15 May 2007

LGBT Christians meet in West Africa

Looking at things from the vantage point of the US, it would be easy to take for granted the struggle that we face now for an inclusive church. Yet, in many parts of the world, worship for openly gay or lesbian Christians is simply not an option. A gathering of LGBT Christians in Togo has recently concluded. This is from the concluding statement:
The meeting this weekend, 11 to 13 May 2007 in Lome, Togo of 35 lesbian and gay leaders from West African Christian groups was a moment of history for LGBT Christians in Africa. The leaders represented groups from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo meeting with leaders from Changing Attitude Nigeria. We represented members of the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches.

On Saturday morning we began our day by celebrating Holy Communion together. For most of us, this was the first time we have been able to share the life-giving body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ openly with our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters.

Think about that. This was the first time, for many of this gathering, that they were able to share the Body and Blood of Christ together. We must work for a church that is more like the kingdom of God, a place where all are welcomed and loved.

These Christians want nothing different from what all of us seek:

We believe we are created in the image of God, to love and to express the love we feel.
We are proud of who we are.
We will not live our lives in darkness.
We want to be fully included in the churches to which we belong.
We want our voices to be heard.
We want our churches to learn about our sexual identities.
We want our churches to accept and honour our relationships.
Amen.

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