A supportive online and “hub-based” community for LGBT Christians aged 18-30. http://www.diversechurch.org.uk
An inclusive network of Christians who meet quarterly to worship network and together. Www.two23.net
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