Home > Queensland Synod News > Openly homosexual church leaders urge inclusive Christianity

Openly homosexual church leaders urge inclusive Christianity

A group of openly homosexual church leaders meeting during the assembly of the World Council of Churches have advocated a more inclusive Christian faith that embraces people of all sexual orientations.

"We are here, because we do not wish to be segregated or isolated," said the Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the US-based Metropolitan Community Churches. "And we are here to encourage the churches to do justice within their own communions when it comes to people with HIV/AIDS; and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered."

She was delivering a message during a 20 February service at the chapel of the Pontifical University of Rio de Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil while speakers in another venue at the ninth assembly of the World Council of Churches were debating church unity.

The Metropolitan Community Churches was launched in 1968 to minister to ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. It has since grown to include 43 000 adherents in almost 300 congregations in 22 countries.

"We come to the WCC as a denomination and movement of people who have been healed and transformed by the powerful touch of a living Saviour, whose mercy and love have reached where the institutional church would and could not reach," said Wilson.

Also as the service was held, South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu was delivering an address to the main session of the assembly in which he stated that "gay, lesbian, so-called straight, all belong and are loved" by God.

"I struggled against racism because it sought to prejudice someone because of something about which they could do nothing, their skin colour," Tutu later told journalists. "I could not keep quiet so long as people were being penalised about something which they could do nothing about – their sexual orientation."

In her message at the service of the Metropolitan Community Churches, Wilson said she and others in the denomination could empathise with the persecution experienced by Christian Dalits, once called untouchables, in India, who also brought their stories to the WCC assembly.

Wilson also highlighted the murder in the last 18 months of 12 gay men in Jamaica, some of whom were HIV/AIDS workers and community organizers and lamented that "no one in the government, university or the churches is speaking up, offering support or shelter or help".

She stressed that the Metropolitan Community Churches was at the WCC gathering "to publicly call on the WCC and its member churches to repudiate violence against people for their sexuality or their HIV status." But she added, "We came, even more, because we have so much to offer to the wider church and community – and because the Lord is upon us."

(c) Ecumenical News International