A Birmingham church is sending a powerful message of inclusivity, with a monthly service to celebrate LGBT Christians.
C of E church St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter this week announced the plans for the new ‘Rainbow Eucharist’ service, which will be held on the first Sunday of each month at 3pm.
The service, set to begin on October 2, aims to reach out to LGBT Christians who feel marginalised by the Church.
The Vicar of St Paul’s, the Revd Mary Gilbert, said: “At St Paul’s, we believe that the church is called to stand in solidarity with the marginalised and the outcast, sadly this is often how the church makes LGBTQI people feel.
“We feel that part of our mission is to redress the balance and say to everyone ‘You are a beloved child of God in whom God delights.”
Ben Franks, a member of the Church of England’s General Synod who attends the church, said: “It is essential that the church is intentional in its welcome of the LGBTQI community, unfortunately some of the loudest voices in the church are often heard condemning.
“At St Paul’s we believe in a welcoming and inclusive God, whose love embraces all, irrespective of sexuality or gender.
“We should honour the varied aspects of human identity and the richness they add to our mutual human flourishing.
“The church is completing a series of conversations of the subject of human sexuality, but this is still seen by many in the church as an ‘issue’ rather than being about human beings with lives and loves; while these conversations and debates go on there is still a lack of pastoral support in many places and we at St Paul’s are aiming to redress that.”
The Church says the service will be an opportunity for people “to give thanks for the wider community of their friends, supporters and allies, pray for those who are unable to embrace their sexuality openly due to fear and oppression, and receive strength from God through readings and sharing the Holy Communion.
The Church adds of its message of tolerance: “We affirm that the Church’s mission, in obedience to Holy Scripture, is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every generation.
“We acknowledge that this is Good News for people regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation. We believe that, in order to strengthen the Gospel’s proclamation of justice to the world, and for the greater glory of God, the Church’s own common life must be justly ordered.
“To that end we call on our Church to live out the promise of the Gospel; to celebrate the diverse gifts of all members of the body of Christ; and in the ordering of our common life to open the ministries of deacon, priest and bishop to those so called to serve by God, regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation.”