The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, last night welcomed the city’s LGBT community to Manchester Cathedral for a service to celebrate their heritage in the city. This was the second such service to take place, the first being in 2008.

Bishop McCulloch, along with the Dean of Manchester, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, welcomed a large gathering of people all ages, including a man who had campaigned for gay equality in 1946 and teenagers still fighting prejudice in the city today.

Various groups celebrating anniversaries were given special mentions. These included The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, now in its 10th year and Manchester Pride, which is celebtating its 20th anniversary.

Bishop McCulloch also paid tribute to the countless LGBT people and organisations that have been campaigning tirelessly for inclusion, and to Manchester’s rich LGBT heritage and community which was the reason for the celebration.

The Reverend Richard Hawkins followed this with a reflection on how Manchester had always led the fight for equality, invoking the fight for women’s suffrage and how he would like to see a woman in the role of the next Bishop of Manchester.

Among those present were Members of the Bishop of Manchester’s Advisory Group on Sexuality, Warren Hartley of Liverpool Pride’s upcoming LGBT Interfaith event, Chris Holliday from Gaydio and members of the youth group Queerstianity.

Among other things, the service included a reading in Hebrew, a female priest taking the prayers and a discussion of trans issues. For future Celebrate events, organisers hope to include more interfaith and gender issues.